The Bow of Destiny

Break This One Habit & Find More Writing Time

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 noticed a bad habit the other day and realized it is rather costly to my productivity. No, it’s not just wasting time on the internet or any other act of procrastination. Rather, it is a bad habit involving poor perspective. But I think breaking this one bad habit could mean much to productivity as a writing in a serious way.

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Want to guess what this bad habit is? It’s the simple comment to myself, “I don’t have enough time.” I noticed that between five and seven times a day I may have upwards of fifteen minutes when something else is pending that I literally give up the time to write, believing there’s no actual time to accomplish something productive. You want to know what I did when I realized this? I ignored myself and wrote just over 100 measly new words of fiction. That’s not much since I know I can sit down and write several thousand words in a day.

But then the math hit me square in the head. Let’s say you actually write six months out of a year – the other half dedicated to editing and/or the business of writing. Those one hundred measly words five times a day add up quickly. If I need 40,000 words over thirty days of writing that adds up to 15,000 words out of those forty, or 37.5% of the total. String that out over six months and it’s 90,000 words.

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Featured Image -- 9623Let’s put that in perspective. It’s a whole book. It’s 18 short stories at an average of 5,000 words. If you average 1,000 words per blog post it’s 90 of them. Since most of my posts average around 500 words that’s actually about 180 posts or almost 70% of what I would post on my blog in a year (and I have a lot of back-logged ideas). That’s a lot of productivity over time.

Now, I’m not advocating that you or I frantically squeeze writing into every available second. I’m just observing how often I think I don’t have time when I actually do. I mean what am I doing with those spare fifteen minutes several times a day? Surfing the internet aimlessly?

Instead of fumbling useful time away I think I’d like to use it to be more productive – even if I don’t approach that full total part of it means I’m much further along with a number of projects. And what about actual spare time? I think I may find that I have more time for walks, reading, conversations, etc by being productive when it’s time to be productive.

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyI’m chipping away at this bad habit starting today (and it started by writing this post). How about you?

Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. Want to be listed in The Bow of Destiny credits? Join the Insider Team to share upcoming links. Either way, you’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. You’ll also receive a coupon to download my e-book short story, The Black Bag, for free as well as July’s free e-book: Recommended Reading for Authors!

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This blog does not share personal information – including email addresses – with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies (which is a WordPress.com function and not mine).

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This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on July 2nd, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here: ph at phsolomon.com (replace the “at” with @, it’s written that way to avoid spammers).

 

 

Tame Your Muse With Appropriate Music

Taming the SnakeSometimes creative activity of any kind and feel like this picture. You’ve got to coax it from hiding and keep it dancing without totally losing control of it. For these guys it’s easy and it can be for you as well whether it be writing, painting or anything else creative.

A few weeks ago, author Jason Link was featured here on Archer’s Aim in Fantasy Authors Unplugged. It was a good interview in which Jason shared an interesting tidbit that’s stuck with me – what music and composers would best fit what he writes.

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I’ve often used instrumental music while I write and find it helpful. However, Jason’s music choice was rather intriguing. Here’s the excerpt from the interview:

YouTube ScreenshotQ. What song might fit your book well?

A. There’s a playlist on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guXMb7zLblM) that is full of epic instrumental music created by talented (and I believe relatively unknown) composers. If my book were made into a movie, I think many of the composers on this list would score it beautifully.

I went out on YouTube and listened to the music and also found what was on this link and several others rather interesting both musically and visually. I decided to use these while writing to supplement my usual instrumental & classical choices.

The result was rather surprising. I found that these “epic instrumentals” affected my productivity profoundly. It gave me the mental focus for the type of fantasy I write so that I wrote more consistently and churned out a story rather quickly – Trading Knives. Not only that, but I’ve had to edit it very little and gotten some very positive feedback – though it honestly does need some final work before I release it to retailers for free. Everyone’s welcome to take a look.

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music notesSince then, I’ve continued to be rather productive while working on An Arrow Against the Wind as I’ve finished the rough draft and begun my first structural edit that requires a solid amount of writing. It’s been great for my creativity and my productivity (after all, being productive in one way leaves you more positive in other areas too). This music is now my go-to for submerging into my fiction writing. I think it’s quite important for other writer’s who often bolster their muse this way while writing to find music that fits their genre and run – er, write – with it.

Do you use music while writing? What do you find best inspires you while writing? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. Want to be listed in The Bow of Destiny credits? Join the Insider Team to share upcoming links. Either way, you’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. You’ll also receive a coupon to download my e-book short story, The Black Bag, for free as well as July’s free e-book: Recommended Reading for Authors!

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This blog does not share personal information – including email addresses – with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies (which is a WordPress.com function and not mine).

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I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.

This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on July 2nd, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here: ph at phsolomon.com (replace the “at” with @, it’s written that way to avoid spammers).

Using Scrivener Collections For Editing

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

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In last week’s Scrivener post, I introduced the use of Collections as a multi-function tool. This week, I’d like to address the usage of this tool by focusing on my ongoing structural edit of my second novel, An Arrow Against the Wind.

First, let me define structural edit. This is the kind of editing where you might re-organize your draft so that flows better. It’s also the type of editing whereby you discover all the holes and inconsistencies within the draft and try to fill them. Another way of addressing the structure is to bring consistency to style as well as characterization, plot and other basic elements of the book.

Next let me describe the situation with my rough draft and how I’m approaching it. While writing An Arrow Against the Wind, I realized I had numerous holes to fill. This was due in large part to removing a sub-plot from the series to publish later as a parallel series. This left a need for more words for An Arrow Against the Wind. I’ve already made decisions about what needs to be added where.

My approach at this point, is to handle all the big structural issues of content. This means writing more in a number of places while I’ll handle style inconsistencies after the additions are completed. So at this point, I want to make a collection that includes all the planned additions and keeps something of a schedule at the same time – the latter so that I stay on-time for the first hand-over of the manuscript to the editor in a few months.

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For this Collection, all I need to do is choose all the empty documents that need content added and include them. So I highlighted the first chapter that needs more content and created the Collection using the instructions I mentioned from last week. I named it “Structural Edit – Additional Content”. From there I began to add all the empty documents that need work by clicking on the Binder tab in the Collection and right clicking on each targeted document and adding it from the context menu as pictured.

Adding to the collection

Adding to the collection

When finished, my collection looks like this:

Scriv Collection Added Folders

So now I have what I need to begin to set a schedule to complete each necessary document. I can assign a label and a status to each of these from the context menu – which is adding Scrivener meta-data. I chose to edit the standard status and label meta-data to fit my work. To do this go to either Label or Status to get a fly-out menu of available choices after right-clicking on a document. Choose edit and make your changes.

Scriv Collection Edit MD

First I edited the Labels to add deadline dates for each of the documents and assigned them successively to each one. Then I created a custom status for each category I need: “In Process”, “Overdue”, “Completed” and “Not Started”. I then set all the documents to the last one. Now I have my deadlines and can assign a status to each document as I progress, finally removing them from the collection once completed.

Scriv Collection Labels

Adding Labels

Scriv Collection Status Sched

Adding Status Schedule

So now my Collection is complete. I can choose to view only the Binder by toggling off the Collection (Ctrl+Shift+9) or clicking View, slide to Collections for the menu and click Collection. To toggle the Binder on go to the same menu and click Binder. To go back into my collection, I can use the same menu and click on the named Collection where it appears in the list below Binder – in this case I only have one Collection (though I’ll have several over the next several weeks).

Collection View

And that’s how I’m using Collections in Scrivener to begin editing An Arrow Against the Wind. Next week I’ll add another collection for my structural edit encompassing stylistic changes. After that, I’ll proceed onto other uses for Collections in my editing.

Have you tried using Collections yet in Scrivener? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. Want to be listed in The Bow of Destiny credits? Join the Insider Team to share upcoming links. Either way, you’ll be the first to have news about my books, especially some free offers this summer related to the upcoming release of The Bow of Destiny, the first novel of The Bow of Hart Saga. You’ll also receive a coupon to download my e-book short story, The Black Bag, for free as well as July’s free e-book: Recommended Reading for Authors!

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor. However, I am working on becoming an affiliate for Scrivener ads since I like the product so much. I’m not required to write about Scrivener to be an affiliate; I just like it that much. For more about my FTC statement see my sidebar.

Privacy Policy

This blog does not share personal information – including email addresses – with third parties nor do I store any information about your visit to this blog other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies (which is a WordPress.com function and not mine).

You can turn off the use of cookies at any time by changing your specific browser settings.

I am not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission.

This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on July 2nd, 2015. If you have any questions feel free to contact me directly here: ph at phsolomon.com (replace the “at” with @, it’s written that way to avoid spammers).