5 Ways to Be a More Productive Writer

Short preamble: There is much more that can be said about each of these tips but, to save on the tl;dr posts, I summarized to the best of my ability. If anyone would like a more thorough look at any of these feel free to let me know and I will attempt to expend on them in a later blog entry.

Set a Schedule
It is so easy to find an excuse not to write every day. Jobs, kids, wives, husbands, chores, pets, and errands all seem to crash in on us and leave little time left in our increasingly busy schedules to breathe let alone sit down and write a 2,000 daily word goal. If you want to make a career out of writing then you have to treat it like a career. You have to treat it like a second job. This means setting goals and deadlines for yourself and sticking to them. Write at whatever time of day you are most comfortable writing. If you are an early riser, take some time before school or work or before you get the kids up. If you’re a stay-at-home parent, take the time to write when you put your kids down for a nap. Or after dinner. Or before bed. It doesn’t matter when you find the time, just find the time. Find an hour or two somewhere in your day to dedicate to you and your characters and stick to that schedule. If your quietest time is in the evening between 8pm and 10pm, make sure you are at your computer with an open word document typing between those hours every single day.
I put well over 40 hours a week for a year into my writing while I was working on my first novel on top of my 40-hour-a-week day job, busy social calendar, and planning my wedding. The stress paid off in the end.

I know it’s hard. It’s like a chocolate addict working next to the Hersey factory who keeps staring out the window telling themselves, “Just one little trip.” Unfortunately that one little trip will usually engulf your very existence and you spend the next four hours weighing the pros and cons of almonds and crisped rice and whether or not it ultimately robs you of chocolate. The internet is tempting. You have various messaging programs, daily blogs, email, social networks, news, games, and this sort of thing right here which all contribute to distracting you from getting writing done. 

Make it all go away. Don’t even allow temptation to get the best of you. It’s an excuse. If you are the sort of person who likes to write early in the morning, unplug your internet when you go to bed the night before and don’t allow yourself to plug it back in the morning until you hit your daily writing goal, whether that be in word, page or time count. Do the same thing in the evenings or nights if you like to write before bed or when you get home from work. Okay, you don’t actually have to go to the extreme of unplugging your Ethernet cable the night before you write, but you get my point. It’s amazing what one little trip to check your Gmail Inbox (which you already know is empty since you checked it thirty seconds earlier) will do when you find yourself drifting off to tumblr, YouTube, Reddit, or Facebook. Just say no.

Battle Buddy
Find a fellow writer (or writers) local to you and get together once or twice a month (or weekly if you can swing it) for a day/evening/night of writing. Spur each other on. Set time limits and mini challenges. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and see who can get the highest word count. Then do it again. Writing is intimidating enough; you don’t have to go it alone. Good support networks of friends who write are almost crucial. Share ideas, spur one another on, give constructive critiques and listen to feedback. Someone is bound to share a little nugget of inspiration that triggers the onslaught of gusto from your muse.

Reward yourself. Give yourself little gifts for finishing your goal for the night, give yourself a slightly bigger gift for every 10,000 words, give yourself something even better at your half way point, and so on. Positive reinforcement, even from little old you, goes a long way. 

Ideas for Perks:
  • Special coffee or sweet treat that you love from your local coffee shop or bakery.
  • Rum.
  • Half an hour of reading/watching TV/surfing the net/playing a video game.
  • Buy a new journal/notebook/sketchbook.
  • Go to your favorite sporting event.
  • Rum.
  • Go see a movie in theatres.
  • Candy.
  • Buy yourself a new outfit.
  • Rum.
  • Buy a new eReader (This would fall under the category of “Oh my God I just finished the whole manuscript!!”)
  • A really big bottle of rum. (I said that already, didn’t I?)

Just Make the Bed, A.K.A Man Eats Car
There is this amazingly awesome article which breaks down the daunting task of writing a novel in terms of cleaning up a very messy apartment. I highly recommend said article as it is more in-depth and motivational than I feel I have the ability to summarize. I will be as succinct as I can and say that writing a novel may prove to be a difficult, long and treacherous road, but it doesn’t have to be done all at once. A blank page is all sorts of intimidating, but just do it one word at a time and pretty soon you will go from a sentence to a paragraph to your first chapter. Pretty soon you will have the whole thing complete.
Natalie Goldberg writes about this concept in Writing Down the Bones. The Chapter titled Man Eats Car is more about metaphors, and it always struck me that the perfect metaphor for writing is that chapter title. The man who would eat the car wouldn’t do it all at once. He would start small with nuts and bolts. He would move to spark plugs and radio knobs, gradually moving up to bigger fare. When all was said and done the man would have been successful because he did it piece by piece.

Treat your writing in that manner. You are only one person. Don’t expect to have everything written all at once. Take the time to allow your thoughts to flow. Don’t let your inner editor get the best of you, don’t let the internet distract you, don’t let your family come in and disrupt your process. Just go with it. Piece by piece you will be able to eat the car.

Until next time.



I Return Victorious! (And Some Cool Reads of 2011)

Hello Blog-O-Sphere, fancy meeting you here!  I’m so sorry that I have been away for such a long while. Since I last blogged life has been a series of ups and downs, of joys and pain.

For starters: That 91,000 word manuscript for Gestalt evolved into a 107,000 word novel which has been published by Twisted Library Press’ Sci-fi & Fantasy department. Shameless self promotion: Buy it here!

I won’t go into detail about the craptasticness (yes, it’s a word now) that has been my personal life, but suffice to say that this year hasn’t been the best personally.  At least I set out to accomplish my goal of completing GESTALT and beginning work on NOSTRUM while in the new apartment. That said; we are getting ready for yet another move to a new location. It’s a larger apartment which will be beneficial for the new addition to our family:

Meet Kieva! He’s a daddy’s boy.


I’d like to wrap up 2011 and bring in 2012 with the following:

Hoshi’s Top Reads of 2011
These are not necessarily books which have been published this year, but instead books that I have read this year which I enjoyed tremendously.

Everyone has at least heard of this book by now. But if you haven’t read this book series yet then drop what you are doing immediately, head to your local book store and get it. 
I mean it. 
I’ll wait.

Back? Good.
This dystopian series is gritty, vibrant and soul twisting all at the same time. Very few novels allow characters to just sort of pop off the page. This was one of those series. When I heard that it was being filmed I was super excited and cannot wait until the cast (Which seems to be pretty much on the nose) can finally bring these characters to life for real. Please, for the love of everything holy, read the books before you go see the film. Have your own vision of this world in your mind before you allow a random director do it for you.

Orson Scott Card has always been a favorite of mine, and in the vein of Ender’s game, he doesn’t disappoint with this promising new series which revolves around the incarnations and families of the gods of old. This is such a unique take on the system of magick and different abilities. It jumps from Danny’s story to the world of the gods and does a great job of intertwining the two. Without getting the reader too terribly lost or distracted. I was glad to hear that it was indeed going to be a series and not just a standalone piece because there is so much more characterization that can be explored which a single novel just couldn’t do.  Danny’s adventures are just beginning and it is clear at the end of this book that Orson Scott Card knows this all too well.

This is the third book in the Havemercy series. Like its predecessors, it is told in first person from the perspective of four different characters. This style is very difficult to write with quality, but somehow Jones and Bennett have made this their own style and it works out so well. It is set in a semi-steampunk fantasy realm and revolves around the Volstov and Ke-Han empires attempt to recover a downed dragon from the recent war. Spoilers could be abound if I say anything further, but this is another great addition to the Havemercy series and I highly recommend it. I adore this series and can’t wait until I have the time to dive into the next book.

Completely steampunk, completely fantasy and completely awesome. It was hard to pull myself away from it. I wish that the world was more developed in this one because she’s got a great concept but it just doesn’t seem like it’s as fleshed out as it could have been. At the same time, it’s only the first of what is currently four novels so she may be able to get into the nitty gritty of the world more with the follow-ups. All in all I dug the hell out of this book.
Oh, speaking of flesh: There are also zombies. You can’t ever go wrong with zombies.

I just realized that all of the above listed were in a series. How the hell did I find time to write this year?

Until next time,


. . .

*walks up and blows the dust off of this blog. Grins. Walks away . . . . for now.*


I Win

There are a couple of different ways I was thinking about opening this entry, not the least of which consisted of a lot of “oh my god oh my god oh my gods” and “Holy crap. Holy crap holycrap holycrapholycrapholycrap!” .  . . and since my brain is currently jello I will leave it at that for now.
I did it. A month ahead of my self-imposed deadline, I freaking did it. Gestalt is now officially the second full manuscript that I have ever completed.

One second . . . .

OH MY GOD! YES!!! *does a victory lap around the house* I DID IT!! YES!

*ahem* . . . . *catches breath*

I’m good now.

The past year has been a learning experience, to say the very least. While, with Ethereal Heart, I had the assistance of a very talented friend, I am more proud of myself with the completion of the first draft of Gestalt because it’s mine. All mine. I did it by myself, at all hours of the day and night, with nothing but caffeine, cigarettes and the encouragement of the people who love me pushing me ever forward. I fought with the muse, tortured the muse, the muse tortured me—let’s just say the Geneva Convention was thrown out the window around chapter five—and I came out on top. I won the battle, and now my muse gets a brief (and much needed) break while I run edits before I dive into book two.
This was my first real step to fulfilling my dream of being published. The easy stuff is over, and the hard stuff is just beginning. All I can say is: Bring it on. There’s nothing I can’t do. I just proved that to myself.
355 pages, 91,491 words. And I’m ready for more.


P.S. Also, a very happy birthday to my brother, Ben! Love you, Aniki!


New Starts? Yes, Please!

Have you ever been so tired that . . . *five minutes later* . . . I can’t think of a single logical or riveting simile or metaphor. That’s how far gone I am.

We’ve been at it since I got off work Thursday morning and haven’t stopped. We are officially moved with the exception of a few minor details and I have never been happier. I will say, however that roughly eight hours of sleep in three days does not make for a productive atmosphere. Not to mention my EVERYTHING hurts. Three flights of stairs to the new place may have been a bad idea for the move itself, but we just couldn’t resist the vaulted ceilings (and hey, at least we weren’t making our friends lug a pool table up those stairs)!

I am so excited for the move not only to be getting away from the shithole of a location that we had but also because it will be quieter. And I have my own writing space. We may have moved from a three bedroom to a one bedroom, but because of our previous situation I feel that I will have more privacy in the long run. We’re putting up a partition in the dining room so I can have my space for writing. My new little desk is set up in the corner beside the back door which leads to the substantial porch and I even have space enough for my printer and bookshelf. It won’t be grandiose, but it doesn’t have to be. Once it gets cooler outside and I have the patio furniture I’m hoping to be able to sit out there and smoke hooka and write, as well.

This is it. This is where Gestalt and Nostrum (book 2) will be finished. I can feel it. This is where I will finally finish edits on Ethereal Heart, and hopefully not hate it as much as I do right now. This is where I will host my Round Tables with my friends with copious amounts of coffee and all-nighters with the hopes of landing an agent and hopefully later publication.

And this is where I slink off to decide if I should catch up on sleep, soak my tattered muscles in my new garden tub with a good book, or pull out the old manuscripts and get to work on the future.

Right now . . . that Garden Tub is looking pretty inviting.