Let’s switch things up…

Hello again and today I want to change topic from what I have been talking about through the past several posts, which is getting your writing space and the tools that you will probably use in order so that you can spend an hour if not hours on writing and working through your projects. However, today I want to focus on the bland answer of its all up to you.

That’s right, there are times when you will find that when you are asking for guidance on working on your writing career that you will find what works for one person may not work for you. This is where a bulk of the solitary writing life begins, because it all comes down to the style.

One example of this is the initial work, you know planning and outlining. While this may work for some it may not work for all. Case in point, I do not like outlining. Outlining is a pain for me. However, coming up with lists of ideas for what I think will be good ideas for a story, I’m there. This is what works best for me.

I can’t tell you how many times, when working on the initial ideas for The Raven Prophecy, I started with a list of ideas and then worked on that initial paragraph and then from there my work grew from there for then I created my character list.

Now before I get too far ahead of myself, this is not the way that I work through all of my projects. Sometimes, an Idea comes to me based on what information I have and I start writing away. It all depends on that initial spark that you get.

While this also works for some, it doesn’t work for all. It all depends on how you work. It’s also like some like to work straight away on the computer, while others tend to like the old fashion pen and paper. I can honestly say that I like working on the computer, putting my fingers to the keyboard and working that way. Granted, this has changed over time, for I use to be a pencil and paper type. But after looking at the side of my right hand all covered in lead from wiping and smoothing out the writing on the paper, I transitioned to the computer where I don’t have left over pencil on my hand.

But if that is how you prefer to work, then that’s how you work. In this business, every one has their own ideas of how to get organized and practicing their craft. Granted, let’s face it every writer no matter their style has some of the same tools in their arsenal. I can name a few, a good pen, a pencil or two, a journal/notebook, and highlighters and books. Yes, books!

Let’s face it without books, we would not want to be writers. I also can’t tell you how many times you are going to get the advice, if you don’t read then how are you going to learn the mechanics of writing. This is everything from structure, vocabulary to dialog, grammar and most importantly the way to tell a good story.

Sorry, because if you don’t know the mechanics of how to tell a good story you will lose your reader and the point of our job is to engage the reader and sometimes challenge what they know of the world. Granted, there is also entertaining them but a good story will not only entertain but will challenge them. Once you challenge that reader to get to the end of your story then you know that you have touched them and you have done your job.

I have talked about what our job is as a writer before, but mostly in that post I said that it all comes down to crafting our story worlds and working on our craft. However, over time my answer to the question has changed in two fold.

The first part is the job that we need to opt hold ourselves too, which is to practice and work on our craft. The second part is that we need to as I mentioned above is to engage our readers in ways of entertaining them, not only letting them escape from their every day lives but also challenge their thinking. Not only about the world that they know and live in but also the with the world that you created. But also comes back to us as writers, in that we need to also challenge ourselves. Granted, most of what can come up for challenges in some ways come with in the later drafts unless you are crafty enough to work it/ weave it through the first draft.

These are just things to mull over while you are dreaming or thinking about your writing dreams. While you are thinking over these items, keep in mind that things are not set in stone and you can always change your writing preferences all while working on your craft it’s all up to you. Think about it this way, this is were you get to be independent from all the others in the sea of writers.

I hope that you have found today’s post helpful. Until next time I hope that you all have a happy writing day!

Necessities for that Perfect Setup

Last time, I talked about getting the computer that you are using for your writing organized. Now I’m going to talk about what every writer should have for their computer, this is either for a desktop or a laptop. This are some of the must haves that I need in order to spend hours on end in front of the computer.

The first important item that you should have no matter where you setup your computer is light. Yes, let there be light. Having either a good desk lap or natural light can never be a bad thing, in my opinion. Your eyes will thank you for this later. Granted, when it comes to picking the perfect spot to setup the computer, when it comes to natural light, you want to make sure it is a spot where the sunlight won’t hit you direct in the eyes or on your screen. If the sunlight hits the screen, you are going to find it hard to see what you exactly doing. My suggestion, whether you deal with daylight savings or not, pick a spot where the sun won’t hit your space but it allows enough light to come in the room, and then at night if your overhead light is not the best, get a lamp that will give you the perfect light and make sure it is also not adjusted to where it will it you in the eye either.

Now getting back to the computer, whether you are using a desktop or a laptop, my number is make sure that you have a monitor that is big enough to where if you need multiple screens open of your word processing document, you can have them side by side. I know that not everyone can afford big monitors and I’m not talking that you need a fifty inch television, but somewhere between 19 inch and 25 inch should be good. Now I’m using a 25 inch. The reason, if you are using a laptop, which most people are looking at that tiny screen will hurt your eyes after hours of use. Take it from most college students that use a laptop.

Now when it comes to hooking up that laptop to the monitor, you can do it one of two ways. One is either by using a HDMI cable or a VGA cable. The difference between the two is the VGA has blue connectors and the HDMI cable has a smaller/slimmer connector. So on my setup, I have a laptop that I have connected to a monitor using a HDMI cables and most laptops use HDMI connections rather then a VGA cable. I have posted pictures of the two connections down below:

Image result for VGA cable"                            Image result for hdmi cable"

VGA Cable                                                                       HDMI Cable

Once you have your monitor hooked up, then your screen problems are no longer an issue, just make sure that when it comes to what is on your screen, then do a simple right click and go down to display settings and then go down to multiple displays and select “Duplicate these displays.” Once this setup is completed then you are off to the races.

Now the other thing that I really recommend, especially if you plan on typing or working for a couple of hours, investing in a good keyboard. The number one reason why I suggest this, is for one I can’t stand the cramped space that my fingers have to use for the keyboard, and since I like to have room for my fingers to move across the keyboard, I invested in a good keyboard. I’m currently using a wireless keyboard that I can hook up to my laptop via a USB connector.

IMG_4904Granted, some keyboards can be expensive but I suggest not spending more than $75 for a keyboard. My top recommendation is the Logitech MK550 Wireless Keyboard with the Ergonomic Wave Design and Mouse set. The other thing about using this keyboard is that you don’t necessarily have to use the mouse that goes with the set for you can use mouse that you preferred instead. Now this where my alpaca and llama love come in, for I’m using a mouse that has llamas that can be found at Walmart:

That does it for all of the computer hardware that you could ever need for that perfect setup when it comes to typing and working on those project electronically. Now for the other technology things that we as writers must have at or near our desks, such as pens a good notebook and a USB drive. Yes, a USB drive and the simple reason is just as we are told to save our work a lot, I would also suggest backing it up. Using a USB drive is one of the simplest ways to back up your work. You pop it in and do a save as for your work to the drive and you are all set for the next time that you go to work on your project locally on your computer.

Now with the USB drive, I would suggest that you also keep it organized for when you need to find something. This sort of goes back to the helpful organization tools that I posted in the last post on here.

Well that will do it for today. I hope that you have found this post just as helpful as the last. I hope that you all have a great writing day until next time.

Organizing the Computer for Writing

While I continue the conversation about getting organized in 2020, let’s talk about getting the computer in tip top shape in terms for writing. I know that some may be have been lucky enough to get a new computer for Christmas, and while that is great and fantastic, I can honestly say that sometimes this is where users tend not to keep it as organized as we may like. So today I’m going to talk about getting and keeping the computer organized.

Let’s first talk about the desktop, and no I’m not talking about the desk that you put the computer on. I’m talking about the desktop that is on the computer. I know that are probably many out there that save many of their files to the desktop. First off stop the habit right now, because when you save all of your files to the desktop you are actually making that computer perform slower when it comes up. So keep that desktop clean. The only think that should be on your computer’s desktop is the trash or recycle bin.

Secondly, when you are cleaning off of your computer’s desktop, all of those short cuts, remove those for there is absolutely no need for them. If you a program, such as Word, Scrivener, your Internet Browser you can add it to your task bar that is on the bottom of your screen. This way you can make it tidy and neat at the same time. Here is what my task bar looks on my computer:

taskbar

See I have my file folder accessible, my popular Internet Browser (ie, Google Chrome), Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Scrivener, my snip tool, and my least popular Internet Browser just in case I need it.

Once you have these parts done, next is to work on organizing that documents folder. Yes, this is where you should be saving all of your files. Now to take it a step further, so that your writing projects are not being confused with your other files, I would suggest that you make a folder called “Writing” or “Writing Projects” and then with in that folder make a separate folder for each project. Now if you are making writing your business, and you have a publishing folder, this is where you should create a folder that named after your business, and then put your writing projects in there.

Granted, I have my writing folders organized under my business name, and then within that folder I have one called imprints, which every imprint has a folder, and within each of those has a folder for the projects that will be published by that imprint. Now I admit that my filing system may be a bit massive, but at least I can find my files when I need them.

You can do anything that is listed above whether you are using Microsoft Windows or a Mac. But if you follow these tips your computer and you will have a happy relationship.

I hope that you have found this topic handy, until next time I hope that you have a happy writing day!

My Writing Kit…The Story of a Fountain Pen

writing kit

Yesterday, I asked you all to stay tune today’s post, for today I was going to discuss the writing kit that I made. About last week, I was at Barnes and Nobel and was looking at all the notebooks that they had, and I picked out one of the bigger journals that had lined paper. I also picked up another pen, like we writers could never have enough pens. I also picked up a bag to put it all into. While on this same trip, I picked up a fountain pen, a little more on that later. The little pencil bag was a gift from the cashier, so that one was free, which is always a plus. Then a few days later, while I was at the Target I found some small thin little notebooks to add to my kit. These little notebooks are going to used as a place where I could jot down ideas for stories and such.

I have wanted to create this type of kit for a while now, I just couldn’t find the right tools for creating the kit that I wanted. My idea behind the kit was that I wanted a bag that was not a book bag, or a pack back, but was big enough to hold a notebook or two if so be. A bag that I could have in my car that would not draw too much attention for thieves, and yet it was a bag that I could take with me and that I could write down stories while I was out and about.

Therefore, when everything came together last week this kit was born and I am so happy to have a bag that has some of the essential tools that are necessary for me to write on the go. Now on the story of the fountain pen…

When I was about nine-years-old, I received my first fountain pen. Granted, the first time I tried using this pen, it marked me up with drips of ink. But overtime I began to master that pen. I mean I loved that pen, until it ran out of ink and could not find a replacement cartridge for it. However, since that fountain pen died, I have always wanted to replace it with another. I mean I have looked for years and granted they are expensive, which is one of the reasons that I could not replace my original fountain pen, until I got older.

Even though the price was one factor, I would not let that sink my dream of wanting another fountain pen. But hold and behold, Barnes and Noble was selling fountains at almost a fraction of what they were online. Granted, when I went up to the cash register the sales clerk irked her eyes at me and said, “You do know that this is very expensive pen?”

I smiled at her and answered, “Yes, I know it’s expensive for it is a fountain pen.” Then I went into my story of wanting to replace my first fountain pen, and then she sort of changed her tone about me purchasing an expensive pen. Sorry, if you are selling them in the store do not judge the customer who wants to purchase one, especially when they know what it is and why they want it so.

Granted, the one draw back to this fountain pen is that the ink is blue and not black, but the manufacturer does sell replacement cartridges for the pen in black. But I can live with blue ink for a while, since I found what I really wanted, which was the fountain pen.

Let’s also face the fact that we writers tend to have a favorite pen, and there is usually a story that goes along with that pen until it is either lost, stole or worse, its sadden death. But now matter what happens in live, we always go back to that favorite pen and wish that we could find another to replace it even if it is a hard thing to do.

I hope that you all have a fantastic writing day, and if you have created your own writing kit, please feel free to share. Happy Creating! Happy Writing! Happy Writing Adventures to all!

 

What to get Writer Friends this Holiday Season

Image result for Christmas FairyAs November draws to a close, and December opens its arms to the merriment of season greetings, the start of winter, Christmas, any other holiday that you might celebrate, it’s time to talk about what to get that writing friend that is on your list.

Yes, we writers like to have gifts that are essential to our writing goals or wishes. This is also how you prove that you are supporting their goals in life by giving something that will help them with their writing. So without further ado, here is this year’s Christmas list of what to get your writing friends. Let me also preface this as I did this same post last year, so if you need ideas you can also check out that post. Here is the link to last year: Need help shopping for the writer you know?

Let’s start with the kids that have an interest in writing. If the child that you know is interested in writing, give them a notebook or a journal along with a nice pen or pencils so that they can start using these tools to build their arsenal. Granted, this is the same suggestion as last year, but it’s always going to be a goto one at any rate. However, this year I’m also going to let you know who you can make it better. If there is a certain character that they like and they cannot find a notebook with that character plastered all over the front of the notebook, I would suggest check out Vista Print and make a personalized notebook with the said character on it. This way they have something unique that they will cherish and love. You can also do this same idea with Staples, or Office Max.

Now let’s talk teens and preteens that love the art of writing. Again I’m going to the notebook suggestion. You can never go wrong with a notebook or a set of really awesome pens or pencils. If they are into technology and already have a laptop, might I suggest that you purchase for them a licensed copy of Scrivener, or Microsoft Word that way they have a writing software at their lovely fingertips. The other gift that you can give them is a larger monitor with the capability to do HDMI, this way they can look at the bigger screen instead of depending on that tiny little screen. You are not only helping their writing but their eyes also. The other suggestion is a nice keyboard and mouse set so that way their fingers have more room to move than being confined to that keyboard.

Also on the licensing note, you can also give the gift of Adobe Photoshop. Yes, this gift can be helpful to the self-published author when it comes time to put together the book or if they are having someone else do it for them, then help with the deposit. But if they are like me and want to take full control of how that book looks and feels, Photoshop is not a bad investment for their writing career.

Now for the college-aged kids, same suggestions as above and you can never go wrong with Microsoft Word, for they are going to need it for writing those lovely papers. But let’s get into some other useful things that they can use. Planners are big. I mean really big, for there are whole sections now in craft stores just dedicated to the art of making a really awesome planner. If your college-age student is really into detail planning, you can not go wrong by giving them a planner and some of the different options for customizing that planner to suit their needs. Granted, the planner gift can also be a good one for those teens and preteens that are on your list.

Now let’s talk about writing guides as gifts. There are several that have come out this year and there a few that have been around that I have picked up this past year. However, I’m going to say one that every fiction writing is getting and it makes this year top ticket item for writers: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book on Novel Writing You’ll Ever Need, by Jessica Brody. Save the Cat! books were originally written for screenwriters and someone has taken the formula and made it accessible for fiction writers. Granted, Save the Cat! has always been a go-to guide for any writer, but now we have one for just as fiction writers. Let me tell you, this is going to make a great Christmas gift, for it will come in handy.

Let’s get into the adult writers in your life, this list can be quite endless for anything is possible, and I mean anything. Notebooks, journals, technology, writing guides, and planners are going to be on the list for any writer. However, on my own personal take, think outside of the box. Really outside of the box. If your writer friend is a coffee drinker, while they write get them either a really nice mug or get a personalized mug from Vista Print, that has a quote about writing on it. Granted, you cannot go wrong with a candle or incense, for most writers like to write with a candle melting in the background. I would also suggest music that will help them relax when the writing can be a little bit too much.

Another handy gift, to give this season to your writing friends is a cork board, this way your writer friends can tack on their writing notes just above their writing area so that they can look up and find notes if they need it. Trust me, some writers can never have too much cork boards even if they have one.

Granted, if you really want to go out on a limb, a nice Tarot deck can be a good tool that writers can have in their arsenal. A deck and show images that can help inspire writers to unleash that creativity that they have built inside and is just waiting to come out. Granted there are so many decks out there and my suggestion would be to pick one that you believe speaks to them and not to you. Unless you want a deck for yourself and that is never a bad idea either.

On that note, I hope that you have a Happy Holidays and have fun shopping for that writer friend that is on your list! From all of us at Moonspinner3 Books, Faerie Rose Press, and Elderwood Publications, Happy Holidays!

Image result for Christmas wreath faerie

 

 

Writing Tip: School Supply Shopping

pencilsLet’s all face it at one point, we were students and we hated school supply shopping, because it meant the end of the summer and the start of another grueling year at school. But as a writer, I must profess that I have love school supply shopping. Why? The answer is simple, we can look at all the pens, pencils, notebooks, and all the other supplies that we need as writers.

Let’s all face it, this is the time of year, when the office supply stories make their money. School supply shopping is their Christmas season. Granted, I’ve bought a few notebooks this season and a backpack. But the key is that we as writers, we don’t have to go expensive, we can save money by looking for the good deals on pens, pencils, notebooks, paper, and anything else that we might need.

Just like the moms are looking for those deals, we as writers can also take advantage of those same great deals, and that is not so bad either. We can write and save money at the same time. While as helping others this season, by giving back and donating to local school supply drives and you don’t have to spend much either, but make it enough to where you feel that you are giving back to the community.

This is also like our Christmas when it comes to getting the supplies that we might want to have on hand for Nanowrimo, which is like three months away!!! Remember, we still have time before Nanowrimo, but we still cannot wait for it come about. But we can also have quite a bit of supplies, and who says that writers cannot have enough notebooks.