How to Feel Productive Without Being Productive

At last! A look at productivity that doesn’t just give writers what we need but goes way beyond that to what we want!

From Lifehacker

by Nick Douglas

Most people are interested in getting something done. But maybe you aren’t. Maybe you just want to feel productive, or efficient, or hard-working, without having to actually accomplish something. You can’t just start doing that. First you need to plan, and first you need to plan to plan.

Obsess About Tools

What do you need to get done? Well, check your to-do list. You have a to-do app, right? Theoretically, you could effectively manage your tasks with a notebook and a pen. But you don’t always have those handy, and you always have your phone handy, so you should handle your to-dos on your phone, so you should download a mobile to-do app, so first you should research mobile to-do apps.

There are literally countless to-do managers in the iOS and Android play stores rated 4+ stars; Google Play stops at 250. How do you know one of those isn’t 10% more effective than your current app? One of them has location-based reminders. One has calendar integration. One has haptic feedback. One has an especially handsome icon with a blue checkmark.

While you’re in the app store, update all your apps. Update the apps that support those apps. Update the apps you don’t use but might some day, so when you do use them, you won’t have to waste all that time updating them. Go to your computer, update those apps too. Download the desktop to-do app that syncs with your mobile to-do app. Sign into Dropbox to set up the sync file. Sign into Google to get the email confirmation from Dropbox. Sign into 1Password to get your Google password. Sign into Twitter in case you ever want to tweet your to-dos.

Download a minimalist writing app. Download another, fullscreen minimalist writing app. Download another, fuller-screen minimalist writing app. What is the most productive font? Customize the font. Customize the sounds. Customize the brightness. Switch to a Mac. Switch to Windows. Switch to Linux. Install Windows on the Mac for the apps that don’t work on Linux.

Check your work space. Does it look like one of our favorite workspaces? Why not? Why do you only have one monitor? You could do twice as much with two. Why only two? Research monitors. You only want to buy the best. Read Amazon reviews. Read independent reviews. Cross-reference them. Order your monitor. Don’t use your computer until you get the new monitor. You don’t want to wear yourself out with low quality single-monitor work.

While you’re at it, buy a new computer desk. Don’t use your computer until you get the new computer desk. Maybe you need a new computer….

Read it all at Lifehacker

How Writers Can Beat Imposter Syndrome

Feeling inadequate? Like you’re a fake? A person only pretending to be a writer who’s about to be found out?

Take heart, bunky. Not only are you not alone in your misery, you don’t even have to suffer this way at all.

Yes, it’s true: these are fake imposters. Oh those zany actors!

by Nathan Bransford

Writing a novel is a challenging process and positive reinforcement is gaspingly hard to come by. Accordingly, it is hard to avoid imposter syndrome: the feeling that you are a fraud and that your lack of skills will be “discovered” at any moment.

Nearly every writer I know is afflicted at some point by the sense that they are a complete and total imposter who does not deserve to be writing a sentence, let alone a whole novel.

  • Before you get published you say: “Oh but I’m not a real writer.”
  • Then get you get published and you say: “Oh but I’m not a good writer.”
  • Then you get good reviews and you say: “Oh but I’m just a fluke writer, I’ll never be able to do this again.”

And so on and so forth, through countless sleepless nights.

Writers and imposter syndrome

Writing a novel is, in many respects, a completely crazy enterprise.

You spend months and months of your time on a seemingly open-ended and immensely difficult project without any notion of whether it is any good, whether it will ever be finished or see the light of day, and whether you will ever see a dime for your troubles.

And that’s before you show it to the world, where it will invariably be met with various forms of rejection and heartache you theretofore did not know existed.

As I said in How to Write a Novel: This is the life you’ve chosen.

It’s hard not to struggle with the “am I crazies,” that feeling that you are on some impossible path and wondering why in the world you’re doing what you’re doing.

And here’s the kicker: IT DOESN’T GET BETTER THROUGH TIME.

An imposter’s history

I spent a ton of time doubting that I was really a writer, let alone a good one. I didn’t even tell anyone I was writing a book until I landed an agent for the second novel I wrote.

After all of that, when I finally found a publisher for the novel that became the first book in the Jacob Wonderbar series, I was positively euphoric.

No one, I thought, would ever be able to take that away from me. I was going to be a published author. I did something really hard, and I pulled it off. I would no longer doubt whether I was meant to be writing a book.

That was a fun couple of weeks. Then it was back to imposter city.

First I worried about whether I’d be able to write another book that was any good. Then I wondered whether I’d be able to keep going and write anything more….

Read it all (including how to conquer this state of affairs) at Nathan Bransford’s sweet blog

Dealing With Criticism

About a month ago, we posted a very informative video by Tom Southern on what to do if you think your writing’s no good.

This time around we’re bringing you Tom’s approach to what probably is an even bigger problem for writers, especially new ones. How big a problem? Well, for many of us, harsh criticism is every bit as disastrous as the Trump presidency or a bullet in the heart. And we aren’t necessarily talking metaphorically here.


Listen closely, kids. The career you save may well be your own.

“Your Idea Will Never Be Ready”

A short lesson in productivity and the attitude you need to, you know, be productive. This TVWriter™ minion got a lot out of this…and the great image that accompanies it:

Image by David Mulder Found on LifeHacker

by Patrick Allan

A large source of my creative procrastination comes from this notion that my idea “just isn’t ready yet,” like it’s fruit ripening on a tree. But you know what? That’s bullshit.

I do creative writing in my free time—short stories, screenplays, TV pilots, poems, songs—but honestly, most of that writing is actually just me jotting down ideas of things I want to write in the future, “when I have time.” I tell myself that those ideas still need to get “fleshed out,” that they’re “percolating,” but really I’m hoping that I’ll have some sort of epiphany that will make the hard work easier.

The truth is, that epiphany rarely comes….

Read it all at Lifehacker

How to Get Accepted at an Artist Residency

Some visitors to TVWriter™ may be surprised to hear that many artists in all disciplines don’t make a whole lotta money. Which means they – okay, let’s be honest – we sometimes – oops – often need help finding creative space or just plain making ends meet. Here are some tips getting yourself a very special kind of help:

by Alanna Schubach

Last August, I made a brief visit to paradise. I woke up early and took a quick walk down a flower-lined path and over a river to breakfast. Once caffeinated, I headed to my studio, a cozy room with a bookshelf, desk, and armchair for reading, with a window overlooking that river, whose burbling underscored several hours of writing. I went to lunch at 12, then spent some time lounging in an Adirondack chair in the sun, reading. After that, maybe I went for a hike, or to a yoga class, or back to my studio. Then dinner, followed by more writing, then a reading or artist lecture, then out for some drinks in town.

This was my version of heaven: A stretch of uninterrupted time to work on my novel, read other people’s novels, wander in a gorgeous rural setting thinking about writing, and hang out with people who have the same strange predilections as I do. I called it art camp, but it was actually an artist residency at the Vermont Studio Center (VSC), one of the largest of such programs in the country.

According to the Alliance of Artists’ Communities, there are about 500 programs in the United States that offer writers, visual artists, dancers, musicians, and other creative people a retreat from the distractions and noise of daily life to focus on their work. Look at the bios of most successful artists and you’ll find they’ve paid a visit to at least one of these, a testament to how effective they can be in helping you develop a project. So how do you make it happen? Read on for tips on finding the right residency for you, applying, and making the most of it.

Identifying the best residency for you

With so many residencies to choose from, you’ll want to narrow down the options into a manageable list. Glendaliz Camacho, a short story writer and essayist who has attended multiple residencies, suggests you start your search by reflecting on your real-world obligations….

Read it all at Lifehacker

What If Your Writing Is No Good?

Look what we discovered!

A passel of videos by writer Tom Southern about writing.

Well, five of ’em anyway. Of which the video above is the first one we’re posting here on good ole TVWriter™. More to come.

And speaking of more. Don’t stop now, Tom. More, more, more!

40 or over & starting a Hollywood career? Here’s what you need to know.

What’s that? You’ve heard about H’wood’s, erm, “ageism problem?” So although at 40+ you’re feeling at the top of your intellectual writing game, you’re worried that you might not stand a chance. Here’s some genuinely helpful advice:

Yes, this is a plug for Carole Kirschner’s new book, Hollywood Game Plan. But we’re thinking it’s worth reading. And maybe even buying too – even if you’re younger. Honest!