Author: PHS

Speculative Fiction Author

5 Ways I Use My Journal

NOTE: This is an updated version of my blog on why I journal regularly which was posted several months ago. I’ve added some content to share more on the subject.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

I never considered writing a daily journal until a few years ago. At the time I wanted to see how much I could write per day on a consistent basis. After a month I was surprised by how many words I could churn out. It gave me a baseline for how much I could expect to write daily, weekly and monthly. I even realized I could write most of a rough draft in thirty days – here I come NanoWriMo.

But as I used a daily journal I discovered a few more reasons to continue. I’ve since read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and found that she emphasizes using “Daily Pages” (essentially a journal) to write three pages in the morning. I don’t always write that much since I’d rather spend as much time as possible on projects but the notion and reasons discussed in the book are great for gaining creative traction.

  1. I could use it to prime the pump. You want to get started writing but how? Sometimes you need a warm-up and writing about anything can be just the trick to clear the mind. Also, I found that I could set the scene in my mind with a few notes on what I expected to accomplish and how dialogue might flow. I might even return to the journal to further nail down additional scenes depending on what I accomplish.
  2. I can track what I need to do during the day. Yesterday I wrote about how I work with goals but I find that putting them in my journal keeps them in my sites throughout the day. I use the Strikethrough button in Word to mark off goals achieved. I can also easily “re-heat” goals that roll over to the next day for whatever reason.
  3. I also use a journal to create a loose, fluid schedule of what I’m doing – everything. This way I know how I’m progressing through goals and other activities throughout the day. Now you might wish to use a calendar for this function but I find using the journal is one less thing to update than a calendar. Besides, I find a calendar is better for reminders about events and appointments in advance.
  4. A journal can also be used for project development. It’s a great place to explore creative ideas. Once you’ve written these concepts they are easily transferred into other apps or files you use for development such as Scrivener, Evernote, your blog or anything else.
  5. A cure for “writer’s block”. I don’t believe in “writer’s block”. I view this problem as something which is troubling me in some way. I journal to discover what the problem is. It could be personal or something in a project that I intuitively understand is a problem. If the issue is something personal it could also be the seed for for a writing idea to be used in some way which actually becomes a creative opportunity. But either way I work the problem out through my journal.
Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

What can you use to journal? I mainly use Word and update it during the day but I only keep a monthly file and transfer developmental ideas to other files and apps. You could use Evernote as a purely developmental journal and tack in links or pictures. You could also use Instagram as a visual journal. While Scrivener would not directly serve this purpose, research containers could be used as a developmental journal as well.

Do you journal? If so, what do you use? I love to receive comments so feel free to leave one.  See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend but don’t spend too much time writing in the journal.

PHS

 

 

 

 

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

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The Key to GOOD Writing is BAD Writing

PHS:

Thx for the encouraging post. I’m reblogging on Archer’s Aim!

Originally posted on Joshua M Swenson:

That’s right. The key to good writing is bad writing.

You’ve heard of Thomas Edison? That guy knew how to succeed. He also knew how to fail. Probably a cliché example but it’s a dang good one. We’ve all heard about how Edison was asked: “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times on the lightbulb?” And Edison replied: “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

View original 586 more words

Tech for Writers: 7 Thoughts about Web Presence

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

In this tech tips post, I’m covering more than just how to approach technical aspects of being a writer in todays world. A web presence is essential for a writer since the web is now Main Street where people do much of their business and, essentially, window-shop. For this reason, it’s important for a writer to consider how to build a platform on the internet. It’s easy to simply rush into the process and make a site and use any old email address. But careful consideration should be made in order to present yourself, the author, and your writing products as a consistent brand.

  1. Today’s writer must have both a comprehensive and cohesive web presence. A web site is necessary, preferably with a blog (more on this later), and social media.
  2. Regarding a website, a writer must choose how to create a site which needs some forethought. First, you must consider your needs and tops on that list is a domain name that fits your name. Why? Because this is the sign for your business and the domain to where your readers will email you which is the second need. You need to have at least one email address where you can be contacted at a professional level. Take care to plan these aspects first since they will be the foundation of the site.
  3. Next you need hosting. There are numerous hosting services available on the web. Shop around for what meets your needs for budget and control. Research what the offerings and services are available for each hosting service as well as the add-ons. Personally, since I didn’t want to initially sink a large sum of money into a long-term hosting contract, I went with a free hosting service and purchased my domain and got my email hosted over Google. However, I plan to move into paid hosting services in the future. Why? I will need more control than the basic services now allow me – such as custom themes and forms.
  4. You also need a cohesive set of themes when you can afford it. At the moment, I am working with a cover artist on the cover of my first novel. As part of what I’m having designed there will be banners and themes based on my cover art that I can use on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media. This will lead to consistent branding for the entire platform. I would rather have done this from the beginning but there were budgetary concerns so I decided to grow into this. Consistent branding is an important goal and will be a major milestone for my writing platform when reached.
  5. Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    You need to be prepared to blog. Why blog at all? There are several reasons. First you can offer additional/parallel content to your main content (novels or books) via your blog. In my case, I’ve posted a serial prequel, “What is Needed“, for my novel. Additionally, you can blog about writing-related topics that interest you such as responding to opinions expressed by other writers. Bottom-line, a blog is a great way to gain traffic to your site and your products.

  6. Social media presence serves to funnel interested readers to your site which represents your products. In this way you can grow your email list which will serve as a core of prospective readers who will be your word of mouth advertising. As noted above, when you have the means try to present a consistent brand across all formats that make up your web presence just like any other business.
  7. Finally, you must update your web presence regularly. Most writers just want to write and put out their products. However, you must attract readers. To do this you must offer updated information on a regular basis. You need regular traffic to your site to sell books. Schedule the time to build to maintain your web-based writer platform so you’re not distracted into wasting time. Have goals when updating your web presence so that you set limits on both what and how much you will update.
Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

What are your thoughts on a web presence? Have you hesitated to build a platform? In the near future I’ll re-visit the topic by discussing the nuts and bolts of what I’ve done and why, as well as where I’m going with it. Share your thoughts, strategy and platform-building ideas in the comments section. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

 

 

 

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft