Blog Archives

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

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 🙂

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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 🙂

Celebrate the Small Things: Remember the Greatness of Today #FridayFeeling

Fridays are all about celebrating the Small Things thanks to a weekly blog hop created by author Lexa Cain. Joint co-hosts this week are authors L.G. Keltner @ Writing Off The Edge Tonja Drecker @ Kidbits Blog The mission coincides with what I’m hoping to do with my own writing, inspire and focus on the light when those slippery shadows creep around our shoes. Want to sign up? Click Lexa Cain’s link to find out more.

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I haven’t written a grateful post in sometime. But this week, I have a lot of smiley moments and I need the gentle reminder to believe in the small miracle of today. I need to remember that today, no matter what happens, we are still making progress of some kind. We are still doing something great for someone, no matter if we recognize that or not.

So what has happened this week and what can I celebrate?

Sunday night, my 5-year cat was clearly ill. He moped around the living room and wasn’t interested in dinner time. The biggest problem? He stopped using the litter box and invented a new strategy to use his personal facilities on top of my washing machine. Needless to say, my heart hit the floor. I knew I had to take him in to the vet the next morning. I also knew I needed to shift his current surroundings to keep him from using the same spot in my laundry room. But I always think of the hardest solution, and when my daughter gently said, “Mom. What if you scoot his box forward and close that door. He’ll still be in the bathroom mom. His food bowl could go right there.”

It was so easy. I couldn’t believe my 7-year old came up with such a perfect solution. I hugged her. I thanked her and mentioned what a brilliant solution to the problem she created, and I was proud of her. My cat was better off for the night too.

Monday, Reading several chapters out of the book Wonder to my two snuggle bunnies on the couch, my heart just beamed for the compassion my kids had for the character in the book. The narrator is a fifth grader with a disease impacting his physical appearance. My kids are such bright little souls and I feel so grateful every day I get to hold them and talk to them about what’s going on in their lives.

Tuesday is piano day. My son doesn’t like to practice, but he loves it when he succeeds. I think we sometimes always begin there, with a really great dream we are scared to act and commit to. What if we fail? But the question is, what if we don’t?

Wednesday, a stranger wants to pay it forward. I receive a phone call at my desk about paying off a student lunch balance. I ask her who, she says she has no one in mind. Just the most delinquent account in the school district where I work. WOW.

Thursday, My honey has dinner ready for me and the kids when I get home. He’s just given me back a good hour of my time. I love that. I love that he jumps in to help. On the writing side? I’ve been working hard on so many great new scenes for my star person book. I can’t wait. I am feeling so good about my characters and the direction it’s taking.

Lasty, today is Friday. My heart is full of small wonders and blessings. I want to hold on to that. I want to remember how lucky I am. I want to say thank you and blessings to you for who you are and what you are striving to do. Smile. Shine brightly.

Last great word of the day …