#1k1hr, 3 Top Tips, Creative Writing, fiction, Neo, Susan Maushart, Twitter

Three Top Tips for Getting Your Writing Done…

Distracted? Who, me? 

1. Enjoy yourself and your work, and it’ll be reflected on the page. If you’re wrapped up in your characters and can’t wait to find out how their story unfolds, then it will show in your work. Indulge yourself in your imaginary people and their fictional landscape. Those powerful feelings will travel from your brain, all the way down to your writing (or typing!) fingers.  To paraphrase the old quote: write, and they will read–but only if they get swept up in your enthusiasm.  You’ll know when you’ve found the right mix of characters and plot. The writing won’t feel like work!

2. I love using  #1k1hr on Twitter to join forces with other writers who need the motivation of writing to a deadline. It’s really useful to be part of that supportive online community, but like fire, the internet is a great servant but a terrible master. If you want to produce a reasonable amount of quality work, you’ll have to find some way to stay off-line for long periods.  Who hasn’t gone online for a few minutes to check their emails, only to then lose hours to WILFing (What Was I Looking For?) as Susan Maushart put it. Read her book “The Winter of Our Disconnect” to discover that there really is life on the other side of the screen.  

3. Like it or not, whether they’re going to be self-published, emailed to an agent or publisher, or sent out conventionally by post, manuscripts have to be put up on a screen eventually.  Writing things out longhand then transcribing means you get an extra look at your work as it goes through the process. That’s useful, but it takes more time than simply tapping away at a keyboard from the start. If you’d rather type than write out in longhand but get easily distracted by the internet, try a Neo. It’s a simple keyboard with a basic memory–that’s all. No facility for going online means no distractions (well, not from that direction, anyway!). When you finish your writing session, you just upload your work into your current WIP document. 

If you’ve enjoyed these tips, you can find more at my website, christinahollis.com What’s your most useful tip for getting the writing done? 
emails, Internet, Susan Maushart

The Internet – Pain and Pleasure

I had what I thought was a bright idea for a New Year’s Resolution. From January 1st, I’d cut down on the time I spend online. I love surfing the net and chatting via Twitter and Facebook, but it’s so easy to lose track while you’re staring at a screen.  If I radically reduced the time I spent online, my theory went, I’d get much more work done, see more of my family and there’d be more opportunity for gardening, cooking and beekeeping (yay!) and housework (boo!)
It worked. I rediscovered life away from my keyboard. In between wrangling my WIP, I became engrossed in my beekeeping studies once more, managed to perfect my home-made pasta and started thinking about what vegetables I’d grow in 2013. The neighbours and I can now recognise each other again – though this is of doubtful use at the moment as we’re all snowed in, and can communicate only by way of smoke signals and Aldis lamps.
There had to be a downside, of course. Without the lure of browsing Thorne BeekeepingLakeland Limited or Bakerybits, I got a bit lax when it came to checking my emails. I have three accounts, two for business and one personal. I normally check them all at least three times a day, as computer genius OH is a stern taskmaster. His work PDA is hardly ever turned off because as he says, “If I don’t deal with each query as it comes in, I’ll have a hundred mails to sort out by the end of the day and a thousand by the end of the week.” 
The first couple of weeks of January were uneventful, so I went on “digest” wherever I could, and let my checking schedule slip. Last weekend was chock-full of family business so that meant tons of cooking and taxi runs, so for the first time in years I never switched my computer on at all.
Imagine my surprise (she blushed, shuffling and avoiding OH’s eyes) on the following Monday morning to discover a total of 400 messages lying in wait for me, spread over my three separate inboxes. FOUR HUNDRED MESSAGES – and that’s NOT including the junk mail folder! 
It was very tempting to delete all but the most recent day’s mails, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bear to ignore anyone or miss out on anything but it took me nearly five hours to reduce the backlog, and new mails were coming in all the time.
By the time I’d finished, I could see what drove Susan Maushart to the desperate measures of The Winter of Our Disconnect.That’s five hours of my life I’ll never see again, but what else can I do? I love being connected, but it’s like holding a tiger by the ears. I don’t want to do it, but I can’t stop. The internet is a brilliant invention and there are worse problems than mine, as a study by ICMPA revealed. At least I can make a positive decision to reduce the burden on other people by adding an amendment to my initial New Year’s resolution. From now on I’m going to think before I mail, and make sure every message I send is a wanted message. 
Who else is going to make it their resolution, too?