Tag Archives: Writing

Afterword

I’ve written a novel in just over a month and that’s a fact I’m quite shocked by. But I’m proud too and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the story as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
The fact that it got done on time is actually quite a miracle. I wrote this story under less than favourable living conditions in Lagos. And both food poisoning, a record high of mosquito bites and some other tropical ailments at times made the process rather irksome. Due to irregular power supplies which also destroyed two laptop chargers, I wasn’t always sure whether the episodes would be done on time.

The next step now, is to edit the episodes. Improve the language, get rid of inconsistencies and strengthen some of the weaker points. And when that’s done, I’m hoping to get this thing published.

A list of thanks are of course in order. First and foremost I need to thank my secretary Elisabeth who invited me to her home in Homborsund where she took me to all the places you’ve read about in the story. Elisabeth also helped with historical facts, proof reading and publishing the episodes when I had no internet access. Thanks too, to my people in Lagos who went to the market to buy new laptop chargers and generally made sure I was fed, hydrated and medicated,making it physically possible to write.

Nellevine, the house ghost in Elisabeth’s hous,in Homborsund for being the inspiration to the story needs thanks, or else, she’ll haunt me forever, in an unpleasant way I’m sure. I have felt her presence too. And I’m not the only one.I sometimes had the feeling she was feeding me the story and helping my circumstances, turning them in my favour.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank my readers around the world for getting hooked on the story and encouraging me to continue when I didn’t have the inspiration.

All the places featuring in the story are real, but I have allowed some artistic freedoms when it comes to eateries and other places in Grimstad and Kristiandsand. The characters as well as the mid-summer drownings are pure figments of my overly active imagination.

Reflections on my decision to become a full time writer

I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer. But never have I felt it so strongly as I’ve done of late. I got two fictional short stories published in the magazine Magnets and ladders. This was awesome for me, because it was the first attempt at publishing my fiction and I was successful.

Some of you may also know that I right for the UK based magazine StyleAble which aims to make fashion, beauty and lifestyle accessible to everybody. And a few days ago, I had a phone meeting with the editor, who is looking to leave her day job and become a full time freelance writer. And the two of us, are currently the only regular contributors and maintainers of StyleAble, and we have some great ideas to make it really grow now we’ll both be able to devote more time to it. But we are also looking at other gigs, such as various magazines, Huffington Post etc.

Establishing a writing career, like we’re planning on doing, is not easy. The writing opportunities may be plenty, but unfortunately most work, at least in the beginning, is unpaid. Now, I’d love to write for everybody and anybody who like my ideas and I’m not in it for the money, but money is a necessity. And getting paid for my work, also serves as encouragement and confirmation that my work is valued so much that someone would pay for me to produce it.

I would say to any buddying writers out there who want to build a freelance career, that at first it is important to take every opportunity that comes along. Free gigs, low-paid gigs and higher paid ones if you can get them. But there comes a time, and I have certainly reached that point, where it’s important to be assertive, strategic and make sure you get paid a fair or good rate for the content your produce.

I’m not saying I’ll never do anything for free again. But I may soon find myself in the difficult situation of turning down good and free opportunities for better paid ones. It’s just hard to know where to draw the lines sometimes.

I am grateful to be working so closely with StyleAble editor Kiesha, who is both more experienced and have more contacts than me. Writing is very much about who you know and I’m glad not to be starting out completely by myself.

StyleAble can be found at http://www.styleable.co.uk
My short story Crossing over at: http://www.magnetsandladders.org/#crossing-over-fictionwzxhzdk28by-linn-martinussen
And my short story The break-up, three perspectives at: http://www.magnetsandladders.org/#the-break-up-three-perspectives-fictionwzxhzdk29by-linn-martinussen

My 2013

During my years in the BBC, I had a colleague who read palms. Upon reading mine one day, she said “I’m surprised you’re not more confused than you are. Your creative and sensible sides are very conflicting with each other.” She is very right, which made me respect her skill. She didn’t know me very well at the time. And my 2013 has been very much like my colleague described me. It has been an extremely happy and uplifting year, but also a painful one. But let me rewind and do this month by month.

January: I fell onto the subway tracks and I survived! I think that was very miraculous. It’s one of Oslo’s busiest stations, and I fell at a time when there was no train coming. As I couldn’t get up because I had fallen backwards, a man jumped down to lift me up and a girl received me at the top of the tracks. Luckily for me, I was on my way to the doctor and feeling slightly hysterical from the fall, I got there with my two rescuers walking me.

Despite being in quite a lot of pain from the fall, I boarded a plane four days later and went to Monaco. I stayed with some Egyptian friends there on the 25th floor of a block of flats and I had the time of my life. Me and my friend who are both singers, held an impromptu concert in a bar in Monte Carlo that had karaoke, and it went down so well that we were asked to come back the next day.

February: I fell again. But this time I fell in love. That can be more dangerous and painful than falling off a subway platform, but it is more fun, those times when it is not agonizing of course. The man is a bright and good looking Ghanaian student, who like me, work for the student radio station in Oslo.

March: I took the radio presenter’s test, which meant that I put together and presented the hour long news and current affairs show on our radio station by me. I passed and I now have an official paper saying I’m a qualified radio presenter. Live radio presenting is something I’ve grown to love more than I thought I would and I do hope I have my own show some day.

March/April: I also did the longest trip of my life so far. I traveled alone to New Zealand to visit a cousin and then on to Australia to visit a friend. I did so much on these two trips that I wouldn’t do them any justice by summing them up in this post. But let me say that I recommend anyone who can you should go there. I hope to go back one day, but preferably with some company because the flights are long. I slept as much as I could and I made some friends on the plane, for the duration of the journey, but still, company would have been nice. And I’d love to share a trip like that with somebody simply because it’s so incredible to be on the other side of the world. I did get to touch both koalas, kanagroos, wallabies, wombats and a kiwi.

April/May: I went to Iceland with my fellow master students. Iceland is also very amazing and we had so much fun walking on volcanos, soaking in natural baths and going out every evening. Of course, this all happened when we weren’t doing something study related, which was quite fun too. Especially because during our trip to RUV, the Icelandic broadcasters, we were shown around by Iceland’s most famous news Anker.

In May I also hosted a party with my partner for the first time ever. It was a Ghanaian party, meaning we served Ghanaian food. I learned never to mix Amarula and wine again!

June: I went to Skagen with one of my closest allies. Or is it called closest friends? No, ally is cooler I think. Skagen is that place in Denmark where you can walk out on the beach and have one foot in the Baltic Sea and one in the North Sea. I was there as a child, but didn’t remember because I was little. The place is magic and when you have a foot in each ocean, you can literally feel the two meet because they strike against each other

July/August: I wrote a teen novel for my niece for her confirmation. The title Vilde Gudenes utvalgte translates as Vilde, chosen by the gods and is about a girl Vilde who enters into the Greek mythological world to help make right a wrong that has been done and which have caused the world of the gods to die out. Writing it was a strange experience in a good way and I felt as if the story lived its own life and that I was just sent by someone to write it down. Writing in Norwegian was difficult for me however, because English has over time become the language I prefer to express myself in when writing unless we’re talking about informal emails and so on, where it doesn’t matter to me which of the two languages I use. But getting reacquainted with writing my mother tongue was also good.

August: I went back to Skagen with my same close ally who I’d gone with in June as well as my other half. That too was a nice trip and we had better weather. Next time I go to Skagen, I hope to swim in the Baltic Sea.

October: I made my first full length radio documentary. It’s entitled Faith as career, and features three people who have incorporated their faith into their life style or career choices. The first one is a girl studying to become a catechist in the Norwegian Lutheran church, the second a guy from a Pentecostal background who is the leader of the Oslo Youth party of a prominent Christian political party. The third person is a Catholic sister of the Dominican order who is also a physicist and who had and is continuing to have, a profound impression on me. The three made for a very good and dynamic documentary for which I’ve had some good feedback.

I also had a splendid girls trip to Copen Hagen. It was crazy, a little Sex and the City style. And yes, I did spend money on a pair of expensive high heels. Italian high heels.

So a good year. But despite all those good things, I have had some painful times too. I don’t want to talk about them in detail, but they have taught me a few lessons. Firstly, that only sadness can show you what really matters in life. Secondly, that people you thought were not that close to you can be of good help. Thirdly, that pain makes you a better person, because it forces you to develop, think and reflect and it makes your appreciate even small moments of happiness a little more. And finally, despite wanting to delete most of the last three months of 2013 from my life, I am in some twisted way grateful that I have experienced the depth of the pain I’ve been in. Because I am still here, I am still laughing and little by little, I remove myself from it all and show myself how incredibly blessed I am to have what’s even more important during sad times than good friends or a partner. A strong personality, psyche and sense of reality. And that’s how I know; I’ll eventually be completely alright again.

I have had over 20.000 hits on my blog all time which is amazing considering how boring my posts have ben of late. I will try to amend that in 2014 and I may even post some of my short fiction from time to time. Thanks though to those of you who have read my ramblings and thanks for still returning. If you are on twitter, why not follow me at @Linn_M21 And if you enjoy my writing, you can read all the articles I have posted on http://www.styleable.co.uk
That is to say different articles than you find here, but probably some of them are on interest to some of my readers. On Twitter I also announce everything I publish. And should you be curious to see what I look like, you will find my picture both on Twitter and Stylable. I may include one on this site too at some point, though so far, I’ve left it as just a thought.

Happy 2014 to all of you and May the entire year be filled with laughter, good madness, and heart stopping moments of joy and peace and harmony.

Happy new year!

My 2012 highlights

Another year of blogging is over and frankly, I was quite surprised when I received a report from WordPress by email letting me know how my blog had done. I never received such a report with my earlier blog which no longer exists, nor with this one last year, so I figured that only the blogs that do well, or get more than a certain number of hits received one. The report told me my blog had 6000 views in 2012 from 99 countries. Americans, Brits and Norwegians are my most avid readers. My most read post was, not surprisingly, my Blindness and dating post which I know is linked to from Action for blind people in the UK. I know, it sounds like a shady porn site, but it is a very innocent organization helping the blind, so I will thank my friend Kiesha for linking it and say sorry at the same time for not having written more for her wonderful magazine at http://www.styleable .co.uk

My year started with a break-up. Those who have read my blog since the beginning may recall me mentioning an Italian boyfriend. I didn’t write about the break-up, because I was the one who ended it and I wanted to respect his feelings. But though we may be over, my love and passion for Italy has, if anything increased. I’ve got a few good Italian friends in Oslo so I get to practice the language, and I was back in Florence where my ex comes from to visit friends I made there. I sincerely hope I get to live at least part of my life in Italy in the future.

In February, I started writing a novel. I won’t say too much about it, but I’ve always wanted to be a novelist and I had all the time in the world to make a start. It was hard. Both because writing well is difficult and because I chose to write in Norwegian. I did this both because I hadn’t written anything except e-mails in Norwegian for the past few years and I wanted to get to grips with my mother tongue again. Also, should the novel be released, it has a bigger chance of selling well in Norway since the market is smaller. And if someone wants to publish it and it sells, I will personally translate it to English. I had to put the first draft aside when I started studying, but I read through it a couple of weeks ago and realized it’s not so bad, so I’ve started the editing job which so far, is going well. It probably will take a while for it to be finished because I also have to start writing my master’s thesis soon, but I will do my best to make my book a priority when I have free time.

In June, I participated in a designer project which was a lot of fun. There were four groups of designers who were going to design something new for someone who had a disability. My group didn’t win, but we designed a professional network where designers could get in touch with disable person in order to make their products user friendly. The design bit itself, was in the website and how we laid out the project. The winning idea, was very similar to our own, almost identical, but we didn’t communicate with the other groups, so that was just random. I worked with people from Norway Germany, and England and it was three hectic days with very little sleep and a lot of fun. Later that month, I went to Florence, which was 95% lovely in every way and 5% “Damn, I wish I had a boyfriend here still so I could move here.”

It was in the summer, that I lost my faith. It happened gradually and it took me a long time to confess it even to myself. As my readers know, I spent a few posts ranting about Christianity and how oppressing it was etc. I haven’t really felt the need to do that since then. I am at peace with not yet having quite arrived at what I believe in although I will always keep values like the golden rule. I doubt I’ll ever get into a religion, but that I will be like many Norwegians, with one foot in the human ethics, and the foot of tradition in the church. I could write page up and page down about what my definition of God is, but it’s still something I’m trying to figure out.

In August, after a boring, very boring, July, I was happy to start university. I still think I chose the right course and I miss seeing my classmates every day now that we’re on a Christmas break. I haven’t failed any subjects. I have also not received the grades I want, but I am thinking it has more to do with how I present things rather than my knowledge of the subject, because I have read everything, and been to all the lectures. I will be improving this in 2013 and I will do very well on my thesis, I’ve decided! Becoming a news reader and reporter with the student radio station, has also been a great experience and I hope to do more for them throughout 2013. I also made some good friends there whom I love working with!

In October, I got my new flat. For the first time ever, I love staying in the house. But without all the visitors and dinners I have served and will keep on serving, it wouldn’t be so exciting. Great to live near the underground and the forest at the same time!

Christmas was nice and filled with family and good food. I got many gifts including a rice cooker, a printer, African jewelry and sweets. But the most wonderful thing this Christmas is that I got my wonderful, handsome, intelligent and beloved friend back into my life. Remember the one who said I was on a slippery slope and whom I wrote a long post about because I was so upset? It’s all behind us now and I’m so happy he’s back. All I need to do now is convince him to want to marry me! 

Tonight, I’m having two highschool friends over. I’ll cook a Thai green curry and we’ll drink some nice wine and probably chit chat all night.

I wish all of my readers a happy new year and I thank you for making me want me to continue blogging by reading and commenting. I especially want to thank Michelle because you got me writing that fictional story about Tony and Jenna. It feels like I know you now. Elisabeth for her precise comments and being my real life friend and reader making it possible for me to get a lot of things done that otherwise would be tricky. And to Bruce. And Bruce, if you read this, please reply and tell me where your new site. I have to admit I haven’t read much blogs this autumn and was puzzled to n I couldn’t find it when I wanted my Bruce fix. You have been great in my time of leaving my Evangelical faith.
And to the readers who are silent, or have commented only a few times, you are equally valuable to me, so thanks to you too.

All in all, 2012 has not been a bad year, although it’s been boring at times with little happening. But moving to Norway is something I’m glad I’ve done and I know 2013 will be quite adventure filled. My first adventure is visiting a friend in Monaco in only 16 days. Bring it on! 2013 starts tomorrow, so I guess I’ll be blogging more soon, in 2013!

Third time lucky?

I need a fresh start. At least when it comes to blogging. And what’s better than starting on a hot, sunny October day? I intend to use this space very differently to what I have done previously, if you haven’t seen my previous blogs, don’t ask and if you have, you’ll know exactly what I mean. I’d like this time, to write something my friends and family can read and join in with. And so here anything from excerpts of my fiction, song lyrics, random thoughts and reflections to simple and delicious food recipes and articles goes.

I also think this is a great way for me to keep my writing up to scratch which is important now that I’m officially a freelance journalist. So I’m doing this more for myself and my own development than to impress anyone, but having said that, readers, you’re more than welcome. After all, inputs from others via comments, or just knowing that somebody reads what I publish by looking at my stats will make this way more exciting and will make me more likely to keep up.

So, I’m lifting my virtual champagne glass to a new start! Salut! There’s both plenty of virtual champagne and strawberries to go around, so help yourselves.