Week 785

What’s this? I’m blogging about my work on a weekly basis – a simple way to track and archive whatever it is I spend my time on.

Last week, I launched a new version of this very website, which I’d been tinkering with for a while. It’s not a dramatic change in the sense that it looks a lot like the previous version, although I changed the typefaces, finetuned everything, and cleaned up the HTML and CSS, which were a mess. I’m guessing that the last time I did a redesign, I told myself I’d clean up ‘soon’.

The front page changed the most: I removed the ‘full feed’ of articles and created a main menu of sorts instead, with project highlights and other important links, which I also stuck at the bottom of every regular page. It’s not perfect, but I feel like it gives visitors a better overview than before, and I’m glad I shipped something instead of keeping it in the oven for a few more weeks.

In the end, the update was about redefining my online presence, with a new portrait and job description. I’ve always seen myself as a journalist/editor first, and writer second. This changed around the time I finished writing De verdwijners (which was a very smooth process) and did my read test (which was out of the ordinary for a novelist, yet felt logical to do). I’d stumbled upon what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, but so far, I hadn’t put it into words.

‘Hybrid writer’ was suggested to me by Niki Smit of Monobanda, immediately striking a chord. Even though the term is used by writers who combine traditional publishing with self-publishing, that meaning isn’t too established yet; I’m hoping I can still bend it to my will. To my ear, it sounds much more like what I’m trying to be: someone who writes novels, but does’t stop there, coming up with interesting new stuff at every step of the way. I want to think and talk about everything from conceptualizing ideas to how readers will experience the result. As Niki mused: do hybrid writers dream of electric books?

The photograph was taken by Karlien ’t Hooft, by the way, who is my sister and must also be an incredible photographer, as she’s managed to make her brother look pretty darn swanky (with just the right amount of playfulness thrown in).

Otherwise, I submitted an update of the Toiletten iPad app to Apple on Monday, thanks to some additional great work by the talented people at Codeglue. Toiletten 1.1 should go live pretty soon.

On Wednesday, I extended my NRC article about Kickstarter and Tim Schafer with mentions of Star Citizen and Ronimo Games. I added my review of Broken Age, and asked Harry Hol to review another recent crowdfunding hit, The Banner Saga. The package was published in nrc.next on Friday. Additionally, Stefan Keerssemeeckers’ piece on the local multiplayer extravaganza of Samurai Gunn and Nidhogg (which I edited) was in the paper on Thursday.

Thursday morning I finished a new developer profile for the Dutch Official PlayStation Magazine, about Insomniac Games, the studio behind Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet & Clank, Resistance and now Sunset Overdrive. It’s fun to dive into a studio’s history and turn it all into cohesive, entertaining story, which I’m now doing on a monthly basis.

That afternoon, I visited the Creative Industries Fund in Rotterdam to talk about the Ninja Gimmick Girl 2.0 grant application I’ll be wrapping up this week. It was very useful to get their input on what they feel is (and isn’t) important. I also pondered changing the project’s title into something that physically fits underneath an iOS icon.

That night I did my quarterly financials, making me feel organized and tired. Friday morning, I helped move Kars Alfrink’s office. Saturday morning, I turned in a document with my consultancy client. At night, most nights, I watched the Double Fine Adventure documentary series, which lasts at least 15 hours including the bonus material Sidequests, I think. It’s making me happy.