NaNoWriMo Approaches

It’s that time of year again. The time when I decide whether or not to take up the November writing challenge. I did it last year, won and have spent ever since trying to make my effort into something readable. I’m still working on it and its grown to over 90,000 words as I try to get it to a suitable ending.

In the past, I’ve always struggled to start or got bogged down in the middle somewhere. Lost focus or lost interest or just found that time had overtaken me and then it was difficult to get started again. I’ve been lucky to be able to use Scrivener to break it up into manageable chunks and lately I’ve started using Ulysses, which does the same but in a different way. In fact, I’m writing this in Ulysses as it allows me to post straight into WordPress and onto my blog. Easy.

I need to make up my mind shortly though as that will give me time to research and plan during October. Although I’m pretty sure that things will be busy for me in that month so as you can see. I’m a long way from deciding as we head towards the end of September. Have to wait and see I suppose.

If I abandon my 90,000+ word project for a couple of months whilst I indulge myself on NaNoWriMo will I ever start it again? On the other hand, if I do that and then come back to it will reading it again guide me to a suitable ending? Dilemma – I’ll let you know.

Ulysses Writing App

I have written before about the use of writing app’s as an aid to productivity so I won’t repeat myself here. I will however tell you about my experience with Ulysses, as writing tool from The Soul Men. It’s not exactly new but it’s new to me and, so far, I love its simplicity.

Since acquiring an iPad Air I have been looking for a writing app which is easy to use and fully functional on this device. I have waited for Scrivener to deliver their much promised iOS version which is now on the market and working fine. Anyone who uses Scrivener will know what a great tool this is particularly as it is now a true cross platform piece on Mac, iOS and Windows via the Dropbox cloud storage facility. But whilst I was waiting for the iOS Scrivener App to be developed I discovered this wonderful writing app called Ulysses and fell for it immediately.

It’s quite unlike anything I’ve used before. It is so simple and clean that it inspires the writing process. I am currently writing this post on my iPad and it is set in ‘Typewriter’ mode which means the line I type is always in the same place and so I look at a single line of text as I’m typing it on the page. This stops the distraction of looking back at what I’ve typed previously and so I’m not flitting back and forth, editing as I work. (This has always hampered my progress, as I constantly ‘fiddle’ with work I’ve written but I don’t wait until the draft is done)

There is full Mac version too and also an iPhone app and they all work in iCloud so there is an almost instant update on all these devices without the need to do anything but type. It removes the need for the writer to constantly save work as it is saved automatically in iCloud, if you have an Internet connection or updates immediately you go back online. I can’t remember how many pieces of work I’ve lost because I failed to save them properly. There is so much more to this great bit of software which I don’t,t intend to describe here but I would encourage you to have a look at it.

Look in the App Store for it, you won’t be disappointed. Sadly, there is no Windows version. Or check out the website http://ulyssesapp.com

2016 Reading List

Goodreads: Book reviews, recommendations, and discussion

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
Ray Bradbury

I’ve just signed up to the Goodreads book challenge 2016. It’s where you decide how many books you wish to read during the year. It’s not really a challenge, as such, but I’ve never actually counted how many I read on average. I had already decided that this year I would keep a tally but the challenge means I don’t have to bother. When I start a new book or end one I merely go onto the website and enter the details and they keep track  for me. It is also a good place to discover what other readers think about the next book you are considering. Others can rate and comment on any book they have read and likewise you can do the same once you either complete the book or give it up.

I just wondered how you choose what books you buy and read? Is it by author, genre, number of pages or perhaps even a bright book cover? Sometimes a thousand pages can be a little daunting and maybe even half that number can seem like an uphill struggle. Or perhaps there is the perfect novel hidden behind a plain and boring cover. I  tend to follow an author I’ve already read, although that can sometimes be disappointing, but more recently I’ve gone by recommendations. Sometimes those come from friends or from blog posts or suggestions via email. I have, for many years, subscribed to the Everyday Ebooks website. From here they send out a daily recommendation with a comment from a reader. I have discovered some great books on here, notably ‘Matterhorn’ by Karl Marlantes. Someone I’d never heard of before but it turned out to be one of the best and memorable stories of the Vietnam war I’ve ever read. Based on true events and real people it is not for the faint hearted but exciting and impossible to put down.

So how do you decide what book to read next?

Rocking NaNoWriMo with Scrivener

I read this recently and thought it might be useful for other scrivener users

Are you planning to tackle 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month in November? Here are some of my favorite Scrivener features for staying on track. Annotations/Comments When you get stuck i…

Source: Rocking NaNoWriMo with Scrivener

Life after Writing 101

Well it’s Sunday morning and Writing 101 is over. To be honest, it all seems a bit flat today. After four weeks of trying to interpret a different prompt each day, I look at my email inbox and something is missing and that’s not quite right.

Maybe it’s also because I’m going home today too. Spending a week and a half, juggling various internet connections in bars, restaurants or wherever I could get online. Using my laptop, tablet and phone to make sure I managed to post something as near to the allotted day. Losing posts as the phone or tablet kicked me out of the App for some, as yet, unexplained reason. This evening I will be back in the bosom of my high speed, unlimited WiFi filled home but will removing some of the past few days obstacles make a difference?

You bet it will !! Bring it on because as they say ‘Home is where the WiFi is’

Stats’ – Writing 101 – Day 16

“If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment.”
Ernest Rutherford

I’ve never been a great fan of statistics. In my mind they are just a way to influence and persuade, sometimes unsuspecting, people that what they are doing is wrong. Statistics are used to prove someone’s point but how often are those statistics real proof?

They are used extensively in advertising where the seller tries to get you to buy their product because 98% of users think it’s better than the opposition. Being a cynic, I always want to know how many people were asked and what is their background. Giving someone a free sample and getting them to test it isn’t the same as spending hard earned cash to buy the product.

I rarely look at my WordPress stats’ page, I don’t see the point and are they believable anyway? Looking at the stats’, for the purpose of this exercise, I find that on one single day I had no views of my blog but one ‘like’ which, I think, backs up my argument. We seem to live in a world where everything is measured and accounted but how do you measure emotion or thought? How do you categorise a free mind and spirit?

So, for those who want to use them and believe them, that’s fine. I’ll just stick to my writing

Writing Software I use

I know, we all have our favourite writing tools but I thought I would talk about my current preference. I understand a lot of writers use Microsoft Word, and why not, we’ve all used it over the years. I don’t at the moment as I run Linux Mint instead of Windows as my operating system and Word won’t run on Linux. So my go-to software for basic writing is Libre Office, currently version five, which is fully compatible with documents written in Word. Big bonus here is that there is a Windows version and all versions are FREE. So if you can’t find the money to buy the latest Microsoft offering try it out here.

win-showcase-scrivener_header

The software I use for longer projects is Scrivener. I went through a phase of trying out specific writers software and I tried lots of them. I narrowed it down to YWriter and Scrivener, partly because both are designed by writers, not just code compilers. I like the way that any manuscript is broken down into individual parts which can simply be moved into any order you might want and I don’t have to scroll through pages and pages of text. I merely click on the part that I want to change or add to. It’s also available on Windows, Mac OS and Linux and one small fee guarantees life long updates. You can download it from their website  and use it, full featured for a month. Added to that there is currently an offer for those entering NaNoWriMo of 20% discount. (I’m not on commission, bye the way. I just like it)

For quick notes and memo’s I use Google Keep as it works cross platform and sync’s instantly across my laptop, phone and tablet. Again, it’s free and very quick and easy to use. I used to use Evernote and I still do use the Web Clipper part but Keep its much simpler

I recently added Journey, which again is semi-cross platform as currently it only seems to work with Google Chrome but apps for Android/IOS are available. It’s a diary/journal which is available in a free version but I paid the small fee for the full application. It automatically adds, weather, time, date and location to any entry you make.

I think they aid, without taking over the writing process. Give them a look