When I Don’t Get Writing Inspired

I Don’t Get Writing Inspired

On the whole I enjoy writing. It’s something I feel I’m good at, can do it short bursts and it mostly doesn’t matter if no one sees it, it’s still there for the viewing. But now and again, like many writers, I find I want to have the urge to write something good, something sensible or even something nonsensical, but I just don’t have the inspiration.

But where’s the harm in that? If there’s no one going to read it, comment on it or critique it, why worry? Because one day, I might want to write professionally, or at least semi-professionally and being able to write, even when you don’t want to, could be the difference between being paid and not being paid – sort of vital really.

2012-259 A Writing Six-Word Story

2012-259 A Writing Six-Word Story—mrsdkrebs (Flickr.com)

Here’s a few tips I’ve picked up for getting over, writer’s block or at least the mind hindrance associated with it.

  • Write anything. Even if you have no idea where to start, go to a news site and pick a story. Just start from there and write for 15 minutes. Don’t go back and correct anything, just scribble away.
  • Go back to a previous article of your own and try re-writing it. Spin it so that the meaning remains the same but the words used are different. Try it with and without a thesaurus.
  • Critique an old article. If it’s more than a few months old it will be so far removed from your mind that you could probably see the whole thing as if through a fresh set of eyes. What would you do differently now?
  • Read. I don’t know a single writer who isn’t an avid reader too. Doesn’t have to be anything in your own niche (if you’re a specialist writer). It doesn’t have to be fiction or non-fiction (depending on your current authorship status). Take inspiration from somebody else’s words.

So you see there are things you can do to put yourself back into the ‘write’ frame of mind. One thing I definitely don’t suggest (which is what I’m doing now), is to try and think of something good to write about at 2AM, in the middle of a night shift, with a list of other tasks to do once the equipment becomes available. Constantly awaiting the next distraction is not conducive to writing a good article… As I shall no doubt find when I re-read this lot on another day.

If you’re an author or want to be an author, what do you think? Do you have any other little hints and tips you’d like to share that get you back in the writing groove?

Or just comment below anyway. They will all get read (except the ones that go straight into the spam filter) and they should get replies too.

People Are Strange Beasts

I’ve known for a long while that people can be strange beasts. So willing to push the blame onto somebody for something they cannot control and so willing to refuse the responsibility for something they control themselves.

Case in point. My wonderful wife does genealogy as one of her hobbies (the other is writing very amusing posts on Facebook and her blogs) and she gets no end of stroppy emails from people who are totally unrelated who tell her she’s got their details wrong. She calmly points out that they are not the person they are referring to and usually why they are not. She’s also had the blame for not adding a man’s second wife to the tree (because she hadn’t traced that line yet) and causing HIM to not be reminded of her birthday. After 30 years of marriage, a man ought to remember little details like these!

Then we have the case of people who demand that their details be removed because they think that their details ought to be private (the details are all on public records), but at the same time, these same people offer details for the rest of their family. Talk about hypocrisy!

Anyway. If you know of somebody doing genealogy, help them all you can. You are probably saving them huge amounts of time (and money) in research, even if you are just confirming what they already know. Joining many of the research sites costs in annual fees, not to mention the costs of obtaining paper certificates, sometimes from far flung corners of the globe.

However. Bear in mind that all birth, marriage and death data is publicly available throughout the world and there is nothing you can do, legally or otherwise, to stop someone from doing the research. There are those who trace family trees of the rich and famous, not always to find out if there is a distant connection somewhere.

As for here amusing blogs, go and visit https://bizzylizziesramblings.wordpress.com/  or http://bizzylizziesramblings.blogspot.co.uk/ and see for yourself. She really tells some wonderful tales of her ‘adventures’ with and without clothes / camera / husband / sanity, as well as something on the revealing world of depression, of which she is a long time sufferer. Do think about that last fact the next time you want to go rant and rave at someone. They might not always be the cheerful soul you think they are.

More Solarversia Updates

You are probably all aware by now how much interest I’m taking Toby Downton’s forthcoming book Solarversia. As it gets closer to the release date, Toby is letting more details out of characters and scenarios from the book on his blog. The latest post is on some of the mechanics of the game Solarversia, around which his book is based.

Rather than just repeat what Toby has already written (go to his blog and find out for yourself), I’ll give some ideas that underlie the explanations given.

The first thing that occurs to me is that writing a  story around a Massive Multi-player Online Game (MMOG), even one that doesn’t exist yet, is a huge undertaking. There are so many things to consider about what could enhance the plot, what could undermine it altogether and what would simply get in the way.

There are people who have written stories around MInecraft (which I haven’t played) who keep their tales in a simple area and with few characters. I do know that anyone can meet almost anyone else in most MMOG as there do not have to be any physical locations or travel limitations unless they are part of the game. With Solarversia taking place over the whole Solar System, travel has to be an important part of the game and you have to find ways of making accessible and limiting at the same time. This Toby seems to be handling quite well.

Another problem in a virtual world is one of life, death and combat. An injury in the real world will take a finite time to recover and involve a certain amount of pain. Virtual injuries could take no time and cause no more pain than an expletive, but for game scenario to make sense, especially a spectator game like Solarversia then you will want to strike a balance between penalising a character for a bad decision that caused the injury and keeping the fans involved, especially in the later stages of the game when the number of participants has been whittled down. Again the author’s choices have been made logically, along with increasing difficulties of problem as the game progresses.

I would imagine by now that Toby Downton has sorted his way through his final drafts and all the major happenings are set in place with only the smaller details being discussed with editors before it heads off into the wild blue yonder of printing along with the authors regrets of ‘might have beens’ and ‘should have dones’.

Getting closer to the release date now and I am still looking forward to reading Solarversia from end to end. The excitement is building

Flight Simulation As A Career

Flight Simulation as a Career

Ask any professional pilot what the bane of his life is and chances are he will not complain about the passengers (or self loading freight, as they are sometimes derisively known) but he will say ‘the flight simulator’. He will also probably grudgingly admit that it’s his best friend as well. He (or she, of course) will meet more emergencies in his annual 8 hours of flying the simulator than he could expect to face in 40 years of flying. It is this system of teaching him the worst that could happen that keeps him ready and confident when a minor problem – like an engine stopping in-flight, happens.

After qualifying to be a commercial pilot (during which time he will have already spent 40 hours plus in simulators of various grades – from cardboard displays to full flight simulators) he will re-visit the simulator twice a year to brush up on his skills and develop new ones. The simulator he goes to will be an exact replica of the cockpit he flies in for real, with all the buttons, switches and levers having the same apparent effect. In other words, it’s as close to the real thing as it gets.

Flight Simulators

But who keeps these technological marvels working the way the pilots expect? Enter one of the unsung heroes of aviation – the simulator technician. Could you consider flight simulation as a career?

The average simulator technician – the sim tech, will have to know his way around every aircraft sim they might have on site – anything between 1 and 15 different types. Each of these aircraft will have different avionics or instruments, different navigation systems, different ways of starting the engine and operating the radar, as well as many other ancillary items and many simulators even have multiple ‘fits’ – variations of the same aircraft, yet the experienced sim tech will know them all.

In addition to the ‘front end’, the simulator technician may also have to deal with a variety of back end interfaces and computer systems too. Most will be modern PCs but there are some systems that are more than 30 years old too, based on strange and unusual operating systems and possibly older than the technicians maintaining them.

Add to that the controls and motion systems which may be hydraulic or electric and a visual display system that might be 35KV projectors or modern digital systems similar to those seen in a bar that shows sports fixtures – except in the simulators case there will be 3 to 5 of these showing an interlinking picture that give a more wrap around effect.

The modern simulator is far more than the ‘toy’ software simulations that are available for a games console.

The final burden for the sim tech is the annual qualification of the devices he maintains. The national aviation regulators won’t just take the manufacturers word that each sim looks and feels just like the aircraft and each year will visit every commercial aircraft simulator to establish its credentials that it still emulates the aircraft. Without this certification, the simulator is not permitted to be used for training at an accountable level, and every pilot likes hours in his log book. There are a number of software tools that enable the technician to prove that the sim does just that and of course he has to know his way around all of them too.

As a career, it is not for the faint hearted. It’s definitely a case of ‘never the same day twice’, of always learning and being prepared to learn more. There will always a niggling little snag that you can’t quite find, that always turns up when the most pedantic pilots are visiting and there will sometimes, even minutes or hours when nothing happens. Just not that often!

If you are good at maths, physics, have an interest in aviation but little interest in flying, can go from zero to full on at a moments notice, have customer facing skills that can sooth the most scathing over-paid bus-driver (which is how pilots can be considered – until something goes wrong at 20,000 ft) and can do it all with a smile (or at least hide the grimace), then you could be a sim tech.

The jobs are not easy to find and not easy to get into unless you’re already doing it (Real Catch 22 there) but there are apprenticeships available. Find out where the nearest simulator complex is and try to cadge a visit. If it doesn’t amaze you, then don’t consider flight simulation as a career.

Solarversia Updates and Setbacks

Solarversia Updates and Setbacks

I’ve just heard from Toby Downton, the writer of Solarversia (http://www.solarversia.com) who is writing to let his subscribers know that he is currently 2/3rds of the way through the 2nd draft of this novel. It is proving more difficult than he first thought but is aiming to finish this by the middle of March. Toby has also been frustrated by the lack of announcement on the Occulus Rift eyeset. He was hoping to release the book on the same date as the Occulus Rift but with no whispers or even rumours of when this beast will be on public sale, Toby has had to make some decisions about when the book will be made available. The advance copies (for people on his email list) will be available at the end of June and the book itself will go on sale in September.

Now here’s the good bit.

If you are one of the first 1000 to join the Solarversia email list, you will get one of these advance copies. When the book is released, if you are one of the first 100 to write a review of it, you will get to play the Amazon Reviewers Game where Toby will give away some nice prizes (my hope is that he’s negotiating with Occulus Rift themselves to offer one of their eyesets. We can all dream of course). So if you’re not on Toby’s list (he doesn’t spam you. It’s purely for Solarversia information), pop over to http://www.solarversia.com and sign up. Now would be a good time (after you’ve finished reading this blog of course).

If you’ve no idea what Solarversia is about yet (and Toby has given some good information on his site), then either look around this blog for my other Solarversia postings or pop over to the site and have a look around. He has character art concept pictures and some tips for budding authors. Very nice stuff too. If you like books like ‘ Ready Player One
or movies like ‘The Matrix’ then this is the sort of thing you’ll be letting yourself in for.

Once I have some more clues myself (I’m just a fan of the book concept and I’m not any deeper in Toby’s loop than any other subscriber), then I’ll let everybody know here first and I’m hoping to become a major 2nd stop for Solarversia fans everywhere (after Solarversia.com itself of course).

Feel free to comment on either my blog or Toby’s. I know he reads and replies to as many as he can (as do I) and don’t forget to sign up to the Solarversia newsletter. It could be well worth your while.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

Thank you so much

Powered by