Do you want to be a writer?

This goes out to anyone who dreams of being a writer, and especially to those tortured souls doing NaNoWriMo each November.

Follow the Great Nike Way: Just do it.

If you write something, even if it’s unpubished or unpublishable, you are still writing. That’s what writers primarily do. They write.

If you are writing, and you say you are a writer, then you are a writer. You don’t need a permit, or certificate, or a degree that states you are a writer. You don’t need anyone’s approval — in fact I would hazard to say the more disapproval you get from others, the more legitimate your claim. You are a writer because you say you are a writer, and you actively write things.

If you want to be a writer, then just start writing. Anything. It doesn’t have to be good. It doesn’t even have to make sense. It could be fanfiction — it doesn’t matter.

That’s what the yearly NaNoWriMo craziness is especially useful for: jumpstarting your lifelong love/hate relationship with writing things.

If I never audaciously made the claim, to just about everyone’s amusement and scorn, that I am a writer, I would never have been published, and I wouldn’t be making my living right now as a working writer. It’s not my title, but it’s a big part of what I do, and I wouldn’t be able to do it if I were not, in fact, a writer.

But even if I wasn’t earning my keep as a writer, I would still say I’m a writer because that’s what I am.

It’s a chicken and egg thing. One of the two has to have come first, otherwise there would not be any chickens. You will not become a writer until you decide you are one. Once you decide you are one, start typing words. And then make the commitment and tell someone, “I’m a writer.”

Expect people to guffaw. “Really? Are you published?”

That’s usually when your face turns red. But guess what? It matters not. If you keep writing you will be published. And, an unpublished writer is still a writer. Publishing, especially in this day and age, is inevitable, because you now have a number of options, only one of which is traditional publishing. Your goals should only be two-fold at this point:

    1. Start writing and keep writing.
    2. Do everything you can to keep learning how to make your writing ever more enjoyable for your reader.

Notice I didn’t say anything about making your writing better. “Better” is extremely subjective. No matter what you do, someone will hate your writing. Accept it. Shrug it off. It’s true in everything in this weird thing we call “life.” You can never please everyone. Someone will always look down their nose at you.

You goal cannot be to please everyone otherwise you are guaranteeing failure. Your goal is to find and cultivate a core group of people who “get” your writing, and make it ever more enjoyable for them to read you.

I’ll cover that, and lots of other stuff, in future blogs … so stay tuned!

Better yet, enter your email address at the top left of this website, and subscribe! :-)

Further reading:

And another novel started!

This one will be easy to track, as far as how long I work on it … being that I am beginning on Christmas day, 2014.

This will be the forth and probably final book set in the same universe as Eleven Days on Earth. It’s also the third book I’m going to write as a first draft without going back to rewrite it. I want to rewrite all three of these first drafts all at once, so that they’re all well integrated into each other — also when they’re all finally done I’ll be publishing them quite close to each other, hopefully building on the momentum of each other.

This one is going to be called Forever and For Always.



Another manuscript completed. I was working on this one in various forms off and on for about 10 freaking years.

Here’s a message worth spreading…

Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Jack Vance

Maske-Thaery by Jack VanceI’m rediscovering my love for the old novels of Jack Vance. His protagonists drive their stories like none other; his aliens are the most alien; his other-worlds and other-societies are as amazingly immersive as they are completely, freakishly strange.

I was afraid revisiting these stories that I had loved as a teenager would not hold up. I’m happy to report that they do.

This one, Maske: Thaery is my favorite, followed closely by the five books in his epic revenge space opera, The Demon Princes.

Using the Pomodoro Technique to Battle ADD while Novel Writing

When my ADD is in full swing, like it has been over the past week, I fall back to using a method called the Pomodoro Technique. It really works for me if I can force myself to do it.

Original uploader was Erato at it.wikinews - Transferred from it.wikinews; transferred to Commons by User:Fale using CommonsHelper.The practice is very simple. Using a timer, you set it for 25 minutes and work on something (in my case, a novel) without allowing anything to interrupt. No email, no checking Ello, no texting my girlfriend — nothing in those 25 minutes but work on my novel. After the 25 minutes is done, I set the timer again to 5 minutes and can do whatever the hell I want. This is my payoff. Then it’s another 25 minutes followed by another 5, etc. After four periods of 25 minutes (these time periods are called pomodori) I give myself 30 minutes to do whatever I want.

The big payoff.

Somehow, knowing you’re getting these payoff time periods helps circumvent interrupting yourself to check email, etc., while trying to work on the thing your ADD is trying to keep you from working on.

I thought I’d share this in case anyone else has this problem, and hasn’t heard of the technique.

There’s a plethora of apps for it, by the way, many of them free. It helps automate the process.

Not All Good Product Reviews are Good News

Anyone who wants to study the human hive-mind we’ve become, just go online to purchase something. Now, I think I’m fairly normal, though perhaps a bit ahead of the curve as far as technology goes. I’m what you’d call a moderate early adopter. I’ve been shoping online since it was a “new” thing in this world, and it’s gotten to the point where I won’t buy anything unless I read some reviews about it.

Just recently, however, I got burned — and I should have known better. This was a lesson for me, and I want to impart it to you, too, so you don’t have to learn the hard way.

My lesson: if there are no bad reviews, that is also a warning sign.

My example is a company called StackSocial. I was suckered into a great deal on a pair of Bluetooth “noise canceling” earbuds for a measily $24. Just low enough for it to be an impulse buy. I’ll make a long story short: they’re crap. But I read the reviews and there was nothing negative about them, just a lot of unaswered questions and warnings that it takes a while to receive them.

There’s no refund on the deal, that was stated up front, so I’m stuck. However, I thought, I should go leave a negative review to warn others away. Well, guess what? StackSocial, and all the sub-mirror sites that it goes under (Cult of Mac deals is the one I got suckered by) moderates their reviews and DELETES anything negative!

I’m not pissed off that I got a crappy set of headphones. I should have known better — but for the price I took a chance, and I’ll live with that. What pisses me off is that they are dishonest enough so as not to let their customers give their opinions. They offer a forum for customers to give reviews but don’t permit anything but good reviews.

I will not stand for that, and I will not be silent about it. This practice tells me that they know what they’re selling is crap! Sure, sells some crap too, but they’re honest enough to, one, give you a refund if you’re not happy, and two, let you warn others away from crap products. StackSocial silences you so that they can unload their crap and make sure you’re stuck with it.

I strongly recommend you do not do business with or any of their StackCommerce network sites until they change this policy.