Ever since I was a child, I loved to read and write. I fondly remember the books and journals I got as Christmas presents, they made more impact on me than the toys I got. They were my go to place when I wanted to escape reality, or when I wanted to learn about anything (yes, I come from the pre-internet era).
I started writing in my diary when I was about 8, and never stopped journaling. There have been periods where I stopped, but basically, this was my way of releasing.
So was reading, I read a lot as a kid. Later not so much, and the kind of reading changed as I had to start reading books for school and studies.
I wrote for the school papers, and for a while I wanted to be a journalist. And maybe even write books.
But, over time, I stopped thinking about this. My life took a different route.
In October 2011, I discovered the wonders of online blogging and started my own blog, Balancingshadows. Basically, just writing about my views on life, things happening, and more. I had a steady group of followers. And I just loved writing.
That I decided to start writing in English wasn’t such a strange choice as I often journaled in English and often read books in English. It’s like a first language to me, because somehow, I seem to be able to better express myself in English.
Once I got my business started and my first official website, I transferred blogging to my website, but kept the old blog up for sentimental reasons.
But writing a book? Sure, I noticed that I could express my feelings much better through the written word, often touching others with my musings. Especially when I wrote about very personal stuff, like the passing of my first dog. And this helped people deal with their own grief. I think the idea of putting this into a book one day was born there.
However, it would take some time before it really became real.
In 2016, I read a book from someone I knew through Project Positive Change, That Guy Who Loves the Universe. It was far from perfect, but so heartfelt and real that I was hooked and read it in about a week. That was the first time in a loooong time I had read any book in almost one go. I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be great to write my own book.
But, months passed, and I let the idea go again, as I didn’t think I “had it in me”, and trying to set up my business was taking up a lot of time and energy.
But, then I met “that Guy” at an event I attended in Bruges. He did a talk on how he had written his book, and what he ran into in the publishing world. And he mentioned setting up his own publishing business but in a different way. Where he would give the authors most of all the freedom to write their story in their own way and words. And I loved that. I have never been one for following set rules, so a new concept, a bit rebellious, really spoke to me.
So, at the event, I talked to him about it, because I already had an idea of what kind of book I wanted to write. And after the event, we talked some more. And I ended up being the first author in his publishing company That Guy’s House!
And so, the journey began. And a journey it is. From it being a fictional book with animal messages into a book about my life so far. On how I had been building walls in my life, and how much effort it took to break those down again. On how every story is worth telling, and every life worth living. Even if you are the “middle” child or the bystander. It was intense to write, as I am going through my life, and while writing I am identifying all kinds of patterns and beliefs I built up and took on over the years. Some of them, not even mine.
I am so happy to be on this journey. When I sit down at the computer, the writing seems to be guided, I just type and type. My favourite music on, a nice mug of warm tea, and I am in my zone of happy.
My first book, Around My World with Spirit Animals is due somewhere in the first half of 202, and I can’t wait to share this baby with you. As my circumstances and ideas have changed since I started writing, this might become the only book that will ever get published, but you never know. I will never say never again.
My good friend Grace Innemee will take care of the illustrations in the book, capturing the souls of the animals 🙂