Much Faster Writing

Seven Easy Steps to Much Faster Writing | Write to Done.

I’m having trouble dealing with distractions and interruptions. Even when I do manage around the outside interruptions there is still myself. When you get interrupted many times it seems much harder to get and keep your focus. Almost like you are just waiting, suspended, for the next interruption. This is what I’m working on.

I also like these points from the list:

Step #4: Write an Outline
One huge mistake is to leap into your piece without planning ahead. If you do that, you’re going to end up writing for a few paragraphs, then getting hopelessly stuck.
Outlining doesn’t need to be complex, especially if you’re writing something short (like a blog post). This post, for instance, started out as a title and seven subheadings. I spent less than five minutes on the outline – and it’s saved me a ton of head-scratching time.
When you write an outline:
You can spot (and fix) any obvious flaws or problems. Perhaps it becomes clear that you’re trying to tackle too much, or that your topic isn’t very well thought out.
Your subconscious immediately starts coming up with ideas for each point. Once you start to write, it’s a lot easier to get your thoughts down onto the page.
The whole project looks much more manageable. You’ve broken it down into small steps.
As you write, the outline continues to help, by keeping you motivated. You can see exactly how far you’ve come – and how far you’ve got left to go. It’s easy to keep on writing when you know you’ve only got three points left to cover.

Step #6: Start Wherever You Want
You do not need to start off by writing the introduction or Chapter One.
In fact, it’s often a good idea not to. Instead, jump in to the middle of your piece. Write the first subsection – or the third.
That way, you’ll get moving much faster … and by the time you’ve finished the bulk of your piece, you’ll have a better sense of what needs to go in the introduction. Since you have an outline (see step #4), you won’t need to worry about getting off track or writing something that doesn’t fit in.
Conversely, if you like to start at the beginning and work through to the end, that’s fine too. There’s no “right” way to do this.
What matters is that you don’t spend twenty minutes staring at a blank screen, wondering how to begin. Just get moving!

Give Yourself Permission to Fail

ladaisi: Meagan of The Illustrator’s Wife : Give Yourself Permission to Fail

I happen to believe there’s a little bit of an artist in all of us. And artists are not of the stock who shrink back. So be bold. Be courageous. Take every major disaster and every tiny error, every wrong turn, every fragment of discarded clay, all the blood, sweat, and tears – and let it have meaning. Reuse, reshape, learn, grow. Recast all that goes wrong so that in the end none of your failings are wasted and nothing is without significance and everything, everything is precious to you. 

Failing is not so easy. Think about all those who never get the courage to even try. To get to the point where you have failed is a good thing when you think about it. So many others have not had the courage to test themselves, to let themselves be tested and take the chance that they could fail. Keep your failures as badges of having tried. Keep track of them as lessons learned and try a new way, a new method, on your next try.

The problem with failing a few times is letting yourself feel discouraged. It’s so easy to listen to the voices of others, the own pessimistic voice in your head and look around and compare yourself to others who seem to be doing better and finding success so much easier than you have, so far.

I remember leaving in the middle of my typing exam in my first year of high school. The sound of all those typewriters was huge and fast. My own pecking at the keyboard seemed pathetic in comparison. I left in the middle of the exam and cried in the women’s washroom. I didn’t go back, didn’t try again. I did fail my first year of Typing. It was later, years later, that I finally learned to touch type, on my own, when I had reason to stick with it and just the sound of my own fingers typing. I now know none of those other young women in my class were especially fast. It was just the sound of 30 at once which convinced me I was failing.

This photo is by Madelyn Mulvaney. I couldn’t resist it from the original blog post.

Other posts buzzed from the original, linked through Seeded Buzz.

25 Ways To Create

25 Ways To Create Your Own Endless Channel Of Creative Inspiration | A Big Creative Yes.

I picked out three from the list. Others I like but had written about myself in one form or another. All are good ideas, ways and means of getting yourself back in the driver’s seat when it comes to your own creativity.

6. Investigate a new language and alphabet. I imagine, as you’re reading this, that you’re very familiar with English. Explore some other alphabets – some slightly different, like other European ones, and some very different like Far Eastern or Arabic ones – as a reminder that the way we communicate is not the only way. Also, some alphabets are very beautiful on a purely visual basis, which in itself will inspire.

16. Communicate with a friend without using any words. Or pictures. Each come up with a few ideas as to what you want to communicate beforehand, write them down, keep them secret, then take turns in trying to convey them. A huge reason why we create is to connect with others. And to connect with ourselves. This experiment will help you find new ways of doing that, ones you may not have considered.

19. Visualise and rehearse the most creative day of your life. What would be your dream day in terms of creating? Take some time to ponder and write about the best possible day of creativity you could have. Then look at all the aspects that are well within your power to bring into being. There’ll be more than you thought. Start putting some of them into place. Today.

Heckling and Hecklers

Hecklers make me think of telemarketers. Both are unwanted, not well respected and get treated meanly by the people they communicate with. In the case of hecklers, they do ask for it (literally). Though, I’m not sure about the mean part. They do speak right up and ask for some kind of feedback from whoever they heckle.

It may be the heckler isn’t just being mean. Could they be trying to pick up a lagging speech or live show? Could they be making a relevant point which has been overlooked, deliberately or not? Could they be paid to heckle in order to keep the conversation flowing and bring sympathy and understanding to the speaker who has to deal with the ever so annoying heckler? A heckler can be a lot of things to a lot of people. It was interesting reading.

Try writing a scene between a speaker and a heckler. Does one need to come out on top, to win? Or can they both win, at least not ending in attacking each other?

Wikipedia: A heckler is a person who shouts a disparaging comment at a performance or event, or interrupts set-piece speeches, for example at a political meeting, with intent to disturb its performers or participants.

Origin

The term originates from the textile trade, where to heckle was to tease or comb out flax or hemp fibres. The additional meaning, to interrupt speakers with awkward or embarrassing questions, was added in Scotland, and specifically perhaps in early nineteenth century Dundee, a famously radical town where the hecklers who combed the flax had established a reputation as the most radical and belligerent element in the workforce. In the heckling factory, one heckler would read out the day’s news while the others worked, to the accompaniment of interruptions and furious debate.

Heckling was a major part of the vaudeville theater. Sometimes it was incorporated into the play. Milton Berle’s weekly TV variety series in the 1960s featured a heckler named Sidney Spritzer (German/Yiddish for “Squirter”) played by Borscht Belt comic Irving Benson. In the 1970s and 1980s, The Muppet Show, which was also built around a vaudeville theme, featured two hecklers, Statler & Waldorf (two old men named after famous hotels). Heckles are now particularly likely to be heard at stand-up comedy performances, to unsettle or compete with the performer.

Extra Resources:

Hikikomori

I enjoy finding a new word. Today I found Hikikomori. It comes from Lawrence Pearce in his post to get votes on which title to use for his book. I know agoraphobia is also a fear of the outside world, people tend to shut themselves in because they don’t want to be out in the open, exposed.

Note: Hikikomori is a Japanese term describing those who never set foot outside of their own homes or even bedrooms. One of the main characters is an Hikikomori.

Could you write about a Hikikomori? Where would the story begin? Could they find some peace, a solution, a way out of themselves? What do you think about this social sort of fear yourself? Are they too self-involved? Could this ever happen to you? Has it? (If you stay home a week, not going out for any reason, would you still be able to step out after a week of being sheltered, safe in your home environment, and not feel even a little self conscious about putting yourself out there – for the whole world to see)?

Other Resources:

Wikipedia: Hikikomori – a Japanese term to refer to the phenomenon of reclusive people who have chosen to withdraw from social life, often seeking extreme degrees of isolation and confinement because of various personal and social factors in their lives.

HubPages: The Hikikomori Phenomenon

Hiki Culture – Forum for reclusive people.

NY Times: Shutting Themselves In

Michael Zielenziger: The Story Behind Shutting out the Sun

Here I was living in a country that was still so prosperous, where the gap between rich and poor was far narrower than in the United States, where fewer homeless and destitute line the streets than in New York or San Francisco, Yet I found that:

  • more than one million young adults shut themselves in their rooms for years as a time. These adolescents and adults, known as “hikikomori”, withdraw from societies for months or years at a time, not going to class, not working, not even leaving their homes, and often not even abandoning their rooms. These recluses become wholly dependent on their mothers to feed them.
  • three times as many people die each year in suicides than in car accidents. Japan’s male suicide rate in particular had exploded and become the highest in the wealthy, industrial world.
  • Japanese women have systematically chosen not to marry and bear children. Today Japan has the lowest birthrate in the world. And beginning in 2005, Japan’s population began to shrink in absolute terms, as more deaths than births were recorded. Within fifteen years, one in every nine Japanese will be over age 80.
  • Half of all unmarried men 18 to 34 tell government census takers that they have no casual companionship, friendship and certainly no regular sexual relationship with a female. 40 percent of all women are also equally lonely.

For Game Writers

I remember when Todd (now my ex-husband) was involved in video games, as a writer. At one point he was drawing too but more to illustrate his stories than for the end product. I don’t know that anything ever came of all his work. He put a lot of time, thought, and hope into those games. He took on the project based on someone’s idea. Becoming some kind of partner or co-worker at the least. He was not paid, unless promises count. It must have been very disappointing when he decided to stop trying or hoping to see a finished product with his name on it. I’m not sure if he ever did see anything he had worked on as a full working game.

Many writers have to go through the morass of writing for free, possible payment later, or never. Do you choose not to get involved in projects in this way or do you take the risk? It is a risk, a pretty big one. I think you have to be quite an optimist to attempt being a game writer. Most of the jobs I found were for volunteers or those willing to work on speculation of someday having enough fame and the fortune to go with it.

But… doesn’t it sound like such a great career… Game Writer.

Resources for Game Writers

International Game Developers Association
Gamasutra
Game Developer
Game Critics
Indie Games
Game Developers Conference
Game Theory

Facebook: Game Writers
The Video Game Writers

GameDev.net: Help Wanted Forum
Indie Gamer: Help Wanted Forum

Writing World: Writing for the Gaming Industry
Errant Dreams: Writing for Roleplaying Games
Game Career Guide: Becoming a Game Writer
Game Career Guide: How I Became a Game Writer – An Interview with Sande Chen and Anne Toole
Gamasutra: A Practical Guide to Game Writing
Gamasutra: Game Writing Inside Out
Tor: Breaking into Video Game Writing
What Games Are: Video Game Writing and the Sense of Story
Angel Leigh McCoy: What’s Game Writing Like?
eHow: How to be a Video Game Writer
Animation Arena: Video Game Writer
BioWare Blog: How Do I Become a Writer for Video Games?
GameDev.net: The Definitive Guide to Game Writing Inspiration
IAH Games: The Art of Game Writing
Speaking Up: Why Female Game Writers Shouldn’t be Ignored

Writing In 15 Minute Intervals | Book-in-a-Week

If your day is absolutely upside down–and we all have them–and you are determined to write, then think of breaking your hour down into four segments. Fifteen minutes does not sound like a lot but you are going to be surprised what you can get done in that time frame.

via Writing In 15 Minute Intervals | Book-in-a-Week.

Creating Enchanting Blog Content

You see, J.K. saw Harry Potter as a passport out of a life that she didn’t want. Harry Potter wasn’t just a story – it was destiny. It was epic. It was great. Her commitment to write it transcended the pages holding the ink. It was much more.

via What J.K. Rowling Knows About Creating Enchanting Blog Content | @PushingSocial.

This was one of the real inspiring and even beautiful blog posts I’ve read lately. I am not J.K. Rowling, though we have things in common and I really know what it is to feel as alone in the world, without money or family as she must have felt while she was writing the Harry Potter books.

I write my own blog, a few of them. I’ve tried to keep posting regularly but it’s not so easy. The posting is just the beginning, or maybe the middle. The job of keeping a blog online is never ending.

It’s been a long time since I thought of my blog as an enchanting place, something I create and work on to change my own life. I think about it in daydreams but don’t give them any credit or any real belief. I’d like to change that. I remember being in awe of blogs years ago when they were still very new. I think the commercialism has taken a lot of that away. Instead of being a creation of beauty they have become a way to make a fast buck to so many people.

How about you? Can you get back your blogging passion? Did you ever have it?

If so, then you need to take another cue from J.K. You need to turn what you love into an experience for those who love you.

Your blog is supposed to be an enchanted place. You want you readers to walk away from it with a sense of wonder. Frankly, you want them to fall in love with you.

You can’t do that by surveying the market and generating some mediocre thought-leadership crap. You need to go for the jugular, your readers’ and your own. You need to go all out and leave nothing on the table.

J.K. did this with Harry Potter. She wrote 7 books at breakneck speed. She kept delivering the magic as long as the story filled her mind’s eye. Harry Potter readers stayed permanently mesmerized as she poured her wonderland out on paper. J.K wouldn’t let ‘em off the mat.

Then, when everyone thought she was done…she created Pottermore. Her fans are still reeling from the audacity of it all. It seems that J.K. isn’t done. Harry’s got much more to give.

Listen, if you want what J.K. has, then you have to do what she did. At minimum, you have to persist and not quit. You have to chain yourself to your dream and ride that mofo into the gates of hell if that is what it’ll take.

Cubing to Combat Writer’s Block

From PR Builder: Strategies to Combat Writer’s Block

1. Cubing

In this strategy, a topic or idea is examined from six distinct viewpoints—hence the name.

• Describe the topic (what is it?);
• Compare it (what is it like or unlike?);
• Associate it (what does it make you think of?);
• Analyze it (what constituent parts is it made of?);
• Apply it (how can it be used?), and argue for and/or against it (how can you support or oppose it?).

Cubing was developed as a critical-thinking exercise to help students express their thoughts in opinion essays, but it can be adapted for general nonfiction writing, though it is of limited value for fiction.

A similar technique is to explore three perspectives: The first is to describe the topic and its features, its constituent parts, and its challenges, and to compare and contrast it with other topics. The second is to trace the history of the topic and the influences on it throughout that history, and the topic’s evolution. The third is to map the topic to similar contemporary topics as well as to its influences, and to topics that it influences.

Blog Smarter, Not Harder

Make Yourself a Content Curator

Too many bloggers use content the wrong way. I see so many blogs where the blogger is regurgitating content over and over in one way or another. It’s not working. They may make some money by pulling in readers but most people won’t be that interested in reading something rehashed when they could go to the original source. At the original source they will find fresh information, more resources and opinions from someone who really knows the subject. Rehashing content just makes a middleman, not a blogger.

Instead, become a content curator. Not unlike a museum curator, the content curator finds the rare, the original and the truly great content from other blogs and sites then displays and promotes the content. Copycat bloggers are already doing those steps. They just have not been using the content they find in the right way.

Don’t claim ownership of the content. Don’t rewrite the content and pretend it’s yours. Don’t post tired, washed out content and hope people will want to read the same stuff they can read on a thousand other blogs.

A content curator does not need to pose as the originator of the content. The content curator links back to the original source. First, make sure you go back to the source. Follow links back to the original blog when they are available.

There are three things a content curator needs from the original site.

First, you need an excerpt of the content. Pick the most interesting, stimulating or resourceful paragraph. If there is a short list of bullet points you might use that. You will have to build your own theory of what to use and your own discretion about how much content to use. Think of it as a lead in an article, you just want enough to give readers information which will make them click the link to the original source.

Second thing the content curator needs is the link, of course. Simple right? Make sure you get the right link. You want the link to the post. Not the link to the whole site. If you leave a comment (which you should!) make sure you are not copying the link to the comments instead of the direct link to the post itself.

Third, you need an image file to go with your post. You may choose the image which the original site uses. In some cases that may be the lead/ excerpt you use instead of text. You don’t want a massive image if you are also using text. Scale it down to thumbnail size or something close to that. Make the image clickable, another link back to the original site. At times there will be no image to use with the post. Or, the image will not be usable. If the blogger has stuck in a random image from a third person there isn’t much point in dragging it along. In this case you can use the blogger’s own link image (if they have a link back image in their sidebar) or take a screenshot of the blog or a section of the blog’s header. There will usually be something you can do to bring an image along to your post.

That’s about it for the original blog. Don’t close the window too soon, however. The odd time you may decide to change something, make a mistake in cut and pasting the content you wanted, or realize the link isn’t right, and then you will want to refer back to the source.

Also, it is a very great plan to leave a comment with the original post. Not only are you letting the blogger know you have given them a lead in your blog but any readers will also see your link and follow it to see what other content you have found on the subject. You can’t go wrong in leaving a comment. Take the time to do it right. Make a real comment, offer an opinion on the subject, input some personal experience, something that isn’t just dropping a link like a comment spammer. Your link is the comment with your name. Don’t repost it inside the comment itself.

When you have the post set up on your blog you still need to add something of your own. You could post whatever you left on the original blog as a comment. Make a comment on the content, explain why you liked it, why you found it useful, original, why you wanted to repost it.

Make sure the link to the original blog is highlighted either by having it stand out alone in the post or add HTML to bold it if it is inside the text of the post. You are promoting the original source, not hiding it.

Use blockquote around the excerpted content from the original blog. You want to clearly mark the content you have excerpted/ quoted from the original site. You could even post a lead in to your own comment on the post so readers plainly see where your comment ends and the original content begins.

Your comment, your lead in, should come first. Keep it short and to the point mainly because people won’t read a lengthy lead in anyway.

Write a simple, decent, plain, honest title for your post. Don’t sound like a spammer. Yes, you will want to use a keyword. No, you don’t want to flood your title with them. One title is not going to make or break you. But, a simple title is more likely to be read and found. Think about your own blogging habits. How do you feel about a post with a direct, short title compared to one which tries to use every keyword possible? Which are you more likely to click?

Don’t EVER forget to link back to the source. Don’t be a content thief, be a content curator. Find great content and display it. Let it shine. Don’t just copy and paste content. Any idiot can do that. Discriminate, use your common sense about how much content to display (take less, not more) and bring your own perspective into the post, add something original of your own experience, opinions, ideas. Your blog is a gallery, a museum for great content in your niche. you don’t need to own the content but you do need to give the original artist, the original source full credit for their work. That’s your job as a curator.

Be picky about the content you display. Make sure it fits your niche, make sure it really does have something to say and brings a new point, a fresh fact or creative idea to your niche topic. Don’t post often rehashed content as if you are just filling in space.

Plan your niche well. Know the limits and the focus you want to keep. Make sure you draft a well written About page and a subheading for the title of your blog. This is going to be how people know your site and what they can expect to find there. This is going to be what makes or breaks you. Treat it with the seriousness of a business plan, a contract. Use keywords in your description not to engage for SEO but for your possible readers. Rewrite your description, your About page and your blog subheader when you get a clearer, refined view on what your niche is. Don’t be afraid of a change in order to make your point clearer. Use your subheader as a short, quick and simple description of your blog when you create a social profile.

Be careful how you promote your blog. You are a content curator. Be proud. Be distinguished, at least a little. Be wise about how you promote yourself, create your authority on the subject, the niche you are creating with your blog. You have taken on an important job as a content curator, if you are a good one. You’re responsible for creating and swaying public opinion based on the content you choose to display. If you promote yourself as a sincere person, a responsible content curator you will find yourself taken seriously and being displayed as part of your content gallery/ museum will be an honour, something very worth while. Something worth attaining.

Make Yourself a Content Curator on WordPress

Get to know the Press This bookmarklet which comes with WordPress.

Press This Reloaded will add features to the WordPress bookmarklet. But, I found this was more than I wanted. I prefer the simpler bookmarklet.

Apps for posting to WordPress and WordPress.com without being on the site, includes mobile apps. I like Shareaholic but mainly I use it to post to Tumblr, StumbleUpon and Twitter.