Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Cherie Reich's 5 Reasons to Write to a Timer

Please welcome Cherie Reich, a guest whose monthly word counts always awe and inspire me. Find out more about her methods here! 

Five Reasons to Write with a Timer
by Cherie Reich

1. Get your BICHOK on.

Making the time to write is sometimes the hardest step in this whole writing business. Using a timer gets you to actually sit down, pull up your document, and focus on writing (i.e. butt in chair, hands on keyboard = BICHOK).

2. The 100m dash.

It takes some time getting used to writing with a timer. Start small, anywhere from 5-15 minutes. These micro-sprints will train your fingers to fly. You’ll be so busy trying to write anything down that you won’t notice that glaring typo in line seven or how you used the same verb three times in paragraph four. These micro-sprints train your mind, though, and in time you will write better faster. And we all can find 5-15 minutes to write, right?

3. Why do you write like you’re running out of time?

Because you are! 525,600 minutes. That’s all we have in a year. We are running out of time every single second. The timer emphasizes this. As the clock is winding down, the word counts grow.

And to be honest, I couldn’t resist adding a Hamilton lyric and a Rent reference.

4. Do you salivate when the bell rings?

Writing by a timer can create a Pavlovian response. Repetition trains your brain and forms a habit. After I read through what I wrote the day before, I press the timer. It may take me a few seconds to start typing, but by training my brain to know its writing time, I actually find myself getting the words down more often than not.

5. Write more now.

Some days you will still be lucky to get any words down, but if you know you have to sit in front of your document for thirty minutes, then you’re bound to write something. It’s amazing how those words add up.

Since July 1, 2015, I’ve been using a timer to time my writing. Writing for a set time every single day has allowed me to clock in 418,778 words in fifteen months, so I must admit using a timer has been an eye-opening experience. It takes dedication and practice, but so does writing in general.

Have you used a timer before when it comes to writing?

Cherie Reich owns more books than she can ever read and thinks up more ideas than she can ever write, but that doesn’t stop this bookworm from trying to complete her goals, even if it means curbing her TV addiction. A library assistant living in Virginia, she writes speculative fiction. For more information about her books, visit

From USA Today, Amazon bestselling, and popular science fiction and fantasy authors comes Ghosts of Fire, a supernatural anthology of ten thrilling tales. Meet paranormal detectives, imprisoned dragons, dark demons, cursed jewels, and handsome prophets. Explore shifting realms trapped in mirrors and a disturbing future where a president aims to rid the world of Otherkind.

Cherie Reich’s story “On Day 168” in Ghosts of Fire was written in twenty-four 12-minute increments last October. You can purchase the anthology at Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Kobo, Nook, and Smashwords.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Annalisa Crawford's 5 Reasons to Write with Music

Please welcome Annalisa Crawford to:

5 Reasons to Write to Music
By Annalisa Crawford

I love music. If I could sing in tune, I’d definitely have been a singer. I did the next best thing and married one.
That’s pretty much all you need to know about my relationship with music.

  1. Music sparks ideas. A line, a phrase, a feeling you get when you listen to a chorus—it might not be an immediate effect, you might not even notice at first. But one day, listening to the radio, it’ll hit you, and you’ll be inspired.
  2. When Riverdance was popular (it was popular, wasn’t it?) I listened to the CD a lot, and found the beat made me type faster—I could easily keep up with Michael Flatley. Not only that, the ideas flowed faster. Any fast music will do: dance, heavy metal… Riverdance.
  3. It can put you in the right zone. I tend to get obsessive when I’m writing, so instead of selecting a different CD (copious mentions of CDs = old school) I just repeat it. Each large project seems to have its own soundtrack, which immediately puts me right back into the story.
  4. It’s a fantastic distraction for those days when it’s just not working. Put on your favourite tracks and dance around/do housework/curl up with a blanket and a good book.
  5. Having music playing makes me feel like I’m living in a musical—quite a strange boring musical where the hero sits alone, in front of a keyboard, and ignoring everyone around them for an extended period of time.

Annalisa Crawford lives in Cornwall UK, with a good supply of moorland and beaches to keep her inspired. She lives with her husband, two sons, a dog and a cat. Annalisa writes dark contemporary, character-driven stories. She has been winning competitions and publishing short stories in small press journals for many years, and is the author of Cat & The Dreamer, Our Beautiful Child and You. I. Us.

Goodreads // Blog // Amazon Author Page

Note from Tyrean: I highly recommend Annalisa's books. She may not sing, but she has a musical ear for words that shows up on the page. Her writing is beautiful!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

#IWSG October 2016

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Hosted by: Alex J. Cavanaugh
and co-hosts.

October Question: When do you know your story is ready?

Okay, IWSG folks, I have to admit this was one scary question for me. It seemed to hit me in all of my insecure spots.

When do I know my story is ready?

Do I know my story is ready?

Do I ever know my story is ready?

Imagine biting fingernails between these questions.

To calm myself, I decided to make a list.

5 Ways I Know My Story is Ready

1. When I get to the end, and I think this is it - this is the end, I have done all I can. I've revised it the best that I can. When it's a short story, it gets three read-throughs after writing. Sometimes, this process takes a few weeks, and sometimes it takes a total of one hour. My best short story written in under 45 minutes and revised in 15 is "Seedling" - published at Brilliant Flash Fiction before I set it for free in e-story format. My second favorite short-short story written and revised in under 15 minutes is "Kissing Boys"  - still up at The Drabble.

2. When my revisions seem to make the story more wooden and boring to read, it is finished. (I can tell which of my chapters in Champion in the Darkness had 7-9 full revisions.) My best writing happens somewhere between the first and third draft.

3. When everyone in my household is sick of hearing about it and my daughters start giving me creative ways to kill off my characters or bring them back to life, it's done. It was supposed that a particular character in the Champion trilogy could be dropped off a cliff or drowned by a sea serpent. Another character was given the options of re-animation via sorcery or being regurgitated by a whale. (I didn't use any of these options.)

4. When I feel satisfied at a gut-level, I'm done. This does not mean that I feel proud, excited or 100% certain of perfection. I never reach that point. I just feel satisfied - as if I've done all I can, even if the story isn't exactly where I wanted it to be when I started.

5. When I realize that I've gone "over the edge" and I'm pushing for an unachievable perfectionist finish, it's time to call it done.

I'm not the writer I want to be yet. 
I don't think that means I'm a bad writer - I'm just not exactly where I want to be yet and I don't think that sending my stories to the fire if they aren't perfect is going to help me.

I look back at the "greats" in literature - Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and others, and I know I've read early works by them that weren't as good as their later works.

My family loves a particular modern author whose first book we all read has a mass of errors in it. We still enjoy that book, and we've read all the rest of that series and the next, enjoying both the stories and the way that the writer has grown in his craft.

Sometimes, I have to say . . . "okay, even if I'm in my 40s, this is still early days yet for me as a writer." Someday, I will write that magnum opus. Today, I will write my small story that satisfies me at a basic gut level. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, I will hone my craft and someday write a story that fills the pages with something glorious. 

How do you know when your story is ready? 
And does "ready" mean "perfect," or just ready?

By the way, Annalisa Crawford, Cherie Reich and Kendra Arnek will be guest posting this month in the 5 Reasons to Write series! Please come by and welcome them later this month!
I'm looking for a few guest posts in that series for November and December - please let me know via e-mail if you are interested: tyreantigger (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, September 30, 2016

Do You Have Goals?

Many thanks to Misha and Beth for hosting this hop!!!

It's been a whirlwind month - although more focused than last month. Last month, I had five things happening at once. This month, I had two things happening, slightly overlapped. 

1. School started. This means that I started teaching three classes at a local home-school co-operative, and my oldest started her second year of a dual credit program at a nearby community college as a senior in high school while my youngest started a combo of online, home, tutored, and public school classes (a little wild for scheduling, but the perfect fit for her). 

2. My kids competed at the Olympic Hopes Regatta in Szeged, Hungary. And I, with the help of some other parents, managed to take a super-fast trip to Amsterdam, Budapest, and Szeged. I put out a few facebook posts via instagam on my phone, but connectivity was spotty throughout the whole trip. I came home to over 40 e-mails from students, three rejection e-mails for short stories, and some other e-mails that I still need to tackle. I also received an ARC in the mail. (It has been fun to read, but I'm still working on the review.)

Words Written: 21,000 (mostly before I left.)

Miles Walked: 47 (over half of this happened on the trip)

Miles Biked: 0 - yikes!

(Short Stuff) Story, poem, and article status: 3 rejections, 1 "on hold for one more month" e-mail, and 18 pending response.

Marketing - none, except a slightly slower automated twitter feed. Sales are down, but more paperbacks sold than normal. 

W.I.P. Novel - complete change of direction and topic. I'm playing with an idea based on King Belos the Blind of Hungary and Queen Helena, his wife (originally from Poland). These two royals don't have mega-statues in any of the big tourist spots that I visited, but I happened across them in a strange cross-referencing kind of way and an idea sparked. (I just have to see if it's going to light an actual bonfire that lights up a full novel.) Or, I might write a story about a girl at the girl's school that was the first group to use the Castle in Budapest. Or, I might change direction . . . again.

Pics from the trip - because you expected them, right?
Picture of the Parliament Building on the Blue Danube in Budapest.
Pic taken from Castle Hill.

Picture of St. Matyas Church on Castle Hill in Budapest.
This is the most beautiful church I have ever visited and I've seen St. Paul's Cathedral, Notre Dame, and the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. - St. Matyas Church is worth a visit if you are ever in Central Europe.

The Labyringth of Catacombs under Castle Hill is extensive. In the tourist-friendly portion, there is an exhibit on Dracula - because this is where the historical Dracula was imprisoned and tortured. His grave, or at least a representation of it, is down there, too. 
The steam is natural because Budapest is home to many hot springs.
They have a section that is without lights to give visitors the full effect. My friends and I were bad and turned on our cell-phones so we didn't stumble down any wells (there were two with grates over them) or run into walls.

My youngest daughter's K4 team boat (in blue). The girl in the front is the daughter of a girl I played soccer with in elementary school - we didn't make the connection until we were in Budapest. (Seriously wild. small world stuff.)

2016 OHR Team USA with a camera running low on battery power.
Awesome athletes and coaches.

My oldest daughter, sick with a bad cold, had the courage to go out and race 1000m when many other female canoeists from several teams declined that distance. 
She had her worst time ever, took 9th place, and earned a point for Team USA at the regatta.
I am proud of her for having the courage to go out and race, even in tough circumstances, against girls whose arms were bigger than her legs.

My youngest didn't make any "final" races but raced hard in her heats and semi-finals. She always has her eyes on the finish line, no matter the distance.
We came home, she rested one day, and then started doing body weight workouts the second day home. She's hoping to qualify and compete at the 2017 Olympic Hopes Regatta, which may be in Romania, Bulgaria, or the Czech Republic.

Biggest news for Team USA at the 2016 Olympic Hopes Regatta: two young women took a bronze medal in a C2 (two person canoe) for the 500m distance. 
This is huge. The USA doesn't usually medal at this event.

Our results by the numbers can be found here: "Ghizila and Crocker Win Bronze."
My kids both get mentioned by name in there, so it's kind of cool. :)

Read more here:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Karen Lange's 5 Reasons to Write Nonfiction - with Comments!

Please welcome Karen Lange today!
My utmost apologies for having the comment area turned off when this post originally went live.

Five Reasons to Write Nonfiction
By Karen Lange
Merriam Webster defines nonfiction as “writing that is about facts or real events: all writing that is not fiction”.
I think it is important for writers to write nonfiction because we’ve been given a gift, an opportunity to share and affect change through our words.
Here are my top five reasons why nonfiction writing is important.
  1. To Share Stories: The Interview  
An interview helps readers get to know a person on a deeper level. William Zinsser said, Nothing so animates writing as someone telling what he thinks or what he does-in his own words.” I agree. A firsthand account is an excellent primary source that adds great value to our work. The writer gets to share an authentic story and the reader comes away informed, entertained, and enriched.
  1. To Share Events: The News Story
Where would we be without good journalists? Someone has to keep the public up to date on what’s happening. Journalistic writing offers a medium for news presented in a thoughtful, organized, and engaging way.
  1. To Instruct: The How-to Article
How many times have you searched Google to find out how to do something? What would we do without articles like “How to Clean a Tile Shower” or “How to Train Your New Puppy”? This type of article informs and equips, providing a valuable service for readers.
  1. To Educate: The Essay
Essays come in many forms, such as comparison, persuasive, and narrative. Using a topic or question, they make a point by research, analysis, and personal interpretation. They educate readers on topics from scientific and political to entertainment and humanitarian issues. The essay provides an opportunity to express info and opinions in a unique and creative way.
  1. To Encourage: The Inspirational Piece
Through inspiring words we can encourage, soothe, and urge readers to pursue dreams. You never know what simple bits of wisdom and truth might stick with a reader, urging them to be better and kinder versions of themselves. Whether quotes on a blog post or a topical article saying, “I’ve been there, too,” uplifting words are timely and welcome.  
Nonfiction writing is a great tool that enables us to make a difference. What will you do with it today?
Happy writing,
Karen :)
Karen Lange is a freelance writer, editor, blogger, online writing instructor at the, and the author of two books for homeschool parents. Her articles have been featured in print and online publications. She's a big fan of dark chocolate, historical fiction, and ice hockey. Visit Karen at her blog,
Find Karen

Twitter – @KLELange

Tyrean: My favorite of these is the interview, but I also like the Why kind of how-to articles! :)
Thank you, Karen!