October 16 2017

Invite (Five Minute Friday)

The word this week is invite. So I would like to invite you, if you are reading this post, to take a minute to go back and read another post or two from my blog.

I would also like to invite you to write with me during the month of November when I am doing a new novel for NaNoWriMo.org. I would especially like to invite everyone to help hold me accountable to get my 1,667 words written each day and to strive to write even more so I can actually get to the finish of a new novel.

I would also invite you to check in with me about finishing up the office clean out. There isn’t a lot left to do except to deal with the stacks of paper that I never seem to have room for in the files and never know what to do with.

So, if any of you would like to accept this invitation to be writing accountability buddies, I would love it if you’d email me.

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Invite
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

October 16 2017

31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes Challenge (Sticky Post)

This post is part of the 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes Challenge. Scroll down for the links and the graphic showing the prompts for the month.

It will be pinned to the top of the page until the end of the month. Check back for updates on the prompts. I may write several at a time and update just a couple of times a week. I seriously considered not posting any at all until all 31 were written. But that seemed like a long time to let myself possibly get behind. Do I will post at least once a week. FiveMinuteFriday posts will be posted separately as they have been. Continue reading

October 7 2017

Story (Five Minute Friday)

Who doesn’t love a good story? I know I do. I love to hear them and read them and I try really hard to write them. That is the reason I am spending the month of October writing prompts for 5 minutes each day. (To get in the habit of writing more regularly) I am also spending some time each day trying to absorb all I can about the craft of writing and the structure of stories.

I have a little over three weeks to get my story planning act together and come up with a really good outline so this year I can and will not only win NaNoWriMo but finish the book. You see while I have won the challenge for the last 4 Novembers in a row, I have never finished any of those stories, YET. I am still learning and practicing the craft of fiction writing and each year I feel like I get a little closer to being able to write a novel worthy of publishing.

I have made a tough decision this year to set aside the Crafty Ladies series of books that I have worked on for the past 3 years and see what I can do with a shiny new idea for a stand-alone novel. All new characters, new setting, new plot…I don’t have the details worked out yet, but I am working on it and I will get there. It is kind of a relief to just have to plan and write one novel this time.

So, if any of you have a great system for plotting a novel or a great book on the craft of fiction novel writing, I would love it if you’d share it in the comments below (or you can email me if you prefer to keep your advice private from the rest of the world who might someday stumble upon my little corner of the blogging world and read it).

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Story
The assignment: Write for five minutes on the word of the week. This is meant to be a free write, which means: no editing, no over-thinking, no worrying about perfect grammar or punctuation. Just write.

October 5 2017

My New Helper is a Keeper

The image and title above may have already clued you in to what I am going to tell you about today. A few weeks ago, I was listening to one of Ann Kroeker’s Podcasts. She mentioned something I hadn’t yet heard of, Google Keep. Since I had no idea what it was, I asked Google, “Ok Google, What is Google Keep?” I got the following answer from Google:

Google Keep is a note-taking service developed by Google. Launched on March 20, 2013, Google Keep is available on the web, and has mobile apps for the Android and iOS mobile operating systems.”

Thank you, Google. I went to YouTube and typed in Google Keep and watched a couple of tutorials and was immediately blown away by how powerful a tool this could be. I had to have it! Now! How had I not known about this? Thank you, Ann Kroeker, writing coach for sharing this tidbit! My life is forever changed because I listened to your podcast!

You can listen to it here in about ten minutes start to finish. If you’d rather read than listen, you can find the blog post here: Ep 112: My Best Writing Tools to Get More Done (at Home and on the Go)

I was very excited about all the possibilities, so I went to the Google Play Store and downloaded the Android version right away. I played with it some on my phone and couldn’t wait to get home and see the desktop version of it. It is very easy to use. The only problem I had was accidentally archiving a post when I didn’t mean to, but even that is easily undone.

In the few weeks since I began using the app on my Android phone and the online version on both my desktop and my Surface Pro 2, I have found it to be the one app I would not give up on my phone. Yes, it is that awesome! Did I mention it is FREE?

I have taken notes at meetings, made lists of things to remember to talk over at my next Dr appointment, made to do lists, taken notes on books I was reading including a photo of the cover. I have taken screenshots of research I was doing on a DIY project then attached the screenshot to the note and had Keep grab the text from the image so that all of it is editable, savable and searchable. I have done research online and taken notes which included several source URL links. I decided I might want to refer to some snippets of info and wanted to create a note about them but was feeling too lazy to type them all in on my phone, so I used the microphone on the keyboard and spoke them into text that was typed before my eyes super accurately. At one point I was dictating a note about being a writer and Keep typed rider, but as I kept talking it figured out I meant writer and went back and changed it before I was finished dictating the note, right before my eyes. How cool is that? Google Keep understands what I am thinking, sometimes better than I do myself.

I have color-coded, labeled, pinned and even archived some of my notes. I can reorder the things on my to-do list so the most important ones are on top. I can add blog ideas to my ongoing list wherever I am because my phone is always with me. There is a Keep shortcut on the main screen because I use it that much. I even added shortcuts to my computer desktops for faster access too.

I love that I can use the checkboxes on my lists and check things off. The checked items go to the bottom of the list where they can be quickly referenced when someone wants to know what you have gotten done today. You can also uncheck all the boxes at once or just the individual ones you need. This is excellent for grocery lists. The list items can be sorted by the department they are in such as vegetables, dairy or meat. I could share the list with a collaborator (Hubby) and then Hubby would be able to access the list on his phone and shop in one department while I shop in another to finish the shopping much faster.

I just figured out another cool way to use this on my phone hands-free. I said, “Ok Google, add a note to Google Keep to finish blog article.” See the results below.

When I clicked Open Keep as shown above, it took me to the Keep app where I found the little gem shown below waiting for me. You can see it is super fast by the times shown in the screenshots.

Notice the little play button below the little, dotted line in the screenshot above? If I click on it, I hear my voice telling Google what I want the note to say. When I am finished with this task, I can either archive or just delete the note to keep the Keep notepad from getting cluttered.

So many uses! Did I mention you could dictate portions of your novel into this and save the notes in Keep and Google Docs or that from Google Docs you can pull up your Google Keep notepad and drag and drop parts of any of your Keep notes into an open Google Doc? Story notes, plot ideas, character details, bits of dialog, all able to be easily added to a Scrivener file when you get back to your computer, all searchable and editable.

See what I mean? This is exciting! There are so many possible uses for it. A boss using Google Keep could create and share daily to do lists with several employees, and any and all could make changes to the list throughout the day checking off the things that were finished. Each checkbox could begin with the name of the person being assigned to do the task.

Here are some of the excellent Tutorials I found that explain all the wonders of Google Keep much better than I could because seeing is believing. There are loads of videos to tell you how various people use Google Keep.

Google Keep Awesomeness:

Google Keep 2017 Tutorial – Online Notes:

How to use Google Keep – Full Tutorial:

Using Google Keep to Track Projects:

Google Keep – The Most Beautiful To Do List Ever!:

There are so many more uses I have yet to explore but I am using Google Keep on a daily basis for all the thoughts in my brain that might otherwise leak out through the cracks and be lost forever.

September 21 2017

Writing Ritual Tag

Author Kim Chance had this tag on her YouTube channel.

When do you write? (time of day, day of week)
Mostly on Thursday nights during my writing group.

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?
I don’t think I seclude myself. If anything, I hang out with other writers more than I ever used to hang out before finding my writer friends.

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?
I don’t.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?
I don’t have one.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch YouTube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?
Search the web for something to inspire me.

What tools do you use when you’re writing?
My computer, of course, and my writing notebook.

What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?
My computer.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?
Unsweet iced tea, or ice water.

How do you know when you’re done writing?
When my blog post is written or I am falling asleep on my computer.

If you are a writer and you are reading this, consider yourself tagged.

Watch Kim Chance’s video: https://t.co/b0734bqUvh (Published on Aug 11, 2017)

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