Sunday, December 20, 2015


Advanced Merry Christmas! :-)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Finding Time to Write During the Holidays

As we get older, Christmas becomes a lot busier. The daily tasks even get to the point of overflowing beyond what an average human can accomplish in a day. The entries just spill beyond the page of the daily to-do list. It also becomes harder to find the time to write.

Everyone is arranging their get-togethers. Just to be not labeled a "Grinch," the poor writer is forced into joining in with everyone in these events and loses the time for precious writing.

When this becomes a problem, it is wise to take advantage of the technology that is available today. RescueTime is a wonderful website that is for keeping track of the time spent on a computer, identifying the percentage of it that is spent on useless things, and spotting the free time for writing that seem to just go invisible whenever we're too worried about our plans. Because sometimes, our minds are so full of our thoughts, that we don't notice time at all. RescueTime is a time tracker.

Of course, many of us do things only because of the rewards that we get in exchange for doing them. The human brain is designed to perform whatever is needed to get what it desires, and that's why humans remain cooperative despite our inner nature to become very imperfect. It will be best to use this feature of the natural design of the human brain to do what we're supposed to be doing. irunurun is the best tool for this approach in sticking with our writing schedule during the busy holidays.

We love points and irunurun gives it to us in exchange for finishing our daily and weekly tasks. The website has enough personalization options for the choosy and creative writer, but it still maintains its stand as an app that's supposed to discipline and make the writer write.

The Actions in irunurun can't be changed within the week of their creation. They can be changed only on Monday of the next week. It's like living in a boarding school that has a very strict headmistress (or headmaster, in case of a boys' boarding school).

These are the apps that can help squeeze in time for writing during the busiest days of the year. They're used by other professionals, but they are currently helping keep these blog posts coming.

On December 16, the Simbang Gabi will start. Simbang Gabi is available only in the Philippines. It is a Holy Mass that takes place hours before sunrise. It was originally created for farmers, so that the farmers can attend the Holy Mass without missing out on their farming duties.

The Simbang Gabi tradition has been kept despite the modernization of the country and is still one of the most beloved features of Filipino culture. Modern Filipinos still wake up early in the morning to attend Simbang Gabi, and there is currently this religious belief that prayers come true if all nine Simbang Gabi are attended.

There is no way of knowing if this belief is true, but the Simbang Gabi adds to the busy Christmas schedule of the average Filipino.

The Simbang Gabi makes the Christmas of Filipino Catholic writers busier than the Christmas of their foreign counterparts. Even Filipino writers who are not Catholic are affected by this nationwide tradition. The crowds and traffic make waiting hours longer. That is why some writers do more writing on their smartphones during waiting time than on their computers during working hours.

One of the most wonderful things about the job of a writer is it can be done anywhere and anytime.

Photo credit: me

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Post-NaNoWriMo 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 is officially over! The website of NaNoWriMo adds more and more features each year. Author profiles now have Personal Achievement Badges. Authors can choose to either show them on their public profiles, or hide them for private self-appreciation.

Last year, the sponsors and the prizes that they gave to both participants and winners were fewer than the giveaways in 2013. This year, the number of sponsors and prizes are bigger than in both 2014 and 2013. Also, the winner goodies are more exciting than ever!

The promo of FastPencil has got to be the most exciting new NaNoWriMo Winner prize of them all. Still, nothing beats the excitement of claiming those wonderful ebooks from Kobo. Kobo gives away 10 free ebooks to NaNoWriMo winners each year.

The web badges from NaNoWriMo 2014 were the prettiest of them all, but at least, there is a new web badge design this year. It will be boring if the web badge design is the same each year, and it will be hard to figure out which is which. Thanks to the people behind NaNoWriMo and their designers and artists, there is a unique look every year!

It will be wonderful to compare the number of winners with the number of winners who get published each year, both in traditional publishing and self-publishing. It will also be wonderful to know how many Now What? and Camp NaNoWriMo events winners attend before finally deciding to publish their novels. Because it has always been a point of discussion how much NaNoWriMo helps budding novelists.

The fact that publishers truly wait in NaNoWriMo to search for new talents is a sign that the event does help successfully produce some remarkable works. New publishers that have opened this year have joined also by being some of the event sponsors.

The best part of each NaNoWriMo event is the motivation it provides. It is hard to write a novel during this time, especially for someone who exists in a world where there are few novelists. Life is moving so fast and there are a whole lot of distractions. Joining NaNoWriMo is like taking a bus. It's a world where everyone wants to go to the same direction.

After the NaNoWriMo, most of the novelists are moving on to their next schedules. Some go on a leave for Christmas, while some work double to produce Christmas promos.

Christmas is always a great time for marketing strategies because people are in a festive mood and are very much in the mood to make deals and buy. The next holiday for these kinds of opportunities is Valentine's Day.

Authors actually give Christmas discounts, and some even give away free books for a limited time. Just Google them. There are also a few authors who allow free access to their books ahead of the date of publication, but one has to be subscribed and fully tuned in to publishing updates in order to claim those special offers from the creators themselves.

The ones who make Christmas giveaways are truly admirable because it's hard to work during Christmas. Schedules change, people change, resources that were previously accessible 24/7 are suddenly not available, family and friends require bonding time before the year ends, the cash flow gets close to behaving like some rapids, and everyone is obliged to celebrate. It is hard, especially for beginners, to resist the inner sheep. There is a feeling of being too different and missing out on a lot of stuff.

On the other hand, there are authors who find working in this time of year simply fun.