The Craft of writing or the Story I am showing

I was discussing with a close friend of mine a couple of days ago, about what to write in this blog. In a way, this is the place people that reads my book (coming in the next weeks) will come and stop by, so I should write for them. In other way, I should write about this craft that I am learning, not only to learn more, but also to understand better about it. In case you have doubts, I continue looking for writers that had learn all they need to in the craft. If you find one, let me know, most likely I am not interested in read them anymore.
We spend some time discussing this, and my friend was in the position that anything that it’s write in here should be about the story, this was not a page about the craft, therefore there were no place for it. He make a good argument here, no question about, and I think the answer lies more in a balance.
I am a writer, and I love to the pages of those writers that I like to see what are they writing, and love when they talk about the craft. I am sure, if I would not be a writer, I will be less trilled, but in that case you can choose to rad the next one. There is the trick. The Balance. I need to work into publishing something for other writers, and something for those that are only readers (I appreciate both). Based on that, I decided to take it that way, I don’t know yet the proportion that I will write fro readers and for writers.
I had quit this blog twice in the last months, because I wasn’t sure were this this was going and I was trying to focus my self on finishing the book, but lately I am looking forward to be here, to develop this, and to make this a nice place to come and play, with others.
Would you prefer to read only about the craft of writing or you will also like to see the story, how the story is coming, how the story is showing. I think I like both.

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Editing the first Daft

I am working on editing the first draft of my next novel, or novella if I decided to kill a part of it. I do this in the iPad, this allow me to read, edit, add and modify all the text I wish. The only problem with this approach is that if I want to know the exact changes is a two step process.
To my knowledge, there is no software in the iPad that allow you to track changes (plus I use text files), therefore if I made changes those are final. To work with this limitation, I made a copy of the ‘Original’ first draft and work with a second set of files, so if I want to visit a part I can, and it’s not impossible.
This allow me to work into the draft, edit, add, change delete and more without worry. If I need, I can always access the original text file using DropBox. If I have no internet, I can do it using my iPhone, as a second screen.
Editing in the iPad is fun, since you can get the full screen, you can also get the full reading experience that your reader will get, but you also get the ability to work into the file.
If everything goes as planned, this book should be revised in the next couple of weeks, and then shipped to the editor. We seem to aim to the end of may for this. Wish me luck.

How to fail as a Writer. Let the fear win.

I love to write, even that every time I write, there is this fear that try to get control. I love to write. I have love it for a really a long time, but I let the fear and the ideas of others get between my writing ideas and the actual action of writing, so I simply stop writing. I decided to agree with all those that said it was impossible to make a living as a writer, you may fail, you should try the secure stuff and instead of do it, I decided to stop writing.
For me, stop writing make it all impossible, impossible to make a loving as a writer & impossible to fail, you can’t fail in something you are not doing, but for me not writing make me fail on more than that. I try the “secure” way, it was fun, but not what I want it. I am a writer, not because I can’t succeed in the “secure” stuff, I am a writer, because even on Theo worst days feel better to have written today.
For me writing, make possible other stuff, make real other things, but I can be a writer unless I show up,showing up is what make it real for me. I show up everyday and write, I will never be the kind of writer I wish unless I show up. In the way I see it, I failed, all those years that I was too afraid to type, to afraid to write, to afraid to tell to the world that I was a writer, those were the failures years, or the preparation years as recently a friend of mine remind me, but now I show up, regardless of anything else, I am succeeding, success is being a writer, success is sit and write, is bring the stories inside outside so the world can enjoy it, success begin when I write.
I love to write, somedays when is hard to start, I fantasize on being written instead of writing, regardless of how much I love writing, there are days that I just want to be written and done.
But writing is an everyday exercise, you need to show up in the days you are inspired as well as in the days you wish all had being written before and you should not be doing this.
I love to write, and like any other writer, the people around you is afraid of what you are doing, they think is crazy, impossible to make a living out of it, and afraid that you failed. Next time consider the following: What is impossible? What are you failing in? Why not try it? They said is impossible make a living as a writer, but there is many many people doing it everyday, you will fail because no one will read you and no one will know who you are, people most likely don’t know who you are today, in the worst case scenario, nothing will change, and no one will ever know, but you will be a writer. There is a really long list of great writers, that were discovered after they died, I am not wishing that to you, or me, or anyone, but what you prefer, get to your dead bed and wish you had written, or smile because you did. I choose the second one.
I wrote last year a novel, “The Writer”, we are in the last stages of getting it ready to publish in Amazon, SmashWords and more. I will say soon, I have Written, and the world will if they choose to acknowledge, but if not, I will continue writing, because if I may fail, let me fail while I am writing like crazy, let me fail while I let a trace of words that if I am lucky will touch some day one heart.

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Focused Writing

The first software that I remember that I use in my Mac to focus myself as a writer was Pages. I got Pages because it has a button you can hit that makes it look full screen, and remove any other distraction from the screen. I use that feature so much, and I really enjoy it. Later I discover that Scrivener, also has that feature, and have try to use it too.
The problem is not the existence of that, is that I know that under the black screen there is all this little things that I can tweak, so I get distracted and instead of write, I play.
Comes the iPad, and the first application I put to accomplish this was Pages. Even that the pages version of the iPad doesn’t have as many things as the full desktop version does, it has enough to keep me distracted and unfocused.
I said before, that I discover text files by mistake, and the Resistance (capital R as defined by Steven Pressfield) try to convince me that you could not work well on text formats, because you could not do many things and have many option to make things look good. After I pass the initial effect of the Resistance, and continue typing, and type even more, I have come to enjoy not only the writing in the iPad but the writing in text files for later editing.
Removing all the distractions from the environment, read, all the things that can make me waste time, instead of use that time to write, had been incredible,
I use my iPad for focused writing, if I need to, I can always go back to the MacBook and edit, change fonts, colors, bold and underline the text, and waste an incredible amount of time, but all that happen after the text is done, all that waste of time, is done after the original creation is finish, after I had done the first part of my delivery.
I began writing in the iPad because the possibilities of unconscious surfing, and wasting time got immediately reduced with it, if I quit this app to go to the web, there are enough things to give me the clue that I am going to stop writing, as I said before all those same clues in the MacBook are more unconscious or as a friend of mine said, my brain had them block so took me longer to notice them, in the worst case scenario, if catch my resistance in the MacBook sending me to the Web, her answer is let’s change the font, ad bold that word, in the iPad, for now, the answer is silence and I can get back to be focus on my writing.
I have learn that the less distractions and the more I can focus in the writing and not in the tool the more I write, and that for a writer is a good thing, the iPad has remove the friction, and allow me to focus more on the writing and less in the distractions.

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Using Text Files

I create, write and develop in text files. As a writer, my goal is to write, and the less distractions I can have the more I tend to write. In case you don’t know, if you put something shinny close to me, I will get distracted, therefore, in order to write well, I need to focus on the the words, and have the less amount of distractions possible. That was the reason I want it to write in the iPad, the reason my iPad is a Writer Tool.
Even tough I have in my MacBook great software, like Scrivener, the problem of create in the mac, is that has other great software, I can hit command+tab or command+space and be gone in a second, get back to writing after that is always a mess. I eventually get back, but the process is so inefficient. For editing, I go back to the mac, most likely Scrivener if no one will interact with the file o is a private review or if i am interacting with people I tend to use Microsoft Word or Apple Pages.
But nothing beat a text file for creation, you can’t add bold, underline or  italics, you can’t use fancy font, or fancy format, but you can create text and images (verbal ones) like there is no tomorrow.
I have been learning, to simplify, to learn to have what I need, to have enough. I am not looking for minimal, I am looking for enough, and that’s exactly what text files provide, enough, enough to create, enough to imagine, enough to produce.
I said in the past, that in this moment I am using Nebulous for create text, for two main reasons, sync in any folder I choose in DropBox and that help me keep my notebooks in order in Scrivener, and second, use the whole screen.
The first time I heard about using just plain text to write, I honestly got bored and confused, why someone would want to use less, when you can do much more with other software, but I have learn now that I can create better text when I am not distracted changing sizes, making it bold, or justifying the line I m doing. If I do this same text you are reading here in Apple Pages, for example, I will be so tempted, to check, move, and play, instead, working with text files there is no temptation, there is no risk, but there is an incredible amount of freedom that you can find on the simplicity of the file.
So I learn to work with enough, in this case a Text File, and focus on the task on hand, write & create…

The iPad as a Writer Tool. The Dropbox Secret

If you have an iPad and don’t have DropBox, please stop reading, go to and get your free account before reading this post, yes your life will be that good after.
DropBox gives you 2GB of free online storage, that come to be incredible useful to interact with the iPad. You can get more space if you need it (and I encourage to do it, if you can) but in the worst case scenario, you can get your free 2GB and get even more out of the iPad, and that will change the way you interact with the iPad forever.
I am a fiction writer, so most of what I do require text. I write in text files, using a software called Nebulous Notes. (You can try the free version of their software here. The reason I use this one over one of the multiple options is that is one of the best softwares for the use of full screen in the iPad, that is really important for me, and also it doesn’t save the files in my DropBox until I tell them to, so I avoid delete files by autosave. Also, and this for me is really important, save the file in the directory I ask in DropBox and not in a fix folder as other text editors for the iPad do, and that is for me key, because, this later on, interact with my favorite piece of software in the Mac, Scrivener, but that’s another story.
I also use DropBox to interact with another piece of software called GoodReader that is one of the most useful app you can get in your iPad. Also if you don’t have it, stop reading and pick it up. GoodReader allow you to get files from your DropBox into your iPad, wireless and well as by USB,  allow you to sync folders, allow you to read and annotate PDFs, that is one of the apps that make the iPad a super tool.
If you use Pages, Apple’s word processor, you can additionally subscribe to a service called Dropwab, that will allow you to access the files in your DropBox from Pages directly, since allow you to use your DropBox account as a WebDAV server, that is the only way that Apple has allow you so f to interact with Pages. I don’t use this service, since I don’t use Pages in the iPad, as I said before my text entry, is in text files, but this is another way to access the important files between your Mac or Pc and the iPad if you work with Pages/word documents.
Do you remember, when the first pen drives begin to show up?, yes, do you remember how precious they were?, DropBox is the next pen drive, but you will not have to carry the physical thing, you just interact with it, you put your files, and can be access from any machine, but in the case of the iPad really makes the case for an indispensable tool for productivity.
When people ask me how is that I can do all that I do in the iPad, when it’s not. Laptop, I smile and without a doubt think on my little secret. DropBox.

The iPad as a Writer Tool. Solving the typing issue

When I got my iPad a little over a year ago, my plan was to use it for my writer career, and to eliminate the need to carry my MacBook most of the time. At the beginning that failed, I was using my iPad extensively, but the typing on the screen was painful for me. I got the external keyboard, but carrying the iPad and the expernal keyboard only give me the advantage of the great battery life. I begin looking for a better solution, before one of my good frineds told me that I need it to learn to type on that thing.
I most clarify, that he is also a Writer, so even that I tough he was crazy, I stop an listen. Apparently I was not the only one with this issue of typing. I can type 70wpm (Words per Minute) on a physical keyboard. If you don’t know how much you can type, you can go to places like this one an do a free test, the result may surprise you. For a Writer, words per minute is an essential skill. If you type for two hours a day at 20wpm you end up with 2,400 words, if you do 70wpm you will end up with 8,400 words. So the difference in the Writer work, that is mostly measure in wpm, is significant.
The problem was I was typing less than 20wpm in the iPad, no wonder was a pain, that was 50wpm less than a physical one. I went to the AppStore and got a app to learn to type. Was that or get rid of the iPad, at least as a Writer tool. Did I mention that I love the thing.
Two weeks later, I am typing over 40wpm, I am slower, and make more mistakes than in a physical keyboard, but is improving to the point that isn’t as painful as it was before, and the improvement is giving me hope, that I am going to be able to reach the same level I do on a physical keyboard soon.
The iPad had get to be my main machine, more and more. Now that I am learning to type on it again, is getting closer to be a better writing tool than before. How fast are you typing? Did you learn to type in yours?

The mighty first draft

I remember when I finish my first novel, I was 19. I tough is was like in the movies, you type ‘The End’ and the story was there. In a way today, I continue hoping the same, even that I know is not. The story was, but I learn later that it was in his most vulgar, and raw form. When I wrote ‘The Writer’, the novel that I will be publishing in May, I remember reading that first draft (actually the third first draft, since I toss the first two) it was bad, poor, it need it so much work and love, vulgar and raw.
Many hours later, it was done, and I was able to send it to beta readers and have fun with it, but it wasn’t that fist daft that make the book readable, but was that draft that put the rules, and the guidelines for the next steps. Going from first draft to readable draft is painful, difficult, but it can also be fun, I could see how much the story grow, how much I miss little things, how much I amaze myself with others.
This weekend I finish the first draft of my next novel, today, I will begin editing, and I am not sure yet, if I will toss it or will work on it, but I am sure, that if it’s decent enough, understand that set the guidelines of the story good enough, I will have a lot of nights, editing the job, and making it to other people can read it too, and hopefully even enjoy it.
The mighty first daft is an important step in the writing journey, but you can’t forget is just that, a step, you need to continue writing, you need to clean, to fix, to make sense and to remove all the fat that isn’t in any way part of the story, otherwise, what you have is a journal entry, but not a novel, or worse, something that your reader will not be able to enjoy.

How are you tracking your writing?

One of the challenges of a writer is to track what he had write or not. In the perfect world, I wake up every morning and write for seven to eight hours of super productive and full attention. If I would be able to do that seven days a week this post most likely would have never come up; but that reality at least for me is that is not, if I don’t track my progress, life can get in the middle, and my writing to the side, faster than what I am ready to admit it, here o in private.
In January, the first month that I officially and with order begin tracking my writings I was happy with the number, I average over 1300 words per day, not incredible, but not bad, the problem is I was unhappy.
Took me some reflection to understand why I was unhappy with the number, well you see I am a fiction Writer, if I write 50,000 words of fiction I will be trill, if I write 0 I am not happy. I discover that the number I was seeing, regardless of how good may look, was mostly non fiction stuff, and wasn’t help me to get to the goal of wrote fiction, wasn’t putting me any closer.
In February therefore I begin tracking both, total words written and total fiction. The great thing with that was that I was able to push myself to write mor fiction, because I was seeing the numbers, and I could compare my writing that create distraction and the one that I am prying to accomplish.
In march I repeated the exercise, and even tough I had been unhappy in general with the amount of words, I can say, that I am happy with the tracking part, I am happy to be able to see that I am or not focusing enough in my fiction writing.
What are you trying to accomplish? Are you sure that keg measure you are using is good enough, if you are measuring the wrong factors, is hard to obtain the correct results.