Improve your editing skills – 5 easy tips

There was a time I hated editing. There was a time I thought all the fun was in ferrying my ideas into reality, in writing them on paper for the first time around. I thought the thrill of discovery, and that strange feeling I experienced—of tapping into some mysterious sort of alternate reality—was all I cared about. But then, blunt and irreverent, time barged in as it always does. And much to my chagrin it showed me I was mistaken. In short, it happened the most obvious thing in the world. I began rereading some of the stories I had written. In particular, I began rereading them months after I had written them. A change of perspective The results weren’t exactly flattering. Indeed, in many cases I discovered my stories, that had seemed so damn fantastic to me on the day of completion, now presented a long series of disturbing problems.

Continue reading

Procrastination for writers – the urge to write and the high place phenomenon

To be a true writer you have to do just one thing. Yep, you guessed it right. You’ve got to write. You’ve got to write (almost) every day. If you write, you are a writer. Even if you never publish anything, or your marketing efforts are practically non existent, like in my case — but I promise I’m going to change that. The fact is, as a writer you should feel the urge to write. That almost physical necessity to give shape to your thoughts and feelings, arranging and rearranging words into ever new tapestries—no, I haven’t said travesties. It doesn’t matter if you also experience resistance, and have to fight a daily battle with procrastination. Writers are known to be quite eccentric, to say the least. So, if you have the desire to write, and your head is full of ideas, and yet you find yourself striving to sit…

Continue reading

Invaluable advice for writers: know yourself

It never ceases to amuse me the way we have to be reminded over and over again of things we should have already learned a long time ago. For example, there’s no doubt that the ancient Delphic maxim Know thyself—know yourself–holds true today as it did when it was first uttered. Indeed, there’s no doubt at all. And such a maxim holds true for everyone, writers included. In fact, if you know yourself you can avoid a lot of stress and useless worrying about your career as an independent writer. Just think of it. If you spend some quality time thinking hard about what makes you happy, what your values are, what is your definition of success, how hard you’re willing to work to attain certain goals, and so on, you can build your personal road map from here to whatever destination in life you choose. Besides, having chosen and…

Continue reading

Vacations for writers — why they improve your creativity

First off, let’s make it clear: writers do not need any vacations. After all, theirs is a dream job. They get to do what they love precisely when they prefer to. And if this isn’t the definition of a dream job, I don’t know what else could be. Ok. Ok. I’m just kidding. In fact, a lot of writers, also the successful ones, have a day job. Because, you know, it helps pay the bills, and forces some kind of structure on their day, things like these. Secondly, writers too have families, and pretty much all the same social obligations each of us has. Yes, they learn to say “no” more often to be more productive, but still… Indeed, apart from those who sell in the millions, writers are just human beings. This means they are strange clusters of idiosyncrasies, fears, addictions, aspirations, noble intents, and bullshit. A lot of…

Continue reading

Where do good ideas come from? Myths about creativity and the creative process

When it comes to human relationships, and the most effective ways to improve them, a large number of people resort to self-help books . It’s reasonable. In fact, given the hectic times we live in, most of these people hope to find some quick and dirty tricks. Something to solve their problems with a minimal amount of time and effort on their part. Unfortunately, the truth is that such tricks rarely solve anything at all. Just think about it for a moment. Many self-help books tell us to smile and repeat over and over again the name of the people we’re talking with. These books also suggest that we ask the people we’re talking with about their jobs and hobbies. These I just mentioned, are just some of the most banal examples. However if we follow these suggestions in a mechanical and opportunistic way the people we are interacting with will soon realize…

Continue reading

How to write a lot every day – myths and facts

Many years ago, when I began to put pen to paper, I wrote using whatever I had at my disposal. Given that I was a happy owner of a Commodore Amiga, and I also was a sort of a geek, the program I chose to write my first stories was a Seka Assembler, an editor developed for programmers, not writers. Seka Assembler was rudimentary, but it was fast and had all the basic functions I needed. I used it to write several short stories and one long SF novel I’m sure I still have tucked away somewhere. It took me a couple of years to finally decide this writing thing really intrigued me, and consequently buy a proper word processor. Besides, during those first years I wrote without any kind of a routine. Some weeks I wrote for hours seven days out of seven, some others I didn’t write a…

Continue reading

Good ideas, bad ideas – How to recognize good and bad ideas

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between good and bad ideas. But the alternative is to have no ideas at all. Because, especially at the beginning, good and bad ideas are often indistinguishable. Given at least a grain of talent, creativity can be boosted. This is good news. In fact, it’s reassuring to be told we can take a stroll, read a book, or enroll for a creativity course to double the amount of our creative ideas, or to make them more original. But, as it is often the case in real life, things aren’t so straightforward. Otherwise, considering the number of books and courses devoted to creativity, lateral thinking, or whatever else we may call it, we would have droves of people coming up with spectacular new ideas all the time. Besides, we should also recognize that creative ideas can be both good and bad ideas. After…

Continue reading