Reflecting on lessons learned 10 years after launching

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On Halloween 2010, I launched Fantasyboeken.org. Blogs were still relatively new at that point, and most people had never heard of the term ‘content platform’. But I had a vision: Fantasyboeken.org would be the #1 platform bringing together readers of both fantasy, science fiction and horror alike through reviews and interviews. And it became just that.

It took a year of thinking about it before I launched Fantasyboeken.org; in that time, I learned the ropes by reviewing books for large Dutch media. I read every chance I had, and 12 books per week was a typical reading week for me…


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I was sitting on the faded grey sofa, tears streaming down my face, looking at the boy who I thought was going to be the father of my kids when he said: “What if it doesn’t get any better than this? And you realise, once you feel better, you made a mistake in leaving?”

Even though my breath was shaky and I had no control over the tears that were streaming down my face, my voice was steady: “I refuse to believe that there is nothing better out there than this. This can’t be what love is. …


And why we can’t bury our head in the sand any longer.

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You see the memes everywhere; don’t talk about 2020. Let’s restart the year. And let’s skip to 2021. I want to call bullshit on that. Yes, 2020 is hard. And it sucks and we can’t do all the things we want to. But it’s also a year that needed to happen.


I just took a detour to I figured it out

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On my shelf, there is a binder with an old A4 notebook. It’s loved and abused, and the cover falls off. It even has stickers on it with things like ‘do not enter’ and ‘prohibited’. But inside is the first book I ever wrote.

I used to carry that notebook with me everywhere. If I had 5 minutes of spare time while waiting for class, I would pull it out and start scribbling. I couldn’t wait to get back to my characters and my secret fantasy world.

The story was loosely based around me. Not surprising, since I started writing…


Fighting depression when you can’t see the stars

Fighting depression is like fighting quicksand: the harder you struggle, the worse it gets. The harder you fight, the worse the breakdowns get. The darker the world seems to become. Sometimes searching for the light is the one thing that brings out the darkness even more.

I’ve become accustomed to hiding away, not talk about it and pretend it’s not there. I wanted to make sure people wouldn’t feel awkward, strange, or worse, unaccepted around me. My whole life, I felt like I didn’t fit in like I didn’t belong. And that’s a lonely place to be. It’s the place…


Or need a kick in the butt

We’ve all been there, you feel like you’re going in circles. Life has given you a bunch of lemons and you’re ideas have run dry. I love reading quotes of inspiring people when that happens.

So here are a few of my favourite ones by Neil Gaiman. For when you have no idea what the lemons you’ve been given.

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there…


But all you can do as an adult is asking for help

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When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to grow up. I looked forward to the day that I was an adult, and I could make my own decisions. Now I’m an adult, and I wish someone would tell me what to do.

Growing up was a race for me. I was already mentally 25 by the time I was 15. I was the go-to person for all my friends to ask for help and advice. The person who always knew what to do. I felt responsible for everyone.

So I thought: if this is adulting, I’m pretty darn good…


and other lies we were told

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“She writes such beautiful portraits. It’s almost magical how good she is at it”, someone told me about another writer. Honestly? That hurt more than I cared to admit.

Imposter syndrome is an old friend of mine. Together with ‘I am not good enough’. And comments like the one above, really throw those two a party. Let’s get one thing clear though: I am happy for the other writer that people love her writing. It’s my inner critic that’s beating me down.

I think it’s also a problem with my generation (ok now I feel old!). We’ve been told by…


… But had a shop in my grandmother’s coatroom when I was a kid

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In her house, my grandmother had a 1x1m square little room where you could hang your coats. It had a threshold and everything, and on the side, it disappeared underneath the stairs. Making it the perfect place to play shop. We would place a plastic step over the threshold to be our counter, and we would be in business. We would sell drawings and little magazines we’ve made, and we would negotiate hard about the price. And yet, I never imagined myself an entrepreneur.

Yet, I did become an entrepreneur. As soon as I realised that writing is my passion…


It will help them become better adults

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I grew up in a time where I had the freedom to fail. I fell more times than I can remember. I started projects that never went anywhere, skinned my knees more than I can count and fell into a pond full of turtles in our livingroom.

My parents were great. They stimulated creativity, but they also wanted me to learn my own lessons. One time my mum made me lose her on purpose (don’t worry, she knew where I was, I just couldn’t see her) because I didn’t want to hold her hand in the supermarket. …

Stéphanie de Geus

Writer, journalist, storyteller | Published author since 2008 | Specialised in creativity, writing, storytelling & (e-mail) marketing | www.thestorysparks.com

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