Monday, July 25, 2016

Handwriting NaNoWriMo

Hello everyone! I was hoping to post more this month but decided to focus on writing. This NaNoWriMo I decided to participate by handwriting my story. It's the first time in eight years I've written out an extended story. Because I've enjoyed my experience so much, I decided to write a blog post on how I did it and what things I would do differently in the future.

How I got started:
Step one: Locate a journal/notebook/pad of paper that has at least 200 pages (unless you have really tiny handwriting) for optimal writing. If you don't horde pretty notebooks that you never use, then I would suggest going to Ross or the dollar store. At Ross's they usually have pretty notebooks that are cheaper than Walmart but, when I've recently visited, it was primarily religious related covers on the notebooks. If you do go to your local dollar store, make sure to sniff the pages (yes, it sounds and will look weird) but it's better than purchasing one that stinks of chemicals. 

Step two: Pens. Now, I'm the kind of person that prefers writing in pencil, but I decided to go with pens for two reasons. First, I know I wouldn't stop editing every two seconds and I don't like the look of constant crossing out on my pages. Second, I knew I would probably smudge it every five seconds so the pen had minimal smudges. Now you have to decide what color pen you want to write with. I personally chose blue because it was relaxing but, if you're visiting local places that have free pens available, it may be a good choice to just go with those. I bought the cheap pack of blue pens at Walmart for less than a dollar. But, unless you're just writing for 10 minutes, it will hurt. Otherwise you'll need to find one of the cushions to go on the pen.

Step three: Find your plot. Now, you can always go the non-traditional route of NaNoWriMo by having multiple short stories. Or this may be a great way for you to follow some writing prompts and improve your skills. Another great way, if you're stuck and need an idea, is to check out the NaNoWriMo adoption thread on plots. They do take down the threads (I believe once a year) so you will have to check back and see. But I definitely recommend being flexible with your story because I decided to take a completely different route with my story because of a great idea I had while writing. Whatever your topic, make sure you're passionate and ready to go!

Step four: Finding spot(s) and what works for you. I personally like writing alone so it helps that I have a separate room to go over to and just relax on the couch. But, some common spots to go write are in a cafe, at a library, or at a park! It may take a while but find an area that helps and don't be afraid to move around. I also recommend finding a playlist of music that works for you. I have Amazon Prime so I've been focused on listening to different movie soundtracks (mainly by Hans Zimmer) but I also enjoy using YouTube to listen to MixHound and Versus Music Official. There is a ton of other YouTube artist similar to them so I recommend looking in the side bar for other recommended music.

What I would do differently:
First, I would go with a normal notebook or spiral notebook. Another great idea would be to have a binder and just keep adding pages to it. While I like the convenience of the small journal, they do cost a lot more, and I only got half way through my story with one of those journals. 

Second, I would get all of my ideas in one place. I enjoy using Pinterest, follow me via the pin below, and I realized how many great resources are available to writers! I've found that it had a lot of great inspiration and I've also picked up some great tips from various websites. I would also gather a list of character names I would want to use and keep them on hand in case a great idea for a character came up.

Finally, I would make it a point to have a prompt/short story journal nearby. While it's great to just sit and let your muse run wild, it can make things difficult when you hit a roadblock, and I feel like it could be a good way to get over writers block. I haven't tried this method yet, but when I do, I'll try to  write a blog post saying if it worked for me.

Alright, that's my two cents on handwriting for a Camp NaNoWriMo! I do plan on continuing to hand write my stories first since it has worked well for me so far. However, you may try it and realize that it isn't the best approach, so find what fits YOU the best and run with it! Good luck writers!

PS - I plan on making some big changes to how to run my blog in August for my 2 year anniversary. Make sure to follow/sign up for email notifications to see what will be new!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Kindle Fire 7"

Hello everyone! This is my personal review of the kindle fire 7" tablet. Overall, I would highly recommended this tablet if you need  a cheap eBook reader or if you're a prime member. However, if children will be using it, buy the children's version because you can then get 2 year warranty and a case.

There are a lot of great features with the Kindle Fire 7". I know some reviewers do not like the speakers, but I really like them, mainly because they're louder than my computer speakers. I also hadn't really been using my Prime Membership to it's full potential so I've been mainly using music and the movies. They also offer a lot of great games and apps. I know there are ways to get the Google Playstore however, I'm picking apps I already don't have, so I can enjoy them on the tablet.

I think the screen size is great for me! However, if I got this for my dad or grandparent, I would definitely get a bigger size screen. I bought the tangerine color tablet and I love it! Finally, I love the option of Blue Shade because I can sometimes get headaches easily from reading screens or looking things up online. The Blue Shade helps block out blue light, which can make it harder to sleep, but it also helps if your headache/migraine is light induced from my experience. You can also customize the color and I ended up going with an orange color but it's on a scale between red and yellow.

These four things aren't deal breakers for me but can be a bit annoying. The category screens are great because they keep books, apps, movies, etc. separated however it would be nice to customize which ones show up. Also, if the different categories would loop back to the home screen it would be better. The battery life is pretty good but I usually have to charge once a day. For my tablet, I bought the 8 GB version but it stinks that the storage takes up 2 GB. However, if you're not planning on ever downloading anything but books, then you'll have plenty of room. Finally, reading is fairly decent on this tablet, however I would pick my Paperwhite any day over the Fire tablet for reading a good book. But, I do like the how you can change the colors of what you're highlighting on the Fire tablet.

These things are annoyances that I have but still aren't deal breakers. The camera's are a nice token touch but, until they're better quality, it's not worth it to use them. Most phones now a days have a much better camera than this tablet. When I go to delete apps, it usually takes a moment before the x's show up. While it's not the end of the world it feels slow especially after being on a phone that is much quicker for the response. Also, a close all feature would be really nifty. The notifications are alright except I had to turn off notifications for several apps because they refused to removed. It would place in the "Eh" category if you could actually go to an application from the notification. The game notifications never take me to the app but it may not be the case with all apps.

Charging can be annoying for two reasons: the port is hard to use in the dark and unless you charge in a single outlet, with the fire charger, it can take forever to charge. I have one of those outlet plug ins where you can use 3 different chargers and 2 USB port cords. For some reason it refuses to charge my tablet well. Finally, this tablet attracts finger prints like crazy! I finally put on a screen protector (I'm not reviewing it because I need to put a new protector on and see if some issues get resolved) and that reduced the amount of finger smudges.

My case:
I would give my case a solid 3.5 out of 5 but, most likely, some else would score it around a 3. I personally love the colors on my case and the fact that my orange tablet actually shows through. However, the origami case is awkward to say the least. Plus my case obviously has spots where the colors ave bled (look in the circled area on the back). While it doesn't bug me I know others would be upset. Another point I don't like is the fact that there currently aren't any tablet covers that have the sleep/wake function that the Paperwhite Kindle case has.

Final words:
If you get the Kindle Fire 7", I recommend getting a screen protector ASAP because I ended up getting a small scratch on my screen. It only really shows up when the tablet is off and doesn't bug me enough to send it in. Also, beware of dead pixels. I have one since opening the tablet out of the package. But, once again, it's not enough to bug me to send it in.

Do you want to buy a Kindle Fire now? Like the case? Consider buying them from the links below so I can get commission (and buy more books)!