A Look Inside My Knotty Head

15 Mar

Lately I have been feeling exhausted, and I know some of you out there have been too. I know we’re not alone. A lot of people seem to have a lot to cope with these days. It’s stopping us from working, from feeling happy. Is it the winter? The grey, the cold?

Well I just discovered something about myself, people. Here’s how it happened.

As you know, I’m going to try financing my upcoming novel Qayqa with Crowdfunding. More on that in a bit. I figured that a good way to get more attention to the project would be to make flyers, which I can hand out to people I meet, people who ask me about my work, and leave in odd cafés and on every train I take. Yesterday, I took some pictures of my face for the flyer and then sat down to start working on the flyer.

here's one of them

here’s one of them

And immediately stopped. I suddenly felt so exhausted. I couldn’t work anymore.

And it hit me. I’m not exhausted. I’m bloody terrified.

This is my biggest dream and I am terrified of failing. Even though I don’t really have a firm concept of what would actually constitute as “failing”.

I remember reading on Neil Gaiman’s tumblr a response he wrote to a young writer: “Writing was easier when no one was reading. But with the years, you don’t become less and less afraid. You just have to put it away and keep writing.”

remember this?

remember this?

I’ve been writing a lot of poetry lately. I normally don’t write (this much) poetry. So naturally, I wondered why I was doing it. Then I caught myself thinking about publishing a slim book with poetry… instead of Qayqa.

Hah! Did you spot it? There’s the sneaky sneaky doubt!

It stops you from working. Suddenly you prefer watching a film, because that’s less complicated and less frightening. (Just so you know, Beowulf is rubbish unless you’re high)

To take the pressure off, I needed to trick myself. I needed to have fun. You know what has always been fun?


collage for my flyer

collage for my flyer

I’ve never made a collage of myself before. It was a lot of fun having Ray sing for me all afternoon as I twiddled away, and I like the resulting self-portrait. It’s simple, Qayqa is in pieces, and that little bag on the left symbolises my travelling habits.

In the first version, there were mariachis.


My self-publishing process is quite gruelling because I am constantly facing my insecurities: Is this really going to work? Is this really worth it? Wouldn’t it be easier to just watch The Big Bang Theory? Why not just give it all up and spend the summer relaxing on a beach somewhere, instead of exhausting yourself with a book tour?

Luckily the illustrations have been coming along really REALLY REALLY well. Mark is doing an intensely amazing job. A few illustrations are almost complete. He still has one hell of a Hercules’ task ahead of him, but what he’s accomplished so far really shows that he deserves intense support, immortality and at least a unicorn.

Some snippets:

by Mark Klawikowski

by Mark Klawikowski

Work – in – progress!

Damian listening to the sounds at night, by Mark Klawikowski

Damian listening to the sounds at night, by Mark Klawikowski

Parallel to this, I’m working on preparing a CROWDFUNDING project for Qayqa. I’m going to shoot a video that explains who I am and how great Qayqa will be, and I’ve been considering what the rewards could be.

A month back I asked you to send me your ideas. THANK YOU!! I collected each and every one you sent. You seem to want the same things! Great! Your ideas were a GREAT HELP. I am doing my best to structure a rewards system that interests you, and have been getting great advice from my business-savvy friends. Thanks to Rose, Najeeb and Ben!

I want to take this moment to thank Gerhard for an amazing email he sent a while back, that moved me deeply. I was displaying some insecurity as to if I should finance Qayqa via crowdfunding, which he picked up on, and he said:

I would like to encourage you in crowdfunding your project. Not just because of financing reasons but to include the future audience into the process of making your dream come true. I remember when you climbed so many times a hill (or was it a mountain) near Cusco together with Kwinten to raise money for Helping Hands Cusco. It was a fantastic idea and both of you were unbelievable. That time you wrote “we want to support these children…. We believe they deserve this opportunity”. I believe you deserve this opportunity to express your Peruvian heritage in a book, in YOUR book Qayqa.

Thank you so much Gerhard.

While working on the rewards system, and while struggling with my doubts and writing all this procrastinatory emotional poetry, I had an idea.

ergo, the lightbulb

ergo, the lightbulb

I am going to make a PRODUCTION SCRAPBOOK of the process of publishing Qayqa, and give it away as one of the rewards. It will be constructed as an open letter to you and to myself, and will be a lovely side-project to motivate me to keep going, whenever the doubts overcome me and I want to curl up in bed.

It will include…

  • the poetry I am writing while Qayqa is being born
  • unpublished photographs of the various stages of the illustrations being created
  • behind-the-scenes photographs of producing Qayqa
  • quotes and photographs that motivated, inspired or helped, which are really precious, beautiful and cheeky
  • handwritten notes that explain the photographs, poetry & how the quotes helped me
  • some more stuff

The PRODUCTION SCRAPBOOK will be a LIMITED EDITION so watch out for it!

Ayllu, I’m not sure yet what my requested amount will be, because I’m still calculating book costs, travel expenses, promotion expenses, and trying to figure out what else I might need money for.

A part of the money we raise will go to Mark. It will never be the amount he deserves for the work & passion & talent he is putting into the illustrations – but I really hope to give him as much as we can, because he signed up to do all this work FOR FREE.

One thing I know for sure, ayllu: I am going to need to your help very, very much. Once the crowdfunding video is up, I need you to tell all your friends about it. I need you to pass the link on to everyone you know. If you send me your address, I’ll send you some crowdfunding flyers to pass around. I need your help. I can’t do this without you.

Discovering that my exhaustion isn’t tribute to the winter but to my fear, well – it helped. Now I know who is really keeping me down. I can work with that.

We need a crowdfunding party soon, don’t you think?




2 Responses to “A Look Inside My Knotty Head”

  1. wolfgang amadeus mozart March 16, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    Rock on Ritt! Warm greetings from Vienna, from the crazy guy with who you climbed up the Peruvian mountain 1000 times and with who you had a fight after the 745 th time because he thought you had to hold your flag higher and not so unepicly invisible. ps: everybody is scared

    • rittisoncco March 19, 2013 at 11:45 am #

      That peluchín always made me smile.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: