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5 Quick Tips for Making Time to Write

Some days are perfect, aren’t they? Everything is on point and very productive. Others, it’s a struggle just to get out of bed without falling on your face. I find myself resting on the side of face-falling about 85% of my time lately…especially as I struggle to find time to write leading up to this season’s Camp NaNoWriMo session in April.

With only 5 days to go before the big kick-off, I have set my goal of producing 25,000 words of my novel series project.

Here are 5 of my favorite tips for writers of any age, background, genre, and skill:

  1. Create Your Own Personal Writing Space
    • Don’t go overboard. All you need is a distraction-free and consistent environment.
    • Make it a special spot at your dining room table, your home office, or your favorite table at Panera.
    • Establish someplace where you can go for a preset time and simply tend to the task of writing.
  2. Establish Writing Goals
    • Again, don.
    • Set yourself an overarching goal for the entire project. Then break your project up into smaller chunks and set a goal for each smaller chunk that will allow you to make your overarching deadline. Break each smaller chunk up into separate writing sessions and give yourself a deadline for each session.
  3. Track Your Progress
    • Keep a spreadsheet or a notebook handy that allows you to track your performance. Information needed would be *scheduled* start and end times, *actual* start and end times, total time spent writing, and total number of words written. This will allow you a quick glance at where you sit for the month.
    • Don’t get too fancy. You don’t need elaborate formulas or even pretty colors. Keep it simple. This is just a way to track your progress and shouldn’t take more time than your actual project. This leads directly into number two, The Pareto Principle.
  4. Remember the 80/20 Principle
    • The Pareto Principle is a simple one. It states that 20 percent of your time and effort will generate 80 percent of your results. This principle is true for most things in life, like the distribution of wealth and even the number of writers compared to the percentage of the total number of books sold.
    • Using this principle, identify and get rid of the 80 percent that isn’t helping you.
  5. WRITE!
    • This seems self-explanatory, but worth the mention.
    • JUST. DO. IT. You’ve spent a significant amount of time planning and making this opportunity possible. Don’t squander it.

If you’re serious about writing, you will take every opportunity to make your dream a reality. It is only by the amount of effort that you put into this that you will get any worthwhile results.

All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”
Walter Elias Disney

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Why I Use Scrivener to Organize My Writing

DISCLAIMER – This post is done of my own volition, however, should you be persuaded to use the same software that I do, and feel generous enough to click the links that I provide you with, I am paid an affiliate fee by Literature and Latte (the creators of Scrivener) for each copy of Scrivener that is purchased.

There. Now that the legal stuff is taken care of, How do you write? Do you use the traditional pen and paper? Are you one of the Millennials who uses any form of technology to scribble down your notes, write entire chapters, and make doodles? Do you use a multitude of things?

*phew* That’s a lot of questions…but have you considered all the many places that ALL your work exists?

Here is a list of all of the media I use in the writing process:

  • Desktop Computer (main device, at home)
  • Laptop Computer (main device, on-the-go)
  • Chromebook Laptop Computer (lightweight, excellent for travel and battery life)
  • Cell Phone – Samsung Galaxy Note 4 (always on my person, can quickly create handwritten or voice notes)
  • Tablet – Samsung Galaxy Tab A (with S-Pen) (larger screen to create handwritten or typed notes on-the-go)
  • 3×5 Blank and Ruled Note Cards (for my wall-sized mind-map (more on this in a later post…)
  • Traditional Pencil/Pen and (MANY) spiral notebooks

Here are MOST of the apps, places, and software that I have kept all or parts of my work throughout my entire process and why I have used it…if I can successfully justify it:

  • Google Drive (because it syncs all of my files online as well as on all digital platforms.)
  • Google Docs / Google Sheets / Google Forms (Character Development Worksheets & Surveys, World Building)
  • Microsoft Notepad (quick notes that I don’t want to forget)
  • Samsung S-Note (handwritten quick notes digitally synced on my phone, tablet, and automatically in….)
  • Evernote (handwritten (phone/tablet), typed, voice, or photo notes that are synced across all media)
  • Microsoft Word (word processing, exporting for CP to read)
  • Microsoft Excel / Microsoft Access (spreadsheets and databases to hold information generated)
  • Google Photos (photo notes or reminders to check something out later…synced on all media and devices…)

There are probably more…but my mind is taxed at the moment. I never get rid of anything.

I find that I am more efficient writing when I use traditional pencil and paper, because I am too easily distracted by other things when using technology to write. When I rewrite a chapter, I totally rewrite it…literally. I rip those pages out of my notebook, label them as “Version X.X” scan them with a digital scanner, and then file the originals away in my binder. I NEVER get rid of anything. Perhaps this is nostalgia…perhaps it is packrat-ish…perhaps it’s partial fear that my entire digital life will crash at the same time…

When you have rewritten a few different times, things become bulky inside my binder. My files are stored all haphazardly depending on how I felt when I named each of them.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo (new tab) and Camp NaNoWriMo (new tab)

ENTER SCRIVENER

scrivener-screenshot2“Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents. While it gives you complete control of the formatting, its focus is on helping you get to the end of that awkward first draft.”
Literature and Latte Website (new tab)

 

Scrivener literally allows me to make order from the chaos of my mind. I use outlines, chapter notes, mind maps, doodles, and many more things that are very valuable to my overall product, but they are created across the vast array of media that I mentioned above. Most especially useful, is the scanning and import of any handwritten notes or chapters into the Scrivener project database that I can archive and reference older versions of chapters, or keep the original work after I have moved on to many different revisions of the same chapter.

I chose Scrivener after my participation in my first-ever NaNoWriMo (new tab) because it is the only tool that allows me the most flexibility in creating one master database for everything I own relating to each novel or story I am working on.

My use of Scrivener varies between projects, but the basic premise is I keep the most current version of the chapters and scenes in the Manuscript area, and have subdivided other folders for Character Development and profiles on each character that I create, setting and scene development for continuity, a section on magic (since my story involves a complex system of magic), etc.

One of the greatest features I have come to rely heavily on is making what are called “Scrivener Links” within my writing. A Scrivener Link is a sort of hyperlink that, once created, allows you to click and view the document you linked it to. 

For example:
Say that there is a folder called Magic in my Scrivener binder. When I allude to my system of magic, I can create a Scrivener link to the Magicfolder so that when clicked, it opens up a smaller exploration window that shows me all of the documents pertaining to magic in my database.
Another example, is that when my characters’ names are used, I create a Scrivener link to their character profile and other information about them so that I can study my character and make sure they are acting within their parameters as a character.

There will definitely be more to come in my Adventures with Scrivener! I am working on an in-depth tutorial of the many features that Scrivener, along with Scapple, Aeon Timeline, and other writing tools have to offer!

If you would like to purchase scrivener, and are willing to help out a fellow writer, please go HERE (new tab) to use my affiliate links.

WARNING If you purchase from this link, I do receive a small commission from Literature and Latte for your purchase. It helps keep the lights on and website up and running!

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The World by Henry Vaughan

This is perhaps one of my most favorite poems.

Henry Vaughan was a Welsh author, physician and metaphysical poet.

While this poem was in part inspired by the profound, personal loss of his younger brother, Vaughan often used subjects that were deeply personal to him to inspire his writing.


The World

by Henry Vaughan

I saw Eternity the other night,
Like a great ring of pure and endless light,
All calm, as it was bright;
And round beneath it, Time in hours, days, years,
Driv’n by the spheres
Like a vast shadow mov’d; in which the world
And all her train were hurl’d.
The doting lover in his quaintest strain
Did there complain;
Near him, his lute, his fancy, and his flights,
Wit’s sour delights,
With gloves, and knots, the silly snares of pleasure,
Yet his dear treasure
All scatter’d lay, while he his eyes did pour
Upon a flow’r.

The darksome statesman hung with weights and woe,
Like a thick midnight-fog mov’d there so slow,
He did not stay, nor go;
Condemning thoughts (like sad eclipses) scowl
Upon his soul,
And clouds of crying witnesses without
Pursued him with one shout.
Yet digg’d the mole, and lest his ways be found,
Work’d under ground,
Where he did clutch his prey; but one did see
That policy;
Churches and altars fed him; perjuries
Were gnats and flies;
It rain’d about him blood and tears, but he
Drank them as free.

The fearful miser on a heap of rust
Sate pining all his life there, did scarce trust
His own hands with the dust,
Yet would not place one piece above, but lives
In fear of thieves;
Thousands there were as frantic as himself,
And hugg’d each one his pelf;
The downright epicure plac’d heav’n in sense,
And scorn’d pretence,
While others, slipp’d into a wide excess,
Said little less;
The weaker sort slight, trivial wares enslave,
Who think them brave;
And poor despised Truth sate counting by
Their victory.

Yet some, who all this while did weep and sing,
And sing, and weep, soar’d up into the ring;
But most would use no wing.
O fools (said I) thus to prefer dark night
Before true light,
To live in grots and caves, and hate the day
Because it shews the way,
The way, which from this dead and dark abode
Leads up to God,
A way where you might tread the sun, and be
More bright than he.
But as I did their madness so discuss
One whisper’d thus,
“This ring the Bridegroom did for none provide,
But for his bride.”

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Collection of Writing Tips: Series 1

Sometimes writing sucks. Especially when you can’t figure out what to write next.

In a bit of a writing slump and a two-week bout with writer’s block, I was perusing the interwebs for some tips from other successful authors, writers, editors and have amassed some of them here. I will probably add to it as I find more good tips, or likely make another post.

If you have a tip you would like to see posted here, tweet it to @ChrisLandia2 with the hashtag #WriteTip.

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