Archive | Writing

Another Spring Reboot

I hit 92 Kg on the scales again last week. I feel sluggish in all areas when that happens. So I’m rebooting my life (dramatic or what?) this morning. Back on several wagons that have been gathering moss for a few weeks or more. Healthy eating (and less eating overall), more walking and exercise bike use, more studying for things that I need to have mastered before I die, and lots more writing. Both for paid technical clients and for my own pleasure in the fiction and non-fiction spaces.

Dickinson Season 2

I binge-watched Season 2 of Dickinson this week. The finale was released today. Both seasons are so good. It takes the 19th-century source material and imbibes it with 21st-century themes. I realise now that the themes from the 1850s are much the same as today. If you haven’t seen it, then I can highly recommend it. It’s worth the cost of an AppleTV+ subscription on its own. Looking forward to Season 3!

There is an excellent interview-based article with Alena Smith, the show-runner of Dickenson, in the latest issue of The New Yorker.

The show inspired me to read some of Emily Dickinson’s poems. I bought a copy of The Folio Society’s Selected Poems last year when watching Season 1 and started reading it this week. I’ve never really been into poetry. And that’s still the case! I’m about a third of the way through the selection in the book. So far only the only one that’s grabbed me is this one about the exultation of going to sea (and other things, no doubt). Still, even if the poems don’t speak to me, they obviously speak to Alena Smith, and they inspired her to create the TV show. And that’s great news for all of us who get to watch.

It also inspired me to buy a Stephen Fry book on how to write poetry. Something that passed me by in school. I can’t recall if that’s my fault or the fault of my school. I suspect the former as my school was excellent.

The music that peppers each episode is fantastic. This article in Rolling Stone discusses how the tracks are chosen. If you are on Apple Music, there is a playlist with the songs from Season 1 and another for Season 2.

2017 Freelance Writing Statistics

I didn’t write as much this year as I did in 2016.

I only wrote 21 new articles in 2017. Compared to 50 in 2016. I edited or rewrote ten pieces in 2017. Compared to 16 in 2016. As a result, my income from writing was 14.9% before tax. It was 18.8% of my pre-tax income in 2016.

The plan is to get back to 2016 levels of output in the forthcoming year. There is a lot to do I hear. Happy days.

2016 Freelance Writing Statistics

I wrote a post about my freelance writing output in 2015 a year ago. How did the 2016 writing output compare?

I wrote 50 new articles in 2016. As compared to 48 in 2015.

I edited, and rewrote, 16 articles by others. As compared to 24 in 2015.

I haven’t counted the words this year. It’s a meaningless metric. Articles are as long or as short as they need to be to get the ideas and information across.

I didn’t hit the 25% target for income from writing that I wanted to. It delivered 18.8% before Tax. I didn’t do as much writing as I’d hoped for a few months from May to July due to some very early starts. Getting up at 03:30 four days a week turns your brain to mush! Want to hit 25% at least in 2017.

Thanks again to those who asked me to do writing for them. Let’s create all the content in 2017 🙂

Testing Ulysses posting to WordPress

ulysses-macUlysses is a nice macOS and iOS application for writers. I prefer Scrivener myself for writing articles and fiction. But Ulysses can also post to WordPress Blogs. I’ve recently been having a few niggles with Blogo my WordPress posting app of choice. Weird text editing glitches and stuff. So I’m thinking of starting to use something else. So this post is a test to see what posts with images and links look like when composed and posted from Ulysses.

2015 Freelance Writing Statistics

Only 2 days left of 2015. Here are my stats for freelance technical writing I did this year.

I wrote 48 new articles that added up to 46310 words.

I also rewrote 24 other articles by others. There were 19412 words in total in those.

Writing delivered 19.2% of my income in 2015 before tax. I want to increase it to be at least 25% of my income in 2016. And then 100% at some point in the future a few years from now.

Some examples from 2015:
Building an Application Delivery Platform

DevOps – where software development and operations collaborate

Why Microsoft Lync is a business conversation first and foremost

Thanks to those reading this who commissioned me to do technical writing. I enjoyed it. I know you like the results. Looking forward to doing even more with you next year!

Throwing stuff out into the world

In November 2011 I completed NaNoWriMo for the 2nd time. Ended up with just over 50,000 words of a novel at the end of the month. I’ve added about 5000 more words since then. This year I decided to use November to add another 50,000 words to the story. I added just under 4000 last weekend. During that writing I decided that I needed to take a step back, and do some more detailed timeline planning for the story.

Thinking about that this week I had the idea to serialise the story. As David Gerrold, and many others, have said:

Your first million words are for practice. They don’t count. Remember that.

So why not practice in public? To that end I’m going to start posting segments of the story here as a serial. At least one per month. It’ll be interesting to get feedback on the story, as it progresses and grows. I’ll also get to experiment with Vellum, when creating eBook versions of the story. 

It’s difficult getting something out into the world. Whether it’s a book, a song, an app, or anything else creative. It’s very easy to fail to ship. Serialising a project makes it easier to get something out the door. Once that’s done other creative projects should be easier to finish and deliver. Hopefully.

My note taking tags

I recently started using tags in square brackets to tag notes in meetings, or to capture ideas that come to me on the go. For example:

[Note] The server needs to be running…

[Action] Do a report that summarises…

I started out with just the [Note] tag but I’ve been adding to it and I now have 23 of them. As you can imagine typing the square bracket around these tags is a pain. Especially on an iPhone. 

Enter iOS and OSX shortcuts. If you don’t know about them, Shortcuts on iOS and OSX allow you enter a bit of text and an associated replacement gets put into the text you are writing. So to get [Note] I have the following setup:

sbnote -> [Note] 

I just type sbnote. And [Note] is inserted instead when I hit the space bar. Really handy. A nice thing is that the shortcuts sync between all my iOS devices and my Mac. You could also set these up in TextExpander. I did have them there but I like the simplicity of the sync between iOS and OSX for these. I use TextExpander for more complex things.

Here is the full list of tags in square brackets that I now use. I keep adding to it! Really useful for categorising quick notes in meetings, and capturing creative ideas on the go. Use in the notes app of your choice. 

sbaction -> [Action]

sbapplication -> [Application]

sbbook -> [Book]

sbcall -> [Call] 

sbchange -> [Change]

sbdate -> [Date]

sbexample -> [Example]

sbfix -> [Fix] 

sbform -> [Form]

sbinstance -> [Instance]

sbissue -> [Issue]

sbitem -> [Item] 

sblist -> [List]

sblyric -> [Lyric]

sbname -> [Name]

sbnote -> [Note] 

sbquestion -> [Question]

sbquote -> [Quote]

sbreport -> [Report] 

sbsolution -> [Solution]

sbsystem -> [System]

sbtest -> [Test]

sbthought -> [Thought]