Making Time

What I find with working a full-time gig and having two young kids and a wife is that my free time has dwindled significantly.  As a result, it’s very difficult to make good progress on a given writing project.

I know that everybody and their brother has advice about how to make time to write.  Here’s what I’ve done in the past and continue to do now, and it seems to be getting words on the page. Continue reading

A Strong Web Presence

Self-promotion is something relatively new to me, at least in terms of being a writer. As I head down the path of the self-published, it’s obvious that self-promotion is going to be essential to anything resembling success.

This isn’t necessarily a clear-cut path. There aren’t any guaranteed techniques. Regardless, I’m doing a few things right now to build a strong web presence and lay the groundwork going forward.

Twitter
I’ve been on Twitter for a while now, mostly posting crap nobody really cares about. I’m repurposing my Twitter account to announce news and updates concerning my writing. Continue reading

Every Word is an Investment

I keep everything I write, even the incomplete stuff.  I took a look at all my complete and incomplete works and did some word counting.  Here’s what I found:

  • My incomplete works total 62,000 words
  • My completed works total 153,000 words

That comes to a total of 215,000 words written.  To look at it a slightly different way, that amounts to a 29% success rate.  So for every 100 words I write, 29 of them will fail to hit the mark.

This is all old stuff, written during or before 1999.  This doesn’t include any of my newest writing (which isn’t much so far). Continue reading

Outlining and Exposition

So I’m 11,000 words into my latest novel, the first novel I’ve started since completing my first and only novel in 1999, and I realize I have to stop and rethink it all.  It’s flawed, and it’s suffering from two major problems:

  1. Lack of an outline
  2. Too much exposition

I have notes, don’t get me wrong, and a basic idea of how I want the story to go.  But by skipping the step of creating a decent outline, an outline detailing the major sequences of the book chapter by chapter, the story is starting to meander.  As a result I’m now cutting and rewriting as I go, backtracking and losing momentum.

I also have noticed that I’m using too much exposition.  For example, my main character is a divorced man in his late thirties who moves to a new town to start over again.  I’ve spent way too much time explaining the whole history.  This is boring; no wonder I was falling asleep while I wrote it. Continue reading

Simplify

Being a technical person, or a “computer geek”, I’m finding that I’m being increasingly caught up in the technical aspects of the craft of writing.  For example; I use OpenOffice LibreOffice as my word processor of choice.  Well, I’ve been through about eight different word processing programs over the years and I tend to get so caught up in the feature set and appearance that I spend less time writing and more time scouring the Internet for articles comparing LibreOffice vs. <insert program here>.

Basically they all do the same thing.  And, as a writer, I don’t need it to do much.  Just some italic text, maybe some bold, and indent my new lines.  Maybe a table of contents.  Then I’ll export to HTML and/or PDF.  Pretty simple, really.

I also run my own webserver and it’s incredibly easy to get caught up tweaking that; each upgrade takes time away.  Install a new theme?  Well, I have to tweak it to get it to work perfectly.  If I get hacked then I have to fight that fire.  In other words, the technical side in me takes over and runs amok. Continue reading

Self-Doubt

Unless you’re completely delusional or utterly narcissistic, you’ve probably battled with the formidable foe of self-doubt.  This enemy of progress and creativity pulls no punches and spares no feelings.  He constantly nitpicks, nags, and criticizes; continually undermining the positive and the good that can come from confidence and believing in oneself.  He’s ugly, passed over, and jealous, and he engages in constant  character assassination.  He’ll tell us we look fat in those jeans, our art is crap, our music sucks, we’re boring and stupid, no one really likes us and we have no friends.

He’ll also masquerade as the voice of reason, as healthy self-criticism.  He’ll tell us that he’s just trying to help, to tell us the things our friends won’t tell us.  He’ll say he’s trying to save us time and effort and embarrassment by dissuading us from taking on pointless endeavors we’re not capable of successfully completing.  He’ll say he’s protecting us from inevitable failure.  He’ll remind us that other people are better looking, more talented, more sophisticated, more intelligent, and more capable. Continue reading

A Brave New World

I wrote my first piece of creative writing when I was in grade school.  I’d shown from a very early age an interest and a tendency toward reading and writing.  I could barely add two numbers together but I rarely struggled to spell a word.  The rules of English just clicked in my head; I remembered most of the exceptions without much effort.  All through grade school I was always reading something.   I started writing poetry in high school, and finished my first short story when I was seventeen.  I took a couple years off to focus on my band, we broke up, and then I went back to writing.  Over that nine year period I wrote a few short stories, a couple novelettes, and a novel.  I had countless other false starts or unfinished works; works I lost interest in but figured I’d pick up again later.  I read hundreds of books.

I had dreams of becoming a successful published author.  But there were contracts, editors, publishers, agents, and numerous other formalities that would have to be taken care of.  It seemed overwhelming, something I couldn’t do myself.  Still it was a necessity; who else would print my books?  How would I share them with the masses?  I had stories to tell and I thought maybe some people might enjoy reading them. Continue reading