ness writes about writing

(Possibly) Productive Hints and Tips

Writing is a fluid thing; what may suit you one day may aggravate you the next, but this is what I’ve found, on the whole, to be a Useful Way to organise and write my various projects:

Distraction Free

via Pinterest

As I compose this blog post I am using the ‘Distraction Free Writing’ option. I do the same on MS Word by going to the bottom right hand corner and selecting ‘Web Layout’. That way, I am not counting the pages I am writing but simply getting the story out onto the white screen.

Master Folder and Document

When I begin a story, I open a new folder. This is my master file, where everything to do with that story is saved. Then a new document is saved to the folder as the master document of the story. Here I pop the name of the project on the first page, followed by my name and the date the story was started and an empty place for the date of its completion.

Every time a chapter is finished I put the date on that first page. This is quite motivating as you can see how much time has passed between chapters (cough cough), or how quickly they are being finished.

New Chapter – New Document

Every time I start a new chapter, I start a new document. Sounds a bit weird? No, not really. You see, often all the chapters previous to the new one can feel like they are weighing it down; as if the sheer volume of words are presenting themselves with every new paragraph you create.

So I begin anew, like this:

How Ness [quite often] Begins A New Chapter:

  1. create a new document, save it as chapter such and such and book title to master folder (like: Chapter 3 – TMTOAB, I put the abbreviated form of the project name after it. This saves confusion with other chapter threes)
  2. pop the chapter number on top of the brand new white document
  3. write the chapter
  4. name chapter (the name may stick or it may be changed at a later date)
  5. save chapter to master folder
  6. copy and paste chapter to master document
  7. be pleasently surprised how much the word count has grown


I use MS OneNote to heap any plot ideas, scraps of writing I didn’t need, scraps of future scenes that I may want. This saves hunting down that elusive thought in the hallways of my mind: what was that really great expression again, the one that I thought of days ago but didn’t write down?

So – a question (if I may): how do you organise your writing projects?

ness writes about writing

Patience, Young Grasshopper




I was impatient –  I wanted to finish The Many Trials; to get it done. Over with. Complete. Move on to something else. And it seemed such a chore to do so.

I’m sure that you can see the error in my thinking – I didn’t though, and it took me awhile untill it ‘clicked’.

Why on earth was I worrying about getting it done? Why did it feel so hard to plonk one word in front of the other? Why was I beginning to loathe it?

I’d forgotten, you see.

I’d forgotten that writing isn’t about finishing it. Sure – doing so is, you know, just a teeny bit important. But there is no use in finishing a novel which drops like a dead weight around the neck at the very thought of completing it. It was like one of those awful dreams where you want to run, but are stuck in an invisible pool of glue and cannot move.

I’d forgotten to enjoy it – to love telling my tale. Forgotten the thrill of a funny piece of dialogue, a humourous description or an emotional scene.

And that is a rather big thing to forget.

So have patience, Young Grasshopper – you’ll reach the End. But what use is there in reaching the ending when the journey there has been dry and devoid of any enjoyment? Enjoy it. Put heart in every scene. Give colour to the voyage, and those who reach the End will be left with the longing to read just one page more.

ness rambles, ness writes about writing

Type, my Minions!

When you hear the word ‘writer’ … what do you immediately picture?

An author scribbling away furiously at a notepad, steam rising visibly from the paper? A man, puffing leisurely from his pipe, occasionally exclaiming, “My word, that’s a good sentence!” and writing it down on his ever-present trusty notebook? A woman, modern with bracelets and rings aplenty, a chic scarf wrapped around her neck tapping with manicured fingernails on her keyboard?

Or do you picture someone who sits down, pulls up a word document, stares dazedly at it for a moment or two and then promptly surfs the internet?

‘Cause that person above? Yep, that’s me.

Believe it or not the times when I write the most is when I don’t have access to the internet, (but I need the web for research! Yeah, totally. Because news websites really are brillIant helps to writing a medieval fantasy book) or when my brain decides to cooperate, (which happens all the time, it’s actually amazing how many hundred of thousands of words it allows me to turn out. I am in no way telling a blatant falsehood).

My writing comes in fits and starts. It isn’t one steady flowing stream of amazing dialogue, sweeping action and delicate descriptions. No, I have off days and on days. Days in which I spout a couple hundred words, or one word, or a thousand words.

I can’t say: “the set method to getting my creative juices flowing is one, spin on my head, twice. Two, Drink a cup of tea with precisely three tablespoons of fat-free milk. Three, do finger stretches, and finally step number four, command my fingers with the words, type, my minions!

Nope. Uh uh.

It doesn’t work like that.

Some days I’ll write one project, other days I’ll write in another. (though it’s time I knuckled down and focused on one … more on that another time). Some days I write, other days I [cough] don’t write at all [cough].

But … I’m also a firm believer in that I can write anything if I set my mind to it. Seriously. Even the project which feels like I’m banging my head against a horrible wall, a horrible brick wall. Perhaps it is like that time when you got a stitch when running; the oh so comforting advice you were given? Run it off.

So maybe the secret to writing is actually step number four: command my fingers with the words, type, my minions!

You want us to *what*?
You want us to *what*?

The conclusion of this long and rambling post?

Will power!


Write it off!



(and an extra exclamation point, for good measure)