Nora Lönn


Not good enough?

I recently decorated my girls’ bedroom. I’d started painting it in September (Jungle book theme) and left it unfinished until now. Why? I told myself i didn’t have the time. Possibly true, but I’d chosen to prioritise my time in another way. Why? Because I was afraid of it not being good enough. That I’d see the not good enough painted Mowgli or baby elephant every day, and every day I’d remind myself that I was not good enough.

It’s the same with my writing. I wasn’t good enough to write a book! I released Little Bolton on the understanding with myself that I’d give it a go and if I wasn’t good enough, I’d go and find something else to do instead. So, the book was released and I didn’t send it for ‘official’ reviews or try to market it. Because marketing it, making it known to many people, would show the world how not good enough I actually was. So, those who found my book randomly on Amazon and were kind enough to leave a review (I love you forever!) ALL gave me 5 stars. Others emailed me or told me personally how much they loved my book. Even my mother-in-law whose English is sketchy and didn’t understand many of the words, very animatedly wanted to discuss the characters and probe me about what happened next, especially about the two she “loved”. Yet I still didn’t believe I was good enough. I also heard from some friends that they loved the book and would write a review but they “weren’t good at that kind of thing.” Again, the old ‘not good enough!’ So many of us suffer from it. All I can say to you my friends, is that whatever you write IS good enough. If you only write one sentence along the lines of “I loved the book, couldn’t put it down”, I can guarantee you the author will be doing a victory dance around the kitchen (and I like to think that’s every author, not just me).

It’s the same for me with writing a blog. I’m a writer so I’m leaving myself open for people to criticise my turn of phrase, grammar, occasional Swedish sentence structure, and spelling. So instead, my blog entries are very few and far between as I tend to run away from problems. As do many. But who decided we are not good enough? Who told us this? I look at my girls who are too young to be in school yet and they have a very healthy self confidence. I do hope I can help them enough for that not to change. So, to do that, I need to change instead. I need to stop my limited thinking and show them anything is possible. I saw a quote recently that said “There are people who are less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they have decided to believe in themselves. Period.” I see this in the books I read. There are badly written books that sell well. Most books, even the ones I think are badly written, I usually read until the end because I want to give the book a chance. There is one exception to that. One very famous book written by a very famous author that has made millions, I could not bring myself to finish. The language and storyline were so irritating that I gave up. I judged that author as not being good enough, but that was crazy as they have sold more copies of that book than I suppose I ever will of mine. So, being good enough as an author is very subjective. And I’m sure that author (from seeing them in interviews) thinks they are good enough.

So, I’m picking up the paintbrush again and finishing the Jungle book themed room (my girls don’t seem to have a problem with the baby elephant). In doing that, I’m declaring myself good enough (as in good enough, not perfect), accepting many of my flaws and working on changing others. So now, the next book should get written (if there’s one thing that causes writers block over here, it’s thinking ‘I’m not good enough’), and Little Bolton will get marketed.  And if you haven’t written your review yet – you ARE good that that sort of thing. xoxoxo


I guess genealogy research is one of those things that you either love or hate. For some, the idea of sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, searching through handwritten and scanned records from over 150 years ago, trying to decipher names and work out which of the millions of John Halls was YOUR ancestor makes them shudder. “I’d rather stick pins in my eyes” has been one comment I’ve heard. Others could carry on long into the night, checking and double checking records, trying to puzzle together small pieces of information. Of course I belong to the latter group.

My first attempt at genealogy was around 7 or 8 years old. I remember lying on the floor at my great aunts’ house with a long ream of paper, a pencil and a ruler, drawing lines and writing names while the old ladies helped me. And goodness there were many names! Quite often I had to start again with a longer ream of paper when they aunts exclaimed that they’d forgotten about Lot, or Billy, but I didn’t mind. For the longest time, depictions of how people were related, how many children they had and how old they lived to be fascinated me.

When records came online, I was so happy. Each time a new census was added, I’d frantically look up and add all I could to my vast family tree. But then interest would wain when I ran out of additional information. Years would go by and I’d forget about the research until a new census came out and I’d start again. In the beginning, I just wanted to see as many names as I could – bums on seats. A new hit – finding a long forgotten family member – was like a drug. Then, one day I was in the Bolton Local History Archives and a very helpful man – David Dixon – overheard me asking questions about records. He told me he had a website for St. Mark’s Church in Bolton and he’d been adding in all christenings and marriages. He showed me the website and we found the marriage of one of my great aunts. That was my introduction to Parish records. I could travel home again back to Sweden and look up more information. That was when the names in my tree started to become people. How they signed their names (or not), who were the witnesses at their weddings, godparents to their children. Further research lead me to others researching the same family, long discussions, and photos. Photos! At one point I even discovered that in an old photo hanging on my parents’ wall was my great, great uncle that we had no idea about. And there he was standing next to my great grandfather on their annual grave diggers outing (yes, the mind boggles).

Some long-forgotten family members I felt an instant affinity to. A very strange feeling having never met them or known what kind of person they were. Maybe I’ve always been drawn to needing to feel like part of the bigger picture. And marvel at the fact that I’m actually here. All those chance meetings/ happenings throughout history to produce me. One slight change and neither I nor my children would be here. And of course, I love to research. I still do.

Of course I have found endless family secrets to write about. Who knew that so much of peoples’ lives could be traced just from a few records? Maybe I’m spoiling the fun for my children – there won’t be much left to research by the time they get interested (if ever). Than again, maybe they’ll have more luck than I trying to find out what the heck happened to my John Hall…


My first publication (and blog post)

Everything has to start from a first. And with that first comes many obstacles. What will I write for my first book? How will I write it? How will I find the time? When is it good enough to be finished? How do I get my page numbering and tabs and indents to behave? Do I start blogging? Not to mention the many aspects of self publishing that you didn’t even know you didn’t know about. But all obstacles can be overcome, eventually. Even self doubt. Because as writers, we write for the pure joy. Writing is fun. It is play. It is living. It is breathing. And with each book or short story, we are improving – finding better ways to express ourselves and our characters.  And one day a complete stranger might read our words and be inspired, or moved. And that is the best we can hope for.

© 2019 Nora Lönn

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑