#35 Forget your charger and other IT related issues

I do most of my writing on my mobile phone, I also have a tablet which I can use if my phone runs out of battery. I write on Google Docs which means I can access my work on any device, as long as I have Internet access. Occasionally, I also write on a laptop. The latter is the best way to correct the thousands of grammar mistakes I make through Grammarly.


Recently, the hard disk drive on my laptop died and I had to buy another one and ask my brother in law to fix it. Which he did and it worked.  I find that Google Docs works for me until I need to rewrite then I download the file as a word doc and work on the laptop.


I usually charge my phone overnight and sometimes  also at work which gives me enough juice to write my prolific 429 words on the way to and from work. If for any reason, usually one of the cats playing with the cable, the phone fails to charge or if I forget to take my cable to work then my writing day can be ruined and I have to resort to reading a paper copy of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein which I keep in my bag for such emergencies.


On days where everything goes smoothly I write my 429 words while seated on the metro (I have to get the train in the opposite direction first to get a seat) and then listen to an audiobook, currently The Girl on the Train, while walking to and from the metro.
The reason I haven’t been posting blogs for so long is that my routine has been going very smoothly. I understand that 429 words is not a lot for most writers but it works for me. I’ll have finished the rough version of my current novel by July plus have rewritten the first two novels and sent them off to agents. Sooner or later, I’ll probably get around to self-publishing but I don’t think this will stop me from sending new books off to agents. As long as I remember to take my charger.

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#34 Googling

I have a recurring dream in which the CIA or MI6 burst into my flat and pin me to the ground because I am a suspect in some investigation on the basis of some weird combination of searches I have performed on the Internet.

They say write what you know but there inevitably comes a time when you want to write something about something you don’t know and on those occasions, the Internet comes in really handy.

Google saves a record of the searches you perform. You can find it here. Here are a few of my own favourites:

How to make a flying monkey costume
Silent night by chewbacca
Peppa alphabet
Post holocaust music
Max headroom

sex pistols christmas song

dick whittington

How to butcher a goat

How much did fish and chips cost in Hull in 1971

How to make soap

Escapes from high security mental hospitals.

OK, so I admit that none of these are likely to cause the VIA to batter down my door but the point is that as writers we never imagine for what we might find ourselves searching the Internet.  However wacky your internet search, it’s certainly a good way to avoid doing the actual writing.




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#33 listening to podcasts.

Having already sent Living with Saci to four agents I’ve been finding myself becoming more and more receptive to the temptations of the world of self-publishing.

I guess I sent my first few chapters to traditional agents because I sought professional approval for my work but the more I learn about the traditional publishing industry and the self-publishing industry, the less convinced I am that traditional publishing is the correct route.

One of the sources of persuasion has been coming from the podcasts of the Self-Publishing Formula. I am only up to episode 9 but I have already picked up lots of useful tips.

The first thing I have learnt is that a self-publishing author needs an inventory of books, preferably a number of titles in a series. The reason for this is to enable the self-publisher to offer the first title for free in order to generate interest in the rest of the series.

Obviously, I have only just finished the rough draft of my second novel, the first is still riddled with grammatical errors, I haven’t started the third yet and none of them forms part of a series. However, there is still a lot of preparation I can do before my first three novels are ready to be published.

My first step has been to set up an account with mail chimp to create an email list of people who are interested in finding out when my novels are going to be published. I’ve added a link to the subscription form for this mailing list into my Facebook page and also sent a link out via Twitter. I’ve already been trying to build a following via Facebook and Twitter so I’m not starting completely from scratch and obviously, I have this blog as well which is designed to promote my work by blogging about the tortuous process.

I also changed the theme of the blog do that I could include Facebook and Twitter widgets on the menu.

Once the books are finished, they need to be thoroughly proofread (by someone else) to iron out all those silly grammatical mistakes I mentioned earlier and a book cover professionally designed and, to be honest, that’s about as much as I’ve learnt so far.

My plan at the moment is to write the third novel, iron out the mistakes in the first novel and re-write the second novel before I can even think about publishing anything. In the meantime, I’ll keep blogging and tweeting in the hope of increasing my following but will I continue sending my work to traditional agents? On that I haven’t yet decided, I’ll wait and see how the second novel turns out after the re-write and decide then.

Still, I’ve now got a big list of things I can do other than write. Hooray!

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#32 Check grammar

Are you sitting down? Yes? Good. You may want to have a stiff drink or some smelling salts at hand too. You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting to this blog lately and the reason that I haven’t had many tips on how to avoid writing is that I’ve actually been doing some writing.

I know. It’s shocking, isn’t it? I’ve actually done so much writing that I’ve finished a rough draft of my second novel which I have given the working title of The Story of James and David Part 1 The Anniversaries. Not very catchy I know but it’ll do for now. It’s written and I am following the advice of Stephen King and not looking at it for seven weeks before I start re-writing.

Next week I’ll start novel number three which I feel is going to be a post-apocalyptical diary type affair, let’s see.

In the meantime, the first novel, Living with Saci, has been sitting in the slush pile of the fourth agent to whom I sent it.

I haven’t only been working on the second novel the last few months. Following the advice of a friend, I re-initiated my association with youwriteon.com a website where writers can submit their work for review at the price of reviewing the work of other authors. So far, I have submitted the first fifteen chapters of Living with Saci and read a great deal of work of other authors which has varied from very good to very poor.

One of the things I was shocked to discover once reviews of my own work started to arrive was how many simple grammatical mistakes the reviewers were discovering. I think that, as an author, you get so close to the text that you lose the ability to spot even the most obvious of mistakes.

In an attempt to deal with this I have installed the Grammarly app to the browser on my desktop and, although it doesn’t work on Google Docs, I am able to correct the text using the app when I paste it into youwriteon.com. In the first fifteen chapters, there were roughly 200 of what the app described as critical errors, let alone the hundreds of more advanced errors which are revealed if you buy the premium edition.

At least I’ve discovered another good excuse for avoiding writing. And I used it to check the grammar in this post too.

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#30 & #31 Get ill and try to download Pokemon Go

No matter how much you want to write there will inevitably be days when you just don’t feel up to it. Going on holiday seems to have had the unfortunate downside of giving me the opportunity of picking up a virus which I attempted to fight off for four days with the aid of sleep and tea. But yesterday I finally have up and went to the doctor who prescribed 7 days of very expensive tablets.

So now I’m confined to my dressing gown reduced to watching the tour de France and listening to test match special but when all that finishes at 2pm São Paulo time what else is there to do except write…Or…try to download Pokemon Go.

It took a while and even now the app has downloaded the servers are too busy to allow me to sign in so I’m probably going to have to wait until the US goes to sleep before I can use it to really properly avoid writing.

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#29 watch a day of sport

Today has been a tremendous day of sport for Britain. In the Tour de France, Britains finished the day first and second in the general classification,  Lewis Hamilton won the British GP, Andy Murray was just one of Four British champions at Wimbledon and the British mens and women’s relay teams won at the European championships. 

And while we’re talking about the European championships,  the footy final is currently being played with Ronaldo being substituted due to a terrible moth related injury. 

And it doesn’t stop there. In the cricket the first test against Pakistan starts on the 14th so there’s very little chance of writing any time soon.

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#28 go on holiday

For aspiring writers, the holiday is often the time when they take a break from their day to day job and spend some time writing.

For me, the holiday is an excellent opportunity for writing avoidance.  This year I have chosen to avoid writing in the Sao Paulo mountains in a place called Campos do Jordao.

This is a place where the affluent Sao Paulo middle classes go to try the novelty of wearing woolens. Temperatures this week have fallen as low as 5¤C which to a paulista is pretty much Antarctica.

There is lots of scenery to walk around but most Paulistas come for a fondue and a pint of Baden Baden the award winning local craft beer.

Either way, there is plenty going on here, including mini golf, to keep an honest writer distracted for days.

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