When I started the Write-Away Contest in January one of the first people I met was Jenn from Something to Say: About Life in the Netherlands who seemed to know exactly what to do to win a contest. From three different judges she picked up three Honorable Mentions and a 1st Place award so it seemed natural to see if she'd be willing to be the guest judge for August's contest.
Before meeting Jenn my experiences with The Netherlands had been limited to Dutch doors, going Dutch, double Dutch and (my favorite) Dutched chocolate which, contrary to popular belief, does not mean chocolate that has been fingered by people from Holland. Reading her blog has broadened my cultural horizons and getting to know her is a treat.
Jenn's got a fabulous sense of humor that will have you cracking up--just ask her breakdancing Serbian rapper friend. She has a beautiful voice that won national hamburger acclaim and spent 25 years dancing her way across international stages.
So why is she living in The Netherlands? Well besides her sense of humor she's adventurous. After growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah Jenn, her husband Don and their three children Ian, Andrew and Emma moved to Europe two years ago as part of a career change (read more about it here) and have been living in The Hague ever since. One year grew into two and now who knows how long they'll stay.
What's her favorite part of being in The Netherlands? She says it's the easy international travel and after following her trips to France and Italy all I can say is that she really knows how to make one jealous. Her least favorite part of life as an expat? As you would expect, having extended family so far away--and if I remember correctly they're somewhere in the jungles of Arizona so travel to Europe can be difficult.
One of the first questions I had for Jenn was about her time. Besides blogging and being mother to three she's recently taken a job at The International School of The Hague (and doesn't that just drip with classy-sounding couture?) and somehow she decided that the time was right to start up another blog to showcase some of the fun she's been having with her new camera. Looking Into is a collaborative photo blog with her friend Allison of Soccer Mom in Denial and is a place to show off her pictures and make me all the more jealous.
I asked her how she found time for all of this and she jokingly said she's on a strict "Who needs sleep?" regimen but followed up with admitting she's a night person. "I am a midnight creator. I like the late hours of the day when the household is asleep and my mind is active. I am alone at the keyboard and can write uninterrupted!"
However, besides abandoning sleep she gave an excellent piece of advice, one that I myself use to help the blogging ideas flow:
I don’t have routines, I kinda wish that I did, it might make life easier. But I tend toward the awaiting inspiration for my writing. I find that if I force it, it just doesn’t make for a good read. Honest open writing is what I strive for. As far as keeping ideas organized I do carry a notebook with me EVERYWHERE I go, and I jot down the things that strike me as interesting. Sometimes that is in single word ideas or lists, and sometimes that is full out writing BY HAND an entire post. It just kind of depends. But I highly recommend carrying a writer’s notebook around.Finally, when I asked her about how long she intended to keep blogging she said that as her blog title indicates, she'll continue to post as long as she has "something to say." With her interesting experiences I think there are plenty of posts to come.
Technorati tags: interviews, momblogs, The Netherlands, Write-Away Contest