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 29 2017

Depend (Five Minute Friday)

When I first read the word for the prompt this week, I wasn’t sure where to go with it. I have the words “You Can Depend On Me” running through my head, sung to the tune of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me”. Either way, it made me think of God. Yes, I can depend on Him, but what else do I consider dependable?

I began thinking about the things I can depend on. Death, taxes, God, me writing another NaNoWriMo novel in November. It is a short list. So I dug a little deeper, hunger, thirst, dirty laundry, the need to do basic household chores, the changing of the seasons, the need for more sleep, inflation, that things will eventually wear out and need to be replaced, and that no matter how hard you try you will NEVER be able to make everyone happy.

What can YOU depend on?

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Depend
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.

September 28 2017

Trash to Treasures #2

I had a small problem with my closet door. There were two hooks that used to belong to some kind of a shoe hanger organizer of some sort years ago and that’s long since gone but they’ve hung over the closet door for years. I used them to hang my nightgown and robe up on every day.

Last Saturday, when I was in one of those small hardware stores, you know the kind that has everything you could ever want and only the people who work there know how to find it that it was time to do something to fix the problem. I decided when I passed a set of pegboard hooks on a display that had Little Red Rubber ends on them, that I should think about looking for those little rubber tips to put on my closet hooks to protect my clothing. So, being a female who isn’t afraid to ask for help and having better things to do than browsing a quaint little hardware store for hours, I asked for help locating them. It took a couple of people to find them, but then the guy said oh they were in the bulk hardware aisle, and he showed me where they were. He kindly left me to make my own choice as there were several different colors and sizes to choose from. I suspect the guy had experience in dealing with indecisive females, but I didn’t mind taking it grim there. I picked the two sizes that seemed the most likely to fit what I remembered the size the size of the flat square hooks to be. The black was smaller and the white was the larger. I want sure which would actually fit, so like a female I bought both.

It took me a from Saturday afternoon to Monday night to actually remember to bring them upstairs with me, but I finally did. I took my nightgown off the hook and since the black was the smallest, I tried it first. The black fits fine. I figured I’d go ahead and put the white on top because I had them anyway and it would just be extra padding. (See before and after photos below.)

So now they’re fixed and hopefully, my clothing will last a little longer without getting those annoying little dimples, snags or holes in them right near the tags.

The grand total cost for the project was $0.79 including tax the little black ones were $0.17 each and the little white ones were $0.20 each I got two of each with tax total out the door was only $0.79! It works great, wad all done in just a couple of minutes. Another easy do-it-yourself project I’ve been meaning to get taken care of for 17 years.

So, if there’s something around your house that you’re not happy with, don’t be afraid to find your own answer and see how little or how much it might cost to fix it. You’ll be surprised how much you can do yourself with a little common sense, and if there is anything you can’t figure out search YouTube. What have you been putting off for way too long? Let me know in the comments below, mauve we can figure it out together.

September 27 2017

Accept (Five Minute Friday)

This prompt was a hard one. But you probably figured that out because it is so late. I have had to learn to accept the things in my life that I cannot change. I may not like them, but I accept them. One of the things I accept is that I will never be thin. It just isn’t in the genes. I’m not giving up trying to lose some of the weight I always seem to carry around, but I accept that I will never be a slim, trim 120 pounds. I doubt I’d look healthy if I ever got to that weight. I know I have some unhealthy habits, but who doesn’t? I am proud that there are some, like drinking alcohol and smoking that I have never had to deal with.

I seem to be fairly good at tackling good habits one at a time. But then when I tackle the next thing the one I thought I had mastered seems to slide. I don’t have to accept that. I can try to build healthy habits slowly and only add new ones once I can maintain the old ones. It is a long slow process, but I know if I accept what I cannot change and get to work on what I can instead, I will get there slowly. Is there something that you need to be willing to accept for you to move forward in your life?

This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!
The prompt this week is: Accept
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.