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#TBT to my trip to Europe (And some other writing stuff)

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Can you tell how super impressed I was with Sarah? (Also, I have no idea what’s up with my hair.)

This May I went to Europe and spent two months there – my sister was living in England as an exchange student and she invited me over to visit. I spent almost two weeks in London (where I got to finally meet the wonderful/amazing/real-life-disney-princess Sarah J Maas, who’s my favorite author), traveled to Scotland, Amsterdam and Brussels. Not to mention I also spent four weeks in Germany improving my (awful) german.

While I was (and indeed, still am) preparing my MS for query in November, suddenly this travel plans trampled on everything – I wouldn’t be able to revise, and I wouldn’t be able to take my laptop with me for writing. Almost two months with no writing done – or at least, that was what I thought.

It’s been years since I last wrote anything by hand – in my first MS, I had to type everything (all 93k of it!) in my laptop later. While it was good to refresh and be able to revise as I typed, I also swore to myself I was never doing it again. My hands hurt so much that I did have to stray from writing for a week at least so I could recover. But going traveling without a laptop changed my perspectives again – and I discovered how much I also love writing by hand, being able to see the story develop the old fashioned way. It was great! Although in productive numbers, it was very different – I could write 2k on hand at my most productive day, while I’m on my laptop, I write up to 5k. Still, it was good to reconnect to my old writer self, when I would write everything by hand. (I had to type all of my fanfiction!) And though I wouldn’t choose it particularly, I still know it’s all about perspective and dedication – I didn’t want to give up on writing even when I was there, as not to get out of rhythm. And I found a way to do it. There’s no such thing as ‘there’s no time’ or ‘I can’t do it’ – it depends on how much you want it.

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In Triberg, Germany. I took the course in Freiburg, but we had great weekend field trips!

I had a wonderful time over there and I was absolutely stunned at how great the sights and everything was – not to mention that traveling with my little sister was absolutely wonderful! We did fight a lot, but hey, siblings. Give us a discount. I met wonderful people in Germany who I really hope to see again, and while we were on very different paths, we all shared something in common – taking a language course outside your country is amazing, because so many perspectives are offered. I met people from everywhere on the planet and it was amazing to be able to connect and talk to all of them. (Do I sound repetitive? I had a wonderful time and can’t stop gushing about it.)

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At the Harry Potter Studios.
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The Globe Theater with my sister, where we got to see ‘The Merchant of Venice’.
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Scotland was a weeeeee cold. Can you tell?

I can’t really tell about my favorite places – there was so much to see and do! In London I definetly enjoyed the Tower of London (what a beautiful, medieval castle! So impressive and SO INSPIRING). Clara and I also got to see Jonathan Pryce play Shylock in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ in The Globe, and it was almost like being transported back into Sharkespeare’s time. I could barely hold the tears back. And obviously we went to the Harry Potter studios – where I didn’t hold my tears or my impulse to buy everything they had to offer. I cried like a baby in the set, and got to see so many wonderful things that reminded me of my childhood. Loving Harry Potter never gets old.

Scotland was so stunning – I can’t believe nobody even talks about it more. I was breathtaken by all the mountains and the landscape, and it felt magical touring through the highlands. It’s only a pity I got to stay only three days in Edinburgh, which was not nearly enough. But I got to see the Loch Ness and even the castle where they filmed Outlander. (No luck on finding a Jaime, though. The search continues.)

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Boat ride in Amsterdam
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Palace in Brussels

Brussels and Amsterdam were both beautiful cities – we only stayed there for a couple days each, but it was worth the trip! Amsterdam’s channels are beautiful, and our boat ride through the city at night was awesome. Not to mention how welcoming everyone was there – loved visiting the museums and talking to people. Brussels as well – I went with almost zero expectations and my breath was taken away by how gorgeous the city is. But the weather was crazy hot – almost 37º degrees. And Clara, as relentless as she is, made us walk 20km in the sun. But it was all worth it! (:

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Classic London pose.

Now it’s back to routine – job interviews and such. Starting a new semester after one away feels hard, but also challenging. And my plans are still up – I indeed will query FIREBIRD in November. But first – writing competitions! It’s a good way to test the waters. I’ve entered the #GreenLightWIP from Adventures in YA Publishing and hope to make it to the final round. And next week, of course, we have pitch wars! I’ve already done the research on what mentors I will query, and am really hoping someone chooses me back. It’s a privilege to work in a manuscript and have so many people look at it – and it’s also great for feedback, and in the end we also have the agent round! So all in all, it’s a win-win. Not everyone is into contests and competitions, but I think it’s a great way to improve your carreer, and also know the market from the inside. Help never hurts (;

Either way, I’ll keep you posted on what happens in the future – and whether or not I make it into the competitions (:

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