My Favorite Drafting Apps & Work from Home Tips

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I hope that all of you are doing well and keeping safe during this crazy time, practicing social distancing and washing your hands as much as possible. Those two things are so basic, but they’re our best bet to flatten the curve.

(Two months ago, I would’ve thought “flattening a curve” had something to do with weight loss. Strange times.)

It’s hard to believe how much has changed in such a short period of time in the United States, and around the world. I’ve found my anxiety is a bit higher and good sleep is a little harder to find. The positive size has been that I’m also spending more time actively trying to connect with my friends and family. Have you found this to be true in your world. too?

(My brothers called me three times in one week y’all. That’s more than they called in all of 2019!)

my favorite writing apps & writing from home tips

Amidst all the chaos and confusion, I’ve been trying to maintain a semblance of normalacy. And my normal is a writing day.  I thought I’d try for a bit of normal with talking about the items that I use during my writing day. And I also will include a video at the end that gives some work from home tips for those of you who aren’t used to working from home. 

My Fave Drafting Apps

When I’m drafting, I start with Microsoft Word and Scrivener. I’m mostly a panster/discovery writer with a couple plotter tendencies. So when I’m starting my project and just running down the road with no map at all, I’m in a Word document writing things out. Once I’ve gotten this smorgasbord out, I tend to use Scrivener to take chunks and many rearrange things. Sometimes a scene will work best in a different area and it’s earier to move pieces with Scrivener. 

Scrivener in the back...
This is what the backends looks like…

And from here I do two things. One: I use Google Drive to make it accessible to beta readers and to have a backup in case one of these other programs betrays me and loses my work. (Always back up your stuff y’all!) And two: I also have an external drive that I use as my safety zone.  I bought my Seagate external drive from Walmart. I back up each completed draft and it gives me peace of mind. I’ve lost too many things in the past.

Current Works In Progress

Right now I’m finishing the edits on Midnight Murder. I’ll be working on those and writing the synopsis for the next few days. I’ll be back here soon, to let you know when it’s completed. It’s a story that gives a little backstory for my West Virginia cousins– Isa, Freya, and Neilina. You may have met Freya in Wiped Out, Book 1 of the Beach Bound Cozy series. And Isa hangs out in the Mystic Eye Bookshop Files 

I have some plans for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is happening in a couple of days. (Where did March go?) I’ll give you an update on that when we get there. Until then, here’s the video that I created to help people who aren’t super comfortable with working from home. It’s all a learning experience.

Btw, tonight at 9 p.m. EDT, at #writestuff we’re hosting a chat about branding and Rachael Thompson, author of The Bad Readhead 30 Day Marketing Challenge will be there to answer you’re branding questions! I hope to see you there.

If you have any tips for folks who are working from home or if you want to share you which apps you use in your writing flow, let us know in the comments!

Aloha, y’all! 

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Reflections and Writing Goals

Happy New Year everyone!

I’ve been looking at my goals. I didn’t set any, at least none that were public for 2019. I think I needed time to kind of do my own thing without the pressure of scrutiny. This post shows my goals for 2018.

We’re in a new year and a new decade. I wanted to reflect some on last year and what I’d like to do for this one. I may do a decade reflection later this month, but I wanted to start smaller than that. (And even this has been a doozy to try to assemble.) Let’s take a look at last year and what I hope to accomplish this one. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Patreon:

I started a Patreon! I had some requests to create one so that people could support me. I do a lot for the writing community and it’s all free. Having people support me and my endeavors help to keep me going and hold me accountable. Plus, it’s really incredible to have people who are interested enough in the work that I do to support me with even a dollar. If you’d like to join my cozy community or see what I have to offer over there, c’mon over.

My main hope is to reach a threshold of 50 patrons so I can put my books into paperback. In order for me to do that, I’ll need to pay my cover designer to expand the designs for the Mystic Eye series, and to design new covers for the Beach Bound series.

And of course, none of that is free.

If I can get more support from Patreon, I would be able to do one book at a time after I received a monthly payment. And it’s an excellent way to gauge community interest and engagement.

My Writing:

Books happened y’all! I released two: Murder to Spare and Wiped Out. They were so much fun to write. I’ll be writing and releasing their follow-ups this year, hopefully, two for each series and a surprise or two along the way. I’ll also be writing short fiction works on my Patreon for one of my upper tiers so check that out. They might link to the ongoing series, or they may just be random topics that caught my eye. I want to do more creative writing this year outside of the books that I’m working on. I may even explore poetry again, but no promises on that front.

And of course, I’m still working on the freebie that I’ll be giving out this month for my patrons, people who are subscribed to my newsletter or who sign up for it. I changed up my newsletter a bit as well, now that I think about it. But that’ll have tinkering here and there as I go along.

I also started my street team! It’s pretty quiet in there as I’m still learning how it works and what I should be doing with it. It’s a learning curve, but I’m up for the challenge. If you’d like to be one of my Riot Readers, join us!

Productivity:

With my productivity: I started using a Productivity app and I keep track of my work in a little book. I host a weekly write-in on my YouTube to keep me and my writing friends motivated. You’re more than welcome to come and hangout with us. We do timed sprints and then chat in-between. They’re generally 2 hours and it’s a great way to force me to get the work done. I do them every Thursday at 2 pm Eastern, which is generally 8 or 9 am HST depending on the time of year. If you subscribe and ring the notification bell, YouTube should let you know when I’m streaming.

I have a journal that I do morning pages in when my mind feels too cluttered and of course, my planner is key to keep me going. For this year, I want to write at least 1k words daily and edit a chapter. The stretch goal is 3k words and 3 chapters.

Rediscovering my journalist roots:

My writing buddy and good friend, Carrow Brown and I started a podcast called AuthorTube News. We discuss issues in the publishing community from an indie and traditional published perspective. It’s been a great way to get to use my journalist background in a way that fits into my current world. I’m excited for us to get better at this, create more content, and share our viewpoints with all of you. The latest episode is about the dumpster fire that has been the controversy in the Romance Writers of America (RWA) organization. Here’s the latest episode:

Bookish Stuff:

Like a lot of us, I’m a book hoarder. Though these days ebooks are more my speed, just for the sake of being able to move them. I realized I was reading more of fiction than my writing books. WAY more. In order to combat that, I created Writers Workshop. A group of friends who are trying to keep up with that nonfic reading and I get together on the Saturday of each month to discuss one writing book. It has been such a help and I’ve really been learning new things to push my writing career forward. There’s also a Goodreads group if you want to join it.

For 2019, we’ve added some new people to chat and we’ll be trying to utilize the Goodreads a bit more. I’m excited to see where this collaboration can go.

I’ll be releasing a video this week talking about our latest choice. Here’s the playlist so you’ll be able to find it.

I’ve created a Goodreads goal of 50 books for the year. I use it more as a way to keep track of what I’m reading, though I did a pretty poor job of that in 2019. In 2019 my goal was 100 books and for the first time, I didn’t reach it. I’ve been prioritizing writing over reading. I think 50 books is an excellent number to keep me still reading, but to also give me wiggle room to explore my writing more.

#writestuff

#writestuff is going strong! Chatting with other writers about their work, their lives, and even commiserating about the writing life, in general, is the highlight of my week. The chat still happens every Tuesday at 9 p.m. Eastern and of course, there’s the FB group where we can keep in contact between the chats. I’d love to see this grow this year and I have some ideas in store. Just you wait and see.

NaNoWriMo

We had another successful Project AuthorTube (formerly known as Project WriteTube). This is where myself and 12 other writers give advice and encouragement for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). This is my favorite collab that I do annually and I can’t wait to do it again this year! I’ll be adding in new people and trying new ways to get people excited about it. I did an IG challenge for 2019, but that didn’t pan out as well as I wanted to. Oh well. Those are the breaks.

Speaking of NaNoWriMo, I was asked to be part of 2019’s NaNoWriMo YouTube channel, which was incredibly excited. Sen pai noticed me. It was an excellent opportunity and it got me in front of a lot of new eyes, which was lovely.
Here’s one of the videos I created:

I feel like there’s probably much more, but I want to keep this to big-picture items and things that I’m continuing to do in 2020. I plan to update this blog and my website. It would be lovely if I could merge them in the future, but I’m not sure how to do that. I pay for hosting for both of them, and to lower costs a little is always helpful.

In any case, thanks so much for being here and supporting me. I hope this post finds you well and in good spirits. In the comments, let me know how your 2019 was and what are some goals for your 2020.

Aloha y’all!

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Women in Publishing Summit and me

Hey everyone! I wanted to give you an update on the two things that are happening over here at the moment.

I was so fortunate to be asked to be part of the Women in Publishing Summit. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s a free online event that’s open to the public where over 40 women discuss different aspects of this crazy publishing life, whether they’re indies, traditional published, or industry professionals. It’s from March 2-8.

And I got to be part of it!

Me. Little ole me.

I’ve got receipts. That’s me!

I discussed how I used AuthorTube and #writestuff to create an online community and an author platform. It was a great conversation and I really look forward to y’all checking it out. I like to think I was personable, yet informative. (You’ll have to let me know if I pulled it off.)

The way it works, you can sign up for free and then you have access to the interviews and panel discusses for that day. You can also sign up for lifetime access to the workshops, but that’s explained more on the site. My interview is on Day 3, but if you click on this link, you can see all of the information that’s available. I’ve attended two years in a row and I’ve never regretted it.

Registration is open now! I hope you go over and sign up for it. I’ve learned so much from these sessions, whether it’s panel discussions or one-on-one interviews, like mine. These women are talented, successful, and sharing their knowledge and resources. I’m so honored to be a part of it, and I hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity.

Have you done Women in Publishing Summit? What was your experience like? Share in the comments.

Aloha y’all!

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Twitter Chats- How do they work?

I know this is one of those pretty old school things on these interwebs, but it’s still new to some people. So I thought I’d write up this post and give you a brief rundown about chats on Twitter.

Let’s get started!

 

Is it TweetChat or Twitter chat?

It’s referred to as both, but I tend to skew to TweetChat. I like the way it looks.  

What is a TweetChat?

A tweetchat is a conversation on Twitter that uses hashtags to keep up with the chat. There’s generally a topic, a moderator, and a scheduled time/day that people chat on that topic. 

How do you find a TweetChat?

There are tons of way to find chats. Often you’ll find them by searching for topics that you’re interested in on Twitter or via the internets. Word of mouth works really well. And there’s people who keep track of chats for you. For instance  Free Writing Events is run by a developmental editor who keeps track of free writing events, including tweetchats.

Mine is #writestuff which happens every Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST. 

How do you join in a TweetChat?

Generally speaking, the tweetchat will have an opportunity for you to answer a question introducing yourself. And that’s it. You join right in.

With my introduction I ask people to introduce themselves and something else whether it’s about their WIP or something that goes along with the topic of the day.

Mine like many others is a Q&A form where I ask a question and everybody else gives an answer. And then we comment on each other responses and have a conversation.

It’s too fast, how do I keep up?

I like to use a 3rd party app to help me keep up with chats. Tweetdeck has been my go-to for the last five years or so that I’ve been involved in chats. Basically, you’re able to track different hashtags and topics, in addition to any Twitter lists you’re following. 

I know that people use other apps like Hootesuite and Twubs, but I haven’t used them for this. So I don’t want to speak on that. 

Tweetchats
How do they work?

Is there any Tweetchat etiquette?

It’s good to let your Twitter followers know that you’re going to be participating so they can temporarily mute your tweets if they’re not interested in seeing more.

Hashtag is king in Tweetchats. If you want people to see your part of the conversation, then use whatever hashtag is designated for that chat.

Be polite and try to engage others in conversation. It can be unnerving, especially if tweetchats are new to you. But once you get the hang of it, they can be a lot of fun and a great way to interact with other people with similar interests. It’s nice to not be yelling into the void.

I hope this post was helpful. Do you have a favorite tweetchat that you like to attend? Any questions, comments, concerns? Let me know in the comments!

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