Productivity for writers and normal people too. The Blank Screen newsletter is sent on Fridays by William Gallagher
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You see that book cover? This is the only place you can see it because I've stopped publication of The Blank Screen Guide: Blogging. Only for a bit: I'm late, I'm not daft. During the final proofing stage I was sent some more information and some more blogs that are significant enough I have to cover them.

I think it's important enough that I have to pause the book. But I also think that I should've found these before. And I know that I told you this would be on pre-order by today. I got that wrong and I can give you these reasons but instead I want to first say I'm sorry for doing that, second say that you'll be able to get it next week, and third say something to you that I said to a student last night.

He was talking about what he should have done and I told him bollocks to should. It's gone, let it go, what can you do now? 

I can get the book to you. And I can do that while I hope you read on to see this week's stolen productivity tip plus a genuinely inspirational video (genuinely, and it doesn't feature motivational kittens) plus a buy of the week that I've been havering about for months and just caved now.

Productivity tip of the week: Future You
I got this idea from a woman I’m mentoring in all this creative productivity. That’s a thing now: I do The Blank Screen sessions one to one and it is the most hair-raising fun I’ve had since writing the original book. There are so many great things about getting in so deep with an individual and their work and one of them is that I learn things back.

Such as Future You. It’s just this: do it now so that Future You doesn’t have to. And maybe: do it now so that Future You loves you – or at least thinks you’re okay.

My mentoree (is that a word?) says she uses it for simple things like making the beds in the morning rather than leaving it until she gets back from work. She uses it in her work, getting things done while they’re fresh so that her Future You isn’t stressed out with a deadline.

She also says she falls down a bit on that last one.

But the idea is simple and sound and I've been using it since she told me. Give it a go, would you?
News from The Blank Screen for November 28, 2014
Lessons for all our work from Steve Jobs
This is rather absorbing. Author, speaker and "software evangelist” – that was a job title he had once – Guy Kawasaki was due to give some speech or other at a bank conference. But it was the day Steve Jobs died and Kawasaki abandoned the presentation to instead talk about working with the man. And specifically about twelve lessons he’d learnt from Jobs. What he says is all about Apple but every bit of it applies to my work and to yours. This is lunch-hour viewing and I recommend it tremendously.

Not so recommended: Hashkey on Kickstarter

There’s a Kickstarter campaign to get this separate hashkey for your keyboard. It saves you pressing two keys. That’s a fifty percent productivity boost and it’s raised £1,852 so far. This is serious and so am I: we should do a Kickstarter campaign for a key that types “<facepalm>"

Black Friday Sales
It’s happened. Last night I saw a poster here in the UK advertising Black Friday. It was an Asda poster and Asda is owned by America’s Walmart so you can see how it would happen. But, still, Black Friday is a US shopping institution directly tied to Thanksgiving. For some reason the UK doesn’t tend to celebrate Thanksgiving. Hard to imagine why. But now we celebrate Black Friday. Asda is doing it, Argos is doing it.

Which is nice but not news for us. Not useful news for us. What is useful news is that since software is international, for the most part, there are US Black Friday sales on apps that we can get. Here’s the best roundup of them – though it's got a lot of hardware that you'll probably have to ignore as shipping to the UK will undo all the savings – see the Buy of the Week. But look now and rush now: the sales will persist into the weekend at most. 

And when you've ordered things, track them with IFTTT
Take a look at the free TrackIf channel on IFTTT. It helps you track the web and alerts you if anything you want changes online, helping you be the first to know when anything happens online. Track price drops on any product at nearly any shopping site. Something you want out of stock? No problem, TrackIf can alert you if it’s available again. Read more about this: it'll either bore you or awaken a brilliant interest in automating te web for you. A brilliant interest that becomes all consuming, but there you go.
Forthcoming events
The Writers' Toolkit
09:30-16:00 on Saturday 29 November 2014
Birmingham University
£37/£31 (concessions) including lunch

It's an entire day of events for writers but let me pick out a highlight. At 10:45am there's a panel on Writing for the Screen and I got the speakers. So pleased with them, so pleased. Stuart Lane will talk about writing for television and he's one of the three writers behind The Job Lot. That is my favourite UK comedy in years and years. And alongside him talking about film will be Andrea Gibb. She's not only a movie writer, she's also on the Writers' Guild's film committee so she is right in there with everything that is happening for writers. 

I'm on a couple of panels as myself and as regional representative of the Writers' Guild plus I'll be on a long rubber band connecting me to the Guild's stand all day. See you there?

Full details on the official site.
Buy of the week: Things for iOS
Fantastical 2 for Mac £6.99

After four years, I switched away from Apple’s Calendar to Fantastical on my iPad and after seven years I then switched to it on my iPhone too. I still didn’t rush to get the Mac one. It’s got the same quick entry, quick looking up of details. And the killer feature is how well it lets you just start typing “lunch with Bert at McKenna’s, Fifth and Figorola, Friday” and it pops all that into the right spot on your calendar. Fantastical is certainly excellent. 

But it was only today when I saw that it was half price at £6.99 that I caved in. Go read more about it on the official site and get it there for yourself.
What I'm reading...
The Making of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
J. W. Rinzler

Specifically the iBook version. It is so good. I’m not a giant Star Wars fan but if I were, Empire is the film I’d choose over the rest and this book about its making is a deeply and in all ways fine examination of the production. I have the paperback equivalent for the original Star Wars and I know it’s good but there is something about it that makes it a chore to read. Tiny text – oh, God, am I getting old? – and such a big volume that you can’t readily carry it around.

But the iBooks version, cor. All the text of course, but also video and audio interviews. If you have a Mac or iPad, go get the enhanced iBooks version. If you don’t, there is the paperback and as I say, the text is superb. You’ll just need to read it at home.
What I'm writing...
Plainly more of the new blogging book. It is preposterous how much extra material has surfaced in these last weeks – or it’s preposterous how my research is so bad that I missed it all before. Seriously, though, blogging. You hear it’s dying away but what’s really happening is that the rubbish ones are going. What’s left is so good. I’m glad I’ve written this book, just glad for myself and the blogs I’ve found to read because of it.

Which doesn’t mean I haven’t started the next book. And I edited a short story I first wrote a few months ago. But more about that on Self Distract. Warning: much more about it. But also the full short story, The Book Groups. You won’t often hear me say things like this but here goes: I am extremely proud of that short story. Do have a read.
You've read the newsletter – actually, you're reading the newsletter – and if you don't know about the book, take a peek down. The Blank Screen has also been a rather gorgeously successful series of UK-wide workshops and now it's available for you. Specifically you.

Read about the personal coaching that will make you more productive and get you more time for your art and writing.
"Love this book, it is clever and witty and genuinely grapples with making an extra hour (or two) in the day. Inspiring and liberating. A real Can-Do manual. No creative should be without it."
– Barbara Machin, creator of Waking the Dead

UK paperback and Kindle
US paperback and Kindle
One hundred sparky new chapters with advice, tips and the odd confession from a year of touring The Blank Screen workshops around the UK.

UK Kindle
US Kindle

Paperback coming 12 September 2014
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