Month: August 2013

  • iPad Writing Setup

    iPad Writing Setup

    It should come as no surprise that I write on my iPad. This is the setup I’ve been enjoying most of the time this summer, in my summer home.

    The bookshelf features a desktop that you can pull out, fitted to a regular dining room chair, which is what I’ve been using too. I put the iPad mini on the first shelf to get a better angle. My keyboard of choice have been the Logitech Tablet Keyboard, covered previously. I’m not sure it’ll be what I use when I leave my summer home, but I decided to give it a fair shot and thus I left my trusty Apple bluetooth keyboard and its Origami casing at home. Just as well, as we picked up this combined bookshelf and cupboard this summer, and it would’ve worked less than great here. I think it’s good to be able to detach the keyboard from the stand, most of the time, and obviously that’s the case here.

    The writing shelf, featuring Paazu the shiba inu. Annotated on Flickr.
    The writing shelf, featuring Paazu the shiba inu. Annotated on Flickr.


  • Put Down Your Phone

    There’s a video doing the rounds called I Forgot My Phone which I found very telling about today’s social interactions. Watch it.

    My iPhone is always with me. I communicate a lot using the iPhone, almost never utilizing the phone part, but rather through Twitter, or messages. Sometimes I kill time on Tumblr, and I read a lot on my iPhone. In my weakest moment, I might even open the Facebook app.

    I don’t watch the world through my phone though. The times I go to a concert, I don’t take a ton of crappy photos or make Vine movies out of every little thing. It ruins the experience, both for me and everybody else. That said, the iPhone is my primary camera, because it’s the one I carry with me.

    I write a lot on my iPhone, and I’m not only talking about the novel project. I also take a lot of notes.

    The iPhone is a powerful tool, just like most smartphones out there.

    However, it’s also addictive. Suddenly you’re not eating unless you’re instagramming, you don’t exist until you check in, and you better refresh your Twitter feed every third second so that you don’t miss out on anything. It’s fascinating how quickly this behavior embedded itself in our spines, making us collectively forget every ounce of our manners.

    I’m not perfect, and I’m easily bored. My iPhone’s a savior more often than not. I’ve been that rude douche who picks up his phone and starts fiddling with it while in a conversation at times, something I’m not proud of and try not to do. It’s socially acceptable to a degree that still astounds me.

    Don’t throw away your smartphone. Keep reaping the benefits of technology, and by all means don’t stop communicating through the web. But do consider the world outside of your screen, preferably slightly more than how it’d look with your favorite Instagram filter.

  • Internetdagarna 2013 – biljetterna är släppta

    Biljetterna till årets upplaga av Internetdagarna är släppta. Läs mer samt köp biljett här.

    I år är det som sagt lite annorlunda. Besökare går på gemensamma keynotes (uppställningen är inte så pjåkig), men sedan går man till det spår som bokats. Du köper alltså biljett per dag, får alla keynotes, och ett spår/dag. Alla spår sköts av respektive spårägare, och nej, det är inte gratis att ha ett spår så sugna sponsorer får gärna höra av sig.

    För ja, jag ansvarar för två spår, ett per dag lämpligt nog:

    En dag med WordPress, den 25 november.

    WordPress är världens största CMS. Oavsett om din webbplats är liten eller stor så är oddsen med andra ord rätt stor att du använder WordPress – från bloggar till företagssidor, vidare till tidningar och sociala nätverk. WordPress är dessutom öppen källkod, vilket gör det till ett publiceringsverktyg i demokratins tjänst.

    Det är innehållet som räknas, den 26 november.

    Alla kan publicera. I dag handlar det mer om vad man publicerar, hur man gör det och om någon faktiskt läser. På webbpubliceringsdagen pratar vi redaktionellt arbete, fungerande annonsmodeller, betalväggar, publiceringssystem, hur man sprider sitt innehåll och mycket mer.

    Platsantalet är begränsat, så vänta inte för länge med att boka biljett. Det blir två grymma dagar, missa inte!

  • Disconnect The Internet

    Here’s a productivity tip for you: Disconnect the internet.

    “Well DUH!” might be your response, and rightly so. All the online opportunities of wasting time are well known to anyone working in the creative field. The web’s a great tool, but if it’s just means procrastination, then it’s your enemy.

    Photo by rick (CC)
    Photo by rick (CC)

    I recently found myself without online access, involuntarily. The 3G was out, wifi too, and there I was trying to get some work done. I had three things on my todo list that didn’t require online connectivity, but did I tick those off? No, I was too irritated and stressed out by the outage that I didn’t get anything done at all, resulting in rescheduled tasks and rushed duties during the afternoon and evening.

    There’s a huge difference in turning off internet access, and being forced offline for reasons beyond your control. I regularly use the flight mode feature for blocking out distractions when writing on my iPad, and my computer has almost all notifications hidden. There are so many things going on in our online lives that it’s easy to get distracted.

    I think that’s why being forced offline is so stressful. Suddenly we’re not connected to the world anymore. I urge you to consider what that obsession means to you and how you live your life.

    I would also like to repeat my initial productivity tip: Disconnect the internet. When you can, and need to – never involuntary.

  • Two Weeks Of iPhone Novel Writing


    I decided not to publish an update on my iPhone novel writing project last weekend. Not much had changed since the first update, linked above, and I did say that I’d do these updates somewhat irregularly.

    I won’t bore you with statistics at this time. Hitting 300 words per day on my iPhone is still no problem. I write between 300 and 400 words in 10–15 minutes. Most sessions end at around 330 words in 13 minutes, but it depends on how clear my vision is for the writing session.

    It’s too early to talk about when and where I write, but something of a pattern is starting to emerge. I’ll get back to that when we’re further into the experiment.


  • Random Thoughts And Notes

    I’ve got some random thoughts I need to get out of my system. Luckily, there’s a site for that, so here goes.

    • Tumblr and publishing. The whole platform is just so titillating, it makes me want to roll out an online magazine and watch the reblogging commence! It’ll be interesting to see what Epic will do with it, in conjunction with the Medium publishing deal (Medium are backers of Epic). The obvious problems with Tumblr as a publishing platform are still the lack of SEO and problematic monetization of publications residing there. I’ve got a playful Tumblr blog myself, by the way.
    • The verdict’s still out on Medium by the way. I think there’ll be a post on it later on.
    • Speaking of publishing, shelving the Appricorn project has left me with a number of posts about great iOS apps. I’ll either shop around looking for a publisher for these, or just start cranking them out on a simple site. No sense letting work go to waste, as it would since apps are ever-changing. I don’t think I want to publish them here though, this isn’t an Apple blog after all.
    • Newsletters. I still want to get started with one, but at the same time it isn’t something you just jump into. That said, I would have done just that, had Tinyletter not been limited to 2,000 subscribers. That’s just silly.
    • I’m not in the habit of linkblogging here, but if you’re following @tdh on Twitter you’ve no doubt seen the links and commentary there. Having some fun with that, might spin it off in some fashion. Maybe on Tumblr, with a weekly newsletter?
    • WordPress users might’ve noticed some minor changes to the resource page here. Themes have moved to Bitbucket, and I hope to do some minor updates soon.
    • I’m writing a novella (or novelette, we’ll see) at the moment. The first draft is almost ready. This is in addition to the iPhone novel (which will see another status update here soon) and the revision of Smashing WordPress: Beyond the Blog. Speaking of which, the 4th Edition will be updated to WordPress 3.7 (next version) and should release late this year.
    • My web agency, Odd Alice, is doing well. We’ve started to think about an English site. There are some fun announcements in the pipeline there.

    Ah, that’s better… Carry on.

  • Too Many Chairs

    Too Many Chairs

    I occupy a lot of chairs, wear plenty of hats, don several mantles. You might even say that I do a lot of different things. Some of these things muddle the message a bit, much like using tired old metaphors to explain something simple…

    I’m a writer, first and foremost. That should be pretty clear, but it isn’t, since I not only write technical books, articles, and columns, but also write fiction, both long and short. To complicate things even further, I also write essays and blog posts, ebooks and commentary to what have you. So while I’m a writer, it’s hard to tell what kind, even for me (other than “the kind that writes” of course). Communicating this, be it in conversation or in promotional material, is tricky.  (more…)

  • The E-ink Typewriter

    Writing outside is a painful experience. Sure, you could do as I do now, sitting cross-legged in the shade on my lawn, tapping away on my iPhone. That works reasonable well, at least until my back gives in. It’ll work for today’s 300 words of the iPhone novel, but beyond that it’s just not ideal.

    An e-ink Kindle perhaps?
    An e-ink Kindle perhaps?

    I’d like to be able to put out a table, perhaps equipped with a parasol, and sit in a proper chair. I could do that, but it’d be far from ideal. Laptop screens just plain suck outdoors, and although devices like the iPad fare better, they still put an unnecessary strain on the eyes.

    What I really want is an e-ink display and a keyboard, I really don’t need much more than that. I can’t find it though, probably because e-ink is still too slow and unresponsive to make it truly work as a regular screen. But let’s dream a bit, shall we?

    The e-ink typewriter for modern writers who like to work outdoors:

    • 9–10″ screen, backlit and with a retina-like resolution (much like the excellent Kindle Paperwhite)
    • Keyboard support via bluetooth
    • Wifi and/or 3G, mostly for sync with Dropbox/other
    • Mad battery life (10+ hours should be a piece of cake for a device like this)
    • No need for a distraction-infested app store of any kind.

    The only thing the e-ink typewriter needs is a nice writing app, something inspired by iA Writer or Byword. Markdown support would be nice, but it really doesn’t matter. I’d like to be able to change the font size and margins, for a more personal workspace, but that’s not a must-have either.

    Please sell me this writing device. It’s all I want during the summer. Well that, and a new chair and table, possibly a nice parasol that I can angle anyway I like too. And sun, and a cold beverage, obviously.

  • Writer Math

    Let’s do some simple writer math. If you write 1,500 words on a daily basis, that adds up to 10,500 words weekly. On a 30 day month, you’ll clock in at 45,000 words.

    In two months you have your 90,000 word novel. Or rather, you have the manuscript for the first draft.

    Photo by M. Valdes (CC)
    Photo by M. Valdes (CC)

    How long does writing 1,500 words take? That depends on who you ask, for me it’s less than an hour most days. There are times when it’ll take longer, days when the writing’s hard. We all have those days.

    What does this simple math teach us? It’s pretty obvious, but I’ll spell it out anyway: Write every day, preferably at least 1,500 words.

    This math is dangerous, because it’ll tempt you to consider what 2,000 words daily would mean (14,000 words weekly, 60,000 words monthly, just a month and a half until you reach the 90,000 words mark mentioned above). Or maybe 3,000 words (21,000 words weekly, 90,000 words monthly), some of us could crank that out on a daily basis right? These are tempting, yet dangerous, numbers. It’s all too easy to get lost there.

    My advice: Pick a sensible daily word count, cut it down to 70%, and achieve it every day.

    It’s as simple, and as hard, as that.

  • Four Days Of #MobNov

    I’ve written 300+ words daily for four days straight, on my iPhone, and thus far the iPhone novel writing project that will be part of my everyday life for the coming six months is coming along nicely. Four days out of (up to) 184 is almost nothing, but I’ve made some initial observations:

    • 300 words daily is an easy target, which was the whole point.
    • Starting a new writing project is awarding, and thus I’ve written more than 300 words on the first days (594, 578, 747, and finally, 316 words today). I expect the word counts to normalize at between 300 and 400 words.
    • I’ll have to be careful not falling into the “lots of short chapters” trap, where each writing session turns out to be a chapter. This has been the case up until now, and might mean that the structure of the draft will need more work than usual when I’m done.
    • The outline is, as expected, crucial since every writing session is so short.

    I’ll report back on the project in regular intervals, weekly to begin with (on Sundays, as you might’ve gathered). If you want daily updates, follow me on Twitter and/or The updates pertaining this projects are marked with the #MobNov hashtag.

  • Indecisiveness


    Most writers know about indecisiveness. It’s what we have to face time and time again, be it while we’re working on an outline, writing the first draft, or editing our final manuscript. There’ll always be situations when we’re struggling to decide where to go next.

    Photo by snigl3t (CC)
    Photo by snigl3t (CC)

    Personally, I think the worst indecisiveness you’ll face is what to do next, the next project. Being creative creatures, we tend to have quite a lot of ideas. Where to go next is hard since it means choosing between these brain children of our imaginations. It can be a crippling decision.

    At times, the next project is obvious. Perhaps some outer factor have made the decision for you, like a contract with a publisher for example. That can be a good thing, it might feel like a lifesaver. It could also be suffocating in its own way, but at least there’s no indecisiveness to tackle, only your own discipline to get the job done.


  • I'm Writing A Novel On My iPhone

    That I love writing on my iPad, with the appropriate apps and accessories, is no secret. After all, I did write an ebook about it, called The Writer’s iPad, so it goes without saying.

    I’m also an avid iPhone writer. Before this wonderful device came along, I managed to crank out the occasional draft on my dumbphones, something that was a lot less pleasant than today’s alternatives.

    Writing on mobile devices, smartphones in this case, is nothing new. There’s been novels written using SMS and Twitter only, and there used to be things like this in Japan back in the day. There’s nothing groundbreaking about writing long form on a smartphone, a lot of friends and acquaintances rely on their iPhones and Androids for these things, much like I do. I’ve written a lot of shorter stuff on my iPhone myself, and thousands of emails, as well as parts of longer articles. Thanks to the wonderful world of cloud computing, I’ve been able to jump into documents as needed, getting work done using only my iPhone.  (more…)