Excuses – And Why They’re Your Fault

I can think of a billion reasons why I have not sold a novel or taken over the literary world. Is it because I am bad? Lazy? I don’t think so. It’s because I constantly throw stupid hurdles in my path just like you.

They’re called excuses.

  • I’m too tired.
  • The yard needs raking.
  • I don’t have a good idea yet.
  • I’m waiting for inspiration to strike!
  • I have to do laundry.
  • I can never been like xyz writer. So why bother?
  • I’m bad at grammar.
  • I’m not smart enough.
  • My novel is terrible.
  • I just don’t have enough/adequate time.
Leaves

A picture of someone else’s backyard. I’m too ashamed to show my own.

Some of these are responsibilities. You should see my yard. It needs raking.

But why is it so easy to create this list?

I believe, if we are honest, we are the ones permitting ourselves to stop pursing our dreams. Whether you want to be a novelist or news anchor, it’s so much easier making excuses or finding other things to do.

But if it is the thing we love, the thing we long for and maybe even hold inside because we are too worried about what people with think or say if we uttered it aloud, we must stop this excuse business. Stop it now.

It’s up to you my friend. Are you going to keep making excuses or go and get the life you want?

Me?

I’m going to publish books.

Cheers,

Bob

Short Bursts – Not Burned Out

Hemingway used to be one my least favorite writers. Now, he’s one of my favorites. I thank him and his advice in his book – A Moveable Feast, for my current progress.

His advice is simple and genius.

Write the scene in your mind and then stop when you think of the next one. Sounds silly, right? Why stop?

The simplicity of this advice is that you never come to the page empty. You always bring something with you, and are ready when a spare moment presents itself.

This is how I’ve written lately and it has allowed me to have a consistent flow of words and I’ve not had to sit and think where I am going next.

I am never empty.

Never lost.

This is genius because then the well of creativity never runs dry. You always leave a little in there. A little sip to keep you going.

If your well is dry. Try to do things that fill it. Then don’t drain the tankard in one gulp.

Cheers,

Bob

Timelines

Bob Evenhouse:

Great tips! Best of luck to all who attempt NaNoWriMo.

Originally posted on Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling In The Storage Room:

With Nanowrimo coming up in a few weeks, I thought I’d share some tools I’ve been playing with to keep track of a novel’s timeline. One of my works-in-progress involves multiple generations and interwoven plot lines, so a chart was just not going to cut it this time. Have you tried either of these systems? Opinions? Additions?

Aeon Timeline – So far, this is my favorite. If you already use Scrivener, this program makes Scrivener an even more powerful writing platform because it syncs with your Scrivener files. I can’t impress upon you enough how awesome that is. When I add an event in Aeon, it asks me if I want to create a corresponding file in Scrivener. When I write a new scene in Scrivener, I can put the date and time of the action and Aeon will create a new event on the timeline when the projects sync. It’s like magic.

There…

View original 147 more words

What We Pass Down

Last night I told my daughters a story. It was about a boy who found a secret door in a bookstore which led to a world where he was small and everything else enormous. His name was Errol and he escaped a hawk then grew hungry as he could not find his way home. After help from some plucky squirrels, he made it back to the door, hidden in the knot of an evergreen tree.

My daughters loved it and begged for another but it was time for bed. I closed the door and walked away with a smile.

As a writer I love to create stories. But I love sharing them infinitely more and getting a reaction. I know my children look past the story’s inconsistencies – like why don’t more children disappear through the secret passage? And, wouldn’t the police get suspicious and arrest the bookstore owner and close the whole thing down? What about time paradoxes and the like? Legitimate questions. But not in this world of stories. I don’t want to focus on boring realities. We’re after wonder here.

I want to pass on wonder and longing and truth. To give them something to chase, things deep and moving and noble. Fiction is real life dressed up in story. This is what I want to share.

What do you hope to pass on to your readers? I hope it’s not just a book to cover your mortgage.

I hope it’s wondrous, whatever it is.

Cheers,

Bob

Novelist, Do You Use Visuals?

I am huge fan of Sherlock Holmes. I love his wild genius and untamed spirit combined with the relentlessness he uses to solve a case. Now, I understand this is fiction, but those abilities are quite attractive to the would-be novelist.

Though I don’t have these super powers, I can incorporate some of his tricks to my writing life, and so can you.

One such practice that has assisted my progress lately is having a white board where my I can take in my tasks, ideas, and notes at a glance. I can keep track of my tasks of the week and erase them when I am done, which is tremendously rewarding and gives me a hunger to attack another. I am able to pause after a furious fit of writing to check on the direction of my current chapter to make sure it is on target.

This does not have to be an expensive endeavor, my wife surprised me with the cardboardesque wipe boards (because she is awesome) and some dry erase markers (more awesomeness) for about $10.00. Not bad.

So writer, do you use visuals? If so, please share below!

Cheers,

Bob

ROE And Why Writers Should Care About It

I don’t like acronyms. If you tell me you went to DRT to learn YUR, you might see my eyes glaze over and be given a polite excuse that my phone is ringing or my house is on fire.

Okay, I’m not that much of a jerk, but I don’t like acronyms for their exclusivity and lack of description.

So why am I talking about ROE? If you’ve read any books by James Scott Bell recently, you are probably clear on why, as a writer, keeping ROE in mind is important. If not, let me induct you into the group. Here’s the Kool Aid.

If you are in the business world you might be aware of its cousin – ROI – Return On Investment. How much you expect to get back for your efforts/investment. ROE – Return On Energy is just as important to the time-strapped novelist.

Time is our enemy. We scramble to cobble together three minutes to whittle a sentence or two and hope it doesn’t have a lot of adverbs. We must be intentional with all of our time and projects to ensure our efforts are productive and we get the proper ROE.

So how do you ensure you are getting the proper ROE? Good question.

I firmly believe in writing when you have the time, not meandering around Facebook/Pintrest or throwing together a writing playlist. You sit down and write on your novel/article/blog post. All of this screen time and usage of time is making sure you are getting the proper return on the energy spent. This means keeping your end goal in mind and working towards it.

Sometimes you must leave a bit of editing and move forward with your work or plotting your book for the eighth time, so you don’t veer off course like an errant firework. Maybe it’s simply taking time away from marketing and blogging and actually work on your next project.

Whatever this might mean for you writer, keep writing and keep aiming. Keep searching for the best Return On Energy.

See, I still can’t do acronyms.

Cheers,

Bob

Overnight Success or Steady Eddie?

I have three kids and for each of them I’ve written in a journal for the first year of their life. I talk about the world, what I hope for them, their birth story, about their family, what they did with their day and the joys and struggles of parenthood. I pause, just before turning off the lights, to write for ten minutes. It’s been my “blog post a day”, but for them. I bring this up because in three days, I’ll finish my son’s journal.DSCN8360

Often I struggle to find time to write, or at least the allotment that I think works best for me. I search for an hour or more when maybe I should be looking for a small collection of minutes, just like his journal. Over the past year, I’ve put about 60,000 words down without worrying about the time, struggling with not-writing, writer’s guilt, or being emotional about not getting something done.

It’s strange how effortless this was. Many times in my writing life I see the overnight success and grumble. I wonder how they got there. I sprint and burn out and if I’m honest I lose the taste for it at times. I suppose it’s not about the book or the sprint, but the next word and the slow plod. Perhaps I should take my time, write every day for fifteen minutes, instead of moaning about never having time for it.

What do you think writer? How do you get words down consistently?

Write today, even for a minute.

Cheers,

Bob