Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Managing Multiple Writing Projects

Hello everyone, it's certainly been a long time no see, and I haven't gotten the chance to post lately. I've been looking for a job without much luck and helping my Grandma as much as I can since she started Chemo treatments about a month ago. But, as I as musing about what I should blog about, I had this idea pop in my head, and decided to run with it.

So, I efficiently manage my writing projects quite inefficiently compared to others. For me, I have them in a writing folder, my google cloud, and I have a document tracking what projects I'm working on along with future things I would like to pursue. Granted, I've gotten better over the years, but there are at least 2 projects (4 if I count some really old writing) that I need to find on my computer.

Granted there are a lot of ways to approach this but, I can think of a three right off hand. One, store in the traditional way on your computer using a file system. I would recommend putting your folder on your desktop screen (so it can guilt you into writing more) and you don't need to go digging for it. The other thing I would recommend is to put everything relating to that writing project into it's own folder if you have multiple documents. For example, you have your writing doc, an outline doc, and a spreadsheet of your characters.

A second option is to store your writings on the cloud. Quite frankly, Google Docs is the only way I write now. I have 2 computers: an older one with a bigger screen and nicer keys and this little Chromebook that I had bought for work. I would have to use a USB if I didn't want to use the cloud or email my document back and forth and pray that I get the right version attached. But, I just log in with my Google account, and I can quickly edit the document this way.

A third way of storing your writing would be using a program like Scrivener. Some people live by it, I however have never had much luck working with it other than outlines. I do enjoy the cork board and the different options of the page layout. Plus, if you like having lots of folders, it would probably work great for you. Granted, I haven't given it a chance lately, but based on past experiences it just didn't work for me.

Now, when I dive into what project I want to work on, I dive all the way in unless there are little side note stuff with another story. My biggest problem however is getting to finish a project AND be happy with it. Heck, I started this blog almost 4 years ago because I felt like my one project would be ready by the end of the first year. I'm certainly glad that I didn't publish at that stage but it's just humorous to look back upon it. For others I know they can switch back and forth on stories depending on their mood. If you can, awesome, because I know if I tried switching too frequently my characters would cross over and leave me in confusion.

Finally, after organizing your stuff, make a document that has all of the writing projects you have and your current goal for them. It'll really help prioritize what you're working on and will help you focus on what is important. On that same note, clear out writing projects that you don't ever plan on working on again. My favorite is the adoption board on Nanowrimo, because someone else may get the vision of what you were going to write and run with it, and that's where I have gotten ideas. Obviously it's common for writers to start a story plot and not run with it because it doesn't pique their interest anymore. While it is hard for me to let go of stories I do know that sometimes it just doesn't work out.

The overarching point of this article is that you should have some system, however inefficient it may seem to someone else, because it will help you. I promise. Even if you only have 1 story you work on and don't have other projects, it's good to have all your information together. Plus, if you have been worried about getting around to your other projects even though you have no interest in them, you should prioritize and find what you enjoy writing.

Alright, that's all I have for now. I may hop on later on my other computer and add a picture, but since I'm on my Chromebook, I'm going to leave it for now. Thanks for reading and post how you keep track of your writing projects. Until next time.



Saturday, November 25, 2017

Quick Update

Hello all, I do not plan on making another post until December, or if I'm lucky a few days before. This month has been packed full of family emergencies and, sadly, the loss of a pet. I'm grateful that my family member has gotten some help, despite this we still really don't know what is going on, but cancer has been sort of ruled out so that's good.

My kitty Tiger started showing signs of being lethargic earlier this month. We got him to the vet, came to the conclusion that he was diabetic, and thought that would be the end of it. His bilirubin did not go down despite medicine that should have helped it. To spare a lot of details, this was over the course of 6 days, I'll skip to what we "know".

His bilirubin by the end by 27.2 with no indication on if there was a blockage (advanced ultrasound was inconclusive), his liver was very fatty, gallbladder was extended,  half of his pancreas was extended (most likely what threw off the signs of diabetes), his kidneys had incrementally shut down, and his white blood cell count was less than 300.

We could have done a feeding tube but our vet wasn't sure if he could even digest the food. Even if he would have made it through the minor surgery, it would take months for the bilirubin to come down if there wasn't a blockage, but getting the amount of calories he needed would have been very difficult. Exploratory surgery was brought up but, where a healthy pet has a 50/50, he had a 20-30% chance of survival but no guarantee what they would be able to do would work. [EDIT: I did forget to mention that the vet also only gave him a 5% chance of survival with the surgery.]

We decided that the best could of action would be to let him pass peacefully on November 14th. Since then it's been very difficult to cope with the loss. I know we did everything we could but, the fact that he lost him when he was only 7.5 years old, has made it so much harder. There were so many things that we had hoped to include him in our life and, quite frankly, never questioned that he would be there.

So, I do hope to get back on soon. I needed time to be able to grieve and not worry about other things in my life. I'm really grateful I wasn't working because otherwise I would have to be working on top of this. I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and make sure to hug your pets (unless it's a fish, then I don't think they'll appreciate that as much).

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Google Docs

Hello everyone! I meant to get this done sooner but, life.This post is going to focus on Google Docs. Once the other Google related series will be posted (Sheets and Slides) I will include links in this post as well.

Google Docs works much like a simplified version of Microsoft Word. Now, if you don't have Word, this is a great way to write and edit your documents. However, when the time comes to publish or send it off, I would take the time to check over it in Word to be on the safe side. There are 3 great ways to use Google Docs: Writing, Audio Typing, and Tables.


Writing

Of course, the main benefit is indeed the ability to WRITE on them. There's all the basics: fonts, highlighting, changing colors, line spacing, and more. You can even check your word count and spellcheck in the tools tab. Now, there are a lot more great features that you can use, but personally I don't use them. 

The main reason I love it is because I can share between my two gmail accounts and can edit between either of them. Or, just login on a different computer, and my writing is there! It makes any NaNoWriMo event nicer because it's so easy to access my writing. Plus, if you want a fresh set of eyes on your writing, invite your friends and they can leave comments easily! My group of friends has been using it and it has worked very nicely.



Audio Typing

This is a feature I am very excited about. I haven't used it much yet but, once I hunker down and look over some of my handwritten stories, this will be lifesaver! It's also great if you just want to verbally muse on things you might add. Plus, now I don't have to get other software and spend more money!

How you use it is really simple. Just go into: Tools -> Voice typing (or ctrl+shift+S) -> then allow the microphone access. I have not yet used a microphone with this yet and I have found there are times where it doesn't pick up quite as well. So, definitely play around with the program, and see how you like it. One quick side note, I really do like using the Keep notepad, especially when I'm working on editing or adding details.


    Tables

    Another feature you could use is tables inside of the Google Docs. Personally, I prefer using Sheets and I will go into more detail on why in the future blog post, but it does have some benefits on the Docs. For example, if you go on NaNoWriMo forums frequently and look at the Adoption page, you might find some neat quotes, lines, characters, or other ideas. The tables could help you make the section more visible in your document.

    In the picture above I show a few different things you could use the table for. Of course, if you want one section for only details then another table that has more columns for another point, you can do that too! It's especially great because if you change your mind, it's very easy to edit the Doc.  To get to the table: Go to: Insert -> Table. There you will have the option of how big you want to make your table.

    Conclusion

    Overall, I wish I would have realized what a lifesaver Google Docs are! For me it's great being able to access where I can get my writing quickly. Plus, no USB sticks to lug around, or trying to remember where I left off in a story. I hope this article has helped you and, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post in the comment section!

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