Showing posts with label apps. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apps. Show all posts

Monday, June 18, 2018

Overcoming Writing Distractions



I recently went to a class conducted by writers Amy K. Nichols and Joe Nassise. They talked about writing in the age of distraction (squirrel writing, they called it). It was very helpful, so I'm going to pass on some of the ideas I found most useful.

-Know your triggers. Write down all the things that distract you from writing and be ruthlessly honest as you do it. Internet surfing, e-mail, games, videos, etc tend to be big culprits, especially since you can do them on the same device you're supposed to be writing on. Even legitimate research can be a distraction, especially if you interupt the creativity of your first draft to go down that particular rabbit hole. Being aware of your worst distractions can help you avoid them (more on that below).

On the other side of the coin, know what triggers your creativity and productive writing. Sometimes wearing some item of clothing (a magic writing hat, etc), playing certain music, putting on headphones, or writing at a certain time will get you quickly in the zone. Take advantage of these triggers.

-Get into habits and do things religiously. Set aside certain writing times and treat it like a job. Ask yourself, "Would I get fired right now?" If the answer is yes, get off Facebook or whatever and get back to your job of writing.

-When writing at home, put a sign on the door (doorknob hangers work well) so that family members know you're working and know not to distract you.

-Try a brain focus app, like Brain FM. It sees what focusses you and then plays sounds that help.

-Use the Pomidoro technique (see my last post). This consists of 25-minute working sprints followed by short breaks (5-10 minutes). During your breaks it might work to reward yourself with one of those distractions you wrote down earlier.

-Give yourself deadlines, but make them reasonable and connect with other people who will keep you accountable to those deadlines. After all, if someone expects a certain number of pages from you by Monday, you're more likely to get it done.

-Resist "shiny thing syndrome" where you get excited by shiny new projects and start so many things but never finish. If this starts happening, pick one and finish it.

-Use apps that turn off the internet or black out the rest of your screen except your writing page for a certain amount of time. There are many apps and browser add-ons like this.

-Try something like Write-o-Meter, which tracks word count and keeps a log of productivity over time. It may help also you find when your most productive hours are.

-Take care of yourself mentally and physically, and don't compare yourself to others. Be kind to you.

-Give yourself permission to "be a writer." It will legitimize your work and make your work time seem more valuable.

Thanks, Amy and Joe, for all this valuable advice!


Melinda Brasher's most recent sale is a twist on Rumpelstiltskin, appearing in Timeless Tales. You can also find her fiction in NousElectric SpecIntergalactic Medicine Show, and others. If you're dreaming about traveling to Alaska, check out her guide book, Cruising Alaska on a Budget; a Cruise and Port Guide. Visit her online at http://www.melindabrasher.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Interactive eBooks: The Next Generation of Children’s Books?

During the past few months, I have been forsaking many of my writing related activities to explore the possible future of children’s books.  My publisher had asked me if I would like to create interactive eBooks for Apple’s iPad.  I had no idea what went into creating an interactive eBook.  But the idea intrigued me, so I said yes.

Lest you think that this may be some normal, run of the mill request that a publisher might make of an author (cause it isn’t), allow me to give you some background.

I have several children’s books published with Guardian Angel Publishing.  I also have a background in IT.  Unfortunately, being an author still requires that I maintain a day job, but little did I know how my two careers would mesh.

My picture book, The Sister Exchange, was built on an iPad using an app builder called Demibooks.  You don’t need to be a programmer to build a book with this app, but you do need to have a good understanding of graphic layering and how different commands will affect an object.  There was still a pretty big learning curve for me.  I went through about twelve different drafts of this book before I could consider it complete enough to hand over to my publisher.  But I absolutely love the results.

There are plenty of features to this book including, movable graphics, sound effects, music, animations, and author readings by yours truly.  There are also bonus features such as a jigsaw puzzle and hidden autograph page with a personalized message.  I even got my daughter involved; she provides the sounds effects for the characters on the illustration pages. 

So if you have an iPad and you would like to see the possible future of children’s eBooks, boy do I have the book for you!  The link to the iTunes store is below.


Kevin McNamee is a writer and poet.  His other books include: If I Could Be Anything, My Brother the Frog, Lightning Strikes, The Soggy Town of Hilltop and What Is That Thing?    

To find out more about Kevin, please visit his website at http://www.kevinmcnamee.com/ or his blog at http://www.kevinmcnameechildrensauthor.blogspot.com/. 


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