Archive for the ‘Mobile Computing’ Category

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5 Useful Motivations for Daily Writing

August 25, 2015

Write Every Day!Fiction writers do not have it easy. Unless you’re Stephen King or John Grisham who are paid advances at the mere hint of a new novel, you are expected to write “on spec”, or on your own volition with no promise of publication or reward. Writers tend to do this anyway because we have an inherent, instinctual, and obsessive need to get our ideas and stories on some kind of media.

So without the promise of a large publishing advance or even a wink that our novels will ever see the space between book covers, we have to find our own motivation for BICHOK (also known as ‘But In Chair, Hands On Keyboard’). Here are five things that can help you BICHOK more frequently:

MORNING PAGES

One of my favorite motivational gurus is Julia Cameron. For years her famous workbook, The Artist’s Way, has been rousing and inspiring writers and artists to do their best work. One of the core activities, whether a writer or other creative type, is to write down a stream of thought longhand on three pages of paper every day. She calls it Morning Pages, but some of us don’t do the hard-core morning routine and simply call it ‘Daily Pages’.

It is meant to provoke and synchronize the day and task at hand. It helps clear the mind and focus on the next task: writing your novel. Morning Pages doesn’t have to be neat. Just write about whatever’s on your mind.

A website has neatly and conveniently created an online space to do Morning Pages. The site is called 750words.com. The concept is that three handwritten pages is about an average of 750 words. Good typers (and slow writers, like me) can log on and do their morning (or daily) pages at their convenience and even save time doing it.

LEAVE YOURSELF A CLIFFHANGER

The rule of thumb for novel writers is to leave each chapter with a cliffhanger in the action so the reader is eager to move on the next chapter. You can do this trick to yourself with your writing. Before you put down your pencil or close your laptop, leave a scene in the middle of your thought. That way you will find that you are motivated to BICHOK the next day to continue to the scenes exciting conclusion.

WRITER REWARDS

Much like Visa rewards, you can set yourself up with a rewards program that provokes and excites you to BICHOK. A reward can be simple like a sweet treat, or a glass of wine or champagne after completing your daily goal. I like to motivate myself with small purchases for finishing a certain number of daily goals with a new pen, or a shiny new journal.

THE WRITER’S SANCTUARY

I find that a weekend holiday to a beach hotel, or a nice B&B is a great getaway for some focused and concentrated writing. However, we can’t have our holiday retreats every day.

A writer should set up his or her own daily writing sanctuary that is welcoming and comfortable. It can be a separate room in the house, but doesn’t need to be. A kitchen table or nook can work fine for some folks. What is important is having a welcoming space with reasonable lighting, a cozy temperature, and an appropriate comfortable chair. Additional elements might include soft background music (Mozart is renowned for helping concentration and opening channels of creativity), or even a window to a beautiful outside setting.

PARTNER UP

Finally, enlist a writing partner. If you have someone with whom you can check in, and even compare daily word counts, you have a great motivator. A little friendly competition can be a good thing that helps each of you put words down and complete a writing project. If you don’t have close friends who write, find a local writer’s club and recruit someone you can join with.

It is important for authors to get the words out of our heads. Having a space to write, and motivation to BICHOK every day will help make happy and satisfied writers. Do what you need to do so that you write every day. If you have other thoughts on daily writing motivation, I welcome them here in the comments.

Now, go write!

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Maybe I Should be Pub Pop

April 2, 2013

It was many moons ago that I coined my online name as Coffeshop Pop. That was back when I was mostly spending a good deal of time at coffee shops writing online content for various websites. Don’t get me wrong, I still am looking for that perfect cup o’ Joe, but sometime during the interim I found another Pacific Northwest specialty – India Pale Ale.

I’ve always been a porter or stout drinker when I happen by the local pub. But a few years ago my wise and retired father introduced me to the joy of IPA. I never was a fan of IPA, and I think it was due to trying a taste here and there of weak versions. I like my beer to have flavor. So one taste of Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA and I was hooked. Wow! What flavor! The bitter hops and strong alcohol content is right on tap for a beer lover who likes their beer strong.

But I digress…

As a beer-lovin’ Pac NorWesterner I find myself more often frequenting the long list of craft brew pubs in the area rather than coffee shops. As I sit now with a new IPA recipe in hand from the local McMenamins I stop to consider that “Pub Pop” is more appropriate these days. And here I am on day #2 of unemployment with my trusty notebook ‘puter in front of me typing out a bit of prose and a blog post.

But the scene is infinitely more interesting than ye olde coffee shop. I used to try to find inspiration from the business-type folk who rushed in to Starbucks for a non-fat soy latte, shaken – not stirred. In retrospect their pant suits, ugly ties, and blue tooth ears lacked of character and provided little inspiration whatsoever.

Now I am not in the midst of vegans with long beards, alongside carnivorous burger-eaters who drive hybrid automobiles with bumper stickers that say “COEXIST”. I hear conversations not of baseball or football, but of composting, concerts, local plays, family anecdotes, and of course, conversations of great beer. There is spontaneous laughter, gaiety, enthusiasm, and even heartfelt moments.

I find inspiration here at the pub. And I hope that the colorful characters on whom I eavesdrop find their way into my writing. I’ll have another, please. Prost!

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When Do YOU Grab Time to Write?

January 29, 2013

Time running outLike most writers, I’m sure you have the same excuse: “ I just don’t have time to write!!” (extra exclamations added for emphasis). But like the X Files used to say, ‘the truth is out there’, I’d like to say, “the time is out there” .

What do I mean by that, you may ask? I expected that question so let me elaborate. Writers are high maintenance folk when it comes to their precious writing time. Myself included, I’ll admit. If I am going to work on an article or increase the word count on my novel, I want to have a long chunk of time in front of me. I like at least an hour, if not more to really focus and tune in to my theme or dialogue. But we must break through that high maintenance barrier if we choose to be a part-time writer.

The reality is that most of us have daily lives that get in the way. We zoom around town racing to work, running errands, preparing meals, chasing kids upstairs to brush teeth and get them to bed, etc. I’m sure this is sounding familiar.

If you are like the other 99% of writers, you cannot expect time to be your friend. You simply can’t expect to be awarded hours each day to spend in your luxurious and peaceful writing den. You have to take what is yours, and when you can get it. And the truth is, time is everywhere. Here are some examples:

Before Work

I like to get up a bit early each morning before work and spend 30-40 minutes on my laptop before I leave the house. Ugh, I can hear the groans already: “But I HATE waking up early!!” . No worries, then check out the other options below. But if you really want to be a writer and finish your story, you need to make and take time, which means you may sacrifice some sleep doing it.

Bus/Public Transportation

Do you take public transportation? Now there’s a prime example of wasted writing time. Though you can’t spread out like the bus is your own private office, you can jot down some notes on your pocket sized Moleskine notebook. Use that 30 minutes it takes to get downtown to continue plotting out your story, or figuring out a new scene. Jot down notes. Sketch out some new character traits.

Lunch Hour

Once or twice a week I’ll bring a brown bag lunch and my trusty notebook computer. The size is perfect for traveling to work. During my lunch I’ll claim a spot in the lunch room, plug into the iTunes, and type away. If you’ve got a laptop, notebook ‘puter, or any kind of tablet computer, you have no excuse not to use it for your writing project at lunch time.

Dr Office

How long have we all sat in a doctor or dentist office? Or other appointments like the DMV (shudder)? These are other times you can use to move forward with your novel.

Before Bed

Finally, you could switch off that TV (use DVR if you must record your favorite program) and type away for the last 30 minutes of the day. Sit in bed and bring your laptop. Assign this time of day to expand your word count by even 100 or 200 words.

As you can see, the time is out there. If you truly want to be a writer and at some point claim to be a published author, you must find the time to dedicate to your craft. Don’t let time be your enemy – take the time that is yours!

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Writing On The Road

July 28, 2008
Computing on the road

One of the nice things about freelance work is that I can take it with me wherever I go. This weekend I made a trip to Dallas, TX to visit some family, watch a Texas Ranger ball game, and most importantly, visit the new mecca: the new Dallas Cowboys Stadium!

But even though I’m on a short holiday, my work goes with me. I have deadlines to meet and continuing work that needs attention for upcoming deadlines. So you can see on the left that even though I spent a fabulous night with dad and cousins indulging in Italian food and multi-bottles of vino, I had to get to work the next morning. My dad’s RV became my portable coffeeshop, and let me tell you, the coffee was flowing. There might have been an occasional Monster energy drink or three during that burst of production.

Not only am I enjoying seeing family and cousins I haven’t seen in 20 or more years, I’m also melting under the hot, HOT Texas sun. The temperature so far has been an average of 102 degrees every day. So my RV coffeeshop is also my refuge from the burning sun. Thank the coffee gods that the air conditioning works. And I pray that the Texas Ranger ball game tonight will be tolerable. I’m sure a few brewskis will help keep the internal temperature down.

I return home to the nice, cool, and moderate climate of Portland tomorrow. I have also found that working in airports with Wi-Fi while waiting for planes, and tip-typing away on the plane during its flight is a good way to keep up with work. I am thankful that I have a slim lightweight laptop that acts as my best friend on the road. It keeps me company. Shows me photos of my girls when I miss them terribly. Lets me know what’s going on in the world while I am isolated in the Texas flatlands. And it entertains me by playing DVDs. This is definitely the best employee I’ve ever had!