What Is Your Favorite Writing Tool?

I am the king of Post-it notes. They are on my wallet, my cell phone, and there is one on my computer now. Somehow, I always find myself with a billion ideas and no way to collect them all.

Sure, I could put them in a note book and squint at them later or store them in a word file or Google document that I’ll never open, but I wanted to SEE them. I wanted to be able to lay them down side by side and also track my writing progress.

Thus enter my favorite writing tool – my white board.white-board-1206708-m

My wife was at the office supply store and discovered they were wicked cheap and on sale. I’d love a nice frosted glass, trendy one, but I’d also like to not change my one year olds’ diapers. I have to understand what is necessary and what is me just wanting a cool new toy.

The reality is that having that writing software/tool is not going to make me better. Working hard consistently is. And now I have a place to keep track of my progress and flesh out ideas thanks to my wonderful bride.

I’ve hung the white board next to my bed so I can review tasks every day before I go to sleep and remind myself of upcoming goals and deadlines. I can also gaze at it as I doze off and make a mental note to get up early and get to work.

What is your favorite writing tool? How do you stay organized and on top of your tasks?

Do You Struggle To Find Time To Write?

For various reasons, our books are not done.

The task of writing a 60,000-100,000 book is akin to climbing Everest tomorrow, without any training.

But, let’s break this mountain down.

Writing is about rhythm. Get up every day or write at lunch or before you go to bed.

Photo Credit: pichenettes via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: pichenettes via Compfight cc

If you wrote 400 words a day. (this blog post is 146 words)

You’ll need about 30 minutes. (one less episode of__)

If you do this every single day. (this is your dream remember? show a little tenacity!)

You’ll be done in 250ish days. (100,000 words in less than a year!)

This draft will certainly need some TLC (You have 115 days to plot/edit!)

But it will be done. (And you’ll feel like you can do anything)

Food for thought.

No more excuses.

This is your dream.

Writing is hard work, not dancing in a field of lilies.

Don’t give up.

Write 500 words today.

Getting Your Writing Groove Back

When a writer says, “I just can’t find the groove,” anyone who has every written a novel, short story, or article of any sort knows exactly what they are talking about.

It has been called many things: muse, rhythm, pulse, tempo – whatever it is that keeps the writer moving, their fingers to the keyboard, or pen to the page in a way that is both satisfying and liberating. It flows, like waters breaking through a dam, surging, cascading, dancing all over the countryside in your mind. It is the culmination of your idea, your story, your characters, your plot, your unequivocal love for language, unleashed.

Unfortunately for me, and perhaps for you, it is a hard thing to find. Writing time has the tendency to evaporate, and there are only so many mornings you can force yourself out of the bed in the wee hours before the thrill of your tale becomes dull.

Your work is no longer easy. It is no longer joyful. If there was a surge of ideas somewhere in your being you lost the key to that place a long, long time ago. I think it is okay to admit this. It is alright to say that you are in a rut. It is not writers block that I am talking about, I am talking about a loss of energy or gumption and, it might be shameful to admit, desire.

Photo Credit: [ changó ] via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: [ changó ] via Compfight cc

You may find, as I have, that releasing these thoughts to a journal or blog can very well be a way through all of this. Just to have gained traction in any sort of writing, helps, and it helps a lot. It is like stretching your muscles before a game, or going over note cards before a test. It puts you in a mode. It prepares you for the mental battle.

It is important to understand how we work, and more importantly how we can overcome these stoppages in our work. For me, its just to find some way to continue the writing process. For you it might not be writing but reading something different than what you normally read or going through The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Poet’s & Writers, or some other writing magazine or book to be inspired.

Or maybe you need to fill your creative well by doing what the Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron instructs, by taking yourself on a writer’s date.

Whatever it is, find it. Meet head on. Battle through it, keep going, keep moving, keep your story pressing on and don’t give up. It may be, just as you thought you were at the end of your story, you burst through the clouds and find yourself in the glorious light of another finished page.


A Novel Writing Tip From Hemingway

Hemingway used to be one my least favorite writers. Now, he’s one of my favorites. I thank him and his advice in his book – A Moveable Feast, for my current progress.

His advice is simple and genius.

Write the scene in your mind and then stop when you think of the next one. Sounds silly, right? Why stop?

The simplicity of this advice is that you never come to the page empty. You always bring something with you, and are ready when a spare moment presents itself.

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: gothick_matt via Compfight cc

This is how I’ve written lately and it has allowed me to have a consistent flow of words and I’ve not had to sit and think where I am going next.

I am never empty.

Never lost.

This is genius because then the well of creativity never runs dry. You always leave a little in there. A little sip to keep you going.

If your well is dry. Try to do things that fill it. Then don’t drain the tankard in one gulp.

Blog Not Growing? Maybe It’s Because Of This Reason

There are many helpful tips about how to grow a blog. Post at a predetermined time so your audience begins to count on you. Write about consistent topics. Make your blog look more professional, etc. But what if all of these reasons for getting more attention rested on one rule?

Magnifying Glass via http://bit.ly/1eP2b4I Creative Commons

Magnifying Glass via http://bit.ly/1eP2b4I Creative Commons

I followed a blog once that received enormous amounts of hits when the individual wrote about their love – science fiction and fantasy.

Then, as the blog started to mount to a beautiful crescendo and the audience was begging for more, a post would be flung out there about local political happenings.They were obviously inauthentic and a traffic grab.

I think this is true for any blog. If you write about something you are passionate about you’ll naturally dig deeper. You’ll share from a place that is your voice, the location that many professionals say to speak from.

So writer, lay down on paper the things that matter to you and stay in that place. This is the key to creating a foundation of a successful blog and you’ll find the people who care about the very same things.

Then add in the other stuff mentioned in the first paragraph.

Excuses – And Why They’re Your Fault

I can think of a billion reasons why I have not sold a novel or taken over the literary world. Is it because I am bad? Lazy? I don’t think so. It’s because I constantly throw stupid hurdles in my path just like you.

They’re called excuses.

  • boredI’m too tired.
  • The yard needs raking.
  • I don’t have a good idea yet.
  • I’m waiting for inspiration to strike!
  • I have to do laundry.
  • I can never been like xyz writer. So why bother?
  • I’m bad at grammar.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • My novel is terrible.
  • I just don’t have enough/adequate time
  • I’m waiting for that amazing idea.

I believe, if we are honest, we are the ones permitting ourselves to stop pursing our dreams. Whether you want to be a novelist or news anchor, it’s so much easier making excuses or finding other things to do.

But if it is the thing we love, the thing we long for and maybe even hold deep inside because we are too worried about what people will think or say if we uttered it aloud, we must stop this excuse business. Stop it now.

It’s up to you my friend. Are you going to keep making excuses or go and get the life you want?

Me? I’m going to publish books.

Why Writers Should Remove “I Plan to…” From our Vocabularies

I have a lot of plans. You probably do as well. If you are like me, you probably have so many plans you don’t have time for them all.

Writing can often take a back seat. We’d love to get up in the morning but we have to get kids ready for school and head to work. We’d love to stay up late and pour into our stories but alas our free time is from 1159pm to 12am.

Prioritizing can be a major issue. But we all have the same amount of time as the great writers of old. Perhaps even more. We don’t have to go and fetch water from a well like some of them did.

My problem is psychological. All of my friends can stop laughing now, but I truly mean it. The reason for this is when I plan something, it’s like I have already done it. If you don’t believe me, see the Ted Talk below.

I agree with most of this, but telling a few trusted people (usually my writers group) is helpful for accountability’s sake.

From now on, I no longer “plan to” do anything. I will use the words “I am,” when talking about my projects. And, hopefully, this change of mind will help me know I am on a path to get somewhere and that means putting in the work to get there.