Effective to do list planning, to really boost productivity

Having a list of goals can be a great way to make us as productive as possible. But like everything else in life, if we overdo it, we run the risk of ending up with nothing to show for our shiny list of goals. In fact, a list of goals should be as laser-focused as short. For example, if we want to increase our writing output, it’s doubtful at best the usefulness of adding to our list something like running 40 miles a week. Sure, running is a great way to keep in shape and in good health, and a…

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Book covers – a picture is worth one thousand words… or not?

I’ve already written a post about book covers. In it I offer a detailed overview of the features effective book covers should possess. Instead, in this post, more than on the how you can come up with a great cover, I try to put the importance of a cover into a larger perspective. To point out why it is a good idea. But one that should not keep you up at night.. They say a picture is worth one thousand words. I get it. Of course I get it. But, there’s always a but. In fact, if a picture were…

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The ideal reader – Myth or practical, sound advice?

You should write with an ideal reader in your mind. That seems a reasonable suggestion. But then, if you think about it, you realize that what seems reasonable is instead total bullshit. After all, you reason, if you’re writing a book in your preferred genre you’d be better off writing a book that you yourself would love to read. Certainly, you don’t need to go and find some ideal reader out there. After all you should know yourself pretty well, shouldn’t you? In any case, a lot better than any one else. That’s an understandable reaction. But things aren’t so…

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The Happiness Machine – a free short story

I wrote this short story last week. It isn’t a horror story. It’s just a story. About the choices we make. And how luck and faith and blindness and so many other things, all prevent us from seeing what we are really choosing. The Happiness Machine 1 Just like everybody else, Jeremy and Roger had heard about the Happiness Machine for the first time when they were niners. It was a machine able to make sure you would never experience sadness or any other such uninspiring feelings. You just had to tell the man who operated it what you wanted.…

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The craft of writing – my top picks

I’m on vacation in Spain. Near Cartagena, to be precise. The weather is fine, and the sea pleasantly refreshing. A couple of hours ago I finished lunch. I had gazpacho, fried cheese, bread, salad, and lomo. I concluded my meal with a couple of ripe and tasty plums. And washed everything with genereous amounts of sangria. Then I wrote a short story. It is more or less 900 words long. And I think I’m going to post it sometime during the next week. You know, I need to let it rest a bit, to clean it adequately. Instead, today I’m…

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What genre of book should I write?

For some writers writing comes extremely easy. Like breathing. They are blessed humans who can write a first draft that is often also a final draft. Then they can have a Martini, or party all night long. After that, the following morning they start afresh on a new novel that, again, will be finished in no time. It seems impossible, but this is how they have it. For example George Simenon was able to come up with eighty pages a day. He could write a novel in a couple of weeks. Eleven days, to be precise. However, for the overwhelming…

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Daily word quota revisited – be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods

Setting up a daily word quota you have to hit can be an effective way to beat procrastination and improve your productivity–of course, provided you’re not like Douglas Adams, who is often quoted saying, I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by. Famous quotes apart, some time ago I wrote about procrastination, and I must say I considered my daily word count the most important metric for productivity. However, lately I’ve been examining a bit more deeply my writing habits and I discovered that a fixed daily quota can be ultimately of detriment to…

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The essential three types of conflict in a story

In a story we often can find three types of conflict the protagonist has to delve with. These types of conflicts can be external, internal, and interpersonal. If your protagonist is riding a motorbike on a highway to chase a rapist on the run, that’s a pretty straightforward example of external conflict, or struggle. In fact, in this case the traffic, the high speed itself, the maneuvers the rapist may try to ram our protagonist’s bike off the road, are all external problems. Instead if your protagonist must come to terms with a traumatic episode of her life she’s been…

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Creativity and AI created art —will computers write the next generation of masterpieces?

While I believe that creativity will be perfectly explained one day. I also believe it will be far from being easy to be replicated artificially. I’m basing such a sweeping proclaim on a simple observation. That of AI and the way it has been implemented in chess programs up to now. In fact, although nowadays the best chess programs are so strong they can often beat even the strongest Grand Masters in the world—it all started with Deep Blue and Garry Kasparov’s match in 1997—these programs play in a way that is quite different from the style of any human…

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