Tag Archives: stories

Write an Incentive Post to Kick-start Your Writing Goals

Black Hole

Where did the time go?

Sometimes I need little extra push to get myself pointed in the right direction. There are countless methods out there that proclaim to cure a writer of their creative blocks, or motivate even the most lethargic pencil pusher.

Nostrums! Snake Oil! Autism-causing vaccinations! OK, maybe not that last one.

As a slacker fueled by distractions, I have attempted just about every method out there to escape the event horizon of the anti-productivity black hole. Yet, even my ever-increasing mass does not seem to attract enough accountability to keep me from ignoring the goal all together and justifying my inaction.

Something a little more drastic must be done.

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Apple’s Jan. 27 Media Event Creates More Tablet Rumors Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Apple Event Invitation

Alright, Let's See It.

It is that time again, time for Apple fanboys to go all out and present as many unfounded rumors as they can possibly muster in a week’s time.

The time leading up to a new Apple presentation has historically been filled with massive amounts of wild stories about what new shiny product the Cupertino powerhouse corporation will be coming out with next.

Though I understand everyone’s enthusiasm for the upcoming event and the possibility of an Apple-branded tablet PC, I think that I am once again going to be underwhelmed by the news. Here’s why.

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A Night To Remember

Recently, Frostburg State University’s Center for Creative Writing held a community writing contest which focused on short “Spooky Stories”.

It’s been a long while since I’ve written something creative, so I thought I would make an attempt at this contest without regard for the prize. So, I set out and wrote this story in about 2 hours.

My wonderful wife also wrote a very exciting and subtle story for this contest. I think, for me at least, the knowledge that we were both working toward the same goal excited me, and made each keystroke that much more meaningful.

So, this past week was the due date, and I submitted both of our stories for the contest. Hit the jump to read my story, and feel free to leave comments.
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Writer’s Guilt

Gah!!

Gah!!

Every creative person before me has identified and dealt with a little issue that I’m going to call Writer’s Guilt.  Writers Guilt occurs in two distinct–yet definitely intertwined–forms.

It occurs to me that everyone with a creative pursuit must go through this ordeal and come away making a choice in either direction.  I have yet to make that choice, and end up doing 50% on both sides of the coin, rather than picking one and going full force.

What can I do about this?  Let’s first identify the two sides of the story, then we’ll do a little research to find out what ways other writers suggest to get past this social and personal road block.

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Software Spotlight: RadicalCodex

RadicalCodex 1.0

RadicalCodex 1.0

There has been a lot of controversy lately about the viability of commercial, closed source applications running on Linux as a platform. The purists believe that all closed source applications are inherently evil, and should not be allowed to run on Linux, as it spoils the world of freedom. The other side of the coin are the people thinking about the future of Linux as a viable platform for even our grandparents to use.

I subscribe to the latter point of view. I’d like to point out one amazingly awesome piece of closed source commercial software for Linux.

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The Challenge of Rewriting

On the fourth day of the New Year’s 30 Day Challenge, I’ve decided to take a look at the first chapter of my novel, Dimenxia, which I wrote 4 years ago. I’ve never had to do a substantial rewrite of a piece of literature before, and I decided to share my ideas to potentially help out other authors going through the process.

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Why Blame the Instrument?

I have been thinking a lot lately about the old adage:

It is a poor musician who blames his instrument

I find that our generation is plagued by this notion, and I certainly am not free of this burden.

It seems that all too regularly, something new and shiny comes along, and I have this strange urge to go out and buy it. I’m not sure whether it’s because of advertising, as I do not have cable TV, or if it is something deeper that is engraved into our psyches as we are growing up.

I have been thinking about this subject ever since I started writing for fun. I don’t have the delusion that I could be a great writer of our time, I just feel that the stories I have in my mind have a right to exist in the outside world for other people to enjoy.

That being said, I easily fall into the “poor musician” category. I don’t know what it is, but the thought of having that bigger, faster and better thing just seems right.

My stories started with dreams or hallucinatory visions which were scrawled quickly on a sheet of notebook paper. After living in that primordial phase for a long period of time, most of them were put into finer words through the use of a computer-based word processor.

I’ve found that I enjoy the act of writing with a pen and paper, but it sometimes limits the speed and ease of editing. Computers seem to be the right medium for what I put down in a physical form, but there are quite a few caveats to using a computer for such work:

  1. Distractions – It is so very easy to get distracted by any little thing when using the internet to cross-reference material for use in a story.
  2. Portability – I do have a laptop, but it’s rather slow, so it’s hard to justify taking it around when there is a delay in typing on it. I can take around the stories on a flash drive, but this gives us another problem.
  3. Tool Ubiquity – I use three different platforms on a regular basis: Ubuntu, Windows XP and Mac OS X. Often, when taking text from a tool on one platform, to a completely different one on another can come with some issues of its own. The difference between versions of Microsoft Office and Open Office can become an issue that isn’t needed. Most of the time, I use a simple word processor (Notepad++, BBEdit, gEdit), which eliminates the headache of compatibility at the price of style.
  4. Distractions Again – I can’t emphasize enough the concept of distractions while using a PC (all inclusive) to edit, collect and write stories. There is always a TV show to be watched, some CSS to be edited or some RSS feeds to be read. Why work when you can play?

So, what do I do in a situation like this? Blame the tool, of course. I have recently been on the lookout for a typewriter, which would pull me out of the realm of the internet and all of its distractions. With a typewriter, I wouldn’t be hampered by the speed and legibility of my handwriting at the cost of easy editing and cross referencing.

My father just recently dug out a closet at my childhood home and discovered an electric typewriter. Beyond the idea that I will need to hunt down ribbons for this thing, I am completely elated. I can take myself away from my desk, where all of the distractions live, and put myself wherever I want to get the thoughts from my head onto paper.

Now, this sounds a little extreme, but I really, REALLY get easily distracted when I’m sitting in front of a computer, and I have to go to this extreme if I want my stories to be read eventually.

This brings up another issue in my mind: digitization. How can I easily get the words that are typed on paper into a word processor for further editing/publication? I haven’t had the time to look into current OCR technologies, but perhaps with a decent typewriter, it won’t be too hard to convert the text.

I guess I am just as susceptible to this old adage as anyone else who lives in this modern society, but the first step in recovery is realizing that you have a problem.

To Read / Watch

Over the past few months, I have been using Google Reader to cut down on unnecessary time sinks in visiting all of the sites that I want to get my news for the day.

Quickly, I began using the tags to separate stories that I didn’t want to read at the moment, but save for later. Now that I am working through GTD’ing my life, I remembered that I had a backlog of stories in Reader that I haven’t even considered to put on my “To Read / Watch” list. Continue reading