Category Archives: Handy Links and Resources

Writer Tech Trouble

pcillustratorThe other day I had some issues with my computer. It’s not a huge problem for me because I know how to take them apart and fix them, or get into the DOS settings and troubleshoot. Since the computer is vital to writers, I felt I’d share some tips that might help you out if you have problems and don’t want to lose your work.

Set your word processor to save every few minutes.

MS Word- autosave tutorial

OpenOffice autosave tutorial

Back up your file to a cloud drive. I also recommend backing up to a USB periodically. I use my Dropbox folder as the My Documents folder on my computer. This way, if I get a crash and need to format or get a new computer, everything is already saved and synced through the Internet.

Dropbox (free) If you sign up via the link, I get more space. If you sign up, you can get more space by getting people to sign up too.

Icloud- (free) If you have an iPhone, you probably already have an icloud account.

OneDrive (try for free) If you use MS Office, you may already have an OneDrive account.

Be sure to have your antivirus software update regularly. This means not only to update ‘definitions’ but also the program itself. Make sure settings scan the computer regularly.

Avast antivirus (free)

AVG antivirus (free)

Install anti-malware. I recommend Malwarebytes or Spybot. You can also install these programs on a USB drive and run a scan from the drive.

Malwarebytes (free)

Spybot (free)

Corrupted files. Sometimes with word processors, the file you save gets corrupted.  

MS Word document recovery.

OpenOffice documents recovery.

Make boot discs for your computer. A boot disc helps with fixing problems with the computer with a simple restart of the system. How to do this will depend on the version of Windows you have, and sometimes even the make/model of the computer.

How to create repair discs for your computer.

How to make bootable USB, CD, or DVD to install Windows using a ISO file.

If you have any questions, please leave in comments or email me at frootbat31@yahoo.com.

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Neologisms- Creating, evolving language

neogolism2Neologism (noun) means to create new words or expressions, or give new meaning to existing words and expressions.

As word crafters, we are allowed to create all kinds of words or phrases. Such verbs, nouns, and even phrases can give birth to new meanings. Perhaps someday, those words can become part of our modern day language.

JK Rowling created Muggle and Quidditch.

Lewis Carrol create chortle.

Sir Thomas More created Utopia.

Stephan Colbert create truthiness.

Donald Trump created bigly.

And a host of words were created by the Internet: Troll, meme, and friending are all invented words we’ve adapted to our language.

Prompt: Pick a random word. For example, pick the first noun or verb on page 10 of a book near you. Now create a new meaning of that word, and use it in a sentence, paragraph, or even a story.

What words have you created? Do you have words or phrases within your family and friends that has new or different meaning? Add in comments.

Crossword Puzzle Maker (free)

 

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My experiment with Morning Pages

morningpagesThis past week, I’ve explored an exercise called Morning Pages. Julia Cameron of The Artist’s Way explains writing three pages, each morning, in longhand, is a great way to clarify your thoughts and remove ‘cloud thinking’ Sort of like quieting the ‘monkey mind’ in Zazen meditation.

I figured I’d give it a try. I got an old notebook, my favorite pen, and first thing when I got up, after coffee, and ready to start my day, I’d write those pages.

This is what I learned:

Three pages is too much. Two was a bit much for me. Writing in longhand is arduous for me. It hurts. My hand cramps. My handwriting is barely legible. The simple act of writing isn’t so simple for me, which is why I prefer to type. I forced myself to do write two pages instead. Even that felt like I was working through molasses. My monkey mind wanted to be free, and struggled the entire time.

Consider the size and type notebook. I used a composition notebook, which meant almost full 8×10 page, so a Moleskin diary provides smaller pages. Spiral notebooks provide a choice in size as well as writing on flat page.

I complained a lot. Because I didn’t enjoy the entire process, my ‘thoughts’ often centered on how I hated my handwriting, or that I had nothing much to write because my brain barely functions when I first get up.

Three pages took a block of time I could be doing something I enjoyed. While I struggled through this exercise, I wasn’t working on the number of things I wanted to get done (and would enjoy more doing).

On the other hand, I want to share my own advice on this process;

Don’t feel you have to do mornings. Select the time before you’re going to get started on writing to help clear the junk in your head. Since I write in the evenings, I’d write/type after dinner and before I started writing.

Keep a list of prompts to get you started. These can include anything from fiction prompts, to prompts that provoke insight into the inner workings of you mind.

Freewriting for 10-15 minutes instead. Freewriting does the same thing Morning Pages promises- to help with clarity. It can also jump start creativity. It focuses more on the nonsensical and unrestricted ideas in your head. In other words, freewriting is supposed to be a brain dump.

Go in with a better attitude. I fully admit I didn’t have the right mindset for it to work. Even if I started complaining/whining, switch to more pro-active thinking, and move on. Unhappy with the strain of thought? Scratch it out and start again. No one will read it.

Have you tried Morning Pages? Do you need to find clarity to sort out thoughts to write? What are your experiences in freewriting? Please comment and let me know your thoughts.

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Google Drive for Writers

driveforwritersToday I want to share with you some elements of the free Google service known as Drive. This is something like a cloud drive (you can backup files) but also an online program suite. I will be discussing mostly the Docs features.

Google Drive includes:

Docs– This is an online word processor that is compatible with Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, and even Microsoft Works.

Sheets– A spreadsheet compatible with Office, Open office, and Works.

Slides – A presentation service that easily integrates into web sites or shared with others. Compatible to open files from Office and OpenOffice.

Forms – A service to create and compile information from forms. Includes easy to use templates, click and build features, and saves data to the drive for access later.

Drawing– This includes an online service to create or edit graphics. Saves as PDF, JPG, SVG, and PNG.

docs

Google Docs works similar to most word processors, including formatting, templates, and printing. You can open and save, change file formats, and share/collaborate with others online. This also includes revision history. (Saved my butt when I ‘lost’ an entire chapter of a book I was writing).

You can also add ‘add-ons’ which improves function;

Table of Contents – Creates a table of contents that runs as a sidebar.

EasyBib- Bibliography creator

Speech Recognition- So you can talk instead of typing. This works great for those who have issues with typing for long periods of time.

Mind mapping- This is a great tool to plot stories or brainstorm ideas.

ProWritingAid- This is not free, but as an add on that works in the Docs. It corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation.

Screenplay formatter- For the script writers out there, this add on helps with formatting your doc.

Saves in these formats:

DOCX – Document Microsoft Word file

ODT – OpenOffice Document Text file

RTF – Rich Text Format, works with any word processor

PDF- Portable Document Format, used for downloading files and eBooks

TXT – Text. Very simple with very little formatting but can be read by every word processor.

HTML/ZIP – Hypertext Markup Language is what web sites are built. Often used to upload to publish books.

EPUB – EBook file format that can be read by tablets and smart phones. This is new and is an industry standard.


Google drive can also

Cloud Storage– Back up photos, documents, etc. to your cloud drive. This includes 15 GB free, and you can pay $1.99 monthly for 100 more GB.

Collaborate with others–  Not only can you share files with others, they can view or even edit them. You can also share LIVE with others. Some authors now share their writing in real time for fans to check out their process. Share via email or link on your blog. You can even embed files too

Share anywhere– Google Drive works on PC, Mac, smart phone, and tablets.

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