Category Archives: writing life

Speed is King

Though I have been using dictation as a tool to getting the words down faster, I still feel it is really important to sit down and type out ideas as they hit me. Recently I found some old expressions that I had written back in 2009 and posted them on my blog here. If I had not been hammering away at the keys back then I couldn’t have posted them on my blog today.

Activity, movement and flow are all part of life. We shouldn’t fight the desire to free-write. Get the words down and you will be surprised with what comes out. Both in the “Wow that is great!” sense and the “Looks like insanity squared.” way of thinking. The point, keep going.

Quantity will yield quality because as you go you, if you are paying attention, you will get better out of necessity. You will be faster and better. Two words we can all aspire to live with.

I blog to write, I write to blog. I keep moving these posts along because it is also moving my writing and publishing of books along. I am a writer, no matter if I am selling a book or just working on one. I am what I say I am, which is all you can be as a writer I think. No one will bestow on you a medal or anything!

Keep writing.


Winter and Life

In our modern age time waits for no man. Time of day, seasons and age seem to be irrelevant in the way people live in modern times which is a bit of a shame. Gone are the harvest dances. Don’t worry, I won’t bring you down!

This winter started earlier than usual and has been cold. A kicker some might say. Work goes on, I write less in the winter in favor of doing teaching tasks more at hand, which would mean my blog suffers too. When I am writing I write in every direction possible to ride the wave of inspiration, personal drive, synergy or whatever it is as long as I possibly can until I run out of emotional steam and crash on the shore.

So why is winter a harder time to write? When there seem to be two main factors here in Japan that conspire to keep me from hammering words: First is the temperature-which will not seem important to the Western mind. Japanese houses are cold, like the same temperature as outside cold. You heat each room with a kerosene or electric heater and all other rooms are cold. This dampens my comfort zone. Secondly is a lack of exercise. Wet weather makes those afternoon walks a lot harder to achieve, forget even cycling. I have found a correlation between activity and temperature.

Actually there is a third reason for my stunted writing in winter-a glut of reading during a season where it is too easy to sit and read. So I read like a fish breaths water, which is a funny way of putting it because I usually read on my Kindle in the bath every night (the Kindle is inside of two zip-lock plastic baggies and has behaved perfectly well for years).

So winter, how I loath thee! No, actually if I could find those two elements that are lacking-warmth and activity-and balance out the third-a propensity to read voraciously-then life would be good. Yet, to get back to my starting paragraph in this blog post, I think we humans too often ignore that fact that seasons are major shifts and we should embrace them, instead of trying to circumvent, changes in temperature and the life cycles of everything else. If holidays were non-existent than we would truly be in trouble, for we would forget to appreciate the white snow and the roasting of chestnuts.

I hope all of you out there who are reading this are writing to your hearts content, but if you are in a seasonal slump don’t be discouraged. The spring will come, the sun will shine and life will start again fresh and new. Just like everyday of a writer’s life can start out with a new idea and a hot cup of coffee. I wish you all well.

Keep writing.

Selling Ebooks and the Pricing Game

Now that I have five books on available I have been thinking a lot about pricing. It is a sticky subject for self published authors as it can be split two ways- value or cheap.

The authors first novel!

What I mean by this is that you can try and price your book at a value price point that matches the time and (hopefully) the quality of that which you are offering your reads.

Gold River City 100mini

On the other hand you want to sell books and pricing them as really cheap seems a great way to go as it means more people will take a chance on your offering.

killing the paper tiger

The trouble is how to place a value on what you write. You should make something on them, but not set a price that will cause hesitation or ridicule from people seeing them on line. So I often change the price of my books to encourage people to take the chance and also to keep Amazon noticing the different things I am doing. It’s all about motion, for better or worse.

I can not tell you how to price your book. That is up to you. I guess the most important thing is not pricing at all, but that you are writing as much as you comfortably can!

Posting Author Cards

ishikawaenglish author.png

If you’re reading my blog for the first time then I would first like to say, Thank You!

Blogging is a great opportunity to talk about life here in Japan and about other things that surprise me. I haven’t been posting many blog articles recently, mainly because of my Daily Video Blog project that posted 315 videos last year (2017).

That was a lot of fun, though it did get in the way of me posting more informative posts I feel at times. Still it was a goal and I did it, which makes me feel good!

So check back soon and see what I’ve posted and thanks again for stopping by. If you are a Japanese reader who got one of my Author Cards thank you even more!

Dare I?

In my closet I have a manuscript. It is draft number 3, with a couple of extra bits and bobs to get the story off the ground punched out attached to it. I stalled on it because my typing pad failed and instead of stopping I worked sideways, getting a bit of think time on it. I also worked on other projects instead. Never stopping mind you, just keep moving sideways is better than nothing when it comes to writing.

My manuscript is going to need some TLE or Terrific Loads of Editing to get it out the door, but I must or it will sink back into the closet. Trouble is the story is non-traditional in format and so it is not a straight forward narrative and that means more thought on my part. So there is hesitation-because I want to get it done right. Ah, editing.

Writing is a joy, but it is work. Manuscripts are what they should be, lumps of words. Making the lump into a loaf to stick in the oven is a challenge for me sometimes. I think the hardest thing about writing is that in my heart I realize it doesn’t matter to anyone except me. My wife is not encouraging me to write-”There’s no profit in it.” she says. So I make my own way and work what is in my head. The novelist I hope to become. I mean, the novelist I am, just one that makes a living at it somehow.

To all of you working on your manuscripts out there don’t give up. Make it fresh every day. Dig in and find the gold, polish it and show it off. Who cares if you make a profit, the act of writing well should reward you for the rest of your life. We take our writing into our lives. It is the extension of who we are. Live well, edit where needed, focus and write.

Keep writing.

Video Posts: What are they good for?

Well my topic for this post is video blogs. I have been doing a video blog this year and as of this post have over 270 made. So what is the effect my videos have produced. Well on the one hand it kept me posting new material which for bloggers is important. On the other hand it kept me posting only videos instead of text based material that other people could read or within which material could be searched by other readers.

I have been encouraged by the likes and comments people have given while doing the video blogs. Many people have consistently liked my posts and this has kept me going when I would have forgotten or lost interest. I am, by nature, a very consistent person and so the goal of making a year long daily video blog was nothing new. Posting them on my blog was the new thing-and that meant I had to edit, upload and post them, steps that have taken up more time than simply checking in on my camera about the days events. But all-in-all it has been a good experience and one that I hope will enrich my blog, not destroy it.

Videos are a double edged medium. Some people don’t like to take the time to watch a video, the audio might bother other people, it means plugging in headphone, etc. Etc. Other people love that it is really me, in person talking about life as a teacher, writer and foreigner in Japan. There is an immediate nature to a video that text based (words) might have more impact. I find this same issue with my music vs. My writing. People are more interested in the music I make than the novels I write because music is more in the now, more emotional and alive. I, of course, want my writing to be the same, but alas it is a matter of perception. Music has a volume control, writing does not.

What can I say after doing so many video blogs? Firstly that I am thankful to have the opportunity and place to share them with such supportive people. Thank you everyone. Secondly, it is another example of doing through habits. If you keep moving forward things will lead you forward. Thirdly, and not to be selfish here, it did increase the number of people who visited or viewed my blog. Since my posting of videos started I went from very small numbers of views and followers to 5 times as many. Again all I can say is how thankful this has made me as a blogger and writer.

Life gives us all chances. As December will be here soon enough I would like to challenge you all to find something you can do from January 1st that will enrich your lives and the lives of others. My video blog this year will be something my daughter can watch many years from now (yes I have a backup on my computer). It has pushed me to writer when I would not have. Find something that pushes you forward and make it your resolution next year. Believe me, it will help you.

Keep writing, or at least promise to!