Tag Archives: writing

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 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 59: How to Get Organized

Writing Journal 59: How to Get Organized

My writing journal for Friday, October 10, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another good session on the mystery novel this morning. I can’t believe my luck. I managed 2,700 words, so it’s zooming along like an express train. As I said yesterday, I’m trying not to get too excited. If the express train derails, I need to be prepared to deal with that too.

Rather than going on to nonfiction, I dealt with email. Lots of messages, so I spend some time on those. Then Honey’s breakfast. I ate my own breakfast while dealing with the email surge.

Next, the two nonfiction books I’m ghostwriting. With 2,000 words done, I feel good about the project. It’s a little behind, and I’ll try to catch up on it tonight.

Next, my walk. It’s a bright, sunny morning, with a hint of coolness in the air. I love spring, it’s my favorite time of the year. You can tell that summer’s coming however.

After my walk, I chat to a couple of writers who are interested in the content marketing project. I’d like to get three writers onto this, but one writer convinces me that she’ll make this her priority project, and will get the material to me next week.

Lunch out, thank heavens. I enjoy our Friday lunches, with hummingbird cake. After I lunch, I need to stop in at the library to dive into databases again for a client’s project.:-)

Back again…

My coaching clients tend to have challenges with organization, so let’s look at that.

How to get organized

Organization is a challenge for everyone, especially for creative business people. You’ve got work/ client interactions to track and phone calls and emails to which you need to respond; you’ve got creative materials, and products you’re in the middle of creating; archives; website and blog content; tasks and projects… It never stops. How do you keep everything organized?

Start by deciding whether your creative soul embraces clutter, or abhors it. I like clutter. Other creatives can’t work in cluttered spaces. To each his own. Either way, you need to organize your materials so that you know where everything is. You need space for your archived material, for current project materials, as well as an “idea station” where you can just play around.

It’s my dream to not only have one room for my library, but also another room to use as a creative studio, with whiteboards on at least two walls. One of these days. :-)

When you consider organization, your primary aim is to be able to lay your hands on anything you need within 30 seconds or less.

Can you do that?

Aim for less paper: use Evernote to manage the paper blizzard

Sadly, the paperless office is pretty much a myth. Yes, companies are forgoing paper, and are sending digital invoices, but there’s still lots of paper. In my office, I have many notebooks I need to keep organized, as well as reference materials for my own, and clients’ businesses.

I use Evernote as a digital filing cabinet as much as I can. I snap photos of my corkboard and whiteboards, as well as journal pages, and pages I use to make notes, and diagram websites, books, and content. Evernote’s perfect, because I can erase my whiteboard, and still call the material up from Evernote within a moment or two.

Everything that’s paper, from contracts to business cards, gets snapped into Evernote. That means I can file away “legal” paper, like contracts, but can call them up with a click or two in Evernote, rather than hunting through an archives box.

It’s possible to get organized — not perfectly — any system you create needs to be updated and refined, but with a little effort, you can relax, knowing that you’re sufficiently organized to be able to work without stress, and create, too.

Friday afternoon review

It’s Friday, so that means blogging, reviewing client projects, and creating client reports.

That takes a couple of hours, and then there’s some housekeeping admin chores.

With that done, it’s another writing week over. I’ll need to catch up with my schedule on the weekend — it’s been a busy and satisfying week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

My writing journal for Thursday, October 9, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Got a great start this morning. The mystery novel is gathering steam, and I managed 2,200 words. I had to force myself to stop. I’m very pleased, but I try to avoid getting too excited, and telling myself that this novel will be EASY. Huh. You can have a run of great days, and then a run of horrible days, in which the words come slowly.

I try to convince myself that easy or horrible, it’s just another writing day — but I can’t help smiling.

On to the two nonfiction books. I manage 1,200 words. I’ve got the books planned in Scrivener, with complete outlines. I’m not writing them straight through. I write whatever I want to write. I’ve no idea why some books get themselves written this way, but they do.

Sometimes you can write from go to whoa, starting with the introduction, and writing each chapter as it comes. Other books insist on being written in little pieces. Part of one chapter, and then part of another. It’s not my preferred method of working, but I’ll take whatever comes, as long as the book — or books, in this case — get written.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I skim through email, and write a few responses while I eat my toast. Then I look at my schedule for the day. I managed to get a little writing done last night, but I’m still behind on what I wanted to do this week. Firstly, there was Monday’s rush copywriting project, and then yesterday the meetings ran longer than they should have done.

Next, I outline a couple of content marketing projects which developed from the meetings. There’s more content than I can manage on my own, so I need to tee up a couple of writers. I write a project brief, and send out a slew of messages to colleagues to gauge interest. I’d like to get these two projects out the door within a couple of weeks, but that depends on how many writers I can find who can handle the material, and slot it into their schedules.

Next, a couple of blog posts completed, and published. One of my own, on an easy exercise for story beginnings, and the other a post on a client’s blog.

Time for my walk.

Back again. More client blogging, then it’s time for lunch, while browsing social media.

I’ve got a mile of phone calls to return, so I do that. Next, a stream of email messages from clients and students.

Stop thinking, keep doing

One of the most common things I tell students is: “you’re over-thinking this.”

Many (all) of my students could be doing better if they’d stop second-guessing themselves and started deciding. And would charge more. We talked about procrastination.

Indecision is form of procrastination. Some of my students have a mile of unfinished work on their hard drives – they just can’t “ship.” This is one of the reasons I developed Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits.

Some writers can’t/ won’t ship because they want to be guaranteed success. I can guarantee this: you need to fail your way to success. If you’re unlucky enough to be successful (yes, I said unlucky) instantly, you’re in big trouble. Instant success teaches you nothing. Failure, on the other hand, teaches you plenty. No one likes failure — and yet, failure is inevitable. It’s more valuable than success, because you’ll learn from it — the most valuable thing you’ll learn is that failure is OK.

Some words of wisdom on failure from Business Week:

“The only barrier to failing fast and failing cheap is your ego. You must be willing to fail, fail, and fail again if you are going to win in today’s competitive marketplace. Remember, even if you’re falling flat on your face, at least you’re still moving forward.”

Stop thinking. Decide. Create. Move forward. Whatever you’re doing, do it. Worry later — for ten minutes — then get back to doing and creating.

Enough advice… :-)

Onward with a full afternoon of on-going copywriting projects for clients, as well as working on my new website. I’m starting to see daylight, thank heavens. I’ve created a plan, and need to carry it out.

More phone calls before the end of business, then my daily review, and the day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 54: Sunday Planning

Writing Journal 54: Sunday Planning

My writing journal for Sunday, October 5, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I usually get up at five in the morning, to write. Today, I didn’t get up until six. Or at least I thought it was six. It was seven, thanks to daylight saving. (Sigh.) Usually, I’m well aware of the date the clocks move forward; this time I missed it. Not to worry.

So, I decided to give the mystery novel a pass this morning. I wrote memos for yesterday’s coaching students, and sent them the links to their MP3 files. I love coaching; it’s wonderful to give students a new perspective on what they’re doing, to inspire and motivate them.

I fix Honey’s breakfast, and my own. Since there are lots of student exercises and short stories to review today, I read them while I eat my toast. I scribble a few notes for Julia, so she can write up the feedback for the exercises.

After a short walk, I come back and do more on the company history. The words won’t come; it’s a real hassle. You get days like this; there’s not much you can do. So I create a couple of cluster diagrams to sum up the material for the next couple of chapters. I’ll need to speak to the client again, so I create a reminder so that Julia can organize it.

It’s time to head out for my Sunday commitments. When I get back, I’ll need to focus on clients’ blogs, as well as my own. I’m creating a new website/ blog of a my own, so I need to map out a program of content for that, too.

Later…

Sunday Planning

Back again. It’s late afternoon, and time to plan the week’s projects, and blog posts for clients. I checked my own blogs last night, and have enough blog posts lined up for them. Nevertheless, I create several more draft posts.

Most of my planning happens in Evernote, as we looked at yesterday. I’ve created a “client blogging” notebook for clients’ blogs.

For some clients, where I need to chase up lots of information, I create a shared Evernote notebook. That means that the client can dump images and information into the shared notebook, so they’re ready for me to use. If you’re not familiar with shared notebooks, here’s some information on them.

Evernote has a a limit of 250 notebooks, so I delete shared notebooks when a project’s done. I like to keep my note count down, too. Theoretically, you can have up to 100K notes in a Premium account, and 500K notes in a Business account. In practice, I like to keep the note count under 10,000. Occasionally I’ve had to restore an account, and it can take a long time with many thousands of notes.

I brainstorm blog post ideas in Evernote, then write blog posts directly into WordPress’s editor, via Markdown. Over the years, I’ve looked at many different desktop editors. However, it’s very hard to get the SEO right outside the WordPress editor. And, I blog for lots of blogs, which inevitably leads to the desktop editor choking, sooner or later.

When I draft directly into WordPress, I can upload media in advance, so that images and PDFs are ready to insert into posts in the draft stage.

Upcoming programs

With the blog planning, and other scheduling done, I look at our upcoming programs. There’s a couple I need to complete, so I do some work on those.

Finally, it’s time to close things down for the day. Everything’s ready for the coming week.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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