Tag Archives: writing tips

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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Camp NaNoWriMo v NaNoWriMo: What’s the Difference?

Hey everybody! Every year there’s two different sessions of Camp NaNoWriMo. The second session is coming, which is in July.

But wait, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. I haven’t talked to you about what these things are.

NaNoWriMo is a National Novel Writing Month that occurs every November. People all over the world try to write a novel for at least 50k words in one month. The excitement each year is almost palatable. You’ll see all kinds of think pieces on blogs, videos about it, and so much more. You’ll find sprints on Twitter and NaNoWriMo Facebook groups are all of the sudden on fire, there are so many people posting and chatting it up. On the NaNoWriMo site you can create a profile, measure your progess, talk on message boards, and chat with friends who you’ve added, who are on this crazy ride.



With Camp NaNoWriMo, the atmosphere is absolutely different. The buzz is more of a murmur like the crickets at the end of a summer’s night. You don’t have a friend’s list in Camp NaNo, which I think is an unfortunate oversight. But, instead of friends list, you can join a cabin. You can get put into a randomly, join a friend’s cabin, or create a cabin and invite people yourself. (See how the whole camp thing comes to play?). In order to join a cabin, you first need to create a project. You have to choose a project type (novel, short story, script, etc…) and then your goal which measured in either words, hours, minutes, lines, and pages.  With the added bonus of being able to encourage your cabin mates, the Camp option  is a really flexible alternative.

Some writers find the flexibility helps them along and others like the madcap mayhem of a 50k word month. I like them both for different reasons. I use the Camps to finish projects and NaNo is to start something new and really dig into it for a month. I am trying to establish a daily writing routine and doing the NaNo events definitely helps.

Check out my NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo playlists. Let me know in the comments below, do you prefer one NaNo over another? And I’ll see you next Monday!

Aloha y’all

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A New Novel Approach

How are you doing? What have you been up to this month? I’ve been working on a novel and I feel like I’ve established how I’ll be writing novels, or at least the next few, when I’m free falling without an outline.

This month for Camp NaNoWriMo, I’m working on a new novel. Camp NaNoWriMo is a challenge that happens in April and July. You set your own goals, whether it’s page number, word count, or hours written. And you can work on whatever project you want. It’s the much more laid back version of NaNo. And since I could make any goal I wanted, I decided to see if I could push it to 70k.

Seventy. Thousand. Words.

In one month.

I am often a very optimistic lady. And I like to stretch myself with my goals. I like to make things challenging. I like to try hard to get there. If I don’t make it, I’ll end up with a nice clutch of words regardless. That’s how I’ve looked at this challenge.

I wanted to write two novellas in April. One for Blood Roses and the other was going to be an erotica based off of the short story I started on here, but didn’t finish Just One Night. Two stories that I had good ideas for that would be relatively “easy” to write, which is why I decided to just discovery write them.

Meanwhile, the story decided to morph and shift into something that I didn’t even know was brewing up there! It’s a fun one. I’m having such a good time writing it. I’m tapping into ideas that I haven’t explored before, but that I’ve been interested in. I can’t wait to see how it ends.

That’s not to say that I’m giving up on Blood Roses and Honeysuckles or the the cozy mystery. Not at all. The plan now is to publish the three of them by the end of the year.

So keep on a lookout for those updates.

Like I said, this month, I’ve been working on the new story, which has shaped into more of a thriller than a cozy. I’m totally discovery writing it. I wanted to have freedom for it to go any way possible and to see what would happen. I didn’t want to be hindered by any expectations for the story.

What I typically do, when I’m writing a story this way, I’ll start the story and do a lot of word sprints. I’m writing down the first ideas that I have, learning my MC as I go along.

After I write a few chapters, generally speaking, my brain will start to throw scenes that are out of order. Ideas that do not fit yet, but are intriguing. I write them all down. I use Scrivener, so I can move the ideas around. I have a file that I’ve called “Spare Scenes.” That’s the catch-all shop where I put all of those spare ideas.

As I’m writings, I often have questions that I need to answer so that the story will make more sense. Those questions, I type in the document and make them red and increase their font. At some point, I take all of those ideas and add them to a different file. I labeled that: RED Questions. I paste them into the file and then I add which chapter I pulled it from so that I can go back to look at the context. With these questions, I’m able to figure out what I need to research, what isn’t work, what I need to build up in the beginning so I can give my readers a good path to follow.

After I’d written about 15k words, I moved things around so that I could

Then I’ve been having chatting sessions with my Mathmagician. I told him the story because telling the story out loud helped me to hear what I missing. It also helped me to know what I really enjoyed. And this book discusses cryptocurrency, so I talked to him about that aspect and what I need to research. It’s really helpful to know what I don’t know.  Does that make sense?

Like I said, this month, I’ve spent a lot of time doing writing sprints. I’ve also been hosting them on my channel where I’ve co-hostd with a friend. The last one will be this Thursday 4/26  at 7 p.m. EDT on my channel. Below are the videos that I’ve already hosted. You can retroactively write with us.

With Amber Craft:

With Alina Popescu:

With Clare Kauter: 

This first week of Camp NaNo went by like a flash for me. I started off with a bang, but then health-related issues popped up and I wasn’t able to write as much and be as productive as I wanted to be. I had to remind myself that I can’t measure my progress and my health by other people’s standards.

This was my latest vlog for Week 2. I talk about my writing process, I ask you a few questions, and I added some fun edits that do include flashing lights. If you’re sensitive to that, you may want to skip the library section of the video.


If you’re interested in checking out my writing products, go to my Amazon page where I show you my writing stuff. It’s an affiliate link, which means I’ll earn a couple of pennies if you purchase something with no added cost to you.

Thanks so much for spending some time with me. I’ll be posting more often, now that I’ve moved my blog and I can actually access it.


Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month? Or are you working on something? Let me know in the comments.


Aloha y’all!



Filed under NaNoWriMo, Tips, writing