Making it So

spaceshipsworldofdewOnce writers look at the small steps to the full-time career we desire, we see that many of them can be addressed in ten minute increments even through busy work weeks.  Especially those steps that don’t need long chunks of drafting time, such as writing queries or outlining story arcs and writer’s presentations.

What outlines will we be working from three years from now? What’s the geography of our created world, the politics, the magic?  What’s our word count?  If 3,000 words a week (a couple of hours of drafting for many writers) will get us a couple of 70,000 word books a year, what kind of word count and time count are we looking at for our fantasy series goals?  Will we hire freelance editors to raise the quality of our drafts, or is our work already of such a high calibre that we can trade manuscripts with colleagues?

When we’re heading straight for our dream, we don’t need the permission of any sort of threshold guardian to set our course.  We live our writers’ lives secure in our choices.  We are even perhaps already much closer to that dream shore than we ever thought.

small magpie

Magpie Deadline Extended!

As the entries for the Magpie Award have been pouring in today, we at Pulp HQ have realized we will not be able to get them processed over the weekend.  So since we’re giving ourselves and extended deadline, we thought we’d give you one too:

New deadline: 11:59pm Sunday April 17th.

That means you have until midnight on Sunday to push your fledglings out of the next and send them our way.  Entry Guidelines here.

Good luck to all the entrants!

Spring shipment

Help us launch Issue 10!

Issue 10 smallWe’ll be officially releasing Pulp Literature Issue 10, Spring 2016, this coming Monday, April 11th.  We would be delighted if you could join us at the Wolf & Hound to meet some of the authors and lift a glass or two to celebrate!

Issue 10 Launch Party
11 April 2016, 7-9pm
The Wolf & Hound, 3617 W Broadway, Vancouver

See you at the Wolf!

 

The Writer’s Life: Relationship Check

couplesmallIf we’ve got a great relationship with time, then we’re a long way towards developing a wonderful relationship with our work as well.

Of course, we all experience time constraints.  But look at it this way:  as with romance, time constraints in writing can add to the excitement of the relationship.  It’s like meeting a lover for a  precious fifteen minutes during the day.  We’re not going to be reading our emails as a delaying tactic then.

 If we’re dragging our feet to sit down with our work, then we want to take a look at our attitude to the relationship.  (I won’t get into whether to stay in the relationship, because we love writing with heart and soul or we’re not reading these words).

  • Check our outlines—does a scene or a character need planning?
  • Visit the big dream.
  • Smile at our visions.

Just get started sounds cold, but only if we’re dreading the task. If we love writing, then just get started writing is an invitation we won’t want to refuse.

Like your own true love saying, Just come on over here.

penandinkpotHave another brilliant writing day.

Cheers,

Mel

loveofficesgirl2

Loving the Work

Elisabeth Kubler Ross said “There are only two emotions, love or fear.”  This binary view is useful in addressing time management for writers.  We already know that attitude is everything in managing our careers, and that if we are excited about writing, we’ll be more likely to write.

"This Double" by Mel Anastasiou

“This Double” by Mel Anastasiou

Wanting to do the work helps us get it done.

 This statement is true so long as our attitude to our own work is as generous and friendly as our attitude to our colleagues’ work.  Keep going.  It’s better than you think.  What an easy fix.  I love your characters.  You’re talented.   Every writer makes that mistake once.  Sure you can do it.  It’s only when we are cruelly hard on ourselves that we find ourselves unwilling to write even though we find the time.  That’s when we avoid the blank page because we believe the words we write on it will tell us something we fear might be true – that we’re no damn good.  That’s a terrifying proposition.  Turns me cold from head to toe.  But, when we love the process, we don’t fear the product; when we love the words,  we don’t fear the reader’s reaction to them; when we love the story, we don’t fear a critic.

Love or fear.  Make your choice, adventurous stranger.  When we choose to love our work, then fear is banished.

Too Much Stuff in the Basement, No Room For It.

Blackthorne&Dire“Too much stuff in the basement, no room for it.” – Susan Pieters, Glass Curtain

Time management is a brilliant phrase. Encouraging.  We have time, and it’s in our control.  Or,  A place for everything and everything in its place.

Writers who take an interest in time management ideas such as the Pareto Principle (for example, 80% of a project’s progress tends to happen in 20% of the time we spend on it, or, 20% of participants do 80% of the work), are already a long way towards greater use of the day to advance our writing careers.  We aren’t closing the basement door on our worries about using time to its best effect.  We’re developing our relationship with small and large segments of time, and so, if we’re smart, we’re also working on our attitude to time.  It’s with us 24/7, so to speak, so we’d better do our best to get along.

That means we try not to say (as I did about an hour ago) I don’t have time.  This not a kind thing to say about your day.  It may be true, but it’s not kind.  Much better to think, How lucky that there are a whole 24 hours in every day.  How right our mothers are to say that politeness gets us a lot further in our lives than critical words.  This holds true even when only our wristwatch can overhear us.

Have another brilliant writing day.

Cheers

Mel

Small Time Slots and Big Goals

watch4smallcleanThe thought of a full-time writing career is enormous compared with a current work in progress. But that same work in progress is huge compared with the single sentence each of us is going to compose next.

In the same way,  fifteen minutes doesn’t seem like much when we wish we had a whole morning to ourselves to write.  But fifteen minutes is enough time to  outline an arc in a character’s growth, list twenty ways that boy can meet girl, or write five possible opening lines for your next scene, nailing time, place, and conflict. Small steps like these take us towards the great career goal.

In this way we are better prepared to face the hour of drafting, when we get it, than are many writers  who must wrack their brains for a good idea during their drafting time.

All good wishes for your success. Have another brilliant writing day.

Cheers

Mel

Bowen writing

How Great Goals Keep Us Motivated

hand and pencilWe who love to write visit our great vision every day. To reach a goal — to finish this novel or this series, or to write full-time — we are perfectly placed to make it happen through the goals we set for today.  I’m talking about short steps, achievable daily aims, which bring us,reliably, closer to our larger goals.

The necessary tasks, when hitched to a dream, are enjoyable ones.  We envision, outline, make business plans, and make marketing plans during small chunks of time through our week. Employing 10 to 15 minutes here and there through our regular days and weeks, outside our big chunk of dedicated drafting time, takes us a long way towards a writing career.

10 to 15 minutes doesn’t sound like much. But it’s enough to get a great start on something. And further than that, we may consider the Pareto principle, which proposes that we achieve 80% of results in 20% of the time we spend at the work. If you do that math, then 15 minutes is a powerful chunk of time.  If you’re doing 80% of the work in 15 minutes, suddenly the whole day, week, month and year turn around.

How to make sure this time management gold happens comes down in great part to

  1.  Attitude to writing, the can-do feeling arises from great dreams and goals, and from a deep interest in pursuing excellence in our craft, and
  2.  Preparation for writing, which comes from having the 15-minute outlines and other short tasks to hand.

With a great attitude and steady incremental preparation, we are a long way towards creating the author’s life we want and deserve. And If we keep our dreams in mind, we have a powerful tool for successful living. like writing our lives to an outline.

Have another brilliant writing day.

Cheers

Mel

Motivation and Time Management

mouse aloneSelf-motivation is one of the great time management tools available to writers, and one of the most pleasant to employ. If you’re geared up, it’s far easier to sit your butt in that chair and type.

One powerful way to self-motivate is to take a few moments to contemplate our greater goals. Picture the ideal life we want. Spend a little time with the writer each of us intends to be. How will we spend our days?

The bigger the goal, the more challenging and meaningful it is. Writers can envision reaching it, without worrying about how we’ll take every step along the way. Maybe we’ll have to slog every step, but writers love writing, so that’s completely okay. Or maybe, from time to time, fortune will shine on us, through an opportunity for swift advancement that a writer’s hard work has readied each of us to accept.

With a great attitude and steady incremental preparation, we are a long way towards creating the author’s life we want and deserve.

Have another brilliant writing day.

Cheers,

Mel

bumblebee1

Bumblebee Brilliance!

bumblebee1Congratulations to our Bumblebee Micro-fiction Award winner, John Meyers! We had a swarm of entries, but final judge Bob Thurber was able to pick the story that carried the most weight per word count. Thank you to all our entrants for the hours of entertaining stories. To view John’s story in final form, in either print or digital version, order your copy of Issue 11 now! But because we aren’t so cruel as to make everyone wait that long, here’s the winning entry in all its glory.

Motorbike, by John Meyers

Fingers crossed, heart fluttering, you’re waiting for a redneck Hercules named Chuck to kick start his dusty Harley. Finally the motor catches, sending vibrations up the back of your baby chick neck, confirming in your seven-year old mind that this greasy-haired teenager with blood on his cowboy boots is god.