Nothing changed in 60 years

For some people it is comforting to be surrounded by what they know, to do the things they’ve always done and live a life without surprises. Leave everything as it is and don’t ask questions. For them change is a scary process, a frightening journey into the dark unknown. If changes occur they – often subconsciously – try to block it. They cling to the familiar and won’t let go.
It’s easy to laugh at them, but I realize that – deep down in my heart – I’m one of them. Even though I like a road less traveled, I have difficulties going off the beaten track. In hiking and biking I usually keep to the trails and in daily life I shop at the same stores, and not just for convenience. The changes in my life are in the details: I never follow a recipe to the letter. I always experiment with herbs and spices and whatever more I find in my fridge. I rearrange the furniture and – when I’m done with that – I keep the Amsterdam building contractors busy and in business with the more radical changes to my home.

It is only in my writing I really dare to leave behind what is known. Or at least that is what I thought, until I ended up at the SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles. When listening to the great M.T. Anderson I realized that I was right on track. M.T. Anderson told us to start with something most familiar and then turn it, twist it and change it into the frightening unknown, he told us to transform the landscape. That was an advice I had taken to heart before, but M.T. also told us to embrace eccentricity and that is where I know I can hone my writing skills.
The next and most valuable advice came from Krista Marino, Delacorte’s senior editor, in her inspirational masterclass Finding & Revising Your Protagonist’s Voice In A Young Adult Novel. Krista pushed me past the trails, past the beaten track. She pushed me towards a road I’ve never traveled before: writing in first person.
I am working on a new Young Adult novel – working title: The Pot Boat. It’s in first person. It’s scary (the writing is, but the plot as well), it’s exhilarating and it’s intense.
And I love it!

Now that's what I call 'off the beaten track'