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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

In my head, I'm a best-selling author: How pretending will motivate you

My first novel sold 20 million copies. It was on the New York Times best seller list for nearly a year where it was number 1 for four months. It was critically acclaimed and solidified my place in the halls of the greatest wordsmiths in history.

At least, it will do all those things. Eventually. When I actually finish writing it, of course. 

But in my head, the book is already a success, and therefore I am already a success. And it's that envisioning of what great things my book will do that propels my writing forward. 

See, as I've said before, the odds that my book will actually be published and sell well are slim. The writing world is a very tough market where only a scant percentage of fledgling writers ever gain any sort of headway. To be a successful writer is akin to winning the lottery. 

If you dwell on what your chances of having your book published are, you will ponder yourself into a depressing pit of writer's block, eventually asking yourself, "What's the point?"

But if you maintain that you are already published and currently stomping your way through Barnes and Nobles as you greet your adoring public, your attitude remains conducive to effective story writing. 

Some would argue that to keep your hopes so high is accomplishing nothing more than setting yourself up for a huge letdown. I disagree. 

At the end of your final draft, when every comma is placed and every typo corrected, what do you have?

You have a completed book. That you wrote. Who around you can say that? Even if you never sell a copy, you completed what you set out to do. Some would say that is its own reward. 

I'd still like my name in the Times, though. And make sure you spell my name write. It's John, not Jon. 

Until next time, keep those keyboard warm. 


Tuesday, July 21, 2015


I haven't abandoned this blog. My new job is keeping me very busy. New post coming this week. I promise. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The biggest distraction keeping you from writing and how to fight it

If you are reading this, you are connected to the internet. And chances are, this isn't the only window open. 

Look around. What other tabs do you have up there? Facebook? Twitter? The Yugoslavian Tourism site? 

Okay, maybe that last one is just me. 

If someone was to line up all writers in a room and ask us how much time we spent on our respective projects today, the ensuing debacle would make headlines. A handful of us would raise our hands and proudly declare that we had met our goals, and the rest of us would stare sheepishly at the floor before turning over tables and running about the room throwing vases at our do-gooding peers.

And why? Because most of us spend way too much time surfing the internet.

Tally up every other distraction in your life that keeps you from writing. Taking care of children, working, popping an underwater wheelie next to a shark while wearing a Santa costume...

What? You thought I was joking?

Of all the things that take up precious time in this circus we call life, navigating the endless pages of the internet is perhaps the worst culprit.

But you can beat it. You can disconnect yourself from the internet and actually be productive.

First, this only works with Google Chrome. So if you are using another browser, get rid of it and download GC. Trust me. I am in no way endorsed by these folks, but their browser is superior to firefox and of course everything is superior to Internet Explorer. (Unless this is 2001, you shouldn't be using IE anyway).

Secondly, this will only work for your PC/Laptop/Mac. It's up to you to put your cell phone on airplane mode and bury the tablet under a pile of laundry. We are just looking at the tech that most of us use to write. 

Thanks to the guys at Let Me Work, you can temporarily turn off access to certain websites for 30 minutes. From their website, "The goal of the extension is to keep you working by keeping you away from sites which distracts you from work."

I've tried it. And believe me, it helps. I've never had a Facebook page, but there are any number of other sites that I seem to spend valuable time on instead of writing. With Let Me Work, I'm actually seeing progress on my book again.

Give it a try. Do thirty minutes, check your Facebook and email quickly, and then do another 30 minutes. And then another 30 minutes. You will be surprised at how great it works.

Until next time, keep those keyboards warm.