Writing Journal 67: (Mac People) Hello, Yosemite

Writing Journal 67: (Mac People) Hello, Yosemite

My writing journal for Saturday 18, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

It’s Saturday, so that means I need to RUSH because it’s a short writing day, and I have coaching calls this afternoon and evening.

To save time, I shortened the writing time for the mystery novel, but managed 1,800 words. I skipped working on the nonfiction books completely, so I could focus on my email backlog.

Then, time for breakfast for Honey. I ate while dealing with today’s email.

Client reports, and dealing with edited material

I didn’t do any client reports for the week yesterday, which meant I had to do them today. I also received a couple of books from editors, which I need to assess for final changes. I’ll do that tonight.

Now it’s time for my errands. I need to be back early for my coaching calls.

A couple of writing students asked me about the new Mac OS, Yosemite. They’re new Mac people, and weren’t sure what to do, if anything at all.

A few tips, if you’re new to Macs.

If you’re a Mac person, Yosemite is here

Yosemite, the new Mac OS X is here. When it was announced yesterday, I promised myself that I’d wait a month before updating. Updating is always risky; if your most-used programs haven’t been upgraded to work with the new OS, you’re stuck.

“Yosemite announced, wait a month before upgrading” — that’s what I wrote in my bullet journal. Then I looked at the features, and noticed Handoff. I could start creating a presentation, and could finish it on my iPad.

And Safari got updated. Not to mention, security features… Sigh. No sooner had I finished my working day, than I decided, oh what the heck, and hit the Install button in the App Store.

I made sure I was ready first, so if you’re installing Yosemite, do this:

  • Make sure that your “MUST HAVE” apps have been updated to work with Yosemite. Visit the App Store, and update your apps;
  • BACK UP… Have a new backup. I use Time Machine, and also back up important files to both Evernote and Dropbox, so I was OK;
  • Make sure that your computer can run Yosemite.

Once you’ve done all that, you’re good to go. Yosemite’s a 5 GB download, so the time to download depends on your connection. Once it’s downloaded, the install took around half an hour for me.

Once Yosemite’s installed, your Mac will run like crap for a while, as it optimizes things in the background. Expect this — don’t panic.

Next, visit the App Store again. You’ll see more downloads, now that Yosemite is installed. Install the apps. Yesterday, the Yosemite download was fast; the updated apps took forever to download. It depends on how many others are doing what you’re doing.

After all that, run your backup program again, now that you have a bright and shiny new operating system.

Back again: coaching calls

I’m back, and need to prepare for today’s coaching calls. I read through clients’ materials, and make some notes. Then it’s time for the calls…

With the calls done, most of my day is done. I do my daily review. I’ve still got the edits to read through tonight, but that’s OK.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

Writing Journal 66: Gorgeous Graphics for Your Blog

My writing journal for Friday, October 17, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

After yesterday’s running start, this morning started a lot slower. That’s the writing life for you. One day you can’t keep up with your thoughts, and the next your brain splutters and gasps. Nevertheless, I managed 1,900 words on the mystery novel, and 1,700 words on the two nonfiction books. So, it wasn’t too bad.

I make Honey’s breakfast, and then my own. Then I get down to reading email. I’m almost caught up; with a little effort tonight, I’ll be able to respond to the final batch of students’ exercises.

New website launch: next week (I hope)

I’d hoped to launch the new website this week, but that won’t happen. I’ve rescheduled it for next week. I got so frustrated with something that wouldn’t work on the site yesterday, I was close to pitching my computer out of the window. So, I got some help.

I don’t have much time for the website today, so I spend an hour on it, then it’s on to client projects.

Last night a client called with a rush project; he needs a presentation by the close of business today. He’s been asked to fill in at a conference. Luckily, I’ve created many presentations for him in the past, so we can re-purpose several slides and notes from older material.

Working on that takes me to right up to lunchtime. No time for our Friday lunch today, so I read social media while I’m eating.

With lunch over, it’s down to work on the presentation again.

Canva’s one of my favorite apps for graphics-creation. You can create a set of slides easily, and quickly too. They’ve just released their iPad app.

Gorgeous graphics for your blog

I’m no artist. If you’re like me, and nevertheless want to create graphics for your Kindle book covers, your blog, and your website, I’m sure you know all about Canva. Here’s what’s new: Canva for your iPad.

Here’s Canva’s blog post announcing the new app. I love the idea of creating images for social media, right on your iPad. No more excuses, you can create images for Twitter and Facebook while you’re sitting on your sofa, watching a movie.

I haven’t downloaded the app yet; however, I’ll make time to do it on the weekend.

Speaking of apps, if you’re a Mac person, you know that Mac OS X Yosemite was released today. I can’t wait to install it. On the other hand, I know that things can go wrong, and that some of the programs on which I rely may have issues with the new OS. So I’ll hold off for a month, until things settle down, and developers have had a chance to update their apps.

Finally, I complete the presentation, and send it off to the client for his review. I asked him to get back to me quickly, if he wants changes.

Next, it’s blogging time again. I’m a little behind on some of my clients’ blogs, so I need to spend some time drafting and scheduling posts. That’s easy, because I write most things in Markdown.

If you use Markdown, and Evernote, did you know that you can write in Markdown in Evernote?

Evernote trick for Web writers: write in Markdown

If you’re a Web writer, you know all about Markdown. If you’re also an Evernote fan, you may not know that you write in Markdown in your notes, then paste your notes into any Markdown editor, and get HTML, PDF, and Rich Text.

I said to someone the other day: “I write in Markdown so much that it’s completely automatic. I use it in Evernote even when the note will never leave Evernote.”

She said: “You can use Markdown in Evernote?”

Yes you can.

There’s even a Markdown editor for Evernote, called Marxico. I’ve never used it; I prefer to write in Evernote, then copy the text and paste it into Ulysses or Lightpaper (free.)

Now that I’ve caught up on SOME blogging, it’s time for my daily and weekly review, and then the week is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 65: You CAN Self-Publish

Writing Journal 65: You CAN Self-Publish

My writing journal for Thursday, October 16, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I woke up early this morning, at 4.30AM, with some clever twists for the mystery novel tumbling through my mind. I created a cluster diagram, then wrote it up, and started my daily stint on the novel a few minutes early. I managed 3,200 words, before I wound down. After yesterday’s dithering, I was pleased that the writing flowed this morning.

Without any doubt, this is one of the easiest novels I’ve ever written. Hmmm… the universe might be trying to tell me something.

An aside to the universe… if you want me to write mysteries, PLEASE drop an intriguing sleuth into my brain. I’ve been rereading Phil Rickman lately. I’d love to be gifted with a sleuth like Merrily Watkins.

Onward with the two nonfiction books. I forced myself to work solely on the ebook, rather than the print book, and achieved 1,800 words.

Breakfast. It’s cold this morning, so Honey limped a little. I hope her arthritis will improve as the weather warms up.

I ate my toast while reading and responding to email messages from clients and students. I make notes for Julia to type up.

More work on my new website

Progress on the new website. I’ve got some lovely goodies lined up for readers. More on that soon.

Next, some on-going copywriting for a couple of retainer clients.

A short interruption, while I go for my walk. The storms of the night before last don’t seem to have done any major damage; we were lucky.

You CAN Self-Publish

I had lunch while reading social media, and found this gem from Hugh Howey, Group Hug.

Had to snicker at this one:

3) It will end your writing career if you self-publish.

Actually, it’s just as likely to start your writing career. A friend of mine just sold his self-published book to a Big 5 publisher for several hundred thousand dollars. It may have been true at one time that publishers only looked at material if it had never been published anywhere else before, but that was laid to rest a long time ago. The stigma is gone within publishing houses. 50 Shades of Grey selling a bazillion copies changed all that.

Yes, it’s fascinating that all the “you’ll be ruined!” screams about self-publishing have died down. Now the screamers just bash Amazon. (Sigh.)

Of COURSE you can self-publish. You can do whatever you please. And take it from me, if you knew how frustrating it is to deal with middle-people like agents and editors, you’d run away screaming from anyone who offered you a traditional publishing contract.

Self-publishing gives you freedom, above all. Yes, it can be scary, and yes, you’ll make mistakes. However, at least you’re not paying for others’ mistakes. Once you sign away your rights in a piece of writing you can’t easily get them back.

Blogging…

Next, blogging. I need to organize content for clients’ blogs, and do some research. That takes several hours.

Finally, I have a few minutes to check how many draft posts I have on my own blogs. I need to write more draft posts, so I’ll do that tonight.

It’s after 4PM, which means that I need to catch up on phone calls and email messages.

The bullet journal Kickstarter campaign was a roaring success

The campaign raised over $79,000.

I started using the bullet journal system on September 18, so I’ve been using it for just on a month. Why, oh why didn’t I start using it earlier? It combines perfectly with Evernote and Things, and makes it wonderfully easy to track goals. I love it; I decorate my pages with stickers and Washi tape, so I can see how close I am to a goal at a glance.

Your bullet journal can make it hard NOT to do things, because those items you’ve migrated keep staring it you. It’s easier to do them, than it is to keep looking at what you’re avoiding. Fun.

With all my calls returned, I do my daily review. It’s the end of another writing day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 64: Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

Writing Journal 64: Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 15, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A very slow start this morning. I got up to write at 5AM as usual, but found myself dithering. Thunderstorms kept waking me up, so I had a restless night. Honey hates storms; she’s a quivering wreck. I eventually got going on the mystery novel, and managed 1,200 words. I’m quite pleased, considering that I wasn’t focused.

Then, on to the two nonfiction books. I created a couple of graphics for the print version, and sent them off to the contract designer. My design skills are minimal; they’ll look good when he’s finished with them. I only managed 300 words, but at least the graphics were done.

A quick rush through email. Most will have to wait until tonight and tomorrow. I’ve got some errands this morning, then I need to do some research at the library. I won’t be back until after lunch.

Poor Honey. She’s sulking this morning, because of the storms last night, but she finally ate her breakfast after some coaxing. I ate my toast while working through client email messages.

It’s time to run my errands. I could leave it until later in the morning, and do an hour of writing now, but I’m hoping that by the time I get back, I’ll feel more focused.

I’m back. Everything always takes longer than you think. I met a friend while I was out, and the time just few by.

Everyone’s talking about last night’s storm. It wasn’t too bad where we are; I couldn’t see any major damage. My friend’s street was flooded. She said there were tree branches down everywhere; no trees down though, thank goodness.

So, onward with my client’s blog launch. I need to revise the initial content marketing plan, because they’ve decided on a couple of splashy promotions in November and in early December.

I’ve had some questions about our new program, 8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 Hours.

Create and Sell with 8-Hour Wins

8-Hour Wins: Create and Sell Products in Just 8 HoursIf you’ve been reading these writing journal entries, you know that I’m a big fan of planning and scheduling.

Everything I do is scheduled, otherwise I’d never get anything done. Left to myself, I’d dither around, reading books on my Kindle app, and messing around on social media.

Scheduling is vital, no matter what kind of business you’re in. Creative people tend to fight the idea of scheduling, until they experiment with it. It’s usually a revelation. We like to think that we can’t access our creativity on demand. We can.

You can tell yourself that you’re going to write an ebook, whether fiction or nonfiction, or create a website, and just get it DONE. In eight hours.

In 8-Hour Wins, we set a schedule: you’ve got an hour to come up with an idea, five hours to create your product, an hour to edit it, and another hour to sell it. You can create anything you like with 8-Hour Wins. You can even write a novel, or a nonfiction book. All you do is extend the basic schedule. Kind of like making meatballs and noodles for 20 people rather than four. :-)

With my client’s new content marketing plan done, it’s time to do my daily review. I need to reschedule the things I missed doing today. I also need to catch up on email tonight… then that’s it for another writing day. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 63: How to Be a Better Writer

Writing Journal 63: How to be a Better Writer

My writing journal for Tuesday, October 14, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another busy day today ahead. Lots to do, including a couple of meetings this afternoon. AND I need to work on my new website. To add to the mayhem, I received a “help!” message from a regular client. He needs some copywriting done in a hurry.

As always, I start the day writing fiction. I managed to complete a couple of scenes on the mystery novel, for 2,800 words. Lots of “junk” in there — working things out on the page.

Let’s talk about thinking on the page for a moment.

Think on the page: it helps you to become a better writer

I’m always telling my writing students: “you’re a BETTER writer than you think you are; and — you’re over-thinking this.” Then I advise them to think on the page, because not only will they get started writing and keep going, they’ll also get fresh inspiration.

Big tip: inspiration happens while you’re writing.

So, in ALL my writing, whether I’m writing an advertising spiel, a blog post, or a novel, I think on the page. This means that I end up with lots of what I call “junk”. It’s the equivalent of paper notes which you ball up and toss over your shoulder when you’re done.

I include the junk in the first draft — before anyone else sees the material — because I’ve found that thoughts lead to inspirations. Many times I’ve been stymied on a project, and the answer turns out to be in the thinking on the page I did earlier in the draft.

Try thinking on the page as you write. It works.

I’ve scheduled a writing session on the nonfiction books for tonight — that’s left a little room in my schedule.

On to email. I fix Honey’s breakfast, then my own, while getting through our email as quickly as possible.

Next, my walk. We had some storms yesterday, and more are promised for later today. It poured down last night; lots of lightning and thunder. After all the rain, it’s a fine morning, a little chilly. Walking through the park, I noticed that the rain sank right into the ground. It’s been a dry month.

Work on my new website/ blog

Back again, to work on my new website and blog. I doubt that I’ll be able to launch it this week. I’ve lots left to do, and write. Not to worry. It’s done when it’s done.

Then it’s time for my meetings. I’ll have lunch while I’m out.

Back again. It’s later than I hoped it would be, but that can’t be helped. Meetings always seem to run longer than you expect.

I need to get on with my rush copywriting job.

A rush sales page and email messages for my client who’s in crisis

Luckily, it’s straightforward. The client wants a sale page, as well as a couple of emails to send out to his list.

By the time I’ve completed a draft of all the material for his review, it’s very late. I send it off with a sigh of relief.

Before I forget, I need to add my meetings’ notes to Evernote, and schedule some tasks which eventuated. Both meetings were about holiday sales. Everyone will be busy from now, until after the sales wind down in the middle of January.

Great. :-) I loved being busy.

So, time for my daily review. I’ll be working on the nonfiction books tonight.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Writing Journal 62: Evernote Everywhere

Writing Journal 62: Evernote Everywhere

My writing journal for Monday, October 13, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A busy day today; I need to find time to work on my own new blog. I started with fiction. The mystery novel’s still going well. Just 1200 words; I need to plot several scenes. Mysteries are always a bear, because there’s a lot happening. You’ve got the crime, the sleuth, red herrings, actual clues… I looked at the Murder Board Paper, and I’m tempted to buy it.

Then the two nonfiction books. Writing them in tandem isn’t working – I need to focus on one at a time. I’ll start with the ebook, and then on the print version. With that decided, I managed 1800 words, which is excellent.

Breakfasts; Honey and my own. Rather than getting stuck on email, I went for my walk. Apparently storms are on the way, so I need to get my exercise early.

Back; it’s time to read and write emails. There’s still a backlog, but I should be able to deal with the rest of it tonight.

Work on my new blog

(Sigh) I love creating blogs, but I’ve been procrastinating on this one for several weeks. There’s a lot to plan, and I’ve managed to get myself confused. I created a cluster on a whiteboard, so that I can get it out of the sandbox and published sometime this week. I hope.

A client needs a rush presentation, so that’s next. I’ve done several for him, so I have a template. I plan the headlines, and the text, and send it off to him for his review. If he can get it back to me today, I should be able to complete it by tonight.

Lunch at my computer, checking out social media. I haven’t had time to squeeze it in for days, and I’m way behind in my reading in Pocket.

Evernote resources: just get started — dump everything in

If I know I’ll be working with a company on a long project, I set up a shared notebook for them in Evernote. My contact’s asked me for some good Evernote resources, so I made a short list. It might be useful for you too.

Here’s the basic process I suggest for Evernote — dump everything it, sort it out at the end of the week. That process serves me well. I’m on a Mac, and run the Evernote Helper in my menu bar. I drag files (PDFs, images, work files) to the icon, and they’re sent to Evernote. If I want to remember something, I paste it into the Helper, or just type a note into the Helper. (I assume there’s a version of the Helper for Windows.)

Three great Evernote resources

Evernote Essentials – Brett Kelly’s excellent book. I’ve skimmed most of it; even if you’re an Evernote veteran, it’s useful to scan it occasionally to see what you’re missing. There’s so much in Evernote it can seem overwhelming at first — this is why I say, just dump everything in there. :-)

Evernote’s own Getting Started tutorials –  the basics.

“I’ve been using Evernote wrong” – a great Lifehacker article, which discusses the Web clipper (essential), saved searches and tags, and more. The article points out that the more you have in Evernote, the better it becomes. Very true. The Related Notes feature surfaces articles I’ve long forgotten, because I’ve been using Evernote since 2009.

Blogging: draft posts, and publishing

After lunch, I work on the presentation, then on a series of blog posts for my own and clients’ blogs. I need to sort out some images clients have sent in Photoshop.

Next, admin chores. Oh, the horror. I turn on Spotify and determinedly work my way forward. As a reward, I do some research for a client. Yes, I look on researching as a reward. Someone once asked me why I became a writer, I responded that I like to read. Reading is both a reward, and work.

Finally, it’s time for my daily review. I need to work on my schedules tonight, before they become more complicated.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.