Monday, September 5, 2016

The Writer Essentials Bag (For Android Users)

I happened across this article from Lifehacker a little while back. It got me thinking; I enjoy Apple products but they're far outside of my price range. I glimpsed a thousand dollar iPad in Staples the other day. I balked so loud that the store associate asked if I was okay.

This is my writing setup. It's affordable and lets me get the job done.

  • KAKA Laptop Backpack
  • HP Pavilion 17 Notebook PC
  • LG V10 Phone
  • LG G Pad X 10.1

1). KAKA Laptop Backpack ($31, Amazon)

This sturdy, rugged backpack can handle anything I throw at it, Multiple inside pockets and two exterior side pouches hold all of my electronics, chargers, whatever I've packed for lunch, and even my gym clothes if I want to sneak in a workout on the day job.

2). HP Pavilion 17 Notebook PC ($478 Recertified, Walmart)

Perhaps the best, cheap little laptop I've ever owned. I've since invested a further sixty dollars to upgrade the memory to sixteen gigs, and there's been a drastic increase in performance since then. The laptop is a few years old and not only supports all of my writing effort, but long WoW marathons, too. Despite its age I have no plan to upgrade anytime soon.

3). LG V10 Phone ($694, AT&T)

Phones like this exist to remind you that there is a world of quality smartphones not named Samsung. A wide screen and expandable storage make this the perfect, on-the-go writing tool. The second screen at the top make accessing your favorite apps easy.

NOTE: I like this phone, but I plan to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 as soon as they solve that pesky little exploding issue.

4). LG G Pad X 10.1 ($309, Amazon)

When you don't want to use the phone but don't feel like pulling out the laptop, there's this tablet. This handy little case makes it perfect for writing at a slant or watching netflix for when you know, you're "doing research".

This entire setup, complete with apps like Kindle, Google Keep, and Jotterpad, will run you about $1,500, or substantially less up front of you get plan from AT&T.

This is how I work.

Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is the author of scifi/romance the Anniversary. Titles are available on Nook and Kobo too. If you’re new to Kobo, you can get both stories for free!
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Friday, September 2, 2016

On Facebook: Just Because No One Is Liking...

Social media can be a tough board to break. It feels like screaming into the void; you put all this time and effort into this epic content, you throw it up on your blog, your fan pages, and then...nothing happens.

Oh dear Zod, why am I doing this to myself? You may ask. It can be torturous, putting everything you have into something only to have no one appear to care what you're doing.

Well, this post is for you.

I've managed a Facebook Fan page for three or four years now. I've managed to garner over twelve hundred people there, and the interaction fluctuates largely because I've put no money into boosting posts or the like. This will change next year. But right now, yeah, I just don't have the money. And if you don't have the money, Facebook will ignore you like the hot girl/guy at school.

It can make you want to quit.

But one thing I've learned over the years is that just because no one is liking or commenting, DOESN'T MEAN NO ONE IS SEEING YOUR POSTS. Quite the opposite in fact.

Case study. I've got a little hype going for my new supernatural YA Thriller Agoura Hills. A couple of people in particular have been clamoring for it. So when one of them asked me publicly to get to work on the book, on a lark, I snipped the image and threw it up on my fan page.

I got one like--typical--but I was shocked to see that almost five hundred people saw the post. That's almost half of the people on the page. I'm tempted to boost it just to see what happens.

Just because no one is liking doesn't mean no one is seeing.

We live in an era of endless, soulless sequels, and an era where anyone with an internet connection can become a published author. I've learned that people are hungry for good stories, but also apprehensive. Will you finish what you begin? (Thank you, Yoda). Are you taking this seriously? Are you worth spending money on?

People are almost always paying attention to what you have to say--that's what your fan page is for--but you're going to have to earn your interactions just like the rest of us.

Don't give up.
Keep writing.
Keep posting.

Are you worth investing into?
Prove it.

Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is the author of scifi/romance the Anniversary. Titles are available on Nook and Kobo too. If you’re new to Kobo, you can get both stories for free!
Sign up for the Hidden Level newsletter and get weekly updates, writing advice, and a free short story.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

You Have To Love The Challenge.

The truth is, there are no shortcuts in the indie publishing business. Experience yields faster, and better results, you can avail yourself to the experts and heed their advice, but the fact is, you have to love the work.

For example.
This day job is the most challenging I've ever had. Gone are the days of writing between long stretches of nothing. Someone told me that learning here was like taking in water from a fire hose. I liken it more to traveling at lightspeed while holding onto the hull.

Yesterday, I was pissed. It was the end of the day, I was stuck in The Neverending Task, and I didn't feel like I was picking things up as quickly as I should've been. Bear in mind, this was a job I wanted and fought for. Yesterday, I just wanted to flush the day and go home.

So as we're nearing the end, the guy training me (who's about as sick of this as I am) asks me if I can finish on my own. Reflexively, I reply "Yeah, I got this."

I freeze.
I didn't mean to say that. I don't got this. I don't even know what this is. Don't leave me here alone. I'll unleash Skynet or something.

I didn't unleash Skynet.
Something strange happened.

Left alone, I started to get it. Wax-on/wax-off turned into karate (ten points if you get that reference)
Things made sense. I knew where things were supposed to go and how to make them look nice. I got the job done.
Today the work was no less difficult, but the process was a little easier.

There really are no shortcuts, no easy roads. Somewhere along the line, you have to make up your mind that the reward is in meeting the challenge. And then meeting the next one. And the one after that.

And maybe, you'll succeed.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The End...?

This past week, a friend of mine lost her mother-in-law and a close friend within eight hours of each other. It got me thinking.

One thing she said that stuck; with me, once you're in, you're in. Blood isn't always thicker than water.

We can argue over life's meaning until we're blue in the face, but the one inescapable fact is that it will end. There will come a day when we aren't here, and for most of us, that's the most terrifying prospect in the world.

For the most part, I've accepted the fact that I'll die one day. But fear of a premature end has affected my patience. I fear that I'll never accomplish everything I want too before the end comes, that there will always be that one more thing I didn't get to do. It's caused me to rush my work and put quantity over quality.

Well, time to put that nonsense to bed.

There are three points I'd like to leave you with.

1). Don't fear mortality. Embrace it. Having an expiration date is what makes the whole experience worth it. And fun.

2). We don't often meet people who will bring more positive than negative to our lives. The ones who are, cherish them, and make sure they know you care.  I remember an old friend who put on his hat as he walked out of the house to go run errands. We never saw him alive again.

3). I am rescinding all publication deadlines on Agoura Hills, Breach, and Era of the Scourge: Reclamation [Second Edition]. I will publish Agoura Hills and Breach in that order, but I'm not going to give dates anymore. I am more concerned with telling phenomenal stories than my search engine ranking at this point.

One will follow the other.

I'll continue to post updates regularly

I'm going to quit rushing and enjoy the ride.

Thanks for reading. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

3 Tips (And One Hard Truth) To Complete That First Draft

I used to hate these damned first drafts. Few endeavors are more challenging than taking something out of your head and bringing it into the real world.

It hurts.

Every time.

And while it never gets easier (It really should get easier) there are ways to assure you'll complete arguably the most difficult of writing tasks. Here are three tips, and one blunt, hard truth, to help you through.

1). Guard Your Creative Time.
Set aside a certain time each day in which you will write, code, animate, what have you, but block out that part of the day solely to get things done. The main benefit of this is as you make it a habit, your mind will start prepping for the workload in advance.
Do this at the time of day when you're at your best. It's not like anyone is going to see your first draft anyway.

I get up at either four or five in the morning, depending on my day job schedule, so I have at least one hour to be creative. The drawback is that I'm wiped out after work, but there is always forward progress on the book I'm working on.

2). Shut Off Social Media.
Before this comes back to bite me I confess I am a hypocrite! I'm always on twitter when I'm writing so I can powwow with other writers, but Facebook is a damn timesink. Unless you're really good at dividing your attention (and it took me eight years to get this far) shut down all social media. In fact, if you can help it, don't even have a browser open. Eliminate all temptation of distraction so you can be creative. The task is hard enough, and chances are you won't want to do it at first, so don't give yourself any excuses to get out of it.

3). Set Yourself Up For Success.

This is how I like to leave myself set up. The laptop is running, Scrivener is ready to go, and the exact scene I left off on is right in front of me. I don't want to go through any steps to get things ready, or I'll lose motivation.
When you finish for the day, leave yourself set up to get right back to work the next day. By the time you get coffee (or whatever you drink), turn on your computer, open your app, hey, Facebook!

1). The Hard Truth.
When it comes down to it, you either want it, or you don't. We all have obligations. We're all busy. We all struggle for free time. The fact is, being creative will cut into your free time. This either means enough to you for you to pursue it, or it doesn't. You make up your mind to get something done and chances are you can make it happen. But when it comes down to it, you either want to make it happen, or you don't. If you do, you will. If you don't, you'll find excuses not too.

The choice is yours.

Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is the author of epic dark fantasy Era of the Scourge: Reclamation and scifi/romance the Anniversary. Titles are available on Nook and Kobo too. If you’re new to Kobo, you can get both stories for free!

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Agoura Hills, Comfort Zones and the Importance of "Return To" Days

I wrote a post about writer's block and then it found me.

Stymied on a dedicated writing post, I thought I'd post instead on the progress of my latest novel, writing outside of your comfort zone, and another tool I use to get through writer's block; Return-to days.

For a so-called agent of chaos, I need a lot of things in life to run smoothly in order to be creative. I sprained my shoulder (sleeping, as far as I can tell) about a month ago and never gave it time to heal. So I had to stay out of the gym, which throws my creativity off. Then, I wound up getting a new job, No gym, new job; no writing.

Any break in the routine throws me off.

So instead of turning into a freight train and churning out crap, I took a step back to recharge. The longer I'm away from my world, the harder it is for me to return, which brings me to the first topic; Return-To Days.

I use Return-To Days as a way to beat procrastination. Knowing exactly which day I'll return to a task helps me mentally prepare for it. I like to put return-to's at the beginning of a week, or a work week, so I've had time to relax and prepare. In the case of my injury, the return-to serves as a marker to either get back into the gym or (ugh) go see the doctor about my injury. Either way, it's time for this particular incident to be done. Return-to's mark days when, no matter what, a situation will be resolved and it's time to get back to work. It's my nuclear option, the last resort to ensure I don't stay out of the game for too long.

Agoura Hills (YA Supernatural Thriller) is both a test and a triumph. My wheelhouse is usually science and fiction (though my prose needs work). I've never written a thriller before, and I've actively avoided young adult because I don't know if I can do the genre justice. It's a triumph because it's the first book fans have actually asked me to write. So it goes to the adage; work hard and get results. It took me eight years to get this far.

Agoura Hills, the story of a young man investigating horrific incidents that occurring in his home town, isn't coming along as quickly as I'd like, but I write fast and I know the story. I'm confident I can have the first draft done by September 1st. Writing in a genre I'm not comfortable with brings me to my final point

You should take any opportunity you can to get out of your comfort zone. Comfort can lead to complacency, which can lead to stagnation if you're not careful. Your first attempt at any endeavor is probably going to suck, sure, but practice usually improves your skill. Say your wheelhouse is fantasy. What if, one day, you could write mysteries? Science fiction? Horror? And you did them all well?

You never know what you can do until you try.

Thanks for reading.

Avery K. Tingle is the author of epic dark fantasy Era ofthe Scourge: Reclamation and scifi/romance the Anniversary. Titles are available on Nook and Kobo too. If you’re new to Kobo, you can get both stories for free!

Sign up for the Hidden Level newsletter and get weekly updates, writing advice, and a free short story.