I'm Robert E Kreig and I make stuff up.
Lately, I've been struggling with getting my ideas written down. This isn't to say I'm not writing or that I have writer's block. I'm preoccupied with other things at the moment.
Like most independent writers, I have a day job that occupies a great deal of time. I'd love nothing more than to become a full-time writer but bills and other expenses need paying.
I find the struggle between work life and time for creative writing a bit of a hard juggle. My day job, teaching, demands time outside of regular work hours. I spend a great deal of that on a computer, tapping away at the keyboard and staring at the screen. When I'm done, I don't always want to look at the screen or tap on keys anymore. This produces a conundrum as writing requires more screen time.
Hence, the struggle.
Another project I've taken on is to start my own publishing company. This coincides with reproducing my past titles onto another platform.
Let me explain.
My books were all available as ebooks up until recently. I requested their removal from the company's catalog I paid for distribution. This wasn't because I'm displeased with the company. In fact, their services are excellent. What I wanted to do was release the books into print format as well as ebook formats. I could do this with the company but it required deeper pockets than I currently have.
So, I moved over to Ingram Spark. I then created a publishing company, registered its name and logo so I can stick a little badge on the spine of my books. I'm happy with this decision, for now.
But, my new ideas are sitting on one of my mind-shelves, mostly in Scrivener, while I prepare my past works for the transition. I'm finding this perplexing. New ideas keep coming. Plot points keep advancing. Characters keep developing. I place these onto the proverbial mind-shelves, or scribble them into my notes, but that is as far as they go.
I made a commitment to the transition. I intend to transfer my titles over and it will take time. I'm revisiting each book, running them through ProWritingAid and tidying them up before posting them onto Ingram Spark. It takes time and is proving to be a slow process. Especially with a high-demanding day job.
For my readers; hang in there. We'll get there, eventually.
For other writers; I know many of you struggle with the same thing. Work, family and other commitments often tie us up. My advice, and this is to myself as much as any other writer, write when you can.
In my previous article, I wrote about the writing tools I use. I've mentioned two in this piece but would like to also include one that I'm using to write this article. It's called Hemingway Editor.
Hemingway Editor is like ProWritingAid where it offers advice on readability. Hemingway Editor obviously offers advice for grammar. But, it uses colour to highlight issues with passive voice, phraseology, sentences and word count amongst other things. It even offers an estimated reading time.
Hemingway Editor is available online and as a desktop app. I think it's worth taking a look at.
Well, these books aren't going to upload or edit themselves.
Until next time, keep writing, keep reading.
All the best,
My Writing Process
I’m Robert E Kreig and I make stuff up.
Many people ask about the writing process and, I must admit, I find this is different for every author. Some write with loud music thumping in their ears, whilst others need to have a certain herbal tea to help them think. My process is a little different from this.
I’ll get into that later.
Other things I’ve noticed people ask authors about is how they write. By this I mean, where do they jot down notes and write their manuscripts. Most people could answer by retorting, “word processor.”
But which word processor?
Surely, they must utilise more apps or softwares to aid their writing.
I know I do.
So, some authors may wish to be secretive about the process they use. I won’t. And this is what I intend to share with you today.
My writing process.
This is the part where I need to add a disclaimer. I am in no means being paid or subsidised, sponsored or high-five from any of the brands I refer to in this article. These are apps and softwares I used to help me with writing.
They, by no means, help with content. I make this statement because I have read questions on some social media feeds asking how to come up with stories for novels. That’s something you need to discover yourself. It usually requires a creative mind. Some might say you either have it or you don’t.
There are many apps and sites with prompts that hopefully engage one's thinking. But do they help? For the creative mind, yes.
I’ll leave it there.
My process may differ totally from your process. If you don’t have a process yet, because you’re just starting out, try different things until you find your niche. Stephen King’s On Writing gives examples of the master of horror’s process, setting a daily word count and a place to write, as well as other elements to establish a disciplined approach to writing. I recommend any budding writer to read it.
Personally, I have a full-time job that demands a lot of time. So, I write what I can, when I can.
I Need Coffee
Before I sit down to plan, write, or edit, I need coffee. I need something to reward myself after writing a line, paragraph or chapter. Coffee is that reward.
This is where I mentioned herbal tea that some writers need to help them think. It’s coffee for me. I’m sure it’s just a mind-set, or perhaps a caffeine addiction, but I need coffee. I don’t care whether it’s instant, percolated, plunged, in a can, sachet or jar. I need coffee.
Notepads and Exercise Books
Some people use the notes app on tier phones to make quick messages to themselves as ideas pop into their heads. I prefer to use a pen on paper to scribble on. I make rough notes in exercise books and post-it notes of plot points, character traits, settings and whatever else pops into my brain. I then expand upon these notes when planning my narratives on software that helps with organisation.
Installed on my computers, Grammarly set up in the background, always checking my writing as I write. I don’t always agree with Grammarly’s choices. But, I can choose to ignore or change the suggestions as I wish. This also applies to all apps and softwares I mention in this article.
Check out Grammarly here.
This is where I organise, make more notes, expand upon ideas and write my manuscript drafts. Scrivener is a fantastic tool where you can outline, keep research notes, links to website pages, character maps… you name it.
It’s an all in one place for writing.
Some have claimed Scrivener is hard to use. I totally disagree. My brain doesn’t like things too technical and I find Scrivener is pretty user friendly.
Admittedly, it takes a little bit of time to set it up how you like it, and after using it for a few years, I’m still discovering things it can do. But, I’d be lost without it and it saves on using more paper than I already do.
A worthy investment.
Check out Scrivener here.
After I complete a chapter in Scrivener, I run it through ProWritingAid for grammar and style editing. ProWritingAid is an online grammar checker, style editor and writing mentor in one package, according to the website.
It’s proven to be an extremely useful tool for picking up readability and passive voice issues in my writing. It offers monthly, yearly and lifetime subscriptions.
I advise purchasing a lifetime subscription, especially if you intend on being serious about your writing and plan to go long term. You can download ProWritingAid onto your computer or utilise the online editing tool.
Check out ProWritingAid here.
PerfectIt is a new app for me. I’m still getting my toes wet with it before I dive right in. But, it seems to be pretty intuitive. PerfectIt calls itself proofreading software for professionals. It attaches onto Microsoft Word, which works well for me as Microsoft Word is the final application/software I use to tidy up my manuscript. It’s also the preferred platform most editors and publishers like to receive manuscripts.
PerfectIt does all the editorial things the ProWritingAid does, but it picks up a lot of the things the previous app missed. It works like that the other way around too. If I used PerfectIt first, ProWritingAid picks up a lot of the things PerfectIt missed.
No editing app is perfect. And this is important to note as we move into my next point.
PerfectIt is a little pricey but, because I also use it for my day job, it’s proving its worth.
I’m not referring to software or apps here. This is where you reach deep into your pockets and pay a professional to read your manuscript. Offering some advice here, do your research regarding editors.
There are five major types of editors; copy editing, line editing, substantive editing, mechanical editing, and developmental editing.
What does all that mean? It’s detailed, and I’d need another article to explain. Instead, check out this article at Enago for more details. Alternatively, check out this article from Kindlepreneur, Master Guide to Selecting the Best Book Editor.
An editor, as in an actual person, will pick up on readability, writing style and consistency in ways a machine cannot. If you intend to write for a human audience, you need to hire a human editor.
Depending on feedback from your editor, you will either need to start rewrites or you may be ready to put your work out into the world. Usually rewrites.
If you’re ready to publish, you have two options. Traditional or Self.
If you want to go down the traditional publishing avenue, good luck.
If you want to self-publish, do your research. There are many vanity-publishing services that are quite happy to take your money and don’t do too much to help their authors, if anything at all.
I was lucky to use a “vanity-publishing” firm in Australia who looked after me and offered help where they could, when I needed it.
Recently, I moved away from them, taking my books to Ingram Spark. At the moment, I’m happy with the service they’ve provided.
An alternative is the Kindle Direct Publishing program through Amazon (KDP). The difference between KDP and Ingram Spark is that KDP is exclusively Amazon stores only. Ingram Spark distributes their catalog more widely.
Ultimately, it’s up to you.
So, that’s how I write. As mentioned earlier, every writer has their own way to achieve their writing goals and I dare say, if you’re intending on taking your writing seriously, you will find your own way too.
Hopefully, this article has been of some help.
Thanks for stumbling upon my blog.
All the best.
I need coffee,