Tag Archives: writer

Writing is fun. Here is how to write more…

I have been trying to shift my priorities of late. I write non-fiction for my day job – journalism, travel pieces and so on – but have always wanted to write fiction. This is Nanowrimo month after all. So far I have written some short stories but that has been all (look up and right and add to basket). I have recently been writing a lot more fiction and it has been a lot of fun. I highly recommend it, it is good for the brain. This website actually started as a kind of catharsis to unwind after writing about marketing trends and area guides and having to abide by ‘house style rules’.

A couple of things have really spurred me on of late. Maybe these will help someone struggling while trying to write their own magnum opus. This isn’t exactly a ‘writing tips’ kind of article, it is more of a blog entry from a personal point of view. I have noticed a couple of themes that appear in every writing tips article however and they are definitely true. If you are attempting Nanowrimo or want to try out writing a book, this might help a little.

Read a lot. I used to read at least a book a week. This was before Netflix and billions of channels. I then went down to a book or two a month. Recently, however, I have cut back on TV and social media and have set aside time to read. (Apologies for the irony if you linked to this through social media.) It has been superb. Inspiring even. The more I read, the more I want to write fiction. I cannot recommend reading a ridiculous amount even if it sounds a bit counter-intuitive timewise.

Write every day.  I do this anyway as I need to eat and buy beer. Even so, writing stuff for work is different from writing what you want. As I said earlier, I started my websites as a way to unwind. I also write a journal which is quite fun (I use the ‘Day One’ app if you fancy it) which limbers up my noggin and helps me get started in the morning. I have recently been writing 500 words of fiction a day and it has been a great target that seems easier to hit the longer I do it. I am thinking of upping it to 1000 a day. Stephen King does 2000 a day which is damned admirable but a while away yet.

Write purely for yourself. This advice really, really helped me. When I write normally, it is with immediate readership in mind, so when I tried fiction, I initially started to doubt if it was good enough. But both writers that I mention below point out that the first draft should be purely for you alone. Edits will follow, so just write for fun.

Read these two things on writing tips. Stephen King On Writing is a great book with a ton of great advice. If you have a short attention span (which doesn’t bode well for your career) or need some more succinct tips for short-term inspiration then Hugh Howey has a four-page guide. The first page can be found here and the rest are linked to from there.

I only thought about writing this post because I have a few friends and acquaintances who try the Nanowrimo thing every year and fail. It is possible that this is the same reason Hugh Howey’s article got in my news feed the other day. Frankly, the world always needs more books and if this helps even a minuscule amount, then I can feel good about myself.

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iPad Pro review for writers

1459847976151-170881345I have had my beloved iPad Pro for about 4 months now. I always said when I got the iPad 1 that I couldn’t wait until they brought out a larger one, so you can imagine my delight when a mere 5 years later I was able to upgrade. The original one still works – the hardware at least, the software is somewhat reluctant to run that slow. Poor old thing.

The iPad Pro was a pretty bastardly expensive device but I was able to justify it quite easily. For one thing, I had saved a fortune by skipping all the versions between 1 and Pro.

I should also point out that I am writing using the Logitech keyboard and writing about the big iPad.

Personal Writing

The iPad Pro satisfies all my personal writing needs. As in the stuff I do for fun, like this blog, www.scifiward.com, my short stories (see top right), and a couple of books I am writing. My personal preference at the moment for novels is to write all notes, characters, place description, plot drafts, etc, in One Note, and then write the draft on Ulysses. I know you can make notes on Ulysses but I find it distracting to have to switch out of what I am writing to check on something. As the iPad Pro has the option to pull in another screen from the right, it makes checking notes on One Note a lot easier. You can pull it just a little in, for a quick check, or go for full-on half screen action.

For everything else, there is Word or a ton of other writing apps. Sadly no Scrivener, but you can’t have everything. I am writing this on the iPad Pro, so WordPress is obviously ok.

Professional Writing

Sadly, for now, I still have a full-time day job and have the gloriously underwhelming job title of Senior Content Writer. My first ever job, when I was 18, was a ‘Reporter’, which sounds a lot cooler. Anyway, I have to write a variety of stuff. Sometimes it is on the Internet, Word, PDF, proofreading artwork, writing brochures, and so on. All of these are pretty much fine on their own, but I sometimes have to combine things from a variety of sources and double check facts on the Internet. That is where it starts to get tricky and I frequently have to bring my phone into play just to have a separate screen to play with.

So it is largely ok but sometimes just a bit quicker and much less confusing to go old-school and use a laptop if I need a lot of windows open. I should also add that the more I use the IPad Pro, the more I get used to doing things slightly different from a laptop. The feeling of being slightly restricted while on a tablet diminishes with use. You adjust. Mostly.

iPad Keyboard

As I said earlier, I use the backlit Logitech keyboard, and it is a delight to write on. I find it just as good as my 12″ MacBook Air to touch-type on. Obviously experiences vary. The only real downside is that with the keyboard attached, it is basically a laptop in relation to its size and weight. Although it is a laptop that has an incredible battery (over 10 hours if gaming or watching films, longer for writing) and I can fully recharge it using a portable battery bank. Also, this is what I have been wanting for half a decade – a MacBook Air where you can detach the screen and use it for films/books/comics/internet, etc.

Non-writing related stuff

Writing aside, the iPad Pro is just an incredible tablet. It is possible that I am easily impressed having come from an iPad 1 but for reading comics, watching films, surfing the web, or gaming, it is the best tablet I have seen or researched. The four speakers sound great and the screen is crisp and lovely. Basically, all the stuff you do on a tablet but with a bigger better screen.

I have also started drawing again. I’m not great but it was a something I enjoyed when younger and I have been carrying drawing pads and pencil sets from country to country for decades now. I am also going to use it to design book covers, so it all kind of ties in.

Conclusion

For writers, I think the iPad Pro is bloody superb. It takes a while to get used to but with the Logitech keyboard, it is surprisingly easy. If you are a business type and do presentations and need multiple media outputs or whatever the hell you people do, then this probably isn’t for you. Apple keep saying this can replace a laptop and I don’t really think it can. I do about 95% of things on my iPad but my needs are simple. I said earlier that this was what I had been waiting for but I actually want the full OS experience, perhaps with a button that switches to iOS. Make this happen Apple!

I don’t know if this review will help anyone but before I bought my iPad Pro I was looking for exactly this, so maybe it will help someone somewhere. If you disagree and think this review is flawed feel free to discuss it with your friends. I don’t care.

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