Friday, October 7, 2011


Yesterday the internet at my house went out. Not just slow or off and on. Completely and utterly off. For the ENTIRE day. You don’t realize how often you check your email until all of a sudden you can’t.

My thought process went like this:

“Well, all right, I can’t check the email. This is so annoying. I should tweet about it. Damn can’t do that either. *sigh* maybe I can get those long blog articles read… Can’t do that either. Fine. I’ll just download a new book onto my Kindle… Ahhh! Can’t do that either! Nooooo.”

It got more and more desperate and incoherent after that.

Several weeks ago I slashed the number of TV shows I watch, so all I had recorded on my DVR was the nightly news. I finished watching that, turned off the TV and sat there for a long time. Now what? (I believe my eye was twitching spasmodically at this point).

There was nothing better to do, so I decided to get some extra word count down on my story. I had already gotten my quota for the day, but without the distractions and time sucks of the internet and all its shinyness, I found myself drawn to my writing again.

So what’s the moral of this story? That the internet is evil? Maybe Not really. We all have different distractions. I’m not talking about family or friends (though both of those are very distracting). I’m talking about that fluff stuff that we spend so much time in. Watching reruns on TV (hint: the story hasn’t changed, it’s the same as it was last time you watched it), playing addictive games online (angry birds, bubble shooter, [insert game of choice here]) or checking our email every five minutes.

Whenever I chose to indulge in one of theses I say to myself “just for a minute here then I’ll get back to writing.” … Three hours later, I’m still messing with whatever I was trying to do.

If you want to carve out time for yourself and your writing, computers and the internet are two really good places to start chipping at first. Everyone always wants to be so “connected” with Facebook or Twitter or email, but in truth they can all wait a while. None of them are THAT important that you can’t put it off for a while to write. The trick is getting your priorities straight.
Do you want to finish your novel, or do you want to watch Dancing with the Stars?

Do you want to finish your novel, or do you want to get to that next level on your video game?

Do you want to finish your novel, or do you want to Tweet about how hard it is to find time to write?

If your answer is yes to Dancing with the Stars or video games or Twitter, that’s fine. Just don’t lie to yourself and say that your writing is everything. That you just don’t have the time. You do. You just chose to do something else. This is the ultimate choice that makes or breaks a writer.

I’m not going to tell you what to do about this. You have to make up your own mind. But my plan for the future is to time my internet hours. Only x amount of time in the morning or in the evening and that’s it. Anything I don’t get done can wait another day. My writing is what comes first.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Point: True Warrior

This week I don't have a common writing mistake as much as an observation I've made.

There are different kinds of fighters out there (especially when it comes to fencing).

There are those who look at fencing as a sport. They rarely bother to learn any historical facts about fencing (outside of the sport field or some tidbit of knowledge to impress a non-fencer if they ask) and they don't concern themselves much with learning anatomy or why the places they are aiming at are "on target".

Then there are those who focus tightly on one particular style or school of fencing. They learn a certain number of moves that apply to that style, but they don't bother to learn WHY those moves work. WHY they are effective, or perhaps aren't. All they can do is parrot those moves over and over again. They may get very good at them, but if you through something new at them, they don't know what to do. This is as far as many Classical fencers get.

And finally there are true warriors. Those who look at a certain style and figure out what makes it work. They take it apart, piece by piece, trying everything. If it doesn't work, they toss it, "historically accurate" or not. If it does, they keep it and maybe try to make it better. Theses are people who learn how to fight, not how to recreate some old historical document.

Yes, some of those old historical documents have good ideas, but some of them are incomplete and you know they didn't write EVERYTHING down. You have to allow yourself to make adjustments, not be tied down to "historical accuracy."

Of all the kinds of fighters, the true warrior is the only one who can quickly adapt. The only one who can actually use their knowledge outside of a class room or dueling circle if they need to. Those are the ones I'm most interested in studying and, hopefully, one day becoming.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Making a book trailer, please pass the skill saw

Truth be told, I know nothing about this guy's book, but his trailer is hilarious!

I don't look around at all that many book trailers. Or the ones I look at are for books I already want to buy. So I'm wondering how effective they really are.

Have any of you ever decide to pick up a book after watching the trailer?