On Keeping A Notebook

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The more notebooks you have, the better you are. #wisdom

The more notebooks you have, the better you are. #wisdom

If you happen to be writing anything, then you’re probably keeping a notebook. Something you mark your ideas, dreams, songs and thoughts in to, and as you keep writing, you will probably end up having more notebooks that you ever imagined needing. And soon, as you keep filling the pages, book after book, you’ll forget what you filled them with in the first place. Good part is that when you open them up again, you’ll be transported to the exact moment when you wrote in the first place, but only this time, you get to experience it not as a creator, but as audience, and you can enjoy it objectively. Of course, unless you’re actually good – most of the time you’ll just be wondering: “what the hell was I thinking?”

Such is the routine of keeping a notebook.

And starting one was the best decision I ever made.

I agree, it has been frustrating at times. Most artists and creators that I know are humble people with extremely low confidence when it comes to their art. It’s funny; these are one of the strong and most achieved people in the world that can usually withstand any wave of struggle that life throws at them. They can solve any problem mindfully and intelligenty in times of agony and extreme annoyance. But when they’re making art, they’re as weepy and nervous as little babies on crack; on edge from the slightest critical feedback, as if the whole world has turned against them and hates them now.

Art has a tendency to pull out the worst of our egos, and I’m no different. I believe one is truly a master of her craft when they don’t feel the urge to prove or explain themselves to anyone. When they’ve stopped caring about the world and the approval of the audience, and only focus on their own enjoyment. People like that make revolutions happen.

Now let’s talk about the actual topic. I won’t make the claim that I truly understand my relationship to writing and keeping notes yet, but I felt like I wanted to share some of the aspects of my routine that I’ve learned in the past 1.5 years. I’m sure, that as I write more I’ll discover things I never imagined, but I hope that these little observations and tips prove useful to you, my dear reader.

1. Write constantly.

Write with different colors to mark the days work. It'll be easier for you to continue the next. I totally stole this tip from Neil Gaiman.

Write with different colors to mark the days work. It’ll be easier for you to continue the next. I totally stole this tip from Neil Gaiman.

I try to write 2 hours a day after work during week days and over weekends I try to write 5 hours a day. Together that makes 20 hours a week. If it takes about ten thousand hours to master a craft, I still have about 3000 days or about ten years to ago. It sounds daunting. It’s going to take a long, long time, but at least I’m trying. Getting there eventually is what matters.

2. Write with drawings.

I can't keep my thoughts together unless I draw them.

I can’t keep my thoughts together unless I draw them.

Sometimes I get new, better ideas when I do this basic storyboarding.

Sometimes I get new, better ideas when I do this basic storyboarding.

It also helps me to pitch ideas to Kaija, to show something we can easily extrapolate into images.

It also helps me to pitch ideas to Kaija, to show something we can easily extrapolate into images.

I’m a very visual person, I draw for a living and I think to best of my abilities when I’m drawing. Hence I draw a lot when I write. I just can’t keep it all together if I have an easy way to see and judge all the story beats and their relationship together. I applaud the people who have this innate talent to discover write their whole stories, but this method has proven to work the best for me.

I’m considering to make storyboards on postcards and putting them on the ground in the future, I’ve heard it to be a fun way to plot.

3. Sketch your references.

If you can't draw, then you can always just glue reference pictures to your notebook. Make it all hipster and shit.

If you can’t draw, then you can always just glue reference pictures to your notebook. Make it all hipster and shit.

I need to be able to visualize my characters before I can write about them, otherwise they exist as a blurry mess without any focus or purpose and I’ll just waste time trying to catch something that ultimately cannot be catched. Locking their essentials down will make the rest of their features and thoughts come easier. It’s also called concept designing.

4. Talk to your notebook.

Did you know, that writers are twice as likely to commit suicide? Figures.

Did you know, that writers are twice as likely to commit suicide? Figures.

When frustrated, when you notice something silly or when you’re lost with your thoughts – let your notebook know it! Write it down, for it’ll make you stop and rethink your purpose and objective. The same applies when you do something good. Let yourself know about it and congratulate yourself. This writing thing is not supposed to be so serious that you can’t be happy once in a while.

This brings us to one of the most important points:

5. Let your mind go free and make yourself smile.

Historically accurate Dino-dick cheers up anyone.

Historically accurate Dino-dick cheers up anyone.

We all have our demons that we need to free sometimes. Mine have genitals.

We all have our demons that we need to free sometimes. Mine have genitals.

There’s not a safer place in the world than your notebook. Let yourself go free and draw what ever demons you need to make yourself smile again. All this struggle to improve will take the fun and pleasure out of creating, so go nuts, go silly – and draw dicks every now and then to reset your mind.

Everyone has their unique demons; mine happen to be very provocative and confusing. If yours take the shape of a pony or a flower, then that’s cool too.

6. Write more!

Once upon a time, there was a boy who wrote. And he kept writing, rewriting and then writing again. And he was happy.

Once upon a time, there was a boy who wrote. And he kept writing, rewriting and then writing again.
And he was happy.

It doesn’t matter what pen, notebook or word program you have. What matters, is that you write or draw or create and one day, be the artist you want to be. We all struggle in our lives trying to fulfill our ambitions and passions, balancing work, family and hobbies. It is a hard journey to travel, but it could just be worth it.

Ask yourself, what do you want to be good at in the next five years and what can you do about it? And then do it.




Run Freak Run Art Contest!

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Run Freak Run has run over six months now, and it’s time to celebrate with a fan art competition! Take part, dream and win the grand prize of an original page art!

The rules!

1. Run Freak Run themed.
It has to be about the world, the magic, the monsters or even about Inquisitor Two and her brand new wolf. Don’t feel too constrained in the world, but instead try to capture the essence of RFR as you feel it. Surprise us :)

2. Your participation can be in any art form imaginable.
It can be an ink drawing, a comic strip, a digital painting, a photograph, a poem, cosplay or even a prose-novel. Most importantly, have fun!

3. You can send in as many entries as you want.
Feel free to go nuts :)

4. The winner will be chosen by us.
The winner will be someone who, in our judgement, manages to capture the spirit and essence of the comic.

5. Entry deadline is 29th of July 2013, 9pm GMT. Send your entries to contact[at]runfreakrun.com

The prize!


The grand winner will win an original Run Freak Run page and get his or her work featured in the blog.

We will also feature the honorable mentions in the blog with links to their web pages and blogs!


We’re super excited about this contest and can’t wait what you guys come up with, with only three weeks time.

Silver and Kaija

Photos from the studio

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I sneaked around and managed to snap photos of Kaija working on a future chapter. When I concentrate, I clench my jaw and narrow my eyes like a seasoned boxer, readying my face for any hits, making sure I won’t miss anything. I’m really not that intense, it’s just my face doing its thing. Unlike me, when Kaija focuses, her whole face relaxes and drops as if there’s not a single worry in the world. It can be amusing when photographed, but it’s also better for your jaw and neck pains since it won’t strain you at all. Today I got lucky, and managed to snap a very serene and peaceful photo of her doing her thing, making awesome art that make my days.

I can’t tell you guys enough how excited I am to see the chapter that Kaija is working on come alive. I wrote it first 6-9 months ago and it has stayed pretty much the same the whole time, besides a few iterations on minor things. It’s one of the stories that I was most excited about as it’s probably the most ambitious one for us; with plenty of magic, castles, Cardinals and witches. I don’t want to get too deep into it yet, you’ll see – eventually, but every time I see a new page for it, I’m blown away. She’s now about four pages into it and still has about 18-20 pages to go.

The day after tomorrow, Monday, the next RFR day is also the conclusion day for the now running were-wolf chapter. It’s been a real interesting chapter for us, for we’ve learned a lot during it, it’s been especially fun with the narration and I’ve really enjoyed how Kaija has portrayed the manic side of Two. I hope that next Monday you let us know how you’ve liked it as a whole.



Black-out poems: Two and The Edge of The World.

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Me and Kaija both like making black-out poems from old books that we won’t read anymore. Some books are incredibly hard to work with and some are just a pleasure. Here are two that I particularly like. I hope you like them too.

Was pretty, just seventeen,
A girl
With curly hair and eyes like polished green.

At eight of the clock,
The King, The Moon and
The Edge of the World
Laid a charge on the gods
And all’s well.


History and fantasy.

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The Game Of Thrones and the Wars of the Roses. They both sound like epic fantasies, but only one of them is one. The other was a real historic event during the 15th century England. They both have rivaling Great Houses, a useless king and plenty of drawn-out-wars and race for the crown. George R.R Martin has stated frequently that he used Wars of the Roses as an influence and a good thing so; it’s a great setting. Now mind you, he didn’t copy the historical events, he just took some of the juicy parts, mixed them around a little and made them even better. He managed to make something unique enough to excite fans for over ten years (first GoT novel published in 1996) in both prose and as television-media and I for one can’t wait for the next book to come out. Eventually.

I just started reading a book from Allison Weir about the Wars of the Roses and I can recommend this to all the history fans in the crowd. I have this problem of getting new books before I come even close to clearing my reading backlog. As a problem, it’s really a pretty good one to have.

I love it when authors use history as a basis for a new story. I recurrently see the use of the Roman empire as a stereotype for evil empires and Vikings for noble, yet fierce northern cultures (Skyrim anyone?). It’s a pretty convenient strategy to imply a wider culture and like any great idea it’s basically just taking a cliché and reinventing it in an interesting way. Fantasy authors are not alone here: just as many Sci-fi authors use our current political climate, nations and inventions – our modern history – to inspire their plots and world building.

Speaking of history, couple of years ago I read 1421: The Year China Discovered the World. It is a book by Gavin Menzies that argued that China discovered the America. Never mind if it’s true or not, the whole concept of it is intriguing enough and I keep wondering what the world would look like if China had actively colonized America before the Europeans arrived.

All the speculative pseudo-history stuff just makes my brain tickle. I guess I’m just a “what-if” kind of guy. I’ve been asked a few times what the inspiration was behind Run Freak Run and I’ve always ended up giving this really big talk on having the ability to do what ever we want with it and it being inspiration enough for a lifetime. But in reality, I probably just wanted to see what if witches were real and Inquisitors were girls and what if the world never lost it’s magic.

Speaking of magic, here’s some magical sketches for pages from Kaija that we haven’t posted here yet. They are, once again for an upcoming chapter that has more (winged) animals than any other Run Freak Run chapter and I can’t wait for you to get to read them.

Love always,

On free writing tools

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About a year ago I started to write seriously, every day after work for one to two hours and I’ve gotten better, I’ve learned a lot and I feel like have shit-ton to learn more. I just have to put in the hours. Grit.

I wanted to share some tools that have helped me learn through the last year. These are tools from basic theory to conversations about storytelling and work etiquette. And even if you don’t want to write, there’s plenty of entertainment value.

1: Youtube:

Youtube is revolutionizing education as we know it, no longer does one have to be present or pay for academic information and if you have the willpower to put in the hours, you don’t even need assignments. It does lack the social feedback, but if you’re an introvert like me then you’re likely not missing out. And in the worst case scenario, you can always join a forum.

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story is a great TED talk and everyone must watch it.

Brandon Sanderson
A New York-times best-selling fantasy author lecturing the basics of storytelling is a must for anyone as clueless as I was. Think about what you want about the genre of his books, but he’s a proven author with great teaching skills.

Let’s jump into the hard stuff: Dan Wells, a published author gives a lecture on Seven-point story structure. It’s a pretty neat way to form a story.

2. Podcasts:

Writing Excuses

This is my favorite podcast about anything related to writing. It’s hosted by previously noted Brandon Sanderson and Dan Wells, as well as Howard Tayler and Mary Robinette Kowal and often visited by a published author of different genres. The episodes go through anything from plotting to editing your manuscript and they’re only fifteen minutes long.


5by5 back to work

This is not a writing podcast but it does touch the matter in few episodes and more than that, the hosts Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin talk about attitude and work etiquette more than enough. It’s a good podcast, listen.


3. blogs:

I’m not really into reading blogs, but I’m trying as you can see. Here’s one that I’ve liked and if you have suggestions then please let me know. I desperately want to find good blogs on writing.

This is a blog from Mary Kole, an editor, and it focuses on children’s and YA stories. It’s well written with some great gems.

Have a great Thursday, take a moment and enjoy the material!