A realistic change in habits can leave writer’s block in the past

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Stephen King once said to “read and write four to six hours a day” to become a good writer.

That’s ridiculous.

Most of us work full time and have a hundred other responsibilities from our homes, social circles, and families. What does being a productive author look like when we don’t have those 4–6 hours a day? In truth, all you need is a few minutes a day, some simple techniques, and determination.

How long does it take to write a novel?

Some simple math reveals astonishing results: if you write just twenty minutes a day, six days a week, you will end up with the equivalent of Fahrenheit…


How to be productive without an active project

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There’s a novel waiting for you — a novel that requires your unique experiences, voice, and skill to write. If only you knew exactly what it was. Often, a writer’s only hope is to approach a book idea with care and deliberation. We explore the possibilities in our daydreams and jot down the thoughts that flash by like lightning bugs. We allow the book to come to us. Sometimes the distance between author and story closes at a steady pace as world-building pieces are laid down like roadwork in an industrial city. Sometimes, progress is much, much slower. …


The toy that started me on web development, writing, and social media management

The iconic Lost crash scene, which I recreated with LEGOs in 2015.

I wouldn’t have a Software Engineering internship right now without the skills and lessons I learned playing with LEGOs. I doubt I would have 62,000 followers on my author Instagram either. I certainly wouldn’t have written two novels during college.

I remember shouting with glee when my mother told me I was old enough to graduate from Duplos to LEGOs. I was three at the time. What started as a way to spend time with my brother and sister quickly grew into an obsession. Every dollar I earned doing chores I spent on LEGOs. Every Christmas, my list consisted of…


Learning from masterful first sentences to refine a mediocre one

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I am proud to announce that my first book has now been rejected by over 20 agents, none of which asked to read beyond the first chapter.

The most recent rejection was from an agent I was sure would sign me. After 9 weeks of checking my spam folder “just in case”, I received a response. This is what I learned from it: my ideas are original, my platform exceeds expectations, and my writing is almost not horrible.

Almost.

I realized I have a lot to learn. That night, I bought several books on Amazon on self-editing and selected two-day…


Explaining NaNoWriMo and showing you how to succeed.

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Only a Fool

NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month — an event where writers all over the world attempt to do what professionals generally take months, years, and even decades to accomplish: write a novel.

The official goal is to write 50,000 words in November. 1,667 words a day, 30 days in a row.

If you ask me, it’s borderline foolish. Especially if you don’t prepare.

But it can be worth it.

Should You Participate?

NaNo can significantly boost productivity if done correctly. …


My Instagram account reached 50k followers a few weeks ago. Was it worth the time and effort? In some ways, no.

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Any aspiring author these days knows that having a platform is no longer optional. With the advertising side of publishing falling more and more onto the author, it’s no wonder.

Platform is no longer optional.

So we build our platform. We blog. We post funny writing memes. We Tweet about our struggles and victories. We do goofy polls on Instagram. And slowly, more and more people stop by and decide to stay. But is it worth the effort?

I…


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It’s been your dream to be a non-writer ever since you were a little girl reading during the long summer days at your grandmother’s farm. You remember basking in wonder at the new worlds you could explore from the comfort of the living room, thinking, “Gee. One day when I’m all grown up, I’d like to be a sales analyst.”

Or maybe not.

I’m convinced the desire to write is not some slight nudge toward a blank document on your laptop. It’s more like an unbreakable elastic band that won’t let you leave for more than a few weeks before…


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I don’t feel like writing. And yet here I am, typing away at an advice article on how to push through those days where literally anything sounds better than staring at a screen with vacant eyes and an empty brain. So how can you crank through that word count when your brain doesn’t want to?

First of all, let’s think about other professions for a moment (yes, I understand this is a hobby for most of us, but bear with me). People push through grueling tasks every day. Mechanics don’t just toss their tools in a bin and call it…


Shortly after finishing my studies earlier tonight, I checked my Instagram stats on SocialBlade. To my horror, I discovered my writing account lost an astounding 764 followers in one instant. At first, I wondered if I had posted something horribly offensive without knowing it, causing my followers to flee in a mass exodus. Then I wondered if I was hacked. Turns out, it was neither.

I did some quick digging and found that several other accounts I follow also took a plunge in follower count, showing similar stats to mine.


Photo by Aaron Benson

In 2018, I wrote well over 100k words in drafts of my novel, maintained a 4.0 during my junior year of college studying computer science, worked part-time, grew my Instagram account by 13k followers, and designed my first website from scratch. (I’m not normally this arrogant, I promise. But I want you to see I had what most would consider a productive year).

Here’s a quick guide on how you can achieve the same level of productivity.

Minimize time wasted on social media

Set limits on Instagram from within the app. There’s a picture below on how to do this. …

Caleb Robinson

Novelist, software developer, student, avid fantasy reader. More content at https://www.instagram.com/write_or_left/

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