How to Write Every Day

Philip HarrisIndie Publishing, Writing, Writing AdviceLeave a Comment

On 30th June 2013, I sat down and decided I would start writing every single day. I haven’t missed a day since – which means a couple of weeks ago I hit the two year mark in my writing streak. I’ve already posted a by-the-numbers breakdown of my streak so far, but I thought I’d also post a few tips on how I’ve kept that streak running. I’m talking specifically about writing here, but the same principles apply to forming other habits – like running or push ups or monkey juggling. So, here are my tips for anyone trying to get the writing habit to stick. CHOOSE YOUR GOAL WISELY The first thing you need to do is decide what habit you’re trying to form. I kept mine very simple – write or edit some fiction every day (blogging doesn’t count). No word count goals, no time goals. As long as I write at least one word, I’m done. In reality, I try to get down at least 100 words, otherwise I feel like I cheated. The key here is to not overstretch yourself. Pick something that you are confident you can achieve. It’s very easy to get overexcited and commit to something that’s too hard. Goals like “write 10,000 words a day” or “write a novel … Read More

Hugos 2013

Philip HarrisChatterLeave a Comment

I’ve decided to try and lighten my writing workload by taking today off (from my day job) so I’ve just got time to congratulate this year’s Hugo Award winners. Sorry to see Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary didn’t win but I’m a big fan of John Scalzi’s Redshirts, Clarkesworld and Writing Excuses so I’m pleased for them (and Howard Tayler is part of the Writing Excuses team so he’s still a Hugo Award winner). You can get a detailed breakdown of the Hugo voting here and it’s quite interesting. The list of nominations in the Best Semiprozine category pretty much matches my wishlist of publications I’d like to appear in. [Hugos 2013 by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 3rd September 2013]

Bottling Lightning

Philip HarrisStoriesLeave a Comment

I finished writing the first draft of my new story, now called Bottled Lightning, last night. It’s a science fiction story – a first contact science fiction story in fact – and it’s a lot longer than I’d originally envisaged. My first thought was that it would be a sub-1000 word vignette, then I thought it would finish up around the 2,500 word mark but the story just kept rolling until it hit 5,498 words. It would have actually been longer but while I was in the gym last night I listened to an old episode of Writing Excuses that talked about ending your story in the right place and I ended up (do you see what I did there?) stopping several paragraphs earlier than I’d originally planned and integrating some of that material into the beginning of the story. My next step is to try to turn the story into something that I actually like because I’m not particularly happy with the story as it is. I think the concept is okay but the opening 1,500 words feels sloppy and directionless and…well, crap. In a day or two I’m going to dig out my virtual red pencil and chop out a good … Read More