Planning for Next Year

Nothing gets a writer more off center than not writing.
Julia Cameron

Inspiration board November 2010
My inspiration board right now.

I have participated in the lovely project Art Every Day Month during November, and some of the collages from my stack of 30 is up on my inspiration board, as you can see. In the beginning of the month I was thinking about doing a art-everyday-project in 2011, but now that November has passed and I’ve realized that I am more of a every-second day kind of gal I am not as keen on doing collages every day for a whole year any more. One night as I was laying in bed (trying to fall asleep but with my mind racing around with new ideas – as usual making it impossible to relax) I decided next year was not the year for daily art, though I hope to continue my series of square collages.

I have been thinking for such a long time now that I am a writer that is lost, mostly because I do not do the “right” kind of writing…

Not the Right Writing

The biggest problem is that while I do write A LOT (more than most people) I do not “count” the writing that I do. I sometimes don’t even notice it because it is a daily habit, and my plan is to Write with a big double W anyway. I just don’t get to “that” kind of writing. You know what I mean? I have this Idea of a Writer; what it should feel and look like and what it should be about… I have a picture in my mind that I probably will never reach. I journal, I blog and this year I have even written several (non-paid) articles. So yes I do write, but I want… more!

That is why I am pondering a daily writing project, or… something.

Pile of daily art

The Daily poetry idea

I have made an attempt at a year of daily poetry writing before, but then I stopped. It was going really well, I think I wrote for about three months, and most of the poems are really good! But after that my energy went down, I was sick for a while and stopped writing in my wee pink notebook. When you stop it is really difficult to catch up or continue, because it is no longer The Project of a full Year.

I want to go back to poetry though! And I want to write other kinds of text too.

I need a writing rule

I still need to figure out how I can make myself sit by the computer, much like I’m doing right now, and put the keyboard to good use, just writing. I need to do this without getting distracted by reading blogs, commenting, looking around on the internet and email checking. Oh that darn inbox of mine. It fills up with need-an-answer-mails and to-dos faster than you can say “inbox zero”! Doing something “daily” is such a great way to get going with something because it creates a habit that is hard to resist. But daily by the computer-writing is way more than I can handle. I love a lot of things and some days I don’t turn on the computer at all. Yes really.

Suggestions welcome

Creative Every day 2011 Anyway, it is time to ponder next year. To sign up for Creative Everyday. To plan your own projects a bit. Me, I am thinking that I should come up with some kind of “rule” for myself about the writing thing. Three hours each week or three writing seasons weekly? Or filling a certain amount of pages per month? What have you tried? What is working and what is not working? Posting about your goals online perhaps? I’ve been reading artist Lisa Call’s blog lately and she is writing about Motivation by accountability and even posting her weekly goals on her blog for all to see!

I would of course write in Swedish, and mostly in private (maybe for later publication). I will allow myself the idea of 7/30/12 which means you make the commitment for a week, then one month at a time, then maybe the whole year. In that way you succeed even if you can’t continue and that I like!

Bad spelling is bad

I have talked about it before on my blog, how writing in English is a way to communicate with you my dear readers, but it is not my first language and writing in English is a task, not a passion. I know how beautiful inspirational English sounds, I get it on some of the “writer blogs” I follow and I envy how easy words come to these gals. But to me, it is a struggle most of the time and there is no real “poetry” when I do it (at least I can’t feel it in my heart) even though I love to play with words.

A while back I even got a nasty comment from someone about my spelling (asking why I hadn’t picked up some spelling knowledge if, as I said in that post, I read that many books..), the person not knowing of course that the books I do read are in Swedish. And then later I happened upon a conversation on Twitter where someone thought my blog was badly spelled and was turned away by that. The horror! This was said by someone who again did not know I am Swedish, and when her friend told her this she answered something like “Oh, I didn’t know, then I feel more forgiving about the spelling and will check in again” (hi if you are reading still, but I doubt it). I wasn’t really hurt but someway things like that get stick in my head. I am not sure how to solve the problem, but I guess getting a book about English grammar (because I’ve obviously forgotten those rules since I was in school). To study the language could be one (very boring) solution… hehe. We will see.

Comments welcome. Take care!

35 Responses

  1. Doing the same thing every day for a year is not an easy task. I think we all know that. I remember when we did the Daily Art Cards, I switched formats quite a few time because I was afraid it would get “boring.” I think that having a year-long project where you work at your own pace is a better solution. So writing, for you, should stay fun, of course. I have read a few people mention which might be something that would interest you.

    Whatever you decide to do, and however you decide to do it, I will be here to encourage you.

    And as for those commenting about your spelling… I have seen blogs by Americans which had a lot more spelling mistakes than yours and English is supposed to be their primary language! So don’t ever feel bad about it. I think your English is absolutely fine!


  2. I have to agree that you have very VERY good English grammar skills. I know you were Swedish (I am in 21 Secrets) but from the blog, it is hard to tell. Oh, well. Take it as a compliment of how well you DO in that they didn’t know you are Swedish. Ha.

  3. Dearest Hanna,
    You’re just so great. I can’t spell and I can’t retain information. A blog like yours has always impressed me because I would never be able to work at the same level in German.
    People are so critical. Let’s feel sorry for their miserable judgments that are based on lack of information.

    Here’s to 2011. Here’s to whatever you decide to do, daily or not. I’ll be here reading…

  4. I think your writing is phenomenal since English is your second language. That is amazing to someone like me who only knows a little Spanish & French. I would never be able to write a blog in those languages. Or much of a sentence. What appeals to me the most is your sense of passion that shines through your writing. No amount of correct grammer or spelling can be a substitute for.your creatitivity and enthusiasm

  5. Oh boy, the old English grammar gripe again. :-/

    I have been reading your blog for a while and I must say that as a second language your English is extremely good. I know many native-English born speakers who do not write or spell nearly as well as yourself. You communicate clearly and I love the pictures and ideas in your blog, so please do not give up. That being said, there’s absolutely no reason why you cannot write in your journals in Swedish: it’ll look just as good to us I am sure, as well as add in a bit of mystery about what is being said.

    From there you could tell us as much about the page as you wanted while still maintaining some privacy. Except those of your readers who speak Swedish, and of course I do not, but maybe I could learn some words this way. . . . Foreign language was my WORST subject in school. I gave up with Spanish and just did American Sign Language, so I am always impressed by those who are multi-lingual.

    English was my best subject in school and so I tend to zoom in on errors and spelling issues. (Restaurant menus and pamphlets, beware!) I have not noticed anything too horrendous about your blog posts, so don’t worry so much, please! Just keep drawing/painting!

  6. Hi Hanna,

    This comment is just about the spelling subject, as I am in a somewhat likewise position. I can only agree with the other commenters with regard to your English: the fact that they did not know you are Swedish says it all!! Yet I perfectly understand what you are feeling about not being perfect in English, I am from Holland. I always seem to lack enough variation in words, and in popular speaking and in expressions (not meaning slang ;-). The only way I try to solve it is by reading as much as possible and the many blogs are indeed good for that. I personally love Nina Bagley’s Ornamental, especially for the beautiful use of English. Could you recommend me some more, please?

    Tonight I will get back to the art part of your post, promise!

  7. They must need their heads examined :)

    Honestly Hanna, keep it up. Your English is great. I’ve lived in the UK 19 years now and still feel insecure about my use of English, especially when blogging. Just ignore them. Like Regina said; the fact they didn’t know you are Swedish says it all.

    Not sure yet how I’ll go about being creative every day next year with a new baby and all. I think I need to come up with a plan of action too. Poetry is definitely quite high on the list. Can’t wait to see what you decide (sorry I can’t come with any advice).

  8. Look out blogland! You mess with our wonderful Hanna, and we might come out swinging! English is a very difficult language for anyone to master, especially as a second (or third) language. You’re doing amazing and I am so glad that you chose to blog in English so those of us that don’t read Swedish can still enjoy your thoughts. Unless it’s a lifelong goal of yours to master English grammar, I’d leave the grammar book on the shelf and focus on your passions. We come to your blog to enjoy your art and your unique thoughts, not to read perfect grammar. Keep up the amazing work!

  9. You write beautifully in English! It’s so hard to learn to speak a different language than what you are used to; to WRITE in a different language must be such a challenge, I can’t imagine! Please don’t be discouraged – you express yourself wonderfully. :)

    As for writing, this summer I wanted to concentrate more on fiction writing. Once a week I took a pen and a notepad to my local library. I didn’t allow myself to bring my journal and I allowed myself only one “writing” book to refer to for prompts. My assignment was to write fiction for one hour. Even if I wasn’t writing and just staring off into space, I had to stay for an hour.

    I actually got into a great routine this way and writing longhand was a nice change from tapping the keyboard. Doing this weeky (instead of daily) was doable but not overwhelming and I’ve come to enjoy this process. I did more fiction writing this summer than ever in my life.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! Let us know how it goes.

  10. Hanna I’m so sorry to read that you got exposed to rude nasty comments! I can’t understand people doing that – it’s so mean.
    I, too, have seen *many* blogs and websites by people who have English as their first language that have WAY more mistakes than yours does! English is ridiculously confusing with all sorts of random silly rules. Very hard to learn – most people born to it don’t know all the rules!
    Every time I read a post by you I am in awe of your command of English. It inspires me. Even the times when you say something differently than I would, I always know exactly what you mean! You communicate extremely well and I love reading your blog. To me your words often are poetry.
    It is hard to return to a project once stopped – I relate to that.
    I wonder if the Writer you think of needs to write on the computer? Perhaps it could be an easier project to stick to if it involved a less distracting ritual (I am terrible at wasting hours online when I only intended 10 minutes so I admire you turning it off). There is something satisfying about making a nice hot drink and getting cozy with pen and paper – maybe in a nice writing book. a very different feeling than going onto the computer to write.
    I love your 7/30/12 idea! awesome :)

  11. Oh, Hanna, just ignore those idiots! I’d love to see them even try to speak another language, let alone write in one. You write beautifully, and I’ve read many an “American” blog with far more mistakes than you’ll ever make. The most important thing is to just tell your story…and to share all of your wonderful ideas. You are such an amanzing woman and such an inspiration. I’ll be anxious to see what you decide to do with the writing. My journals pretty much have as many words as they do art; words are important to me! But it’s not a structured sort of writing. And, as for those folks, no one put them in charge of the world: i Think they have way too much time on their hands.

  12. Hi Hanna!

    I have to agree with everyone else and say that your English great. I’m, in fact, often surprised that you get some of the slang that you do. I think your blog is great and people are missing out if they are stuck on grammar. Don’t get out the grammar books, it will only make learing English a more onerous task and you don’t want to dread writing. I think you have a great flow and I love reading your posts. Don’t let anyone deter you. i also think you should throw out all of the “rules” and just write in whatever language, whenever you feel like it. I write in my journal everyday, even if it’s only a few sentences. I find I miss it when I don’t. I’m not sure that the computer would have the same effect on me. Good luck in whatever you do.

  13. Hi Hanna
    Be true to yourself, grab your whishes with both hands and stay tuned. Lot of good whishes for 2011.

  14. Hanna, your English is beautiful. You are beautiful. Those people who wrote the nasty comments are just petty and jealous. It empowers them to tear a person down. I know it hurts sweetie. Just feel sorry for them and hope their lives get better.

  15. Hi Hanna,

    I didn’t realize you are Swedish and not a native English speaker so your spelling can’t be bad. I find it very helpful to have the spell checker on which shows me what is wrong and then I can find the right word. My big help is which has German, English, French, Spanish and I think Chinese and Russian now as well! No Swedish though I am afraid.

    Well a project to write every day is a quit a big task. I wanted to do that but with a busy life and job that’s difficult. But I have several blogs both just writing what comes to mind and my poetry and a fantasy story and I just make sure that I write as often as I can.

    Maybe it has something to do with the high expectations that we have about ourselves. If we just keep it simple and have fun – it might work then…..

  16. Hi Hanna! I just wanted to encourage you first, that your English is amazing! I’ve been following your blog for two years now and I never suspected English to be your second language. In fact, I’m still kind of surprised that it’s not your first language! I mean, I’ve seen some of your work when you’ve used Swedish on your collages so I suspected something but never did I suspect that Swedish was your first language! I just assumed that maybe you were living abroad somewhere and had a vast knowledge of different languages.

    Secondly, I totally understand your desire to write more frequently because I feel the same way! I write almost daily as well between my blogs and my journals but I want to start writing poetry and fiction more frequently also. It’s hard to find the time and the motivation (and even harder to have the time and motivation line up!). So if you think of a good plan, please share it with us! I need some ideas!

  17. Anyone focusing on your spelling is missing out on what is so special about you! Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  18. Regarding your spelling woes… I’m a stickler for good spelling and grammar and honestly, your blog is better than many others out there for whom English *is* their native language. Don’t let the negative comments get you down — for every person out there griping about your spelling, there are many, MANY more of us who love your blog and your writing just the way that it is.

    Thank you for sharing. Your art, blog, and writing are so inspirational!

  19. Hi =D
    Don’t worry about your english, it’s fine! From my point of view anyway, I’m from germany XD
    But I do love english and adore great sentences, phrases and words… that was why I learned the language in the first place (apart from the obligatory school english, ugh)
    I started to watch my feavorite movies in original, cause I wanted to hear te real voice of, say Frodo ^^
    and with the time I began reading the books in english, when the author was english, too. Today, I prefer english over my mothertongue, german. I dream and think in english, which can be frustrating when you have to answer people in german, cause you’ re in germany …duh -.-
    my point is, if you really want to get better and feel at home when using english, continue reading blogs in english, start to read the books, listen to podcasts and watch movies in this language 24/7! I think you’re already really good at it, but if those comments get to you, than do something that is fun, rather than buying a grammar book… I don’t even know the german grammar rules, why would I bother with english? At some point you just get the feeling for the language, you know? no ugly grammar books needed ^^
    cheers, Julias

  20. Hello Hannah,

    I think your english is really good. I’m from the netherlands and know how hard it is to speak or write in a different language. Always looking for words or how to write things down. But you’re doing great, please go on in the way you do! Love your blog.
    And people who are nagging about spelling and grammatics…well…they read it or not…their choice. Let them write in Swedish (or Dutch, also a nice and easy language lol) and then we comment their writings.

  21. Hi Hanna, I’ve read your blog for ages & rarely notice anything wrong with your English. If I do, who cares? English is my first language & like a previous commentor I gave up on foreign languages along time ago & learnt sign language. So anyone who can write as well as you do with English as their second language is to be admired in my books. I have just started blogging regularly & have to reread what I’ve written a number of times before I’m happy with how it reads.

  22. I absolutely agree – I am a bit of a stickler for spelling and grammar but I think your English is great, I have also seen much worse from English blogs! And anyone who didn’t realise you are Swedish cannot have read much of your blog!

  23. Hi Hanna…..
    I LOVE your blog and I have your Mettazine… so much inspiration!!! I admire you for writing in a language that is not your first…. it’s not an easy task.
    As far as the art challenge…. in my opinion setting goals is a good thing. I’d look at it as if it were a diet… it’s a challenge by you, for you, and you have no one else to answer to but yourself. If you have an off day… it’s OK. Start the next day fresh and new. Most of all… relax and have FUN!!!!
    Hugs, Emie

  24. Hanna!

    You must be kidding! Your English is better than many of the English speaking people I know! If someone whines about a blog because of the spelling or grammar, they are not worth having as a reader anyway. It’s the content, the inspiration, the thought-provoking comments that make me choose a blog. One of my favorite crafty blogs is by a sweet person who can’t spell well at all. I could care less. I can understand her perfectly well.

    I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for years now, but I haven’t learned it well enough to even attempt to write a blog in it!

    Gretchen Rubin had some interesting ideas on setting writing goals in her Happiness Project book. Maybe some of her ideas help you create writing goals for the new year.

  25. I’m joining in the comments late, just to say that as an English speaker living in a French milieu, who teaches English to native English speakers and second language students, I am awed by your level of English. I know how hard it is for my students to express themselves in English and all the work they do in order to do so. I also know how different my ability to express myself in my 2nd language is and how challenging it is to convey my ideas eloquently in French (and sometimes in English) so I admire the effort that goes into your keeping an English blog. I don’t know that I would be able to do so, especially as consistently as you do!

    Suffice to say, it took me a long time to realize that you weren’t a native English speaker and as a teacher who is always looking out for French to English translation mistakes, that speaks volumes. Besides, we all make spelling/typo mistakes from time to time and I would be hard pressed to find any blog out there without mistakes in it (the same is sadly often true of published news media, novels and various other forms of print that are supposed to be held to a high caliber of writing).

  26. Hey, Hanna. I am WITH YOU on this.
    I have decided to join the Fiction Project, which is from the art coop people who have the Sketchbook Project, which I’m doing this year. The sketchbook has taught me that I can be productive every day, as long as I know that I can do a bit at a time, or more, or change it, or add to it. I always got so nervous about journaling or sketching because I gave myself so many rules. My biggest ‘rule’ about fiction is that I have to please everyone so I wind up not finishing. I’m going to use the Fiction Project as a way to break through, like the Sketchbook Project helped me do. And before I even work on the fiction project, I’m going to ease up on myself. It’s okay to write fiction, unbelieveable things that may make sense to some people and not to others! It’s okay to show emotions that some people might not like and some people might identify with! It’s all real, in the end.

    You have a real talent. Rock on!

  27. Well, my english is bad (my first language is italian) and so I can’t notice if your english writing is good or not. The only thing I can say is that I re-started to read and write in english thanks to your blog, some years ago. I needed to understand what you were writing!
    I love your blog because you have soooo much to communicate and your writing is inspiring, and you do it very well.

  28. I love to write to, in English (on the blog and in my school program) and in Italian (in my journal and when I do some creative writing). I tried the NaNoWriMo for 2 years in a row, and that was a great help, but a lot to write, maybe too much with a busy scheduled. I suggest you read their Pep Talk on the NaNoWriMo’s website, they are so inspiring!
    And also for inspiration, I just found this blog about writing and creativity:, it’s just great! I’m still exploring all the posts and links.
    Have a beautiful day! (or I should say goonight right now)

  29. I guess you can tell from the typos that English is not my first language, ooops! I meant “I like to write too” and “busy schedule”. :-)

  30. Oh, Hanna. Your writing is beautiful and I enjoy every single post! I actually am usually somewhat sensitive to spelling and grammar, but I think that no matter what I would never be turned away from your beautiful photos, ideas, and inspirations. You’ve been one of my very favorite bloggers for several years now… and I was inspired to start my own blog because of yours.

    Perhaps the bright side of the woman’s comment about your spelling/grammar is that she was unable to tell that you were not a native speaker! I think that says loads about how good you are. ;)

    Keep your chin up,

  31. Well, det ?r v?l helt enkelt ett av problemen vi som best?mmer oss f?r att blogga p? engelska m?ste st? ut med. Jag ?r ?vertygad om att vi blir b?ttre och b?ttre och allvarligt talat, om folk har problem med min stavning och grammatik f?r att jag inte har engelska som modersm?l d? ?r det faktiskt deras problem.

    But when it comes to writing, becoming some kind of writer is still my dream and I thougth I’ll make it happen this year. I found this great diary in Australia with a page a day, and my new years promise is to write something, anything, every single day. Not a letter, not a blog post, not journal about my life, but fiction writing. It doesn’t have to be good, no one has to read it. It’s just me doing it, learning, moving forward. It what I dream of doing and what I wanna do, I’m going to stop holding myself from it. Die internet, die mailbox, die facebook… At least during those moments when it’s just me and my writing.

  32. Thanks for all your lovely comments!

    SaraOoo, Sama? is it you? are you back online? yay, this makes me very very happy, I didn’t know! Though did really enjoy your last blog and I MISSED you! will visit your knew one and read back so I am up to date on your projects! :-)

  33. Yeah, that’s me! I’m back. Or sort of. I don’t know, I haven’t decided if I wanna blog or not (quite obvious in my going offline and back online and than offline again), yet I’m doing it again… We’ll see.
    Thanks, you just made my day :)

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