11 Days to go

I’ve never liked the winter. It’s not so much the cold that gets me but the disappearance of daylight. It has always put me in a bad mood, and learning to recognise this recurring pattern made me more aware of it – which in turn has made me even more miserable over the years.

Appropriately this phenomenon is called SAD and puts millions of people every year into varying degrees of depression by December. I feel it as a total lack of energy: all the things I can do in the summer are extra difficult and take twice as long in the winter, or in the period leading up to it. It’s like my body is going into survival or hibernation mode.

Fiddling with the clocks every now and again really does not alleviate this much.

Having said that, this year I have felt that the change from summer time to winter time was a godsend. I started getting up later and later ever since September, 9:30 or 10am wasn’t rare for me. In the summer I can rise at 5am or 6am without problems, but it becomes really hard in the winter.

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13 Days to go

Moving is always a pain. Moving cities is a bigger pain than just moving down the road. Moving countries however is another issue altogether. Believe me, I’ve done this before – and I’m about to do it again.

Moving cities involves packing boxes, loading boxes onto a van, unloading those boxes and carrying them upstairs, accompanied by too much furniture and a lot of stuff we’ve forgotten we’ve actually every owned.

It also involves painting and decorating, talking to people like estate agents, and worse of all it confronts you with having to make decisions that you’d rather not want to make.

Moving cities knows no boundaries – other than the space of the van or car you’re using to move. You can approach moving countries in a similar fashion if you ask an overpriced removal company to store and ship all the stuff for you.

I remember my mentally deranged flatmate did this, and I’ll never forget his face when 40 boxes came delivered some months after we had found a small house in Nunhead, South London. That little room was packed to the ceiling – and he looked as pale as the boxes. Classic!

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14 Days to go

Peter Casasola is my favourite dentist of all time. We had one final checkout with him today before we have to find us a new doctor in Miami Beach. Peter was my wife's dentist in Harborne, Birmingham and she said I should check him out. That must have been in late 2004. I haven't regretted it since.

Forming a relationship with any dentist is difficult: it's based on a combination of trust, quality and affordability. Peter scores high on all fronts – especially compared to the other crooks I've been dealing with in my life.

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15 Days to go

The date of our flight is getting closer, yet so much remains to be sorted out. Finding temporary accommodation in Miami for example, before we can find a place to rent. Or getting one final visit in with our favourite trusted dentist in Birmingham.

Much more important things have been attended to today though: I bought a wireless keyboard for my iPad, complete with case that folds into a stand. Since there’s a lot of writing that needs to be done I thought this a worthwhile investment.

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I’m doing NaNoWriMo 2012

There’s an annual National Story Writing Contest called NaNoWriMo. It happens every year in November and participants have exactly 30 days to write furiously to come up with a 50.000 word novel.

The idea is not to finish a masterpiece in this time, but rather to establish a daily routine in which the goal is to “do writing” rather than procrastinate, edit, try to perfect or think yourself out of a good idea. There are even local groups that come together and write in silence, but also to encourage each other to pull through to the magic 50k.

Many creatives have often remarked that there is no special spark that needs to happen for anything creative to happen, it’s rather about “sitting down and doing it” and not about “thinking about it”.

You know me, I’m up for a challenge – and it dawned on me that with such a cool writing tool as Storyist on my hands, plenty of forthcoming time ahead of me, and an amazing story to tell, NaNoWriMo is just what I need in the forthcoming twilight season I’d like to call Stateside.

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Discovering Storyist for iPad and Mac

I’ve just discovers a new software called Storyist. It’s a tool for writers that lets you outline ideas on index cards, then shift them around using drag and drop. Full written sections follow along in the manuscript.

For me as a lifelong Word user, discovering Storyist is like discovering plutonium!

I’m writing several how-to manuals for clients and I’d like to expand them into larger editions for sale on Amazon. Writing these longer-than-5000-word articles proves to be a pain in Word and Pages because even though these are very great text processors, they not support creative brainstorming.

So I was looking for an iPad app that behaves like index cards. I heard that writers often use them, and I can understand the benefits of such a workflow. My original idea was to use index cards to jot down loose ideas, bringing together what I want to write in principle but not worry about the correct order. I would then move them into something that makes more sense to the reader, adding chapter marks as appropriate and then start writing accordingly.

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