Tag: MobNov

  • 90,000 words on an iPhone

    As you probably know, I write a lot on my iPhone, and have proposed smartphones to be great writing aids when working on a novel. I love to hear about other people’s experiences using mobile devices.

    Melody Joy Cary sent me this wonderful email about her novel writing using an iPhone, which is impressive to say the least: over 90,000 words and counting! She agreed to let me publish her letter, so here’s Melody:

    I’ve been writing a novel almost solely on my iPhone for nearly a year now, which includes several dry spells where life got crazy. At the beginning, I was averaging about 1000 words/day. I’m currently at over 90,000 words, all but one chapter written strictly on my phone. The chapter that went on my computer was narrated by a different character so I typed it to be able to more easily change the style.

    This is my first novel that’s made it past an idea and a couple pages, so it’s been an adventure and I definitely think I’ll continue writing novels on my phone after this one is completed. I don’t outline so I’m not sure how much longer it’s going to go… My goal was 100,000 words since it’s a fantasy novel, but there’s still a ways to go before the final battle…

    Anyway, I just wanted to share my own experience with writing a novel on an iPhone. I think it’s not only feasible but very doable. For me, it’s not always practical to pull out my computer when I want to write, and I know if I had tried to write this on my computer I wouldn’t have been able to do what I’ve done so far.

    Thank you for sharing your experience with writing a novel on an iPhone. It’s encouraging to hear that an actual professional (compared to an amateur such as myself) is similarly experimenting with the same writing platform that I chose.

    Best of luck to Melody and her writing. I’m planning to follow up and see how she does.

    If you’re interested in writing more using your smartphone, check out the archives here. My latest post on the matter was a bit of a post mortem on the project that landed me on FT.com (the story is lurking behind a paywall, I’m afraid).

    How are you using your smartphone for writing? If you want to share, tweet to @tdh on Twitter.

  • iPhone novel blast from the past

    I’m a big fan of Day One, the journaling app for iOS and macOS. One thing it does is highlighting past updates, and today I got this one from my iPhone novel writing journal:

    Today’s #MobNov tally: 360 words in 12 mins, written outdoors with a monstrous dog gnawing on me.

    Attached photo:

    Paazu the monstrous dog
    Paazu the monstrous dog

    Seems fitting, since I wrote about the iPhone novel writing project just the other day.

  • The iPhone novel

    The iPhone novel

    One of the more read, and possibly most searched for, pieces on this site is the one where I declare that I’m writing a novel on my iPhone. Years later, this post still generates a decent amount of views, tweets, and emails from curious readers. In other words, this follow up is long overdue.

    First of all, I did indeed write a novel on my iPhone. I set a reasonable word count target per day, at a mere 300 words, to avoid getting too fatigued or end up straining my thumbs for longer sessions. Most days, I’d write more than 300 words, but rarely over 500, which means that the sessions were limited enough. Never once did I experience any discomfort from all that thumb-typing, which was reassuring.


  • #MobNov October Update

    There’s just no easy way to say this. My iPhone novel writing project is struggling. The story’s almost done and there’s just the endgame left, which adds up to a couple of thousand words or so, but the manuscript is way too short. As I’ve said before, writing in such short spurts completely changed the pace of my writing, and I’ve already re-outlined the novel twice, to no avail.

    The past few days I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time each day to mull over what I’m going to do about this. True to the project, I’ve tried not to spend too much time. It has to be reasonable.

    This is the new plan:

    • Insert the new scenes and character earlier in the story. This is usually not a good idea when writing, but I need these elements to proceed.
    • Add a parallell storyline, the one I scrapped because I thought it’d push the novel over 100,000 words. Yeah, that was quite a miscalculation.
    • Update the outline properly. I’ll most likely do this on paper, that’s how definite this thing’ll be.
    • Get back into the 300 words daily mindset, because these issues have left me scattered and unfocused.

    That’s about it. I might change writing app as well, because Byword, which I’ve used thus far, have had quite a few issues with iOS 7. We’ll see, more on that in a later article series for this site.

  • #MobNov September Update

    The iPhone novel writing project is struggling. I’ve missed two days completely thus far (because of life and, well just life), and a lot of time is spent thinking and outlining and re-outlining. Some days see less than 300 words because of this, which I don’t think is in the spirit of the experiment, but a result nonetheless. The word indecision comes to mind.

    The current status is this. The story’s progressing a lot faster than I thought it would. It’s not that surprising since each writing session is so short, and I indadvertedly want to reach a point where the session makes sense in its own. This is messing with my schedule and pacing, because as it is now this isn’t a novel, it’s a novella. It’s distracting and annoying.

    This pacing tells me that the second draft will probably be a lot more fleshed out. This is not a new development for me as a fiction writer, when I stick to an outline I tend to be brief, which can be both good and bad. There’s room for improvement in this particular story, especially around a character I’ve decided to bring back. Fleshing that out will be another 10,000 words or so.

    I’ve decided to take a week off to let the story rest. As you’re reading this said week is no doubt over already. I’m not sure how this fits with the experiment, but just like the trouble finding a stride, it’s a result if nothing else.

    As of the last of September, there are four months left of the experiment. I’ve learned a lot about writing when there’s no time at all, and prioritize the word count when I’d otherwise do other things. I’ve also learned that I have issues with keeping to short word counts. 300 words is a small target for me, I tend to set my targets at over 2,000 words so that I can settle in properly and get the words flowing. I’ll hold off on any analysis around this for now though. It’s still an interesting experiment, and I’m really curious to see what I’ll have on January 31st 2014. And what I can do with it beyond that.

  • One Month Of iPhone Novel Writing

    On August 1st this year, I started to write a novel on my iPhone. It’s a long project that’ll end next year. The idea is to write 300 words daily on my novel manuscript, on my iPhone, and obviously there’s a point to be proven in the end. Along the way, I realized that I need to schedule time and words for outlining work, and I’ve done that on a weekly basis, more or less.

    One month in, I’ve written at least 300 words daily. The 31 days of August should mean that I’d have at least 9,300 words, but some of these words have ended up in the outline. Then again, I easily make up for the lost words by writing more than 300 words daily on average. The manuscript is 10,263 words long after one month, that’s 331 words per day had I spent all my writing on it. In short, I’m on schedule, despite the change in procedure that the outline work prompted.

    Some additional notes:

    • I still write around 350 (manuscript) words per session, at 11–13 minutes.
    • The word count of each session have had an impact on the pacing of the story. I’ve since adjusted, but this might mean that additional editing’s needed, beyond the usual needs of course.
    • The story is progressing faster than expected, which means I’ll have to reconsider my outline yet again. We’ll see where this takes me later on.
    • I tend to write late afternoons or during the evening. The daily alert I’ve got at 4 pm obviously has something to do with this.

    So far so good. I expect to report on the project on a monthly basis from now on, assuming there’s something to report. Daily updates are posted to Twitter and App.net if you’re interested.

  • 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.


  • 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 App.net. The updates pertaining this projects are marked with the #MobNov hashtag.

  • 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…)