Free Image Editing Just Got Social

Free Image Editing Just Got Social

Canva proved how easy free image editing can be: no design skills required. If you love Canvas as much as I do, you’ll be thrilled that the site’s just gone social: now you’ve got your own profile page. You can view friends’ images in a stream, and can comment on them.

And if that’s not enough, I just noticed that there’s a square Instagram template too. That joins all the other templates — for everything from social media graphics to presentations.

New to Canva? Click the Design School link at the top of the page, for lots of tutorials on making the most of Canva’s editing tools.

Stuff to Know About Canva

Tip: Canva keeps your designs. This makes it easy to reuse a favorite design. If you’re logged in, you’ll see your designs, and you can reach them at any time by clicking the Your Designs link at the top of the page.

Scrolling through your designs can inspire you. If you’ve ever “lost” a design — you can’t remember the file name, and it’s lurking somewhere on your computer — you’ll bless this feature.

Another tip: clicking the Copy This Page icon makes it simple to create infographics and presentations. Add your pages, then save the file as a PDF. If you’ve created a presentation, you can upload it to Slideshare immediately.

Please Add Images to Your Blog Posts: It Makes Them Much Easier to Share

A plea to my favorite bloggers. If you’re not using images in your posts, please add just ONE image. It makes it much easier to share your latest posts on social media networks. Thank you. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writing Journal 48: Become a Better Writer Via Your Kindle

Writing Journal 48: Become a Better Writer Via Your Kindle

My writing journal for Monday, September 29, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Happy days. The novella has gone off to the contract editor. She’s fast, so it should be back by the end of the week. As you may know, this is the final in the series of novellas; I’m glad to be done with them. I’m very much like that: when I get close to the end of a piece of writing, I want to see it out the door.

Some months back, a client commissioned me to write a mystery for him. However, in addition to writing the mystery, he wants it to be the first of a series. So, I need to create a sleuth, a character who’ll carry through several books. Luckily, I don’t need to start the novel immediately. My deadline is mid-December, and I’ve given myself this week to think about mystery sleuths.

I’d love to do a humorous animal mystery series, like The Cat Who… but I’d need to be inspired. I don’t think I can plot it cold-bloodedly, but we’ll see.

This morning, I just made some notes; and did a couple of cluster diagrams, to start thinking and planning. By the way, if you’ve been thinking about getting Authentic Writing, as I know several writers have, check out this week’s offering.

Honey’s breakfast, and my own. Email’s light this morning, which is a good thing. I’m almost caught up with it.

Next, it’s time to get on with the book proposal. I’ve heard back from the client, who’s pleased with the way it’s going.

I finished up a blog post too, and hit the Publish button — 5 Ways to Become a Better Writer. To get better at writing, you basically just have to do it. The more writing becomes a habit, the easier it becomes. With my writing students, I know that as long as I can convince them just TO WRITE, most of their challenges will become much, much easier to conquer.

Let Kindle help you to become a better writer

Before 2012, I’d visit the library at least a couple of times a week, and haul home a stack of books. Then I started to read ebooks via the Kindle app on my iPad. I already owned a couple of Kindle devices, but they annoyed me because I’m a fast reader. I adore the Kindle app on the iPad — and on my phone, when I’m out — because I can ZOOM through books.

I started to check whether any book I wanted to read had a Kindle version, and if it did, I bought it. Here’s why: you can highlight any text you like, and it shows up on your Kindle highlights page.

You can visit your highlights page at any time, and think about WHY something affected you. I used to copy quotations from books onto index cards, The cards got stored in files, and I’d never be able to find what I wanted.

If you’re unaware that you have a Kindle highlights page, check it out, it’s very useful; it will help you to become a better writer.

Lunchtime… Today I ended up having lunch at my computer, while reading a couple of student novellas. Apropos of that, I’ve had some questions about editing.

Yes, I offer developmental suggestions, but no line editing

I’ve had a couple of questions about my author services, specifically about fiction editing. I do developmental editing, but I don’t do line editing. Put another way: I’ll help you with your story, but I won’t proofread for you. Big picture stuff, yes. Grammar and word choice, no. If you’re unsure whether I can help, please ask. :-)

After lunch, I worked up a couple of project quotes for clients, and had a chat with the client for whom I’m writing the company history.

Next, I had to do some research for another client. He’s thinking of going into a new market, and wants a rundown of the market and its challenges. I enjoy research, so the time got away from me.

Before I knew it, it was time to return phone calls, and do my daily review, and word counts.

Tonight, I’ll need to spend a couple of hours on the Kindle ebook I’m writing for a client, so I can keep to the deadline on that.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 34: How to Make Fiction a Habit

Writing Journal 34: How to Make Fiction a Habit

My writing journal for Monday, September 15, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Early this morning, I started on the fifth novella for my ghostwriting client. This is the final one in the series. I managed 1,200 words, which is good going. When you start a new project, the first few days are always slow, as you get into the characters. Once you know your story people, and how they’re likely to react, the writing goes much more quickly.

I’ve had some questions about story beginnings, and how to write fiction every day.

How to make fiction a daily habit

You can make writing fiction a habit easily; all you need is a process.

Here’s my process in a nutshell: write in scenes, and outline as you go. This means that you know what you’re doing. Sooner or later, writing fiction just becomes another habit.

I write in scenes. Most of my scenes are somewhere between 1,200 and 1,800 words. So for me, daily writing means one scene, or maybe two, if I’m getting near the end of a project. When you think of your fiction as collections of scenes, it makes writing and editing much more manageable.

If you’re writing in small blocks of time — a few minutes here and there — you’ll find focusing on one scene at a time helps you to write more. If you can spare a couple of hours a day, then you can call your writing done when you’ve completed a scene or two.

Outlining helps you to write faster

Once you get an idea for a project, it’s easy enough to shape it. Fiction is all about emotions, for the writer, and the reader. Your story will have several turning points, so you outline from point to point:

  • First turning point: after the setup (around chapter four, or scene four if you’re writing a shorter piece)
  • The midpoint
  • Three-quarter point: you’re setting up the dark moment
  • The climax: the story’s final battle

Consider the emotions you want your reader to feel, not only in the turning points, but also in each scene.

Tell yourself your story in a paragraph or two, then map the turning points.

That’s your basic outline done. Some writers outline much more, but honestly? I’m a bit of a closet pantser. if I do more than the turning points, the story wanders off in fresh directions, so I never use all the scenes I plotted so carefully. Your mileage will vary. Do what FEELS right — if you have enough material in your outline to write each day, you don’t need more.

Daily writing: outlining your scenes

My scene outlines are very basic; I outline each scene just before I write it. I decide what I want the reader to feel — what emotions. (I write this down.) Then I write the first couple of sentences in the scene, and the final sentences. Then I zoom through the scene, writing as fast as I can. This usually means writing dialogue. Think of it as a sketch. Then I go back to the beginning and “paint” the scene. I add everything else — or as much as I want to, in this draft.

I’ve written about outlining fiction for emotion here.

Editing the nonfiction book

I finished my first read-through of the nonfiction book, so it’s time to read again, this time more carefully, making notes as I go. I want to finish the first edit this week, so that the material can go off to our contract editor by the weekend.

Then it’s time for email. A light email day today, so I complete feedback notes for three students.

Honey’s feeling lively this morning. She gobbles her breakfast, and looks for more. I make my own breakfast, and jot some notes for Julia while I eat my toast.

There are no meetings scheduled for today, thank goodness. I’ll be able to focus on copywriting and ghostwriting.

Ghostwriting the company history

I complete 2,000 words, which is excellent, and make a note for Julia to call the client and set up another couple of interviews. I’m pleased that the client’s easy to work with. Some ghostwriting projects can be a challenge, if the client’s busy, and you can’t get the material you need.

Time for my walk. It’s a lovely morning.

Two presentations for a retainer client

This week, I’ve got to complete two presentations for a retainer client, so I outline those. They’re relatively easy to do, but I need more information. Julia will make an appointment with the client so we can have a chat.

Time for lunch, which I’m having at my computer today, so I can catch up on social media.

Writing the nonfiction ebook freebie

This ebook is quite short, so I do 2,500 words on it. I’m pleased, it’s going well.

Then, back for a little more work on the two presentations. I can’t do anything more until I chat to the client, so until that happens, I do more writing on the company history.

Christmas short stories

I’ve got a little time this afternoon, so I spend it outlining another couple of Christmas short stories. These will be very short, just a thousand words each. I love doing very short fiction. You can get it done within a couple of hours.

Once I’ve done that, I need to catch up on phone messages before everyone leaves for the day.

All done. Daily review done, word counts done, and that’s it for another day.

Need help with your writing? Contact me.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Writing Journal 14: Editing with Scrivener

Writing Journal 14: Editing with Scrivener

My writing journal for Tuesday, August 26, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Novella: write and EDIT, again

Up at 5AM, to a very sluggish start. I did a cluster diagram — but the words wouldn’t flow.

I shouldn’t complain. I had a good run, of very good days. :-) It happens like this sometimes. I know what the problem is, I need to get the two main characters from point A, to point D, and the emotional connection isn’t there.

It will come. I know I need to make the beginning stronger. I’ll reread what I have later today. Maybe I’ll be able to write a few more words.

Despite the dribble of words I managed to write 1,000 of them. However, it took me twice as long as usual. At one point, I would have settled for 500 words.

I’m still editing novella #3. I need to get that off to the contracted editor today, so I don’t have time for nonfiction. I’m pleased now that I was ahead of schedule on that book, otherwise I would have been behind.

I’m hoping that a dry spell hasn’t set in. Dry spells happen with your writing occasionally; all you can do is press on.

Time for Honey’s breakfast. It’s raining. How annoying. I need to walk off my bad mood; I shouldn’t get frustrated, but I do. A walk would help.

Email. Then breakfast.

Next, I prepare for a phone coaching session with a writer.

The coaching session goes well. We’ve scheduled a follow-up for the weekend.

I’ve got to complete a presentation for a client this week. I’ve come up with some ideas, so I pitch them to him on the phone.

He chooses the idea he likes. So, I need to draft it, and choose the number of slides, before I worry about design. I’ll be passing this off to a designer. However, it’s easier to give the designer an idea of the feeling I want for each slide by choosing fonts and images which give the right mood, and help convey the message.

I check email, and make some notes, so that Julia can work up the quotes.

Lunch time already. Time for a break to run some errands.

Then back to novella #3. I need to get it done. No excuses. Scrivener makes editing easy. I use the split screen function a lot, and I also have lots of Quick Ref documents open.

How to edit with Scrivener

These edits are taking much longer than I thought they would. I know why — the novella is much longer than I’d imagined it would be.

I wrote a blog post on how to edit fiction with Scrivener.

FINALLY,  it’s done. I send Julia the Scrivener file, so she can do quick read and check, before sending it to the editor.

This editor is fast, so it should be back by the weekend. At that stage, I’ll read through it again, change what needs changing, maybe add a little more material. Then it goes to the proofreader.

What a LONG day. A final check of email, then my daily review, and word counts. Fingers crossed that tomorrow flows more smoothly. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

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