Creative Chaos Contained with Scrivener #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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I am not the most intuitively organized of persons. Creative? Yes. Clean? Most of the time, but only because I focus really hard to remain that way.

When I write, I often disappear inside my mind and shove out the world to track a story. At least in the time frame I allow myself every day. When I have to stop, it’s painful. When I put down the pen, it’s a fight to remember the emotion in that moment. It’s been a fight to go back and search through the index cards, or the word document I used to use, and even the PAGES App I started out with when I outlined my new work in progress.

However, now I’ve purchased Scrivener for my MAC.

Below is a list of my top five highlights that still make me curl my toes every time I open my saved Scrivener file:

  1. Scenes are like Index cards, but are digital and never fade

I began as a color tabbed index card girl. I love pen and ink the most. But now in Scrivener, I have a binder window with a file tab for each chapter, and within each chapter are note cards listing each scene. The middle pane harbors the writing in that scene. The Synopsis window on the right is the perfect place for bullet lists I used to write out on the flip side of each index card.

  1. Multiple Window Views

At my day job, I have two monitors where I manage all my applications and tool menus. This is not a feasible expense at home, nor do I have the space. As I mentioned above, Scrivener organizes all of my prior notes, outlines and index card methods in one view with multiple screens I can see or expand based on the click of a mouse.

  1. Resource Bank Serves as a Collage Wall

I have always loved idea boards. There is a lovely option in the Binder window where I have idea boards set up for characters and complex scenes which include detailed research articles. I drag and drop pictures into these boards. I copy and paste web research articles as well and quoted notes I need. I used to design notebooks for this purpose. In the interest of time, sometimes I failed to pull them out and use them the way I had intended to. That’s not the case anymore.

  1. Grammar and Spell Check

Last year I purchased Grammarly. It’s a lovely multiple application grammar check. It works for PC’s really well, but I am a MAC girl and it currently isn’t available in Word for the Mac.

  1. Word Count, And Word Goal Tools

I’ve not utilized a word count goal tracker before. Scrivener makes it easy. I select the project drop down menu. Then I go to Project Targets. It allows me to implement the projected target date. It allows me to enter word count goals. It tells me how many days I have left and a graph shows me the progress. It’s fantastic. It’s helped me get up every day and know how many words I need by the end of the week.

True, we all have out writing methods. But in my world I need a seamless process where art meets digital organization. I have no office. I have an island in the kitchen and a lovely new storage cabinet to hide my printer and writing resources. Scrivener holds everything visual I need. I have my idea board, my scene and chapter view, my running words in the center, my organized chaos. My writing area is easier to manage with a clean counter top, a cup of coffee, and my writing prompt guide books I put away at the end of each writing session in my lovely cabinet.

This is my new Scrivener freedom, my newest organizational hero.

Chaos can be organized

Maybe Grey Hair Precedes Whiter Gandalf Hair #IWSG #AMWRITING

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Tyrean Martinson, The Cynical Sailor, Megan Morgan, Rachna Chhabria, and Jennifer Lane.

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

I’d really like to be like Gandalf.

If my grey hair could be as wise and ‘wizardful’ as Gandalf’s, I’d be …

… what would you be?

On the first of January, I looked into the mirror in my bathroom and I noticed a newer brighter patch of grey hair. I have small dark eyes and they most definitely opened wider, staring into that mirror as I preened through my patch of sad patchy greys.

I won’t lie. Grey hair is not my favorite thing about getting older.

Strange as my mind might be, I immediately thought of one my favorite book series and all time favorite characters. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Then I pictured Gandalf’s amazing sparkly eyes and the smooth roll of his pointed words.

Maybe grey is a path of wisdom. Gandalf certainly made a lofty step into his power as he embraced the grey and metamorphosed into Gandalf the White.

This post was a wildly strange tangent off the following IWSG question for January, “What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?”

Last year I set some lofty writing goals. I met some of them. I imagine the energy I put forth in accomplishing them gave me several of the strands of grey hair I now see.

This year, I plan to take the goals from the past, learn from the grey and finesse into the white. Why not? What else do I have to lose?

So what else did I do to hone my writing and publishing?

·      I bought Scrivener. OH WOW. It turned my writing world around. My mother always tells me I may have a creative organization disability. Is she right? Maybe. But now I can see everything in Scrivener. I can plot my scenes, switch back and forth with a single click. I don’t lose my place. My scenes flow and tie together so much clearer. YAY!

·      I’ve got a goal to complete my first draft in a YA Sci-Fi by March 1. I’m really nervous. I’ve never written Sci-Fi before. 42,000 word done!

·      Next, I have an editor waiting for it. Thank you Becky. Bless you for saving me and being as excited to read this new idea as much as I am.

·      Lastly, while I’m waiting for changes, I’ll format my last draft of Secret of the Stones into Scrivener, a contemporary YA fantasy. I’ll edit it, and maybe see something different in the time it’s set and in the writing growth I’ve achieved in the months it’s been carefully tucked away.

That’s it. 2018 will be a greater year. I’m more grey then I’ve ever been. Hopefully, I’ll be turning white by the end of the year 🙂

Speaking of Gandalf, I watched the Fellowship of the Ring on January 1, to lay the foundation for change.

Would you like a few fantastic quotes? Here’s my list from Goodreads.

  1. “No, my heart will not yet despair. Gandalf fell and has returned and is with us. We may stand, if only on one leg, or at least be left still upon our knees.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
  2. “He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
  3. “Courage will now be your best defence against the storm that is at hand-—that and such hope as I bring.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
  4. “He raised his staff. There was a roll of thunder. The sunlight was blotted out from the eastern windows; the whole hall became suddenly dark as night. The fire faded to sullen embers. Only Gandalf could be seen, standing white and tall before the blackened hearth.”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
  5. “However it may prove, one must tread the path that need chooses!”
    ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Shadowy Road Not Taken #IWSG #Amwriting

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[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome hosts are: Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence,Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner!

And thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

***

The best way I know to end 2017, is with a famous poem by one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost (1874-1963). Thank you Wikisource, for posting it so that I could share the inspiring words, too.

The Road Not Taken  (1916)
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost deserves all the praise he received and continues to receive for his literary genius. He summarized a common human question eloquently in the above poem.

Which path do I take, right or left, shadowed or sunshine, less or more work?

Then at the end of the beautiful piece, he reflects on his decision, did I pick the right one?

Looking back at 2017, I  set my goals and picked my road. Not that I can say I picked The Road Not Taken, but I did make huge decisions and proceeded to act on them. I obtained many of the goals I set. Some of them slipped right through my fingers. My life has most definitely changed because of each and every one, and I too, sigh, now that I face another new year.

My list in a nutshell:

  • I am honored to have a short story selected and published by this amazing IWSG group and Dancing Lemur Press LLC. The decision came at just the right time for me. I needed a push. It was a beautiful and amazing push I’ll always be grateful for and honored.
  • I attended a writing workshop in KC and met more than a few talented and inspiring authors. I spoke with three agents and drew the attention of two.
  • Where I fell short is the execution. I think I rushed my submission because I didn’t believe when I pitched my story, one of them would actually want to read the whole entire thing—right then. I guess I didn’t believe in myself.

So what’s next for me?

Frost states it perfectly:

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

This month’s IWSG question asks, “As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?”

  • Could I have done something different?
  • Should I have done something different?
  • What am I not doing, and need to do?

We can all say we would have done something different or would have made a better choice if we had a chance.

The truth? We can’t go back. Experience shines the light on our mistakes. All we can do is dust our hands off and be the person or the writer or the dreamer we aim to be.

Happy IWSG Day! I can’t promise the shadows will fade, but I can say if you love it, keep going.

5 Reasons to Love Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts Gang and Thankful Book Blessings #IWSG

Charles M. Schulz did me a fantastic favor when he created the Peanuts Gang and animated important lessons about the holidays. With Thanksgiving a few short days away, my kiddos and I have been soaking in the Thanksgiving and Mayflower specials.

To show you what these thoughtful cartoons mean to me and my family, I’ve asked my kids to narrate 5 thankful lessons they each learned from Snoopy or any of the characters. Here’s what they had to say 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The holidays are the perfect time to reflect on what matters most, to relax, to focus on the good in who we are and what we do. To give thanks where thanks is needed.

In honor of family and dreams worth chasing, I’m also taking time to thank my Writers Group and Publisher. Thank you to IWSG and always being there to support all of us writers, authors and dreamers. Thank you for all the opportunities to help us grow and give us faith in what we hope to accomplish.

Print ISBN 9781939844361 eBook ISBN 9781939844378 Fantasy Available at: Amazon (US) Amazon (Canada) Amazon (UK) Barnes & Noble (print book) Barnes & Noble (ebook) iTunes or Kobo

My short story The Wheat Witch was picked by the IWSG Contest Judges last January and I’m so honored to have met all the other wonderful authors. So if you’re interested in a great book of stories about fallen heroes and the journey to climb back up, check out Hero Lost: Mysteries of Death and Life. My own story shares what I loved so much about the Kansas farmland. It was a magical place for me growing up. I loved my grandparents so much and especially, listening to their stories on the farm in a time before electricity, indoor bathrooms and refrigerators. I still remember my grandmother laughing about birthday presents as baths in the farm animal watering tanks, or the chores before the sun rose no matter the weather, and how church was the center of social life aside from helping the family and maintaining the farm.

Enough about me and my memory lane. Take a moment to check out other lovely books by my publisher at Dancing Lemur Press LLC. You’ll find all sorts of subjects from natural disasters, space travel, religious devotions and even young adult.

 

 

Author Alex J. Cavanaugh, Founder of IWSG

What was the last Schulz cartoon you watched? Do you have another favorite holiday movie tradition? Any favorite holiday books?

Thank you for visiting me. Have a lovely rest of your week 🙂