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New entry Jun 06

Critter Notices

Books from Critters!

Check out Books by Critters for books by your fellow Critterfolk, as well as my list of recommended books for writers.

Stayin' Alive

If you want to make a career of SF writing, STAYING ALIVE - A WRITER'S GUIDE by three-time SFWA President Norman Spinrad, published by your Critter Captain's ReAnimus Press, is an indispensable guide to the inside workings of the SF publishing industry by an expert.

New Book from a Critter Member

**NOW IN PRINT EDITION TOO!** Awesome new book, HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR SPECULATIVE FICTION OPENINGS, from a Critter member who's unearthed a shard of The Secret to becoming a pro writer. Really good piece of work. "...if you're at all concerned about story openings, you'd be nuts not to read what Qualkinbush has to say." —Wil McCarthy, author of BLOOM and THE COLLAPSIUM


I was interviewed live on public radio for Critters' birthday, for those who want to listen.

Free Web Sites

Free web sites for authors (and others) are available at www.nyx.net.

ReAnimus Acquires Advent!

ReAnimus Press is pleased to announce the acquisition of the legendary Advent Publishers! Advent is now a subsidiary of ReAnimus Press, and we will continue to publish Advent's titles under the Advent name. Advent was founded in 1956 by Earl Kemp and others, and has published the likes of James Blish, Hal Clement, Robert Heinlein, Damon Knight, E.E. "Doc" Smith, and many others. Advent's high quality titles have won and been finalists for several Hugo Awards, such as The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy and Heinlein's Children. Watch this space for ebook and print editions of all of Advent's current titles!

Book Recommendation

THE SIGIL TRILOGY: The universe is dying from within... "Great stuff... Really enjoyed it." — SFWA Grandmaster Michael Moorcock

Announcing ReAnimus Press

If you're looking for great stuff to read from bestselling and award-winning authors—look no further! ReAnimus Press was founded by your very own Critter Captain. (And with a 12% Affiliate program.) [More]








Tips To Increase Writing Productivity

In 2005, ten members of the Critters community took part in a research experiment led by Matt Porritt, attempting to increase their writing productivity. This research is written up in a journal article--

Increasing Fiction Writer's Productivity through an Internet-Based Intervention
Matthew Porritt, Andrew Burt, Alan Poling
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis [date TBD]
--and Matt wrote up this summary of tips.

There are a few things that the research suggests could help writers struggling to squeeze words out.

1. Set small weekly or daily goals.

Word count goals are the best. If you set time goals, it is easy to just waste the time away, or not focus completely on your work. It's always best to start with small goals and work your way up. Think of this like starting an exercise routine. Most gyms make big money from people who sign up, work out once, over-do it, and never come back because they are too sore. Don't over-strain yourself in the first session.

2. Make your goals public.

Most people from the study reported that setting goals was a powerful intervention; however, after the study, when I stopped checking up on them they quit goal setting. Realizing the power of goal setting may not be enough to get you to set regular goals; you may need some social support. Tell a friend who you will talk to often. (A Critter friend would be great!)

3. Post a chart of your goals.

Write your goal on the chart and record how well you did. Put the chart somewhere other people can see it. Most people in the study enjoyed watching their progress on a chart. If you are doing well, it's a visual reminder of your great achievements. Also, other people can relate to you and your hard work if they see just how much you've been putting in.

4. Be flexible.

If you are not meeting your goals, don't beat yourself up over it--just revise your goals to something more realistic. The routine of writing to meet your goals is the most important thing to start. You can always increase your goals later. Always remember, writing should be fun or chances are you will find something else to do.

5. Don't worry about quality.

Most of the people in the study, although their writing productivity went up, writing quality did not go down. If you write with less worry, writing will be more fun and you will be more likely to do it in the future. You can always revise.

6. Write with as little distractions as possible.

Tell people you have a goal to meet today, shut your self off somewhere, and focus just on writing. If you can designate a room or a spot as your writing place. Use your writing place for only that. Psychology tells us that our surroundings will cue our behaviors. If you watch television, eat, or play games in the room you are attempting to write in, chances are you will be distracted by these other things.

7. Take some time to muse.

Ruminating about your story can be extremely healthy. Schedule 20 to 30 minutes to just space out and think about your story. Write down your ideas in a note book from time to time, but don't rush things. Let your thoughts ripen. If all you come can up with are ideas you consider sub-par, don't worry about it. Again, this should be pleasant or you're not likely to do it again or get better at it. Do this rumination in your writing place, or some other place where you are free from distraction. If you like incorporate your muse time with exercise. A long, slow bike ride on a trail, a walk through the park, or a nice morning jog can be the best time to send your thoughts to your story.

8. Don't wait for inspiration.

Waiting for the muse to strike is a little like trying to get a drink of water by lying on the lawn. Sure, every once in a while it rains, but if you really want water go to the well and pump. Ideas will come if you try. They won't all be winners, but some of them will, and in the end you'll come out ahead. As an added bonus, previous studies have shown that spending time in thought increases the number of random "ah ha!" moments that you can have. Carry a pocket note book for when these moments happen. Let me reiterate: don't wait on the muse; make her work for you.

Ok, so-- get writing! :-)


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