Thursday Trenches – Make it Happen

You read Chuck Wendig’s blog, right? More importantly, you read his books? Tight, gritty fiction. Check him out.

So Chuck posted this info-graphic:


And it’s the same thing I’ve been saying for a while. Just in nice info-graphic form. Everyone loves an info-graphic. I love Chuck’s no BS attitude on writing advice. If you’re just starting, spend some time reading through Chuck’s writing advice. Or grab one of his writing books from amazon.

Thursday Trenches – Oblique Strategies

I wish I could remember where I saw this. A writing blog, I think. I’m not sure. But it doesn’t hurt to spread the news. If you’re suffering from writer’s block, this could be a great tool to get you moving again.

Oblique Strategies was originally created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in 1975. In their version, it was a stack of index cards that you would pick from. You’d get a random phrase and use that to break through the block. More info is on the above wikipedia page.

We’re living in 2014 though, and I found several versions of this app for my smartphone. I’d have to say it’s pretty handy to have at my fingertips. It can be anything from the complex to the simple. Just now tapping it a few times, I got “water”, “emphasize differences”, and “discover your formulas and abandon them.”

I’m using this one here but there are several options in the Play store. Have a look if you find yourself stuck. (Sorry apple fans, I couldn’t see a way to easily search their store from the web… If you have a link to an iOS version, feel free to post it in the comments.)

What do you use when you get stuck? Have a favorite method? Let me know in the comments.

-Keep writing.

Thursday Trenches – Creating a Mobi File

Well, I can’t take credit for this post. It’s a timely topic, as I expect to do this very soon. Susan Russo Anderson created this easy and concise guide to creating a mobi file in Scriverner for Windows. (She also has one for Mac.) So if this is relevant to you, take a look.

How to Compile a sparkling mobi in Scrivener for Windows

-Keep Writing

Thursday Trenches – Making Time

Time is finite, we all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s just a matter of how you use it. Gandalf said it best:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.

Granted, most of us aren’t bearing the One Ring across the wilderness to Mordor. Though it may feel that way at times. So if you want to write, make the time to write. Don’t wait for the muse to strike. The muse is fickle at best. If you get yourself in the habit of writing when you can, having your muse along for the ride is just an added bonus. Don’t wait for your schedule to free up. Your schedule will never free up. There will always be something that you can do that isn’t writing.

Going back to last week’s post, if you write 300 words a day, you will have a novel by the end of the year. But maybe you have to find the time to write those 300 words at “weird” times. I was using my morning/afternoon work commute and lunch time to do my writing. I carried a notebook with me everywhere. If you have a smartphone or tablet, type a paragraph or two in an email and send it to yourself. There is always a way to find time to write, if you want to make it a priority.

-Keep Writing.

Thursday Trenches – Just Do It

Nike had it right. Just do it. There needs to be a little more to it as well.

I started to seriously write around 2006. I was going to follow the dream of becoming a writer! Unfortunately I also got caught up in “I write, therefore I am.” I was writing. Sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. But there was no real focus to it. I wrote mostly short stories at the time, and joined Liberty Hall Writers. (A new challenge every week, it’s a great way to get yourself started.) I was getting feedback on my work and really improved my writing during my time there.

I also came to realize that I wanted to focus more on longer fiction. Toward the end of my time there, I was rarely getting a story finished because it would develop into something much longer. I turned my focus toward novel length fiction which was truly my intent all along.

So Just Do It, but with a purpose. Set realistic goals, then do everything you can to reach them. Also when you’re setting short term (daily/weekly) goals, keep in mind how that will move you toward your long term goals. In 2011 I started to keep track of my daily goals and saw my production increase considerably. I was making a real discernible effort to meet my goals. Now I have five novels completed and I’m mid-way through the sixth.

I’ve said it before, and I will probably say it again. Daily goals can keep you moving. Just 100 words a day can see you with a novella in your hand by the end of the year. 300 words a day (roughly one page) can see you with a full blown novel in your hands. Grab one of the free tools (Google Drive, LibreOffice), create a spreadsheet, and keep track of your goals. You’ll see real progress by the end of the year.

-Keep Writing.


Thursday Trenches – Getting Started

I’m starting Thursday Trenches, where we’ll get into the trenches and talk about the gritty aspects of writing. I wrote five novels at this point (!?!) and half way through the 6th. There must be some knowledge I can pass along. and I like alliteration.

My trepidation here? I haven’t “succeeded” yet. I mean certainly, I could have thrown an epub file out there for download and called it a day. Look, I published! That would be a disservice to potential readers and my book.

At the same time, I want to offer more here than just status updates. That’s of limited interest to other people. It keeps me motivated, but is less useful to you the reader.

So that is my plan. I hope that people find it useful.

I’ll add the disclaimer that things I post here are what have (or haven’t) worked for me. Results may vary. Take everything with a grain of salt. There is no one way to do this thing called writing. What works for me may not work for you.

-Keep Writing.