08 Feb

No, You’ll Never Have Time to Write

No Time to Write

No Time to WriteI’m sorry, but you’ll never have time to write.

Not when the kids move out, not when you retire, not when you find a friendly billionaire who’d just love to gush money and adoration upon you. If you haven’t found the time to write now, you won’t find it then. Here’s why.

Time is the one commodity that everyone has the same amount of. You, Donald Trump, Brandon Sanderson, Nelson Mandela[note]Well, not Nelson Mandela since he’s dead.[/note], you’ve all got the same amount of time. And they’re world famous in Poland[note]That’s a quote.[/note] while you’re not. So what gives?

When I started out, I didn’t have time to write. I lived a pretty hectic life: I studied full time, I taught martial arts (Ju-jutsu Kai), I had a girlfriend, I had friends. I also played about 100 hours of video games each week.

Later, I didn’t have time to write. I lived a pretty hectic life: I worked full time, I had a wife, a baby, and a number of webcomics and blogs to read.

Later yet, I had a full time job, a wife with a full time job, and two small kids. And I had time to write. Not only that, I now have time to edit, write and receive critiques, read online comics and blogs, be active on social media, write this blog, and submit my work to magazines and competitions.

What the hell gives?

The good news is I haven’t found a time machine. I haven’t cut out everything fun from my life either. All I’ve done is create a few, simple habits and follow them slavishly. Read More

01 Feb

6 Warning Signs that You Shouldn’t Be a Writer

6 Warning Signs that You Shouldn't be a Writer

6 Warning Signs that You Shouldn't be a WriterHalf of all the people who want to write never put down a word on paper, and half of those who do never finish anything[note]According to acclaimed writer/teacher Robert J. Sawyer’s analysis of Heinlein’s rules. Read it, it’s really good advice![/note]. So how do you know if you’re meant to be a writer?

TL:DR[note]Too Long, Didn’t Read. As in Internet.[/note] answer: you don’t. But you can see the signs that you’re not meant to be a writer. Here are the 7 biggest ones: Read More

07 Dec

Forget Willpower – it is Worse than Useless!

Self-Discipline - Roy Baumeister quote

Self-Discipline - Roy Baumeister quoteI tried to change my life for a long time. I figured that if I’d just want it enough, if I’d just tried enough, if I’d have enough will to change, I’d make it.

Nopes. Turns out the world doesn’t work like that.

Trying to change on willpower alone is like trying to lift a car with your bare hands. It might work if you’re Superman but for a regular Joe like me, well, let’s just say it didn’t work an leave out all the embarrassing details.

The reason it didn’t work is to be found in a now classic study by Roy F. Baumeister, published in 1998. Baumeister took a bunch of volunteers and put them, one by one, in a room with a bowl of freshly baked chocolate-chop cookies. Read More

27 Nov

The 3 Ways to be Truly Happy

Well-Being Martin Seligman quote

Well-Being Martin Seligman quoteI’m not an expert on happiness. If anything I’m an expert on being miserable. If I look back on my adult life, the amount of time I’ve spent miserable has been magnitudes greater than the amount of time I’ve spent happy.

And yet here I am, happy.

So I’ll give credit where credit’s due: Prof. Martin Seligman, the inventor of positive psychology, on whose ideas I’m shamelessly piggybacking. According to Seligman there are only three ways to become happy:

  1. Living the pleasant life.
  2. Living the good life.
  3. Living the meaningful life.

Here’s his short (23 minute) TED presentation on the subject (there’s quite a lot more to his research but this is a good starting point). Read More

02 Nov

6 Ways to Recognize Your Fear

Courage and Fear quote - David Farland

Courage and Fear quote - David Farland I’ve started to realize when I’m afraid.

That’s a big step, really. It lets me deal with my creativity problems in a completely new light. See, there’s this moment when I’m thinking that I would like to sit down and write. And I feel this lethargy suffuse me, like I’m being slowly dipped in a pool of warm chocolate. It would be so much nicer to just read a bit. Check my email. And there’s this thingamajig I’ve been looking for all week.

But when I scratch below the surface I feel something else. I feel this suction in my gut, as if I’m about to crest the first ridge on a roller coaster. It’s faint, but it’s there and if I scratch at it I can pull it up for my conscious inspection. And I see fear. Read More

26 Oct

Are You in Danger of Comfort?

Comfort is the Enemy - Jeff Haden quote

Comfort is the Enemy - Jeff Haden quoteTell me, are you comfortable? Nice and cozy? Content with how life’s turning out?

Poor bastard.

Yeah, I do mean you. And me. Because a few years back that’s where I was. But let’s back up a bit, a very crucial bit:

What question didn’t I ask above?

There’s a key word missing from that first paragraph. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not a matter of direction but of intensity. Yeah, I hate cryptic hints too. Guessing games have never been my forte; so, have you figured it out yet?

I didn’t ask if you were happy. Read More

16 Oct

The Easy Way to Productivity: Habitica RPG Review

Habitica quote

Habitica quoteI’m in love.

I’ve always wanted to be more productive. I’ve tried ”GTD”, The Artist’s Way, a dozen others. But not once have I thought about the importance of the tools you use for your system.

Until now I’ve used Evernote, storing to-dos, projects and tasks. Yes, it’s serviceable (there’s even the Secret Weapon for doing it) but there’s been something missing. I’ve dutifully entered my tasks into lists and notes. I’ve dutifully checked boxes, dotted i’s and crossed t’s. I’ve dutifully followed my plan.

With Habitica I’m doing it for fun. Read More

12 Oct

Have you found your Long, Lonely Hours?

Long, Lonely Hours - Ben Bova quote

Long, Lonely Hours - Ben Bova quote

In the end, it is those long, lonely hours when there is nothing in the universe except you and your writing instrument that will determine how successful a writer you will be.
– Ben Bova

I’m tired. My head hurts, I’d like to talk away from the computer.

I don’t.

This here, right now, is where I decide my career, what I’ll be doing in ten years time. The seconds tick away, the Bollywood music plays in my headphones. My hands clatter on the keyboard. That is the sound of my future. That is the way that I create what I want to be.

There is no one stopping me. There is no one stopping you. Time? Money? Stress? Those are excuses. You can excuse yourself. You can excuse yourself from all your dreams. Just make sure to take a good look at them for tomorrow they’ll be gone. Not because you can’t fulfill them anymore, but because you chose to ignore them. You chose the way that didn’t lead towards your dreams and so you walked away from them. I know. I’ve been there. Read More