Henry Hyde: Designer, Writer, Podcaster

2017 Writing Already Underway

2017 Writing Already Underway

2017 Writing Already Underway

Happy New Year to you all, and I wonder how your own writing year has started?

This evening, I have just bashed out a 2,400 article for Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine, which I’m sure my friends Guy Bowers and Jasper Oorthuys will be happy to hear! It just needs to sit in a drawer for a couple of days for me to add the final polish. Yesterday, I wrote 1,500 words for Wargames Illustrated. Tomorrow, I have another 1,500 word piece for WI to write.

This just proves that if you have a word count target and a deadline hovering over you, and assuming you have a pretty good idea of what you want to write, it can work wonders for your productivity. Mind you, if you tried to get me to write these pieces mid-month with a couple of weeks until they were needed? Nah!

No wonder so many writers now use Scrivener when writing long-form fiction or non-fiction, as you can set your own goals and measure progress on a daily and/or session-by-session basis, which is really useful for getting that first draft done.

Scrivener work in progress
Oh, and the novel? Fear not: despite a challenging end to 2016, I’ve carried on chipping away, even if only a few paragraphs at a time. It’s actually been very therapeutic. And now the word-count stands at 20,059, which is almost getting respectable. (Incidentally, you can listen to my writing soundtrack on Spotify here.)

So my plans for 2017 include getting the first novel finished and published, getting well into the next in the series and finishing Wargaming Campaigns for Pen & Sword. I also intend to get at least one other non-fiction project written and published, together with my first online course, and I have my regular writing gigs for the two hobby magazines, which look set to keep me busy around the turn of every month for a long time.

How about you? What creative goals are you setting yourself for the coming year?

12 thoughts on “2017 Writing Already Underway

  1. Sukhi

    That’s amazing word count goals Henry! I agree, when you have a purpose and deadline for the piece of writing you need to work on, it is easier to write. I tend to spend a few minutes planning what i’m going to write before I begin a timed writing session; helps me to stay on track. Thanks for sharing!

  2. On Sean's Table

    It’s not the word count that impresses me the most, it’s the quality of the stuff produced. You, like a good friend of mine Duff Wallis who as an unattributed staff writer churns out reams of well researched, quality sports news, have indeed proven that writing quality and quantity comes with practice. A muscle to be toned and strengthened.

    You probably wrote your Compendium in less time than it took me to do my first read through!

    Goals? Yes indeed: One ~750 word “mind candy” (your term, not mine) gaming article to be posted on Sundays, each of the 52 weeks of 2017. One month in and I’m winning. This done on a blog made pretty with photos or scans made only by yours truly. OK, my aspiring photographer daughter has contributed as well and the visuals are better for it.

    If you want proof and so I can hold my own feet to the fire, all are welcome to chastise me mercilessly if I fall behind. https://OnSeansTable.wordpress.com/

    P.S. Are you done surprising us with the number of Wargames mags you’re now writing for? You sir are ubiquitous! Keep it up!

    1. henryhyde Post author

      Wow, that’s a wonderful comment! Thank you so much for the flattering words. I consider myself to be way behind the curve of the writers and bloggers I admire and constantly beat myself up for not doing enough. But I suppose to people not aware of my personal goals, it probably does seem like I’m doing a lot.

      Actually, blogging is the one thing I feel is hardest to maintain, though I’m trying to change that. The danger is always expending one’s energies on other social media, especially in these troubled times when it’s easy to get sucked in to online debates. Writing books and articles is so much more rewarding—and permanent!

      1. Sean

        You are welcome and, yes, from an outside perspective it does seem like you do a lot. It is all relative I guess as long as the goals are challenging, meaningful, and ultimately satisfying to the achiever.

        As you look ahead of you on your curve to admire others don’t forget to take the odd encouraging look back to see how far you’ve come. There must have been a time when an effort like your Compendium and a budding publishing business seemed a pipe dream, and yet there is a well thumbed copy of your book on a number of shelves.

        As you say, engaging in too much social media spreads writers thin. After a few bad experiences – electronic discourse can turn caustic and suck you down the rabbit hole so quickly – I thought that to start I’d just do the best job I’m capable of on a blog that automatically updates to Facebook. And then engage in other blogs that I enjoy and, eventually, hopefully, at least one interesting conversation on my own blog page.

        For a beginner, blogs seem more focussed and positive than many open forums or running electronic debate. There, it seems people just sound off without listening first. But who has time to read and then write?!? Your argument precisely?

        Fun so far, in a year I’ll know if writing regularly has remained meaningful and satisfying. In the meantime I won’t quit my day job!

        1. henryhyde Post author

          Thanks again, Sean – and just to show that I’m working hard on maintaining this blog, I just did another post! 😀

          1. Sean

            Show off! 🙂 Carry on Henry!

            It’s amazing all the detail that the digital world fills in for us with such fluidity. Little more than 100 years ago the installation of a steam powered cylindrical printing press at the Time in London was a modern miracle.

            BTW, I’m no font expert but surely there’s a clever and instructive very, very short story about, oh, say, Arial and her friend from around the Block, Serif having a Helvectica good Times at all the points of interest in the alleys and gutters of New Roman. Or some such thing… Then again, best not. I’m quiet sure I fully mined all its very limited potential right then and there.

            I think the cool kids are watching and playing something called “Undertale”
            these days. It has characters named after fonts and, apparently, if you watch and play enough of the stuff, personalities to match. Rated 16 and under. In other words my daughter has to explain it to me.


      2. Sean

        Hi Henry, A little ‘threadromancy’ here to let you know that almost one year later your advice combined with a consistent once a week post has given dividends.

        I’ve got an article about to be released in Wargames, Soldiers, & Strategy #94 that’s the direct result of blogging once a week, every week, for a full year. By month eight it seems I had it together enough to make the WSS cut. The proceeds from this article (meagre to some but my first ‘for profit’ article so a real thrill) will in turn pay for a year or two of fees for a website fully under my own moniker.

        In particular, your warning about “expending one’s energies on other social media” and more recent extolling the virtues of focussing on ‘process’ to the near exclusion of ‘goals’ have been really valuable. I find the less I check on stats, likes, comments, and such on my site, Facebook, and Twitter the more time I have to enjoy the process of learning how to create something that’s interesting for me.

        Take care and all the best in the new year,
        Sean of OnSeansTable.wordpress.com, as of Jan 1st, 2018 simply http://www.OnSeansTable.com

        1. henryhyde Post author

          Hello again Sean, and thanks for stopping by to give your fantastic news! Well done, that really is a tremendous achievement, and it sounds as though you’ve been listening to my chat with Jay Arnold on the latest Veteran Wargamer’s Podcast!

          I’m delighted that I’ve been able to pass on some useful tidbits—we’re all in this learning process together, in a constantly-changing landscape, so I’m happy to pass on whatever I find worthwhile myself.

          I’ll be writing another blog post over the next few days. I’ve been rather irregular with my own posts, but it’s been a challenging year, and it’s only now that I feel I’ve turned a corner and can get back on track.

          Wishing you continued good fortune with your writing.

  3. Sean

    Thank you Henry for both the advice and the encouragement. The Veteran Wargamer Podcast is indeed where I heard you speak about ‘process’ as a goal unto itself.

    I’ll look forward to reading more from you in the New Year. Best of luck!

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