Blog - Ryan M. Williams
Writing Prompts

Weird Weekly Writing Prompts

Welcome! I've written some of my favorite stories with simple writing prompts that have encouraged my imagination to come up with things I probably wouldn't have come up with otherwise. Check back each week for new writing prompts, or sign up for Readinary to receive my weekly emails and get the prompts in your inbox along with my latest posts. I've also set up a simple submission page you can use to suggest writing prompts.

Latest Writing Prompt

Pick a favorite food. Now give it a curse.

Have fun with this week's prompt. Who placed the curse? What does it do? Why is it cursed? Prompt courtesy Ryan M. Williams, author of Stowaway to Eternity.

Stowaway to Eternity

Continue reading
Python

Using Python to Generate Story or Novel Titles

Writing doesn’t require learning to code. But you can have fun, save time, and improve creativity by learning at least some coding. Even something as simple as creating a word count tracker can help with productivity. Picking up knowledge around HTML and CSS can help writers with websites. Discovering languages like JavaScript or Python unlocks potential for many other options.

I faced this recently with a problem I faced around titles for novels in a series. Don’t worry if you haven’t coded anything before—this is a short example of using Python to generate a list of possible titles for my books. The techniques used can apply to any programming language—or even to doing it entirely by hand.

Continue reading
Novlr

Introducing Your New Writing Tool – Novlr

I’ve been known to bounce around trying out different writing software. I’ve tried a range of programs including Microsoft Word, Scrivener, StoryBox, yWriter, Omniwriter, Write or Die, Wattpad, Evernote, and many others. Years ago, using Palm OS-based PDAs, I particularly liked WordSmith. I haven’t found the perfect program yet. I currently use Scrivener and Word for many projects. Right now I’m also using Novlr for writing my first drafts.

Continue reading
Space Monkeys

Space Monkeys Audio Drama Podcast

on-spec-magazine-summer-2011-85-vol-23-no-2-cover-200x320Several years ago, editors at On Spec Magazine published my short story Space Monkeys. As if that wasn't enough of a thrill, they created a teacher and librarian toolkit of the story for students.

Now they've added a dramatized audio-play adaptation of the story, available over on Soundcloud. Or just click to listen.

I'm thrilled to see—listen—to the new audio version.

Continue reading
Routine

Your Writing Routines Are Destroying Your Productivity

Routines destroy productivity when they become fixed rituals—especially if you want to write while working at another full-time career. If you need to have the right chair, the right work space, computer, or the perfect software program, then you’ve restricted your options to write until those times that the stars and planets align and provide you with the perfect environment.

Continue reading
Punctuate This

Punctuate This | Writing Exercise

I got this writing exercise from one of my mentors, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, at a workshop I did a few years back. I found it very instructive. It's simple to explain, and much harder to do.

Continue reading
Unplanned Time Off

Unplanned Time Off

I took some unplanned time off from working on my blog over the past few weeks. It stemmed in large part from a life roll—the loss of our two dogs. Poppy passed at the end of April, age-related reasons, at 18 years old. Worf, only 7 years old, was diagnosed with cancer and had stopped eating despite all that we tried. It became clear he wasn't improving and we made the difficult choice to have him euthanized. It's been hard for me and my family. As I get my creative life back on track, I thought I'd share some tactics I've used that you might find helpful. 

Continue reading
Noting Techniques

Recognizing Your Thoughts and Emotions | Using Noting Techniques

I practice meditation daily. Similarly, I practice writing. I have many different practices in my life. In my last post, I talked about how focusing on the next step can help you be more productive. I've also written about productivity killers faced by writers. One of the big things that makes me feel as if I'm failing at times is the thought of all of the projects and tasks that I'm not getting done. In my meditation practice, I use noting techniques that help me with mindfulness. You can use the same noting techniques in your writing practice (or any other parts of your life).

Continue reading
Next Step

Focus on the Next Step and Improve Your Productivity

Take a look at the 650s section in a public library and you'll find a selection of time management books. Depending on the focus, you may find additional titles in other sections of the library, e.g., a book with more of a psychology focus might be in the 150s, while you might find some others in the 300s. Take a look, you may find a method that works well for you. For me, one of the key elements is focusing on the next step, that one thing I can do right now to move a project forward.

Continue reading
Revitalize Your Writing Career

It’s Never Too Late to Revitalize Your Writing Career

A decade after I decided I needed to "get serious" about my writing career. I already had a master's degree in writing popular fiction and had been writing since I was a teenager. I'd managed to get a couple stories published and enjoyed my first professional sale. At the time, I thought I'd start making a living from my writing within five years.

That didn't happen. I watched other writers, newer writers, achieve the sort of success that I wanted. I kept at it and sold more stories. I made my first forays into indie publishing and it didn't take off the way I wanted. Since I also have a satisfying career as a librarian, I shifted my focus to my library career. I kept a few things going with my writing, but mostly I let it rest for about three years. Now I'm rebuilding, revitalizing my writing career. In this post I'll share four strategies I've found helpful in starting over.

Continue reading
1 2 3 6