Tag Archives: Computer

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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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.

Did you find this helpful? Don’t forget to share, like, and comment to help support this blog.

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A Productivity Tip

AWJ Productivity TIps

Since I am a person who can get easily distracted, I’ve been trying some new techniques with focusing for productivity. The goal is to find some methods that will help train my brain to stay on tasks for longer periods of time, as well as provide the breaks needed to avoid burnout.

CaptureProductivity Timer. I downloaded a Google Chrome browser extension called Strict Workflow. There are other timers that can shut off the use of distracting sites like Pinterest (my addiction) and Facebook. What I like is that you can program the extension for the time increment you want. I picked 25 minutes of work, 15 minutes for breaks. You can also edit the list of web sites.

When the extension is active, you are unable to view the distracting web sites until your break.

This extension also utilizes the Pomodoro Technique. You can read more about it at Productivity 101: A Primer to the Pomodoro Technique on Lifehacks.

Journal Record Keeping– Another tool to keep me focused is using a small notebook on my desk to keep track of everything I do. Although I have a to-do list, often through the day other things come up to either distract or demand my attention.

I write the distractions in red so I can return later in the day to work on them.  I write the demands in blue so I can see how much in the way of family, phone calls, business clients, volunteer groups, and other things in my life are also taking me away from my main objectives.

I also add post it notes for new tasks to do that can stick to my desk for a later time.

So far, I’m finding my days very productive, my brain getting more focused, and things are getting done.

What tips do you use to focus and get things done? Post in comments.

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NaNoWriMo Challenge!

nanowrimoFor those participating for the National Novel Writing Challenge (the official one),  hope you have your fingers warmed up, typing ready, and strength of willpower prepared for this approaching month.

Best tips I know for this event:

  • Learn to shut off your inner editor as you write. You can spell check and fix things when you do your editing later.
  • Don’t let an ‘off day’ deter you. You can make up the time. I know of one woman who lost 20,000 midway through and still managed to hit the 50,000 word mark by Nov. 31.
  • Remember if you’ve signed up via their site, your friends and family should be supporting you– not competing. That same woman who managed her 50,000 word count found a number of times to cut me down through the month rather than help by offering words of encouragement. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people to help you- not those who would hold you back.
  • Reward yourself if you’ve hit your word count for the day. For some, this might be a piece of chocolate, a bubble bath, or a foot massage from a good friend/lover.
  • Remember why you’re doing this. Although there’s a number of reasons, for myself, I joined to see if I could write that many words in a day. I also wanted to challenge myself. For other members, I heard reasons such as ‘finishing a story completely’, or ‘make writing a daily habit’ also comprised of reasons.
  • I highly recommend No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty which gives tons of tips for the NaNoWriMo but also just about writing as well.

If you’re not joining the official NaNoWriMo, consider joining my Alternative Challenge, where you choose your own word count, on a current or new project, which can include fiction or non-fiction. See my page on the rules and graphic you can post on your web site!

Wordcount tracker

Nanowrimo Meter

Wordcount Meter

**Writertopia meter- adds a mood and cartoon to the meter

How to add the wordcount toolbar to MS Word 2003

MS Word wordcount information

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