One might think that because I write this and other columns and reviews, along with dashing out notes, emails, text messages, and other word based media that permeates our modern society that I would be tired of tapping out words on my keyword. It’s actually the opposite for me.
I like to write. I don’t claim to do it well, but I do enjoy it. The style of writing I enjoy most is short story fiction. I suppose it’s because a good short story packs in a lot from beginning to end and leaves you feeling mentally sated. It’s like eating a great meal at a fine restaurant that believes more in quality than quantity. You enjoy your food with all its many flavors and textures, and you leave feeling satisfied, but never overstuffed.
I’ve tried my hand at short story writing several times and though I’ve been able to produce something, I can’t say that I’ve done anything worthy of a publisher’s attention. Still, I write. Or at least try to.
Until recently I’ve been struggling to get past a writer’s block. You may wonder how it is that I have writer’s block when I can continue to produce this column weekly. That is somewhat of a mystery. I can always find something to write about for Free on iTunes, but for some reason telling any other type of story just would not happen.
I couldn’t even work on improving stories I’ve already written. Try as I might I could not get my mind into its writing groove. Maybe I needed a hiatus from words. This writer’s block has been plaguing me for almost two years.
And just as mysteriously as it came, it went.
One morning about two weeks ago I had an urge to write. I’m not sure if professionals or other writers get this, but I sure do. It is not simply a desire to write, it is a need, a longing almost a strong as lust, but not nearly so messy.
And, like a schoolboy’s crush, my desire to write is finely focused on one subject, and one subject only. Every other subject, regardless of how important or wonderful they may be, becomes candles to the big, beautiful sun that was and is the focus of my fiction prose. Even the time it take to construct this article feels like a distraction.
I’m about half done with the short story I’m currently writing and I’m loving every second that I work on it. Once done, however, it will sit in a virtual filing cabinet inside my Mac along with my other stories. A few of my friends and relations will get to read it, but it will likely never get a wider audience. That’s OK for this story, it was never intended for public consumption, but I do have a few stories that I would like others to read. To do that, I will need to improve my skills at constructing stories, and to do that I will need instruction.
Thank’s to iTunes, free writing lessons are easy to find.
I just started looking at the iTunes University course, Writing Creatively: Fiction, and it looks like a winner. It features interviews with real writers who discuss the various pros, cons, and impulses that go into their craft. There are also some lectures on techniques, how to develop your characters, and so much more.
There are 15 episodes, which are a combination of video and audio. I would download each episode when I’m ready instead of subscribing, there are complaints that when you subscribe the episode sequence gets whacked.
Still, if you’re like me and want to start or improve your writing skills, Writing Creatively: Fiction is a good place to start.
There’s a podcast that I’m interested in too that maybe I should have listened to when I had my writer’s block. I Should Be Writing has what I certainly could have used to free my writing logjam. There are interviews with noteworthy fiction writers, discussions and more. Episode lengths vary wildly, but average about 40 minutes, and there are 100 of them. That should keep you busy for a while.
I haven’t listened to a full episode yet, but I’ve liked what little I have heard. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Of course, you need a tool to write with. You might want to take a look at Write 2 Lite, an iOS text app that offers a lot.
If you’re a fan of Dropbox, then Write 2 Lite is your new best friend. It has integrated Dropbox syncing, can use Text Expander and has a huge list of other features.
One thing I like is the ability to set a PIN to protect your missives from prying eyes. The Dropbox integration works well too, it lets you create and edit anywhere, which means that when you get inspired to write, there’s nothing to stop you, and you’ll be happy to know that your inspiration is safe in the Dropbox cloud.
There’s an ad-supported iPhone version, but the universal version is only a buck. Get the free version and see if you like it.
That’s a wrap for this week.
More free writing related apps below with direct links.