Writing Journal 71: Reading On The Go

Writing Journal 71: Reading On The Go

My writing journal for Wednesday, October 22, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

More meetings today; with luck, they’ll be the final ones for this week. Everyone’s just realized that the holiday sales season is upon us. No complaints… I love being busy, so this is an exciting time of the year for me, and for you too, I hope. Things won’t settle down on the marketing front until after Valentine’s Day.

As usual, my writing day starts with work on the mystery novel. I didn’t get much written this morning; just 600 words. I was planning out several scenes. It’s still going well. :-)

Then, the two nonfiction books. I’m focusing on the print book at the moment. I create some notes for the graphic designer, so that he can develop a couple of charts. Words: 1,800.

Honey’s lazy this morning, but gobbles her breakfast, and then settles down on her bed. I eat my breakfast while checking over the morning’s email messages, and respond to several. Email’s building up a backlog again. I schedule “email time” in my bullet journal, and prepare for the two meetings.

A couple of writers asked about how to get more reading done. I suggested reading on the go; it’s how I manage it. There are always minutes during the day that you could be spending reading. If you prepare for those minutes, you can read much more, without affecting your family time, or your schedule.

Reading on go: keep up with yourself, and everyone else

I wrote about social media writing on my freelance blog.

Mostly, I read on my iPad. I use Flipboard, and if I find something I want to post to social media, I can do it right away. Alternatively, I can save an item to Pocket, and read it and share it later.

If I’m having lunch at my computer (yep, bad habit), I read social media on my iPad. It’s relaxing. Later, in Pocket on my Mac, I can tag items, send them to any social media network I choose, or I can send articles to Evernote. Of course, I can just delete an article too.

To read my own and clients’ material for editing, I use Send to Kindle. I just downloaded a PDF from a marketing company on repurposing content, for example. At a glance, I can see that the PDF contains some great ideas. I drag it into the Send to Kindle icon on my Dock. (I’m a Mac user.) I can read the PDF on my phone, or on my tablet.

Send to Kindle is excellent, obviously, for long material. My first step in editing a book is always to read it in the Kindle app. I can read on my phone anywhere — while waiting for a meetings to start, while in the queue at the bank… Try it. You’ll find that reading in the Kindle app gives you a fresh perspective on material.

Back again…

After two days of running around, I’m way behind on everything, even though I scheduled as well as I could. I spend an hour typing up notes from the meetings, and scheduling new projects and tasks. Most are short, thank heavens.

With that done, it’s time to deal with email again, and then, phone calls.

The day isn’t over yet; I’ve got a rush copywriting job to do for a client tonight. I do my daily review, and I’m ready to relax for a few hours.

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, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

Writing Journal 69: Favorite Content Creation Tools

My writing journal for Monday, October 20, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

As usual, I started the day writing fiction. The mystery novel is still steaming along. Happy days; 2,300 words. Then nonfiction, working on the two business books: 1,800.

Next, Honey’s breakfast. Over the past few days, the weather’s been cooler, so her arthritis is bothering her. However, she’s still up for a game, and over-eats if she gets the chance.

Then, my own breakfast, while working through email. Monday tends to be a slower day for general email: just clients requesting quotes, and students sending me material. I handle most of it; Julia can deal with the quotes.

Next, it’s time to remind clients that we need images for their content. As I said in a post on Fab Freelance Writing Blog, the Web is all about images now. I’ve been looking at digital cameras; years ago, I had a photography hobby. It might be time to get back to it… when I find the time. :-)

My primary focus today is some “holiday” content for copywriting clients. We’re building up to the hot (pun intended, since it’s summer in Australia) content season. Clients suddenly realize that their website needs updating with their holiday offerings. And they need to plan and create promotional campaigns.

Time for my walk. I haven’t walked in a couple of days; I need it to clear my mind. Cold wind, so I wear my favorite beanie. :-)

Back again, and back to the holiday content. Work on that takes me up to lunch.

Lunch in front of my computer. It’s becoming a habit. However, I’ll be out most of tomorrow, so I need to get as much done as I can today. I browse through clients’ blog archives and Web content, and make notes, so that I can link the fresh holiday content back to previous content.

A reader asked about my favorite content creation tools.

My favorite content creation tools

I create a lot of content, of many different types, every day. So I tend to jump on any tool which might make creation easier. Your mileage will vary. I test and discard lots of tools, but that’s OK. Creating content consistently is a real challenge, so any tool which helps with that is a worthwhile investment.

Currently, my favorite tools include…

Evernote. Always. It’s always open, and I do a lot of writing in Evernote. It means I can write on my phone or tablet, and add ideas as they come to me.

Scrivener. Invaluable. Don’t know where I’d be without it.

Ember. (Mac) A recent acquisition. For research, as well as to check what assets have been created, and need to be created for a project.

MultiMarkdown Composer, and Ulysses (Mac.) Most of my content starts in Evernote, then makes its way to one of these programs: I use Marked as the viewer for both of them.

Marked (Mac). Wonderful for viewing and repurposing Markdown documents.

Adobe Creative Cloud. I use Photoshop and Bridge mostly.

Curio. Indispensable, both to collect assets for projects, and to keep archives of past projects. It’s amazing how often clients will return months and years later – and they’ve lost the assets we used. Curio is a huge time saver, because all the previously used assets are there, and are instantly available.

OmniOutliner (Mac.) I resisted upgrading to version 4, but finally pulled the trigger.

Inspiration. An app I adore, because you can create HUGE cluster diagrams to spark, and to reignite, creativity for a project.

Onward with the holiday content for copywriting clients

Back to developing the holiday content. Finally I’m done with the initial drafts; I send them off with relief. I’m still waiting for some product shots, so I can create product descriptions; I send a reminder to the photographer.

More emails, and phone calls to return. My daily review, and that’s it for another day.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 45: It’s Friday

Writing Journal 45: It’s Friday

My writing journal for Friday, September 26, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

I’m eager to get the ghostwriting client’s final novella off to the contract editor, so I make a determined start on that this morning. I’d like to send it off by Monday, if I can. This morning, I focus on the big picture. There are a couple of holes in characters’ arcs, so they need to be fixed.

For my nonfiction push this morning, I’m working on the company history, and the ebook freebie, with 1,000 and 2,000 words respectively. Julia can proof the draft, and send the freebie to the client for feedback.

Next, Honey’s breakfast. She’s turning into a fussy eater; she has her favorite brands of dog food, but she insists on human food too. (She doesn’t get it.) Then my own breakfast, while reading email. I save a lot of it for Julia to manage. Just a few more memos to students tonight, and I’ll be all caught up. Happy days. :-)

The book proposal I’m ghostwriting for the memoir is coming along well. I create an overview, so that Julia can send that to the client for feedback.

It’s Friday, so we need to get in touch with clients to let them know how their projects are progressing, as well as work on clients’ blog posts. That will take me most of the morning, and some of the afternoon.

I blog for an hour, then head out for my walk. The sun’s shining after yesterday’s rain.

More blogging, and then it’s time for our Friday lunch. I need to call in at the library too, to check a couple of databases.

I’m back again; more blogging, then a couple of proposals.

A marketing plan for a client’s new business

This proposal is for a marketing plan for a new business which is opening next month, just in time for holiday sales. I need to do some research about his market first. I make a few notes, so that I can do some research over the weekend.

It’s Friday, which means the usual wrap-up of the week’s projects and events. I make some client calls, and send quick reports to a couple of clients.

Yes, the bullet journal’s amazingly useful

A reader asked about my bullet journal — does it really work? Yes, it’s working brilliantly. I like to see my tasks, appointments, and notes in a notebook. Well, the overflow, of them anyway. Evernote is still my home, so to speak.

However, I retired OmniFocus out of my management tools yesterday. So now I have: Evernote, the bullet journal, Things, and DevonThink.

Here’s the workflow for handwritten notes I need to keep: photograph into Evernote, trim the note in Acorn (image editor), save the note to the desktop, and drag into DevonThink. I’m using DevonThink again for the AI benefits.

A couple of years ago I did three books which were research-intensive; DevonThink’s artificial intelligence made the work easier. I did my thinking in DevonThink, and the writing in Scrivener. :-)

The day’s done, and so’s the week. I do my daily review, and total my word count.

Yes, I love questions, please ask!

I ramble on, and from my email and chats, I know you’re shy about asking questions. Please ask me anything you like. I’m happy to share.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Productivity Tools: a Bullet Journal Makes You Smarter

Productivity Tools: a Bullet Journal Makes You Smarter

If you want to be productive, you need good productivity tools. Not only can the right tools save you time, they can make you smarter as well. I’ve always been interested in productivity software; I used to review software for computer magazines, back in the day.

Hands down, my favorite productivity app of all time is the dear departed Lotus Agenda. Agenda fans have been looking for a replacement for 20 years. The program had a steep learning curve. But once you’d figured it out, with the help of a couple of thick manuals, Agenda did what no other software has done as well: it made you smarter. You shoveled information in, and it showed you what you need to know when you needed to know it, as well as making connections between bits of information for you.

I think I’ve found my own replacement for Agenda, and it’s not an app. It’a a bullet journal.

I’ve written about my bullet journal here, and here. I won’t cover the same ground. Watch the brief video on the bullet journal website, and try it for yourself.

You might find as I do, that it fills a gap in your time management and productivity efforts. Or it may not be to your taste all all. However, as the days go by I’m more and more impressed by how elegantly simple a bullet journal is.

Bullet Journaling: Am I Going Totally Analogue?

A reader asked this, and my answer is: NO, of course not. I have so much material in Evernote, OmniFocus and Things that that could never happen. Evernote is my general business Inbox. I use OmniFocus for client stuff, and Things for everything related to my writing students and ebooks/ books/ programs. I need the repeating tasks in those apps, otherwise I’d never keep track.

I’ve always used paper journals; my bullet journal is an enhancement to my collection of productivity tools and time management apps.

My bullet journal helps me to see what I need to do NOW, today, and what I need to do over the next few weeks. I don’t duplicate tasks and appointments I’ve entered into apps at all, there would no point. The bullet journal emphasizes what I MUST focus on throughout the day, and collects sudden rushes of blood to the head. :-)

Here’s how this works in practice. It’s mid-morning on a Sunday. I’ve worked through everything scheduled for the day in OmniFocus; I have four tasks left in Things; and I have four tasks and several notes in my Leuchtturm bullet journal. One of the bullet journal tasks I decided against doing after I’d entered it, so that has a line drawn through it.

I’m not looking to replace my apps with the bullet journal. It’s an added safeguard so that I won’t miss anything. The Collections are brilliant. I’m a big list maker, and most of my lists are in Evernote. I tend just to scan them, then delete them. Writing a list by hand helps me to remember, so I’ll be keeping my lists in the bullet journal going forward.

The bottom line: for whatever reason, the bullet journal helps me to feel in control. It’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s fun. What’s not to like? The “fun” comes from my obsession with fancy fountain pens and inks. :-)

I get the same feeling of comfort and security from my bullet journal that I once got from Lotus Agenda, and haven’t been able to find from any app since. I feel more in control of my schedule, and I even imagine that it’s making me smarter. Who knows, maybe it will. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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