Writing Journal 27: Use Scrivener for Everything

Writing Journal 27: Use Scrivener for Everything

My writing journal for Monday, September 8, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I woke up this morning with an idea for Christmas short story. So instead of working on the novella I’m ghostwriting for a client, I decided to write the story instead. I managed 1800 words of the story; very satisfying. I’ll work on the novella later today, or perhaps tonight.

Then on to the client’s nonfiction book. I did a rough edit of several chapters, and compiled them to PDF, so that I could send them to him. Scrivener makes it easy to send out as little or as much as you like of any project.

A couple of students have asked me about ghostwriting with Scrivener, so let’s chat about that.

Scrivener for freelance writers, coaches, and consultants

Although I primarily use Scrivener for long projects, you can use Scrivener for short projects too. For example, I use Scrivener for my retainer clients — clients for whom I write regularly.

I don’t use Scrivener for blogging, even though many writers do. Thaddeus Hunt has a complete blogging system, and so does Jennifer Mattern.

Scrivener’s wonderful for medium to long projects, because you can develop many novels within one Scrivener file. The five novellas I’m ghostwriting for a client are all in one file. This makes it very easy to compile one ebook, or few chapters and send them to a client. You can also keep your front matter and back matter within the file, duplicating them and customizing them for each ebook.

Monica McCarty uses a Scrivener file to manage her series’ Bible. Visit the Scrivener forum, to see the many ways in which people use Scrivener.

On to email, which is light, just some student material for review. I zoom through that, and it’s time for Honey’s breakfast. I review my Christmas short story as I eat my toast. I can’t resist writing another few hundred words. That takes the story to 2,500 words.

A client presentation…

It’s time to develop a pitch presentation for a client. I start by researching his marketing materials, and creating an outline. He’ll be delivering the presentation, I just need to create it. I do some thinking, and brainstorming, and then put it aside for tomorrow, to let it gestate.

No time to walk today; I have a meeting this afternoon, and need to run some errands after that.

I create some notes for Julia. She needs to chase up the subject matter experts so that I can complete a draft of a client’s website content for his product launch. I didn’t think it would happen on Friday, but it needs to happen today or tomorrow.

I spend a couple of timer sessions developing questions for the SMEs.

Next, I check on my draft blog posts, and add some material to several. I’ll schedule them for publication once I complete them. Usually, I’ll schedule posts for publication several days ahead. (This is a reason I don’t use Scrivener for blogging; I’m in and out of the WordPress blog editor several times a day.)

And it’s time to go…

Back late

I’m glad I got so much done this morning. I got back to the office very late. Time to catch up on emails, and phone calls. Then my daily review, total up my word counts, and the work day is done.

With luck, I’ll write a couple of thousand words of the novella tonight. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 26: How to Make Writing a Habit

Writing Journal 26: How to Make Writing a Habit

My writing journal for Sunday, September 7, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another wonderful morning for my fourth novella for my ghostwriting client: 2,700 words. It’s flowing like water, AND the characters keep surprising me. That’s the reason I love fiction: it’s a true joy when the characters become real.

The nonfiction book is doing well too. Another 1,500 words, in just two timer sessions. I could have carried on with it, but it’s Sunday.

How to make writing a habit

A reader asked me whether you “should” write every day.

Do what you can. In my first few years as a writer, I didn’t write every day. I’ve often talked about how challenging I found writing. It wasn’t easy. I wanted to write, and I loved writing. But I had to force myself to sit down at the typewriter and then stay where I’d planted myself, rather than running away.

Looking back, writing became much easier once I got my first Apple computer, and studied Gabriele Rico’s book.

Before the Apple, writing meant golf-balls, carbon paper, and correction fluid. A nightmare. I adored my Apple, because I’m a truly lousy typist.

Larry Block helped immensely too. I took his Write for Your Life seminar at the Vista Hotel in NYC in 1985. That seminar was a huge turning point for my writing. I played Larry’s tape of affirmations for years, until the cassette broke. :-)

Over time, writing just became a habit. I can’t imagine not writing every day.

However, asking whether you “should” write every day is the wrong question. If you’re asking yourself this, ask yourself how you can make writing more fun, instead.

If writing’s fun, you won’t be able to keep away from your work. Eventually, writing just becomes something you do every day – habitual.

As Carl Jung said: “The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect, but by play.” It’s my favorite quote. Focus on having FUN when you write. You can’t be creative without an element of play. When writing’s fun, you want to do it.

After I’ve fed Honey, and made some toast, I check the day’s email, which is light. I use Send to Kindle to add some students’ stories to my iPad, so that I can focus on them this evening.

Then, I send the MP3s of yesterday’s phone coaching sessions to the students.

Sunday is draft blogging day

Sunday, as always, is the day when I add to my collection of draft blog posts on my own blogs, as well as on client blogs.

A reader asked how many draft blog posts he “should” have lined up. I’m not big on stuff you “should” do, as you may know.

I like to have at least ten draft posts in each blog. I review them every few days. Some I discard, because the inspiration’s gone, or because I did some research and decided against the post. Other blog posts grow organically. Then I add some more content to them, and line them up for publication.

Do whatever is comfortable for you. I know a couple of professional bloggers who create no drafts. They have no editorial calendar. They know they have a certain number of blog posts to write each week, and they sit down and write them, cold. I admire that, I truly do. However, I couldn’t work that way, because I have too much going on. Having a cache of draft posts gives me a sense of security, and confidence.

Time for my walk.

And now it’s time for Sunday’s commitments.

Planning and preparing for the coming week

Several of my clients have sent me images, so I need to look them over, and Photoshop them a little to get rid of distractions in them. I also download some images I’ll need for my own blog posts this week.

Then it’s time to for the weekly review, to check last week’s progress, and check this week’s deadlines, to make sure that everything is on track.

That done, I tot up my word count for the day, and Sunday’s over.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 25: Fiction is Feelings

Writing Journal 25: Fiction is Feelings

My writing journal for Saturday, September 6, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Up early, and back to my usual routine of writing fiction and nonfiction before I do anything else.

I managed 1,800 words of fiction, and 2,000 words of nonfiction. The fiction flowed well, but it took a little time to get back into the feelings of the characters.

Fiction: stay with it

That’s the big danger with fiction: if you take too much time away from it, it’s very hard to get back into it. You need to be able to feel what the characters feel. If you can’t, your fiction is dead, because it’s an emotional experience for readers. If you can’t feel it, your readers won’t either. :-)

I know this, of course, but I still make excuses for myself, and give myself days off from fiction. I’ve decided that if I know that I’ll be “too busy” to write fiction on a particular day, I’ll get up earlier to make sure that it’s done.

When you take time off from fiction, not only is it hard to get back into it, you end up second-guessing yourself.

A tip: here’s what works for my students when they take too many days off from a piece of fiction. I ask them to go back a couple of scenes, and copy them. No copy and paste however. I ask them to type the scenes again, because that gets them feeling the characters’ feelings again.

Yes, typing is a hassle, but if you can’t FEEL your characters, you’ll start procrastinating. Then you’ll give up on your story.

Another tip: always go with FEELINGS when you’re not sure what to write next.

(More on scenes, and emotion, on my Just Write a Book blog.)

I fed Honey, then had my own breakfast, while checking over the schedule for next week. I remind myself that I MUST walk today. No excuses.

Next, email. Feedback for students, and quotes for clients. Julia can deal with most of it.

It’s Saturday, so I need to run some errands. Since I’ll be out most of the day, I need to get to the “must do” tasks right now. I’ve got a couple of coaching calls later on tonight, so I set myself an alarm to remember to prepare for them.

Draft blog posts, and writing workshops

Firstly, I need to complete several blog posts for clients, and schedule them for publication. Next, I need to do more research on the rush product-launch website content.

OK. Time for my walk.

And back… Lovely morning. It takes a couple of hours to finish up blog posts, and write a page for our new “Leap Into” writing workshops.

Enrollments are open for the first workshop, a three-week copywriting workshop.

I need to work on the NaNoWriMo workshop we have coming up; watch for that one if you’re writing a novel in November.

With that done, it’s time for Saturday’s commitments.

Phone coaching sessions

I’m back. The daily review is done, and so is the word count.

Now it’s time to prepare for a couple of phone coaching sessions. I always enjoy these. After this week’s tech aggravations, I’m glad that the connection’s fine, so we can Skype away.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops

Writing Journal 24: Website, New WordPress, and Workshops
My writing journal for Friday, September 5, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another oddball morning.

I received a call last night from a client who’s developing a website for a product launch, so I can’t start the day with my current fiction and nonfiction books as I usually do. I had to start work on the website content, because it’s a rush job.

I read all the material he sent me. Then I created lists of interview questions. Julia will call the company to line up some chats for me with their subject matter experts (SMEs.) I hope the chats will be later today, but somehow I doubt it. It’s Friday, and it’s very short notice. Not to worry, I can do some research on my own. I’ll need to look at competing products and the marketplace, so that will keep me going for a while.

I meant to work on the novella last night, because I didn’t get to it yesterday, but I had the coaching call, which took longer than expected. MUST get to fiction today…

Breakfast for Honey, and for me, while reading email. Then answering email, and giving feedback. I’ve got several students’ short stories to read, but I’ll save those until the weekend, when I have more time to think.

WordPress 4: looks great

When I checked my blogs this morning, I noticed that WordPress 4.0 has been released. Excellent… I’ve updated the blogs, but haven’t had a chance to check out the new options yet. TNW has an article reviewing 4.

The updated WordPress editor means less scrolling: excellent. I do most of my writing in WordPress. Well, I use a Markdown editor to write drafts, then I post the HTML into the WordPress editor, but one way or another I spend a lot of time scrolling.

After that, I set a reminder to make sure that I WALK today. I need to get back to daily walks. I spend far too much time sitting. As a reward for that, hummingbird cake at lunch. :-)

More email, and a post about our new “Leap” workshops for the freelance writing blog.

Then it’s off for a walk…

UGH! Rain. And it’s cold. So I weasel out of walking and set a reminder to do some yoga and a session on the rowing machine tonight.

Finishing up the week’s projects

I’ve made a list of projects which are almost ready to be sent to clients, so I devote the rest of the morning to that.

Julia and I head for our weekly lunch. We missed out on it last week, and I can hear a BIG slice of hummingbird cake calling my name…

Back to the office. It’s time to return phone calls, and wrap up the week. I do a quick review of the week’s projects, and adjust our schedules for next week.

No more tech aggravations, I hope

I’ve got to keep an eye on my data usage with the hotspot — I’ve used 1.5 GB in a day and a half; that means I’ve got 2.5 GB left before I need to recharge.

And… YAY! Cable Internet is back. Bless you, Telstra.

The technician suggested I turn the cable modem on occasionally to see whether the cable has been fixed, and it appears it has… a miracle.

However, that was a real lesson to me: keep the hotspot charged. Usually when I go out, I use others’ networks: clients’, the library’s, etc. From now on, I’ll take my little hotspot with me. That will keep the SIM active, so that it doesn’t die. It’ll save unexpected journeys to get another one, and it gives me peace of mind too.

I feel like dancing around the room… Happiness is a good Internet connection. :-)

Research for the client’s new website

As expected, Julia couldn’t get any interviews with SMEs today. Onward to research the client’s competitors, and make notes.

Evernote’s Adonit Jot Script stylus, or Livescribe Sky?

Last night I was making some notes in Notability on my iPad, and trying to get a fine line. Not possible, really. I’ve been eyeing the Adonit Jot Script stylus, but can’t justify it as a business expense. I may treat myself to one for Christmas. It looks amazing, but so does Livescribe’s Sky pen. I’ve got the Livescribe Echo, but the Sky pen pushes notes directly to Evernote.

(Sigh…) OK, when I start researching purchases, I know I’ve lost my focus. Time to finish up for the day.

Daily and weekly reviews are done, and I know what I need to do on the weekend. So that’s it for today.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 23: Copywriting and Workshop

Writing Journal 23: Copywriting and Workshop

My writing journal for Thursday, September 4, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

An odd morning, but in a good way. I received another rush copywriting job yesterday, so I started it last night, and need to continue with it for a few hours this morning.

Both the novella and nonfiction book can wait until the end of the day. I’m on track with both, so if I don’t get to them, that’s OK too.

Took a break from copywriting to clear my mind, feed Honey her breakfast, and have my own breakfast. I made a note that I MUST walk today. I haven’t been walking. First it was cold and raining, then things kept coming up. Yes, I know, excuses, excuses. :-)

I’m pleased that it’s a light morning for email. I got the messages out of the way quickly.

An interesting message from Amazon KDP about their new Kindle Kids’ Book Creator. I don’t write kids’s books, but I coach several students who do. I made a note to familiarize myself with the program.

I managed to get some blogging done yesterday afternoon, and that’s a good thing, because I don’t have time for it this morning.

A reader asked about a blogging process. Here’s mine. It’s simple:

  • Create draft posts regularly. I like to keep at least ten draft posts in a blog;
  • Complete the draft posts, and schedule them to be published;
  • Repeat.

Off for a walk, then back to do the final edit on the rush job. Edit completed, and it’s time for lunch, when the Telstra technician arrives.

More tech aggravation: dead cable

It’s lucky that I got a new SIM for my hotspot yesterday, because the problem isn’t the cable modem, it’s the cable itself. It could take up to three working days to fix. At least I have Internet. The hotspot’s data is expensive, but it would be a lot more expensive not to have a connection at all.

More copywriting…

Email, and then work on my regular clients’ copywriting gigs.

These are on-going projects which come up every month, and they’re simple to do, once I have the information from the clients. Getting the info can be a challenge. Everyone’s busy these days, and for some companies marketing isn’t a high priority. I’ve learned to start nagging for the material I need a week before I need it, otherwise I end up missing deadlines.

Leap into Copywriting launches: the first workshop starts in less than 3 weeks

I completed the “welcome” materials for Leap into Copywriting workshop. The workshop starts in less than three weeks, and we’re very excited about it.

I want this workshop to feel personal to each student; so it’s focused on exercises and feedback. We’ve been testing the exercises with current and previous copywriting students. I want the next exercises to be fun, as well as effective, so that students get methods they can use on all their copywriting projects.

We’ve got several workshops planned. Each has a start date, so they’re not on-going, and each is limited to ten students. I’m not sure how often we’ll be running each workshop.

With that done, it’s time to make some phone calls, and finish up for the day. I’ve got a coaching call this evening with a student in Scotland. I love a Scots’ accent.

Daily review done; word counts done. I’m done… :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 22: Tech Aggravations

Writing Journal 22: Tech Aggravations

My writing journal for Wednesday, September 3, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

My Internet connection died last night. I’ve had problems with this cable modem before. Now it won’t go online at all, and it’s only 12 months old. A tech won’t get here until tomorrow.

Luckily, I’ve got a WiFi hotspot. Unluckily, the SIM card in it is old, so I’ll need to go and get a new one today. In the meantime, dealing with hundreds of email messages on a phone is no fun at all. :-)

So, before I started to write this morning, I needed to rearrange my schedule. Clients expecting material won’t get it this morning. Any tasks for which I need to be online will have to wait, too.

I’ll focus on fiction and nonfiction, which mostly doesn’t need an Internet connection. Then I’ll run errands, and pick up a new SIM card on the way. All going well, we should be online again this afternoon.

Fiction and nonfiction: planning scenes

Fiction first. I needed to plan the next scenes for the novella, so I did that. I created several cluster diagrams, and outlined the scenes.

I created a new character too. This is a nuisance. Like short stories, novellas work best when you have a limited cast. I’ll need to weed out some of the “extras” in revision. My general rule of thumb is that if a character appears in only one or two scenes, he’s unlikely to be important, so you can weed him out.

I managed 2,000 words.

Next, breakfast for Honey, and email.

Fiddling with email on my phone takes forever. Thank heavens for Mailbox. All emails which need more than a sentence or two are postponed until this afternoon. I compose a couple of “sorry, we’re offline” messages for Julia to send to clients.

The nonfiction book is moving right along. I created several cluster diagrams and did some research yesterday for later chapters, so I can work on those. I manage 2,500 words which is excellent. At this rate, I’ll finish the book early.

Before closing the Scrivener file, I compiled the early chapters to PDF to send off to the client once we’re online again.

Breakfast. While munching my toast, I read over the rough drafts of the video scripts from yesterday.

It takes just a couple of timer sessions to get them ready to send to the clients for their review – once we get back online.

Even simple tasks are annoying when you have no Internet connection. I’ll need to pick up some dog food for Honey while I’m out. I keep my shopping lists in Notational Velocity, which syncs with SimpleNote on my devices. I opened Notational Velocity to add the dog food to my supermarket list, then remembered that there’s no sync.

Of course, Evernote isn’t syncing either, and I LIVE in Evernote. I need to call on a client this morning, so I check to make sure that the material is in Evernote on my phone. Otherwise I’d be messing around with USB drives.

More rearranging…

I can’t access my blog post drafts online, so I need shift those tasks to tomorrow. Unfortunately the “do tomorrow” list is growing rapidly. Luckily the posts which I needed to go out this week are already scheduled, so they’ll go out automatically.

With a timer session left before I need to leave this morning, I read over the short story. I schedule an edit for it next week, and get started on another one. I want to create an ebook of 25 Christmas short stories; mainly to experiment with emotion. Hey — Charles Dickens did very well with A Christmas Carol. :-)

Online again with the WiFi hotspot

Mid-afternoon, and I’m back online with a new SIM card in my Wifi hotspot. It’s a slower connection, but at least I can send out the emails with attachments from this morning. Synchronicity: I’d just set up the hotspot when I got a call from the Telstra technician to say they’d be out tomorrow afternoon.

The rest of my writing day was spent:

  • Responding to email;
  • Checking blogs, and writing draft posts;
  • Working on our new program, Leap into Copywriting.

I do a quick daily review, plus a word count, and the day is done. At least I have an Internet connection again. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 21: Handwriting and Creativity

Writing Journal 21: Handwriting and Creativity

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 2, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Novella: character arc challenges

I got up a little later this morning, and dived into the novella immediately. Although most of the niggles about the story got sorted, I’m still uncertain about the character arcs for the two main characters.

Yes, I could fix this in the second draft, but I don’t want to. So, I went back, and dragged two scenes into my “Maybe” folder, and wrote three new scenes. This makes the characters stronger, and I’m happy. I ended up with a total of 3,500 new words.

My long session with the novella ate into the time I’d scheduled for the nonfiction book, but that’s OK. I’m on track with that. If I get to the book later today I will; if not, it will have to wait until tomorrow.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I checked email. A light morning for email, because it’s Labor Day weekend for my north American students and clients.

I’ve got a couple of meetings this morning, so I did some cluster diagrams and made some notes for small copywriting projects I have lined up for this week, and checked the research I did for the video scripts.

Breakfast, and then it’s time to prepare for the meetings.

Content strategy meetings

I’m working with two local businesses, and they’re getting ready for holiday sales. They’re brick and mortar businesses. Although they’ve been online for several years; they’re both starting to see an uptick in online sales.

After having lunch, it’s back to get on with the video scripts I started working on yesterday. They’re short. At the end of a couple of hours, I’ve managed to rough out a quick draft for both of them.

Then email again.

Why I use paper

Yesterday, when we discussed planning and GTD, I talked about my paper notebooks. I received some messages about that. Aren’t we all aiming for the paperless office?

It turns out that you remember more when you write by hand; there’s an interesting study here. And here’s an article from Scientific American, on another study:

Mueller and Oppenheimer postulate that taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop… taking notes by hand forces the brain to engage in some heavy “mental lifting,” and these efforts foster comprehension and retention.

Although I own LOTS of software — I used to write for tech magazines, and can’t resist playing with software — I’m committed to planning by hand. You can create a diagram on paper in seconds. On the computer, you’ve got to work out how big you want your brush, choose a color etc, and this is all mental overhead. You don’t want this junk cluttering up your mind while you’re trying to be creative.

Recently a Fab Freelance Writing Blog reader asked about software for fiction writers. I’ve tried lots of it over the years, but paper’s better. And easier. Again, it’s because of the mental overhead that an app needs, AND because it’s restrictive.

Let’s say I want to think about a character for a short story. I rough out material on whatever paper’s handy, usually Clairfontaine, because I have a fountain pen addiction. :-) When it’s done, I snap an image on my phone with Evernote’s camera . Once the image is in Evernote, I save it to my desktop as a JPG, and drag the JPG into Scrivener. The original piece of paper is either recycled; or shoved into a folder if it’s an ongoing project.

Writing by hand makes you more creative. I read The Power of Your Other Hand years ago, and it made a big impression on me. It’s now in a Kindle version, in a second edition, so I’ll probably buy it. I have the paper version somewhere, but these days I prefer to read on my iPad. It’s a fascinating book if you’re interested in creativity, and how to tap into your own.

Try paper. Your mileage may vary of course, but if you want to enhance your creativity, paper’s better. And write with fountain pens. :-)

Back to my Christmas short story

Just another couple of blog posts to complete, and schedule, then I check on the Christmas short story I began yesterday. I manage another 1,000 words.

That’s it for today. A productive day. I complete my daily review, and word count.

I’m hoping that I’ll get a chance to do more work on the short story tonight.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Write An Ebook In 8 Hours Or Less

Want to write an ebook in a day? You can. As you may know, I write a lot of books, usually for clients. I’ve got a process that I share with you in my Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program.

If you’re interested in writing fast and well, I encourage you to check out this program, because we’re withdrawing it on September 7. We’ve got many more programs scheduled for this year and next.

Why write a fast ebook?

Money’s one reason. Would you believe that an ebook on attracting hummingbirds to your home made $500,000 in a single year? People want information on many different kinds of topics.

I love watching birds on my daily walks, and if I had the time and inclination, I could write an ebook on attracting native birds to your garden.

Would it sell? Who knows? If you write a quick ebook, and spend just eight hours on it, it scarcely matters. Some ebooks can be sleepers. You can write an ebook, forget all about it, and months later discover that it’s taken off.

However, important as money is, it’s not the only, or even the primary reason for my clients to write ebooks. They may write an ebook to educate their audience, for the credibility it gives them, or just because a competitor has an ebook and they want one too.

Ebook marketing is hard, right?

Authors can get tied in knots over marketing. They think that “marketing” is a mysterious process, which takes a long time, and is embarrassing into the bargain. No one wants to beg people to read their book.

If you shudder at the idea of marketing, and think it’s hard, let’s look at a simple process for setting your goal for marketing, and your goalposts.

  • Decide on your goal for ebook marketing. Do you want lots of sales, to become known as an author, to sell a coaching program, to sell a product…?
  • Set your goalposts. How will you know when you’ve scored a win? Your goalposts might be getting your ebook into the top thousand ebooks in its category on Amazon. Or they might be getting ten speaking engagements. Or getting your new product into stores across the nation. When you set your goalposts, you define what “success” looks like for you.

Once you’ve set a goal, and the goalposts, marketing starts to look a lot less intimidating.

Setting your goalposts is vital. When I’m coaching business people and authors, I encourage them to look beyond sales, or the number of downloads they get if they’re offering their ebooks for free. Your goalposts – that is, the measure of your success, may not involve large numbers of readers at all.

Here’s an example. One of my clients, a management consultant, published his ebook on Amazon, and had 100 Createspace copies printed. He sends a printed copy of his book to prospects, and leaves several copies behind after he pitches prospects. He’s tripled his client list in the past year.

Would you spend eight hours writing an ebook if you knew it would triple your business? Our Words into Cash: Write and Sell Your Ebook in Just 8 Hours program is available until September 7.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

photo credit: cindiann via photopin cc

Writing Journal 20: Planning Everything

Writing Journal 20: Planning Everything

My writing journal for Monday, September 1, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

An early start, with fiction and nonfiction. Managed 2,000 words on the novella (it’s steaming right along), and 1,500 on the nonfiction book.

Honey’s breakfast, and email. Then my breakfast, while I read over a couple of short stories from students, and make notes, for the students, and for Julia.

Next: planning.

Getting Things Done — you need a system

It’s the first day of the month, so I need to spend time planning. As I’ve mentioned, I use a modified form of the Getting Things Done system.

In GTD terms, Evernote is my Inbox. Everything gets dumped into Evernote. I sort it out at the end of the day, when I do my daily review and word counts.

Projects and tasks get dumped into OmniFocus and Things. Why two task managers? Honestly, I have no idea. I like OmniFocus because of the Forecast views, which Things doesn’t have. I use Things as an extension of Evernote, even though I use Reminders in notebooks in Evernote too.

And I use lots of paper… I have a large Behance Action book which I use with Circa paper, several other paper notebooks both small and large, AND I use index cards.

I think on paper; I remember something when I write it by hand. If I type it, I tend to forget. I tend to doodle a lot, too, when I’m working things out. So paper wins. :-)

Every page of paper gets snapped with Evernote’s camera. Most of these images — cluster diagrams, notes on a scene, ideas which crop up when I’m working on something else — are deleted in my weekly reviews. However, some I keep.

For example, I had a “warning” dream last week, and I’ll keep the notes I made on that. I have these kinds of dreams occasionally. The first time I had one was around a year BEFORE my life went to total cr*p. In the dream, I was in a car, driving down a very steep, narrow and curving road. I knew the road well. Then the brakes failed. This dream recurred for months. Did I pay attention to what was happening in my life? No, but I have ever since.

Whenever I get one of these kinds of dreams these days, I start to pay close attention to what’s happening.

Apropos of dreams: if you don’t keep a dream journal for your writing, start to keep one. Your journal can be a huge source of inspiration.

Monthly and weekly goals — create them

The first day of the month’s an excellent time to plan. You’ve got a whole month ahead of you — four weeks. What can you accomplish in those weeks? What would you like your life to be like a month from now?

I start my monthly planning session by creating some goals for the month. I write some notes about upcoming projects and tasks. Then I look back over the past month, and try to see what I could do better as well as what I’ve accomplished. We can always do better. :-)

Next, I work out what I need to do this week, as far as client deadlines, and my own deadlines, are concerned.

With my planning done, I move on to current projects.

Two video scripts this week

I’ve got a couple of scripts to do so I create some cluster diagrams, and do some research, while keeping the clients’ calls to action in mind.

Writing tip: whenever you’re writing copy, keep your client’s goals in mind.

Lunchtime — I need to run some errands, and stop in at the library to return some books.

I spend a couple of hours at the library, because I always seem to get more done there. I do more work on the scripts.

Then I write 500 words of a Christmas short story. My goal is to create an ebook of 25 Christmas stories,  more or less as writing exercises. I love Amazon. What’s not to like about putting your writing exercises online and selling them? ;-)

Back to the office to more student and client email. I make some notes so so that Julia can send out responses.

Next, the client blogging I didn’t get to yesterday. I create several more draft posts. I finish two more, and schedule them for publishing. I shoot off more messages to remind clients to send me images.

Done for the day. Time for the daily review, and word count.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 19: Edits and Sunday Blogging

Writing Journal 19:  Edits and Sunday Blogging

My writing journal for Sunday, August 31, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Fiction focus today

I received novella #3 back from the editor last night, so I’ve decided to focus on fiction this morning. I’m on-track for the nonfiction book, so that’s fine.

I slept in this morning (horrors), so I need to get caught up. It won’t be a full working day because it’s Sunday, which means I have commitments.

I managed to get a couple of timer sessions (35 minutes each) of novella #4 done, with 2,300 words. However, I’ll need to do a read-through because the characters aren’t reacting the way I expected they would. In a way, that’s fine, because the characters are starting to drive the book; in another way, it’s a disaster. Over the years, I’ve found that characters can drive a book right off a cliff. I may need to back up a couple of scenes.

Time for Honey’s breakfast.

Then my own breakfast, while reading email. I’m still hugely impressed with Mailbox. It’s a delight to use on a phone. It’s intelligent too. It picks up what you want to do with a message from how you’ve handled similar messages in the past. It offers to handle future messages for you in the same way.

Lots of student emails today. I’m a little behind on student feedback. I made some notes on student projects I read on my iPad last night. I’ve just got to call up Notability on my Mac this morning, and copy the notes to email, and send them off.

Edits of novella #3

I’ve looked the material over, and there isn’t much to do. However “much” is relative. It’s a long novella. I could have made it shorter, if I’d taken the characters in hand. :-) Not to worry, it will get done today, then it gets shipped off to the client.

I’ve got a lot of client blogging to do today. However, I’ll leave that for this afternoon. I’ll focus on the edits for now.

Whew — the edits are done. Time to leave it for now; before I’m late…

Back again: final read of novella #3

I’m back. I do a quick read of novella #3, and it’s time to focus on creating draft posts for my own and clients’ blogs.

Finally done. Sadly, not as many draft posts as I’d hoped to do. Enough for now. Time for the daily review, and word count. And that’s it for today. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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