New Year, New Book

I’m not really one for making new year resolutions, fortunately I don’t have anything really to give up and I am more than happy to start my “resolutions” as and when they need to start throughout the year rather in the very dark, cold and generally horrid month of January.

Big Ben 2014

Big Ben chimes in 2014 – Photo courtesy Daily Mail Newspaper

However, January does seem a good time for me to set myself a target of writing two books in 2014.  I have numerous books in my head and at the very early stages of work in progress and also a Star Trek related book which I am probably half way through writing.  I started this book as it is something I know a lot about and something I can put a new spin on but due to the nature of the book, it is hugely time-consuming, much more than writing a fictional book.

I always find the hardest part of writing is firstly making the time to write and secondly, getting started with each writing session.  Naturally when people write, they like to finish off a section completely and call it a day but this can mean that the next day or week when you next start writing it can be difficult to start off or you may even have totally forgotten what you were going to write.  To get around that problem, as well as having chapters vaguely mapped out, I always finish a writing session by only writing half of the last sentence which over the years I have always found the best way to start writing quickly again.

However, none of this is possible with my current work in progress and recently I became inspired to write a beginners guide to WW1.  The next few years will see repeated 100th anniversary of various events.  Many people might be interested in learning more or perhaps they don’t know anything at all of this important subject.

Most history books for WW1 are very long and drawn out, understandably as it is probably the longest and most complicated war of modern times.  I think this puts a lot of people off and many don’t want or need to know much beyond the basics and so that is the approach I’m going to take covering about 20 subjects.

I was very lucky and for a combined Christmas/40th birthday present received an iPad which is something I had wanted for years.  So I have put Apple Pages on there and am going to try and write an entire book on a iPad.  I have already found one or two surprises mainly because I haven’t used an Apple device before but I don’t foresee too many problems.  I have always found Microsoft software to be both unyielding and overly complicated.

iPad Air

Is it possible to write a book on a tablet?

I wonder if anyone has any experience of any of the specialist writing software packages?  You may have seen them on the internet, promising to make it easy for you to write a script or manuscript or novel.  I’ve never used one myself but my hunch is that they are probably a waste of money.  If you want to write, then write but I don’t think you don’t need anything more than a basic package.  I’m sure Usain Bolt became the fastest runner from hard work and natural talent and not by buying expensive shoes when he was starting out.  That stuff can wait and for writing a standard book I think I could get buy on something like notepad so Apple Pages such be fine.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Have you got any New Year Resolutions or do you have any writing goals set for 2014?

About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including several #1 sellers. I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. I run my private tours company with one tour stated by the leading travel website as being with the #1 authentic London Experience. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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22 Responses to New Year, New Book

  1. Ahmed says:

    This is very interesting. First of all, I agree with you; if you want to write, all you have to do is to start writing. You don’t need a proper application, an iPad or a computer, you can use a pen and papers, just write.

    I love your 100th anniversary idea for a book, it sounds amazing and promising. The younger generation who were born in 1990’s and 2000’s have no idea at all about the events of the last century, for instance: WW1 and WW2 as well as too many remarkable inventions and revolutions. The reason goes back to what you mentioned, all books and documentaries are shabby and old-fashioned, we want something new.

    I encourage you to go for it. Happy New Year and may you get all your resolutions done this year. 🙂


    • Hello Ahmed, yes I’m a big believer in that and really enjoy writing by pen ( I wrote about that in another post) or even with pencil and paper. Too many options take away the simplicity of writing.

      Thank-you for your vote of confidence 🙂 I will give it my best effort. Happy New Year to you and your family!


  2. I tend to write mostly on TextEdit (I don’t have a pad, I have a MacBookPro) but I assume your iPad has textedit as it is the basic writing package.

    I’ve got Pages too, but use that later. Most professionals that I know produce the text first, and then format later, otherwise you waste too much time formatting.


    • Oh thanks for that. TextEdit isn’t on my iPad but I can get it from iTunes so will give it a go.

      I think a pre-occupation with formatting and punctuation really does take writers away from writing. Write all the way through, there is plenty of time later for formatting and editing. Happy New Year!


  3. blosslyn says:

    I am in awe of anyone that can write and just want to wish you luck with the books 🙂


  4. This sounds exciting. Wish you good luck. New year … New Challenges


    • Thank-you! I think winter is a good time to start writing with it being so dark and cold outside. That being said, television can be a distraction. I’m very much awaiting the second series of Bron / The Bridge this evening!


  5. Michelle Mueller says:

    My “resolutions” for the year also include completing a novel. And, like you, I also have difficulties getting my writing session started. In general, once I start, I will continue until I get to a stopping point. But even while wanting to write, I struggle with that first sentence of the day. That said, I really like the idea of leaving half the sentence undone. I might give that a try!


  6. Thanks for commenting Michelle. Starting writing is always the hardest part and once you get going you just don’t want to stop. Do try finishing your writing session with leaving half a sentence undone. Hopefully when you start the next one, finishing the sentence will be easy and allow you to quickly make progress with the rest of your work!


  7. Ankur Mithal says:

    WW1 is a great idea. I have always wanted to know more about it but most of the existing stuff seems heavy and forbidding. All the best.


    • Thanks! Yes. That’s exactly what I want to do. Make an easy to understand guide that avoids the needs for all the politics and day by day tactics and battles. Something anyone can read that is accessible but still informative.


  8. watch out for the spelling auto correct Stephen, just a gentle whisper to let you know ipad likes to insert words you had no intention of using. More importantly, yes, yes and yes again to WW1 book. As you say we enter the 100th anniversary and too few understand the importance of this war, the impact to this day and the extreme sacrifice’s made. I will watch with interest. x


    • Thank-you for the warning. It must be their version of Microsoft changing the spelling in Word!

      I’m really excited about the WW1 book, I can’t believe so many people are enthusiastic for it too, I thought it was just me! Really the entire world today is all originating from WW1 and our country in particular. x


  9. Boyer Writes says:

    Stephen, I am glad to read that you have this goal. I have just started one of mine…and that is to introduce my children’s books, Called NANNY BOOKS, to the world through Kindle at Amazon. My books are short stories that children will relate to about self-worth, bullying…honesty…hard work and much more. It is also to get parents reading to and with their children as conversation may be a dying art. (A blog on conversation was my most read this past year. To read at )

    I DO NOT believe that the electronic books are as good as holding a book in the hand…but they certainly are cheaper to publish. As you said, we will see. Here is my first Kindle book called, BETTY BIG EARS.


    • Hi Nancy, what a great idea and what a good cause too. Also, at least in the U.K. much is often made of the importance of reading with and to children but I have to say, I don’t know any who do, at least not like we used to be so I really hope it is successful for you.

      I don’t like electronic books myself and though my sales seem to be more electronic that paperback, I always make sure they are in paperback format if only for myself 🙂

      My coffee table is really heaving under the weight of new books from Christmas and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

      Best of luck with Betty Big Ears and any subsequent ones you publish this year!


  10. Kate Loveton says:

    Love the photo of Big Ben – very nice.

    A couple of comments –

    I’ll be curious to learn if you like Apple Pages. I haven’t yet found anything I love for writing on the iPad, but keep hoping.

    I wish there was a grammar / punctuation check for iPad. My abilities in that area aren’t bad, but I’d still like to have a check program.

    My writing goal for this year is to write every day in spite of a full time job… don’t care how good what I write is – just get something on the page. Clean-up can come later.

    Last but not least: I hope you’ll share more with us about your Star Trek project as it comes together.

    Like your blog a great deal.


    • Thanks for your comments Kate. I’m using the new version of Pages which I have read is much simpler than the previous version but then it is free to new Apple customers anyway. It is a lot simpler to use than Word and though I have only been setting out chapter headings and making notes, I haven’t found anything which I couldn’t do easily. It probably helps that I got a cover for the iPad which includes a stylus too.

      I imagine I will do 99% on the iPad and then just email it to my PC for a final check and to prepare it for publication.

      I think you have the right approach to writing, write often and don’t dwell on the initial content until you’ve finished it all. I know its really hard to write when you work every day. Sometimes I would get to work early and write about 7am but then I’m a morning person and am happy to write early. At weekends I can write most of the day but I usually stop by the evening as my writing gets a bit sloppy at this time.

      I certainly will do an update about Star Trek, it is only because WW1 has a deadline I really want to make. I think if I had continued the Star Trek book would be ready for April but that wouldn’t give me time for the history book. Hopefully, both will be out by August 🙂

      Have a lovely day!


  11. Excellent news; and you’re right about the nature of most WW1 books. To write any substantive document on a tablet is difficult but not, I am told, impossible. It requires skill.


    • I think one good thing about writing on a tablet is that it minimises internet distractions though the iPad is annoyingly quite good at multitasking and having various tabs open.

      It must be easier than when I was a student and admittedly by choice write on my Amiga computer attached to a TV whilst watching television. It may not have done much for my essays but it made me a great touch typist!


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