How To Make Your Cellphone A Tool For Writing

I play a game when I travel. I count how many people I can see that are just staring at their phone, watching it swallow their sweet, precious time. We all use cellphones, constantly, regularly; some would claim its an obsession.

As writers, we often find ourselves at the short end of the stick. Our dreams are more of a hobby for most, and very often we get caught up in things that require more of our attention. And yet, I’ve come to learn you don’t need to have a notebook on you at all times to be a writer. You don’t need to be a slave to the world around you. You have so much power in your hands and you don’t even realize it. We live in an age where technology builds bridges faster than ever.

Use the technology to your advantage. One diamond I discovered on my phone is the reminder app. At 9:00 p.m. daily my phones pings and a reminder pops up on my screen that reads: Just Write For Yourself! Even if it’s one word.

So I follow its demands, dropping whatever I’m doing, I open the notes on my phone and I write. I grab the notebook & pen duo and I practice. I try out a new word discovered that day. I add another line to a short story. Or better yet, I write more than a word. I write a line, a paragraph. I write six pages if I’m feeling ambitious.

Often people claim that they forget to write or that they don’t have time for it. However, if we took all the time we blandly stare into those glowing screens and wrote we’d have a new, shiny story every week. After all, it was Ray Bradbury who advised, “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

Another usage is to employ email or any sort of social media. Use texts, Facebook messenger. Constantly email new writing to friends, or better yet- writer friends, to gain advice or insight. Often people are wary of having too many cooks in the kitchen, but it’s better to have too many cooks than not enough. You can always send people away, or not heed their advice.

Finally, if I see something interesting on my way to work, or if something on the street catches my eye as I drive by on the train, I’ll whip out my camera and take quick a picture of it. At night, I’ll fish through my photos and have a set list of my own writing prompts. The classic prompt, take this photo and show what’s happening, has led to numerous articles and stories. See? Now you don’t need to wait around for inspiration. It’s all around you. You just need to be able to store it for later.

These are three basic tools to start with. From there you can expand and encompass more aspects of the cellphone. Scrolling through Facebook is one thing, but it won’t get you any closer to your name on the spine of a book.


-Peter Merani




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Interesting Read on one of the bigger publishing companies

Helped by its acquisition of Osprey Publishing and strong gains in the children’s & educational segment, Bloomsbury Publishing saw total revenue rise 13% in the six months ended August 31, 2015, compared to the same period a year ago. While sales hit £52.7 million, pretax profit dipped to £342,000 from £509,000.

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Some more stats on self publishing

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Good read and advice on authorship

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An interview with an up in coming author!

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Tips on how to attract more readers!

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Poetry is Prose

Good prose is poetry. You can’t really turn that sentence around, but it’s important to acknowledge that poetry is a fundamental factor to most good writing. Poetic devices are not limited to only poems, neither are rhythms and rhymes. Perhaps kick-start your prose writing today by giving poetry another shot.

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If you peek into your desktop history and pull out a piece you wrote three years ago, I almost grantee that it will be an excruciatingly painful read. If it isn’t then kudos to you for having a high tolerance for regressive writing. You’re supposed to cringe when reading an old piece because somewhere between when you wrote that piece and now, you have grown and developed as a writer (if not as a human being). These changes can make it difficult to finally put your piece in an envelope and mail it out to a publisher. I’ve gone through several cycles of seemingly endless revision, and have fallen into the trap of working on a piece that has long since passed it’s due date (I’m currently in this trap) for fear of it not being good enough. But, quite frankly, nothing will ever be good enough. We will never be content and thankfully so because complete contentment would halt the progression of mankind. All you can do is work on what you’ve got and when you’ve hit three or four revisions, perhaps let it go and send your work to out to the world. You can always redeem yourself with your next piece.

“As writers, we’re constantly learning new things about the craft. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been scribbling for years, ideally you will always be growing as a writer. The downside to that is that you will invariably find things to improve in the work you’ve done. The key is to not let that stop you. Keep learning. Keep growing. Keep writing. Finish what you start, and move on to the next project—it will inevitably be better than the last.

If you’re working with a group, set some guidelines: You’re allowed to revise a story two or three times, for example, before you send it out to an editor or submit it for publication somewhere. Once you’ve gotten some outside feedback, you can regroup and look at it again. The same goes for novels—don’t get caught up revising the same twenty to twenty-five pages your group has critiqued over and over again, ultimately neglecting the rest of the novel. Take the notes your group gives you, and move onto the next chunk of the book. Strive for greatness, but forget perfection. Finish your story. Let other people read it. Take their feedback, integrate the lessons you’ve learned, and revise accordingly. Then, move on.”

–Joanna Penn

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Nicholas Sparks

Personally, I am not quite a fan of Sparks novels, but he brings up several very important points in this essay. Give it a read—publishing with big companies might not always be the best option.

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Once upon a time, when you were younger, your parents probably regurgitated fairytales to you the way your baby brother regurgitated his applesauce after meals. Vomit didn’t create the most favorable patterns on clothes, nor did those fairytales fabricate into any piece of work with immense literary renown. Perhaps this can be attributed to the dearth of authenticity in them, or just the sheer predictability of most fairytales. Most of these stories start with the generic “once upon a time” and end with “and they all lived happily ever after.” Closure for five year olds that might not translate to such when the reader is 25. Truth is, closure is good. Most good stories (novels, films etc) give closure to at least several of the story lines and conflicts that arise throughout the piece’s development. But complete closure, is where the problem arises. Readers like to wonder. When ending a piece, whether a novel or a short story, or even a poem, give closure in the form of a big house, but leave a trail of stepping stones that bloom from it’s backyard and lead into, perhaps, a forest. Let the reader wander into the forest, by him or herself and wonder about the story further. Generic endings are good for fairytales and real life. When writing, try and find something in between. The end.

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