Writing Journal 35: Harvesting Inspiration

Writing Journal 35: Harvesting Inspiration

My writing journal for Tuesday, September 16, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

A slow start this morning. I spent most of my novella-writing time developing a HUGE cluster diagram of character and plot ideas.

Although this is good, I wanted to get on with the writing. I’ve learned to go with the flow, so if this is what my inner writer feels is necessary, more power to the muse.

You’ve got to harvest your inspirations when you can. I used the Inspiration app (the name suits the app perfectly) to develop the cluster, because you can just keep going. It’s got an endless canvas, so your diagrams can be as large as you like.

I’ve used Inspiration for years, going way back to the time I was a Windows person. I made the switch to Macs in 2005, so I’ve been using it for well over a decade. Wonderful app. It’s got an iPad version, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Consequently, with all the brainstorming, I managed just 300 words of the novella.

It must just be a morning for my muse to go overboard. As soon as I started editing the nonfiction book for my ghostwriting client; I got an idea for a new writers’ program. Sigh — as if I need anything more on my plate. I clustered on that for a while, then got myself back into editing.

Honey was restless, so I gave her her breakfast and made my own, while scanning social media. Although I know I should avoid it, I read more about the Hachette/ Amazon dispute.

Email was heavy this morning, with lots of student material. I’ve scheduled handling that for tonight, because I won’t have time during the day.

The weather’s warming up. We’ve got rain and thunderstorms this morning, so walking is out. If the weather clears, I need to go for a walk this afternoon.

Interview for the company history

Julia managed to schedule some interviews for the company history, which is great. Wonderful client, very easy to work with. I made some notes, and we chatted for 40 minutes. I wrote up my notes, and spent a couple of hours working on the project.

Then, lunch at my computer, while reading news websites. I tend to be a news junkie, although I’m trying to wean myself away from it.

Presentations: thank you, Haiku Deck

I’ve got two presentations to do for my retainer client. Julia scheduled an interview, so we have a little chat. It only takes 20 minutes to get the information I need.

The presentations are already outlined, so I brainstorm a couple of taglines, and spend a couple of timer sessions working on them.

Thanks to Haiku Deck, presentations take much less time than they used to. I create a draft presentation in Haiku Deck, then export it to PowerPoint.

I got an idea for the company history, so I went back to work on it. I started out just making notes, but I ended up writing 1,500 words.

Whitelines Magic: Two new Leuchtturm1917/ Whitelines notebooks

Leuchtturm1917 medium and the Leuchtturm1917 pocket hard covers

Happy days. I’m a huge fan of Whitelines paper. I ordered two new notebooks, and they arrived today — they’re Link notebooks, so I can scan pages directly into Evernote.

When I bought several Whitelines notebooks last year, their Whitelines Link notebooks weren’t available in Australia. I thought about ordering them from Sweden, then gave myself a slap in the head, because I couldn’t justify that.

Time rolls on. I used the notebooks and now Whitelines Link notebooks are available in Australia — thank you larryPost.

My notebooks arrived this morning. I ordered the Leuchtturm1917 medium and the Leuchtturm1917 pocket hard covers. I LOVE Leuchtturm1917, because the pages are numbered, there’s a table of contents, AND they have nifty pockets in the back.

Both Leuchtturm1917 and Whitelines paper is very fountain pen friendly. Currently my favorite “everything” pen is a medium steel nib Waterman, with J.Herbin Larmes de Cassis ink.

Larmes de Cassis is a dusty rose color, but it’s very readable on Whitelines, and scanned into Evernote. It’s also a very restful ink. I bought it last year, and hated it at first, but it’s grown on me. I use it for almost everything now.

I use paper all day, every day, and either recycle it, or scan it into Evernote. As soon as I unpacked the notebooks, I downloaded the Whitelines Link app to my phone. The app will scan my notes directly into Evernote. Yes! I’m a very happy person. :-)

Rolling along with the nonfiction book freebie

I manage to do another 1,500 words on it. It’s going very well. I just need to source some graphics for it.

Client proposals

I send out client proposals frequently, but over the past few weeks I’ve been too busy trying to get everything done. We’re culling many of our writing programs, which means that there’s been a huge amount of student material to go through. So, I’ve been slacking off on proposals, time to get moving on the backlog.

A few phone calls, my daily review and word count totals, and the day is done.

, 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.