5 Things that inspire me to write

1. An email from my grandmother

It's a short, simple email, sent on Monday, 26th of July, 2017. A day before, I had posted something on my author facebook page about the important contrast between having happy, sunny days and stormy, dark days.

Somehow, what I wrote had really touched her, and she wrote to me saying how wise I am to cherish the sunshine and the rain and the storms, despite everything. She said that it is important to spend some days just daydreaming, and that's completely okay.

She told me that she loves me, that I inspire her, and that she loves to learn to understand me more and more day by day.

Back then, my facebook author page only had three likes: my grandma and two of my best friends. I hadn't told anyone about said page, but somehow they had sneakily found it anyway. Let's just say they care about me too much and are way too interested in everything I do.

Which is lovely. I love it. But it also kind of freaks me out because I don't think I deserve it.

I haven't had my "breakthrough" yet. So why should anybody care?

In case you haven't noticed, I'm a bit hard on myself sometimes. But that email tells me not to be. I can hear my grandma saying, "Take it easy, love the sunshine, love the rain, love the struggle, love the pain." (that was a completely accidental rhyme but let's just go with it)

That email from my grandmother is so full of unconditional love. It reminds me that I have people who are influenced by my example and my writing even when I feel like nobody's listening. There's always somebody listening. Sometimes it's grandma. And grandma is amazing.

2. My very first book review

I'm not someone who ever squeals of excitement. But when I got my first "proper" book review, I squealed like a bimbo in the makeup section. (is that offensive? maybe)

"Imagine watching a battle at night during a thunderstorm. Everything appears in bursts: heaps of hacked bodies, their blood trickling into the puddled water on the ground. Blue flashes reflecting off shining swords. Screams of men and horses mixing with the howl of wind and the clap of thunder. It’s all very vivid, very intense. But you’d be hard-pressed to tell anyone what exactly was happening, which side was winning, or what it was for. 
I picked up this story because it had a vivid blurb, written more or less exactly the way they tell you blurbs are supposed to be written. I clicked through to a professional-looking site, with a nice map and pictures and even an official teaser trailer. I read a story, written in perfectly manageable chunks, with good grammar and spelling. The writing was evocative, rich with emotion, pithy in its description of scenes and moments. Snow, mead, woodsmoke, steel, fog and clouds—it’s all gorgeously bleak and tragic and Nordic. 
I’m just not at all sure what’s going on, because it’s all flashes of lightning. You see moments—nicely written moments!—interspersed with dollops of backstory, but not much straightforward description of the plot. It’s all alluded to en passant, never told. You have to infer what’s going on from the wry curses and fears characters express as asides, or else guess based on tropes. The runaway magic girl is apparently the protagonist, since she’s written with sympathetic traits. There’s a stern warlord after her, who’s bad because stern warlord. 
Halfway through its current run of seventeen short chapters, I pieced together a bit more than that, but it’s so staccato that I didn’t have much invested in it. There’s no time to stop and breathe, to find out the big picture or what’s at stake. There used to be an unpopular queen, but I’m not at all clear what she was queen of, or why they don’t like her now. There’s people fighting, but I don’t know what they’re fighting for. Everyone feels doomed and hopeless, like the world is ending, and I don’t know why. 
Just for example: in the second chapter, a lone headless body rides into a stableyard and falls off its horse, scaring the hell out of the local help . . . and that’s it. That’s the entire chapter, start to finish. She just describes it more artfully. There is no further context given as to why this corpse is significant, and it doesn’t come up later. I didn’t even feel the need to say spoilers, because what are you supposed to do with this information?
Three stars is "worth a look." It’s certainly that. But mind the rain."
Link to the review: http://webfictionguide.com/listings/a-raveling-night/review-by-theredsheep/ 

It's a three-star review, and it's a surprisingly positive one considering that the novel had some MAJOR flaws that I struggled with fixing so badly that I nearly quit writing. It's my forever work in progress... The story of my heart... The book of my dreams...

I love this review because it puts into words the problems I've had with my writing for years, but haven't been able to properly work on because nobody's said them to me. I've gotten plenty of feedback and critiques over the years, but people are always too nice.

I also think that this review is way too nice, but at least it's also critical. It's helpful.

It inspires me because it helps me see just how much I can grow as a storyteller, and that as long as I keep writing, I'll just keep getting better and better. Mistakes are just mistakes. You get to work and you fix them!

3. The "books" I wrote in 5th grade

In my little school in Borlänge, Sweden, we had a special designated shelf for the stories the class wrote. And that shelf made us write a lot.

That shelf is what made me think about becoming an author for the first time. Before then, I'd loved to write stories for fun. But putting them on that shelf and making them available for the whole class to read gave me kicks unlike anything had ever given me before. It was so exciting!

I was such a shy, awkward nerd, but finally I had my moment to shine!

I wrote sequel after sequel because my classmates kept reading what I wrote, and kept asking me for more. It was a thrilling feeling to "publish" the next part (=put it in the shelf) and have people write their names on a list so that they could queue to read it next.

It's what inspires me so much to write serialized fiction. It just feels so natural, because those were the first stories I ever wrote. Serials. I am passionate about serials.

4. Skyrim

It's the music, the visuals, the people, the lore, the world. I still remember playing Skyrim for the first time in my cousins' basement and barely being able to contain my lust for adventure. So many things to see! So many adventures to go on! So many dragons to slay, and magic to master!

So you can imagine how many hours I've spent exploring forests, towns and rivers in Skyrim. Just hearing the wind in the trees, the growling wolves, the soothing music. It's a bit spooky, but serene. And there's this sense of never being able to play the game enough to discover all it has to offer.

That's how I want my readers to feel when they open A Raveling Night and enter the world of vikings, magic, battles and ancient monsters. I want them to go, "WOOOAH, this is so COOL!"

5. The map of the world of my book

It ties in with the previous one & the sense of wanting to explore and experience. I wish I could just jump into this map and wander around, meet these people, hear their stories, smell the smoke and fish and rain, take a dip in the sea and stand looking in awe at the castle in Hordrigg.

I've spent so much time in this place, but it makes me a bit sad that I'll never actually be able to travel there.

Yeah, it doesn't exist. But at the same time, it's very, VERY real to me.

It shows me how much power my words can have. I created this world with my words.

Only after it was made of words could I even try to create this map with inks and watercolors and all that artsy stuff. Words are magic.

Now, tell me, what inspires you to write?