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New Idea, Wait Your Turn! 3 Tips for Capturing the New Shiny

Writing

So, you’re tooling along, hitting the middle of your story. Things are slowing down a little bit in your production (because middles are hard!). Or maybe you’re a bit stuck; the words aren’t coming, and you’re struggling.

And then it happens.

That voice.

You know that voice.

We all know that voice.

“Hi! I’m a new, shiny idea! Come play with me!”

What do you do? Your good, steady story is a little boring right now. It might be frustrating you a little bit.

And there’s this beautiful, new, shiny idea right there! It’s just right there! Waiting for you. Winking at you. Telling you how awesome it is and how much fun you’ll have with it instead of your old tried and true story.

The current story was once shiny and new too. But the luster has worn off. It’s easy to want to stray.

What do you do?

If you’re like I used to be, you set aside the current story and dive straight into the new-shiny!

Glorious!

And it is glorious!

The characters are exciting. The story is fun and different than the old thing you left sitting in your other window. You’re learning about the world, about what makes the characters tick. It’s just so stimulating! So sexy!

You’re writing and writing and writing. And soon, you’re in the middle. Things slow down. You’ve learned the characters pretty well and the thrill of discovery has faded.

And then it happens.

That voice.

You know that voice.

We all know that voice.

“Hi! I’m a new, shiny idea! Come play with me!”

What do you do?

I suspect all writers have been there. And it’s fun to work with new story ideas, of course. But if we repeat the above pattern (and I’ve definitely been guilty of that!), we never actually get back to the half-finished stories. We never actually finish anything. And if we never finish, we never publish. If our goal is to get our work out there, then that never, ever happens.

So how do you keep that new, shiny idea but still focus on your current project? I’ve got a couple suggestions.

Write it down

This seems pretty obvious, right? Get the new, shiny idea down on paper. Write as much about it as you need to in order to both get the concept recorded and to get it out of your head. I have an entire Scrivener project that’s just for ideas. (Though I only actually have 4 ideas of my own; I steal the rest 😉 )

Give yourself some time to play with it

Allocate yourself a certain amount of time — an hour or a day — to play with the story idea, engage the characters, write a little bit, whatever. You can wallow in the new shiny as much as you want during that time! But once that time is up, you go back to your current project. Because that’s the priority and that’s the decision you made.

Tell yourself the story

Get out a recorder (your phone, computer, an actual recorder if you are one of the few who still owns one 😉 ), and tell yourself the story of your new, shiny idea. Babble about it. Be excited. Talk about ALL THE THINGS. This is an especially good resource too for when you’re able to come back to this idea to work on it, because you’ll have yourself and your original enthusiasm to help you get back into the excitement of it.

New story ideas are what give us longevity as writers. So you shouldn’t ignore them. They can be hard to ignore anyway, so you must give them some attention. Just don’t lose sight of the overall goal.

Do you have other ideas for capturing those wild new-shinys? What’s worked for you in the past?

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Tool Time Tuesday – Writing Inspiration Version: Ancient Origins

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Ancient Origins

Platform: browser

Cost: $0

What it does:

I love websites that kick start my creativity, that inspire my muse, and spawn ideas. Writing inspiration is a big thing for me!

I ran across this website because someone retweeted an interesting article. And then I got lost down the rabbit hole!

Now, I don’t take everything on this site as gospel. The titles are a bit click-baity and the writing is definitely sensationalist in nature. However, the stories are interesting. I use it as a jumping-off point. I find cool history to delve into, fascinating stories of people and events, fun posts about weird tools and implements.
This isn’t just for historical writing though. If you’re writing fantasy, you can definitely get ideas for how to create your governing system, or events that you can model for your own civilizations. There are some nice articles about unexplained phenomena — these can be the basis of horror stories, fantasies, or mysteries. You can take an old mystery and either modernize it or set a detective story in that era. You could even have that mystery come to haunt us in modern times.

You can definitely find some great writing inspiration here 🙂

Check out some sample headlines from Ancient Origins:

She Met the Devil, Escaped a Dragon, and Survived Several Attempts on Her Life: The Remarkable Story of St. Margaret of Antioch
Tibet’s Valley of the Kings: What Hidden Treasures Lie Within This Imperial Tibetan Graveyard?
The Ancient Kingdom of Colchis: A Legendary Land of Plenty, Conflict, and the Golden Fleece
The Brutality and Delicacy of Samurai Armor: Superior Protection with a God-like Aesthetic

Can you find writing inspiration in those? I can see it without even having read the articles! (But I do want to read the articles 😉 )

Where to get it: Click the linky

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

 

Stay awesome!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Ancient Origins.

How to Create an Amazing Critique Group: Ramp Up Your Writing

Writing

Critique groups can be a big leg-up for authors as far as polishing their work before either sending it out on submission or self-publishing it. If you haven’t found a critique group that works for you, consider creating one. I’ve got a few things to keep in mind when creating or looking for a critique group that might help you with getting some compatible folks in your group.

Critique Group or Beta Readers?

Some people don’t realize there is a difference between a critique partner and a beta reader. The main difference is writing.

Critique partners are other writers.

Betas are readers.

It’s worthwhile to have both reviewing your story. They will bring different things to the table.

Writers should bring more of the professional view — how to improve craft issues, such as writing dialogue or description. Readers will bring a more general, consumer-focused view — such as whether the story is interesting, where they lose interest, if the characters are engaging.

Knowing what you’re looking for will help you decide which to utilize at each point in your writing process. I wrote a post a while back about things to think about when picking beta readers.

Find Writers

The first step to finding or creating a critique group is to figure out where the writers are. Meetup is a decent place to find local writers. There might already be critique groups or just general writing support groups. You can find other writers to talk to there about creating your own group.

You can also look for writing organizations in your area. Go to Google and search “writing organizations” <your city>. Attend some of their meetings, schmooze with other authors, and find folks you mesh with (more on that below!).

Also check out the national organizations for genres — RWA, SFWA, MWA, HWA, etc. They often have local or regional chapters where writers congregate.

Finally, you can find a lot of critique services online. Groups like Critters and Critique Circle have been around for years and have established a good base of writers who critique each other.

Choose Your Partners

Sometimes writers who are looking for ongoing critique partners assume that the criteria for choosing should be something like “writes in my genre” or “reads in my genre.” And while this can be helpful, there’s actually a more accurate thing to gauge whether someone will be a useful critique partner. That thing is: do we have similar writing goals?

Someone who is writing only for themselves or their family will not be as helpful a critique partner for someone who is aspiring to become published professionally. If everyone in the critique group is on a similar path, then the comments and suggestions they give will be aimed more at getting your work up to snuff for publication.

© Ben White; used w/permission

This doesn’t mean that someone who is just writing for themselves or family can’t give good contributions, of course. But we’re talking about getting the most bang for your buck. And in this case, you’re going to get better feedback from someone who is on a path parallel to your own.

Something else to consider is which time zones you’re each in. Obviously, if you’ve got local writers in your group, that’s not an issue. But if you find folks online that you mesh with, goals-wise, then time zone becomes important. It’s not easy to get together for meetings with someone who’s 8 hours different in time. Someone will be getting up really early or staying up really late.

And finally, also think about work ethic. Does your potential partner write regularly? Are they focused on their writing as a career or business? This goes back to finding someone who has a similar outlook. If you’re putting out 25 pages in a week and they’re only doing 5 (or vice versa), then there’s going to be a work mis-match.

Discuss & Organize

Will you have your critique sessions in person or online? Or maybe on the phone?
When you get together, will you be getting together for a writing session or to critique each other’s work?
If critique, will you have critiqued the work beforehand and discuss in person, or will the work be read there at the session, then discussed?

These are things to think about when organizing your sessions. Set the rules as the leader or have an open discussion and set the rules as a group. However it’s accomplished, everyone should be on the same page as to expectations, so that all feel included and feel as if they’re both giving and getting something of value from the group.

Act

Once you’ve got your group going, everyone should be consistent with their work. Certainly, life happens and some weeks will be more or less productive than others. But consistency is about showing up — both literally and figuratively. Agreeing to be in a critique group is a commitment. Everyone should honor that commitment.

Give to the sessions what you want to get from the sessions. It’s the old adage of “you reap what you sow.” All members of the critique group should put in the amount of effort they’re looking to receive.

Having a critique group can be a great support for any writer. Hopefully, this post has given some insights into how to find those members of your tribe! 🙂

Do you have a critique group? How did it get together? What challenges have you faced with your group? What are the strong points of having a group?

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Feeling Like a Writing Failure? 5 Tips to Overcome That Mindset

Writing

So much about having a writing career, whether it’s your main career or a supplemental career, can seem as if it’s about failure. Not finishing stories, rejection, years of writing without finding commercial success. It can be difficult to remain committed, enthusiastic.

Yes, a career in writing can be difficult. But so much of it is about mindset. It’s about how you frame the things that happen.

Last week, we talked about achieving goals. But what happens when you don’t achieve the goal? How do you manage when the story idea you thought was awesome turns out not to work as well as you’d expected? Or how do you keep writing when that short story has been rejected for the 28th time?

In an industry that is marked by hard work — yes, writing is hard — and rejection, how do we take those “failures” and keep going?

Framing, Reframing, and Mindset

The first thing I try to do is reframe my “failure.” You might notice I keep putting that word in quotes. It’s because I’ve discovered that failure isn’t concrete. It isn’t universal. I get to decide what is a success and what is a failure. If I decide that something isn’t a failure, then guess what? It isn’t.

My favorite thing to de-failure is rejections.

Wait, what?

I know, that sounds weird, right? How can a rejection not be a failure? I could tell you that it’s because not all rejection is about the work. Sometimes agents or editors will reject because they just contracted a similar piece. Or because they have enough of that genre. Or maybe just because they’re feeling overloaded and don’t want to take anything new on unless it *really* grabs them. None of that is an indictment on the work.

I could tell you those things. But really, it’s because when I finally started sending my work out, I decided that there are a certain number of rejections between me and the acceptance. And every time I get one, that’s another one out of the way. I get to mark it off the list. So, in this case, rejection is actually success.

I’m very good at mind games on myself! 🙂

And why not? So much of writing is perseverance. If I have a chance to choose whether something is positive or negative, how does it serve me to choose the negative, the thing that hurts my feelings and makes me sad or upset? I suppose if I responded to negative with renewed vigor in that “I’ll show you!” sort of way, choosing the negative would serve me. And for some people, that’s an awesome way to do things! For me, though, the negative is truly that. It can freeze me in my tracks. So why should I choose to do that to myself?

Instead, I choose the positive and use that to create momentum for my life. There are so many instances where we can choose the positive spin rather than the negative spin, but we tend to default to the negative. I don’t know whether that’s because we’re human or because of the way we’re socialized. Regardless, we don’t have to do that in our writing!

Mindset isn’t just about playing these mind games with yourself, though. What happens when you don’t reach a goal, like a daily word count? Say you’ve decided that you’re writing 500 words per day. And then you miss a day. Not for a valid reason, but just because you decided not to write that day.

Are you the type of person who then decides not to write the next day too, because you’re already behind and so what’s the point? Are you the type that will beat yourself up for missing so much that you make yourself too miserable to write the next day? Do you make legitimate-sounding excuses for why you didn’t write (which, in turn, makes it easier to make excuses in the future for not writing)?

As you might imagine, none of those are particularly productive. What can you do instead?

5 Tips for Overcoming Failure

Forgive yourself

Getting rejected or struggling with a story — or any other thing that you feel didn’t happen the way you felt it should have — is not a reflection of your worth. Forgive yourself. It’s very important not to spend a lot of time reprimanding yourself or feeling bad for missing your goal. All you do is make yourself miserable and then how much good work will you get done? Not much, more likely.
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Why be defeated twice, once by our mistakes and again by our attitude toward them?
~~ Lowell L. Bennion

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Assess why you didn’t make your goal

One of the first steps to fixing a problem is to figure out what went wrong. So what went wrong? Did you not have enough time to write? Or did you not manage your day well enough to get your writing done? Were you just being lazy? Were you too stressed out to write? Be really honest with yourself here. If you were just being lazy, then admit that. No one else is going to judge you and you’ve already forgiven yourself. So be honest with yourself about the real reason, because knowing that is the only way you’re going to be able to address it.

Brainstorm ways to avoid whatever problem caused you not to make your goal

This can be something as simple as putting aside fifteen minutes at a set time each day to write. Or something more complex, such as creating a punishment if you don’t do your writing. Perhaps every time you don’t write, you must donate $5 to a charity, cause, or organization you would never support. If you’re not writing because you’re stuck, consider working on a different project. Or creating a big brain dump of all the things you *could* do in your stuck story.

Make a list of all the things you’ve brainstormed here. They’re all tools in your writers’ toolbox.

Hang out with writers

Writing is solitary. Even when we collaborate, the actual writing is solitary. If you’re in a rut, go find your tribe. Let the enthusiasm and excitement of other writers rub off on you! You might go to a writers conference, a Meetup group in your area, or even just find a Facebook group for writers. Let your tribe invigorate you!

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BICHOK – Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard

Sit your butt down and start writing. Even if you’re writing, “I hate writing” over and over again. Even if you’re writing about how you’re having trouble writing. It doesn’t matter. Just get back on that damn bike and pedal!

What are ways that you come back from failure? Share with me below!

5 Simple Things to Help You Reach Your Writing Goals This Year

Writing

Writing goals. They can be hard to reach, especially if the goal is a novel. Finishing can take so long that we easily lose our way or get distracted by the new shiny idea rattling around in our head. But if you have a publishing goal, whether self-publishing or traditional publishing, you *must* finish. Writing goals should always include finishing the project.

But as we already agreed, it can be hard to get there. I want to share some tips that I’ve learned over the years. Not about setting writing goals. I mean, I think we’re all just fine at setting the goals. But these are things I think will help in actually getting to those goals.

Set Yourself up to win with your writing goals

The work we do on the front end can really impact how (and when) we get to the finish line. And I’m not talking about outlining or anything like that. I’m talking about processes. If you want writing as a career, you should treat it like a business, and that means creating efficient processes for yourself that will help you get things done.

Create time in your schedule

Yes, I know. You can’t create time but you can create space in the time you already have. Even if it’s only 15 minutes, create a space in your schedule that is dedicated solely to your writing. Think about it. You dedicate time to sleep. You dedicate time for meals. If you’re working in a company, there is dedicated time where you’re expected to be working. If you have kids, you likely have dedicated kid-time. All the important things in your life have room in your schedule. The least you can do for your writing is to dedicate a portion of your time for it.

Get important folks on board

If you co-habitate, with parents, significant other, children, roommates, whoever, get them on board with what you’re doing. Let them know how excited you are to be able to dedicate X amount of time to writing your story. Get them excited too. Keep them updated on your progress. And then they will be less likely to interrupt you during your dedicated time. They’ll be more understanding when your brain is a little fried from a productive writing session. And they’ll be ready to celebrate with you when you write The End.

Track your words or pages

Writing a story, especially a novel, can be long, hard work. It’s easy to get bogged down in the process, because you don’t have any quick gratification. Keeping track of your progress via some sort of tracking system will give you visual gratification for how far you’ve come. And if you don’t usually keep running track of how much you accomplish, you might be surprised at how motivating it is. Success breeds motivation.

Create deadlines

There’s a reason newspapers and magazines get to print on time. Deadlines keep people in gear and motivated to get finished. I know that I work my hardest when I know a deadline is looming. And I think most people are the same. A couple things to note:

  • Create a big deadline, like the end of the project, but also create smaller deadlines: chapter 4, due by X date; chapter 5, due by Y date. As noted earlier, success breed motivation, so if you can check things off a list, you’ll be more enthusiastic about remaining on track, because you’ll want to check off those other things on the list

  • Make your deadlines short — and by that, I mean to allow for the least amount of time you will need to achieve the goal. Don’t build in extra time “just in case something happens to throw my schedule off.” If something happens to throw your schedule off, deal with it when it happens. Don’t build in time for something that doesn’t exist.Why? Because of Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Meaning if you set yourself a goal for two weeks, even though you could really finish that thing in six days, it will take you two weeks because that’s the expectation you create for yourself.
    So no long deadlines!

Don’t cater to the muse

I know. You’re probably all O.O at that. Of course, I don’t mean that you should banish the muse. But the muse is capricious sometimes, isn’t she? Be honest. How often have you been in the middle of a project, slogging along, and the muse entices you to start another project? “It’s new! It’s shiny! It will be SO much more fun to write than what you’re working on!” I know you know what I’m talking about 🙂

So when I say not to cater to the muse, I mean: don’t bounce from project to project throughout your writing time. The muse gets to be capricious. She’s a muse. Writers don’t. Well, not writers who want to actually finish anything. And, yknow, reach their writing goals.

When you decide on which project to work with that day, focus on it. If the muse tries to entice you away, jot down her new, shiny idea, but stay on task. You can devote a little bit of writing time another day to sorting out the new project. But for now, you decided on this project, so work on it.

And the other question I know is brewing is: But what about if I’m not feeling that project that day?

To which I answer: I don’t feel like cleaning out my cats’ litter boxes, but guess what?

Writing isn’t always going to be a walk in the park. Sometime it’s going to be hard and sometimes the muse is going to desert you (or, worse, try to drag you away). But if you want to do this as a career, or even just a serious hobby, you need to finish things. And that means slogging through the crappy parts.

Do a review every 2 weeks

Huh? What? Yeah, this isn’t something I see suggested to writers very often. But it’s important. We’ve already talked about success breeding motivation. But sometimes you can’t see the success very easily. We need to close that feedback loop so we can see what we really accomplished.

At the end of a two week stretch, go back and look at your word/page tracker (here’s a handy-dandy one!). Look at the number of words you wrote. Think about the things that happened this week. Did something set you behind? Did you lose momentum? Did something motivate you more than normal? What was good? Bad? How much closer are you to your next small goal? To your big goal? Write all that stuff down.

Knowing where you are makes knowing where you’re going much easier!

Don’t get bogged down in defeat

 

Listen, life happens to all of us. Sometimes we don’t get everything done we wanted to get done when we wanted to get it done by. That’s okay. And I don’t know about you, but I have a tendency to ignore the successes and beat myself up for the perceived failures. Don’t do that.

We’re going to talk more about this particular piece in next week’s post.

What things do you struggle with in achieving your writing goals? Let’s talk about it in the comments!

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Tool Time Tuesday: Duotrope.com

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

This week’s TTT is more about a resource than a tool.

Today’s Tool: Duotrope.com

Platform: web browser

Cost: $5/month or $50/year + 7 day free trial

 

What it does: Duotrope has been around for a long time as a database of short story markets. You can find magazines, e-zines, and anthologies that are looking for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and even art.

Duotrope has a great search function that allows you to search by genre, market type (magazine, antho, etc), payment/royalties level, and a lot of other options.

If you’ve already got some stories written, or if you’re looking for inspiration, you can go to the Theme & Deadline Calendar. This gives you a listing of the publications with chronological deadline dates (upcoming) and the theme of the stories their looking for. I’ve used this for inspiration more than once!

Probably one of the most useful features beyond the search function is the ability to see how long a market takes to respond and what their acceptance rates are. Now, this isn’t reported by the market itself, but by Duotrope users (which means it’s only as accurate as people’s participation).

When you get a response from a market, you go to their Duotrope page and click the Submission/Response link on the right. It will take you to a form where you can enter all the relevant info: the piece of work you submitted (which you have to enter on a separate form, but which is kept, so once you enter it, if you submit to multiple markets, you can just choose that work), when you submitted it, when you got a response and what that response was. Then Duotrope compiles that information along with other people who’ve entered the stats (provided there is enough input data) and displays the totals on the market’s page.

For example, you can see stats for Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine below as of this writing:

 

 

What I’ve noted above are just the highlights. You can also find editor interviews, stats that show you the fastest responding markets, as well as what users favorited the most. There’s also a stats page that breaks things down into market types and whether they charge fees to read. So tons of great info!

 

Where to get it: At any browser near you! Duotrope.com

Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

 

Stay awesome!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of me!

How to Speed Up Your Writing Process

Writing

A few weeks ago, we talked about about finding more time to write. This week, let’s talk about using that time more efficiently.

Some of these writing process tips I stumbled upon myself and others come from learning about how successful authors use their time. I don’t currently use all of these and I’d been known to balk at one or two of them in the past. (Because I’m stubborn!) But all of these tips have the ability to really speed up your writing process, so consider them all, rather than dismissing any out of hand.

Manage your writing process environment

This isn’t always doable. But as much as you can, create an environment conducive to your style of writing. And, probably more important, create boundaries for those around you who would distract you, even without meaning to.

Turn off the sound and notifications on your phone, or put it in another room.

Disconnect from the Internet.

Close your door.

If you don’t have a door, there are other options. I have a friend who, when her kids were small, wore of a funky unicorn hat when she was writing. They knew that if she had that hat on, not to disturb her unless the house was for real on fire. You don’t have to embrace the silly quite this much if you don’t want to. Anything that you can display on your desk as a communication that you’re writing will work. A snowglobe. A photo turned in the opposite direction that it usually is. A stuffed animal. A baseball. Pretty much anything that will get someone’s attention when they approach will work.

The point is that you want to create an environment for your writing process that allows you mental space and time when you’re writing. Even though we can find time to write in the margins of life, having dedicated time will often be able to used more efficiently.

Know your characters

I always recommend taking a few hours to get to know your main characters. Decide what they look like. Figure out where they grew up, what their childhood was like. Learn about their family and how your character relates to the other members of that family. Discover what big events happened in their lives that brought them to the point where your story begins.
And write this all down. Don’t just keep it in your head. Because you’ll forget. And at the beginning of your story, your character will have grown up outside a Native American reservation in the southwest and by the end, they’ll have grown up on a farm in upstate New York.

Keep track of that stuff! 🙂

Create your writing process plan

As a former hardcore pantser (I’m now a hybrid), I balked at the idea of doing any planning at all. Ever. I believed that my stories should be told exactly as they came to me, whatever that was.

For me, that ended up being super inefficient. More likely than not, I just ended up getting frustrated or, worse, bored with a project and went on to other things. And that led, of course, to never actually getting anything done.

 

You have to finish things — that’s what you learn from, you learn by finishing things.
~~ Neil Gaiman

 

Now, you don’t have to go full-fledged outline if that sort of process doesn’t work for you. But my suggestion is to at least have a general structure with these elements:

  1. Main conflict
  2. Any sub conflicts
  3. Character sketches
  4. Where the story starts
  5. A bullet point list of each of the pivotal points in the story (and bullet point lists for each of those bullet points, if possible)
  6. How the story ends
  7. A paragraph (for yourself) about how the ending of the story resolves the conflict(s) & how the ending affects the character(s)

Having each of these things on the front end will give you clarity about what direction your story (and your writing process) should go at each juncture. Now, none of this is set in stone, of course, because we’re not always 100% in control, we authors. But having a roadmap for your story, just like in real life, will help you when you decide to take the scenic route, rather than the highway.

Leave love notes for yourself and your writing process

Okay, maybe not love notes, though you can definitely do that too!

Have you ever sat down to write, all excited because you’d been on such a roll the last time you wrote, and then discovered that you have no idea what you’d meant to start writing now? And then you had to go back and re-read what you’d written, which read just fine, but the spark that ignited that fire seemed to be gone now. Have you had that experience?

One way to combat this is that when you’re done writing for the day, leave a few lines for yourself describing what you need to write next. It can be two lines, just to jog your memory or it can be a paragraph that includes reminders for emotions to include or twists or turns that are coming up. It’s whatever gets you back to that fire for the story that you had in the previous session.

Talk it out

This is one that I haven’t tried yet, but a number of authors swear by it, including Kevin J Anderson, probably the most prolific living author in the specfic genres.

Dictate your story. You heard correctly. Write your story the way it was meant to be — as a story you tell.

The great thing about modern technology is that you can do this just about anywhere. Download a speech recording app on your phone, get a headset with mic, then go for a walk, or a bike ride. “Write” on your morning commute when you’re stuck in traffic.

Once you’ve got it recorded, you can either transcribe it yourself, use a program like Dragon Naturally Speaking, hire a Virtual Assistant, or pay for a service like Rev.

Now, if we could only figure out how to do edits like that!

Do you have any tricks or tips for making your writing time more efficient? Drop them in the comments below!

 

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Tool Time Tuesday: Aeon Timeline 2

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: Aeon Timeline 2

Platform: Mac & Windows

Cost: $50 and comes with a 20 day free trial

What it does:

Lets you map the timeline of your story, along with all your characters and where they fit within that timeline. You can also manage the relationships among characters, all with a great visual display.

This is a really cool tool, especially if you’re writing a larger, complex story. You can create characters, include pivotal moments on their personal timelines, and track their appearances in your story.

Looks! Pictures! 🙂

Like to see what your characters look like? You can also include pics (and links) in your entries.

You can do the same with settings — create an entry for them and then associate scenes with that setting. You’ll never lose track of where an event happened in your story ever again!

Create characters, settings, and events.

As implied above, you also create events or scenes along your timeline, and you can see your entire story as it looks in time. Another cool feature of Aeon Timeline is the ability to nest events, so you can see exactly what contributes to each scene. This also is a great help in making sure you’ve closed all your subplots and don’t have plot holes.

When you create events or characters, you can give them a “birth date” and so you can track the age of the character or events through the entire story. And you’re not limited to our own time or our way of tracking time. If you’re working with a spec fic story, you can create your own calendar with your own dating system, as needed.

Aeon Timeline 2 & Scrivener! Two great tastes that taste great together 🙂

One of the coolest aspects of Aeon Timeline 2 (and what eventually led me to get it) is that it integrates with Scrivener, so you can have your entire timeline right there, as you write.

That was a huge factor in its overall use. I don’t really like having to open multiple files to handle a project. I like everything to be in a single place. And this integration allows that to happen for my timeline. Great, great perk of this software! 🙂

Where to get it: The Aeon Timeline website – A note: One cool aspect is that when you purchase the program through the website, it covers both Windows and Mac licenses, so you get copies of both. So while Aeon Timeline 2 is available in the Apple AppStore, if you download it from there, rather than the program’s website, you won’t be able to get a complimentary copy in Windows format. So just keep that in mind as you’re buying 🙂

What do you think about Aeon Timeline 2? Do you have a writing tool that you absolutely can’t live without? Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

 

Stay awesome!

 

 

 

Photos courtesy of Aeon Timeline.

You Talk To Me: Getting Published

Writing

I think the majority of my readers here are writers, many novice authors who are working on getting published. So this is going to be a short and sweet post, because I want to hear from you! Here’s the question:

Why do you want to be published and what would getting published mean to you?

Leave your response in the comments section below. It’ll only take a moment and I’d love to hear from you!

Stay awesome and keep writing 🙂

 

 

 

Unless attributed otherwise, all images are CC0 licensed.

Tool Time Tuesday! OneTab

Tool Time Tuesday

Every other Tuesday, we talk about the different writing and organizational tools available for writers to make life easier (theoretically 😉 ).

Today’s Tool: OneTab

Platform: This is a browser extension and is available for Chrome and Firefox. (Sorry, IE users!)

Cost: Free!

This one isn’t strictly writing related, but it’s a great organizational tool for your research or for when you have all those tabs open and are feeling really overwhelmed.

What it does:

OneTab gives you the ability to take all your open tabs and shrink them into a single, easily used webpage with links to each of your previous tabs. Here’s how it works:

To send all your open tabs to OneTab, simply click the funnel icon that shows up in your browser’s toolbar. This creates a Onetab with all of those sites in one grouping.

Photo courtesy of OneTab

To send a single tab to OneTab, right-click on the site and choose OneTab -> Send only this tab to OneTab. You also have the option to send all tabs except that one to OneTab, or all tabs to the right or left of that tab to OneTab.

Once your tabs are in OneTab, you can drag and drop to reorder them, including moving them to other groupings. The only way to create separate groupings, though, is to send more than one tab to OneTab. But once you’ve created the new grouping, moving the links is simple.

I really find this grouping feature to be the most useful, and I think it’s especially helpful for writers as an organizational tool. You can group all of your research tabs by subject; you can group together conferences and conventions; you can have an ongoing list of blogs you like to read. This makes OneTab pretty powerful for keeping all that information organized and easily accessible.

 

OneTab is defaulted to deleting the link once you click on it to open a tab, but you can disable this in the Options. What doing that means is you can have a grouping of commonly used links and keep it, without having to re-send it to OneTab every time you use it. If you choose to leave the default of deleting the link once it’s opened, you can always override that on an individual basis by right-clicking and opening the link in a new tab. This will keep a single link in OneTab without deleting it.

Want to share your OneTab? That’s super-easy. You can click on “Share all as web page” in the upper right hand corner. It will create a web page with all of your OneTab groupings/links on it. You can share by copy/pasting the URL or, if you want to share via your phone or tablet, you can scan a QR code to get the URL. Handy way to share your new organizational tool, huh?

Where to get it: You can get it for the Chrome browser or the Firefox browser.

Do you have a writing or organizational tool that you absolutely can’t live without?

Drop a line to me down below and tell me about it!

 

Stay awesome!