Tag Archives: Computer

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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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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Tech issues and tips

MC900432646I was up to my elbows in computer guts yesterday while upgrading my son’s computer. This is why this posting is late; So here are a few tech tips I often share with my clients when they start having computer problems;

  • Try rebooting the system. Restarting the computer enables the system to refresh the RAM and reset information that often causes issues when programs aren’t playing well with other programs. If you can’t get the system to reboot (and yes, this does happen) press and hold in the Power Button for 8 seconds. This shuts down the PC. If you’re really desperate, unplug the power cord.
  • Make sure your Anti-virus software is not just updated but scans frequently. Sometimes the settings scan late at night. If you shut your system down, then its not scanning at that time. Run the scan at least once a week.
  • Run the Cleandisk and Defrag programs. Cleandish cleans out useless files that fill up the hard drive, while Defrag re-organizes them to efficiency.
  • Use Ctrl + Alt + Delete button by pressing all buttons at the same time, and you get the Task Manager. With this program you can shut down troublesome programs one at a time. Pressing twice will often reboot your computer.
  • Check your Startup Folder to see what programs are starting up when you turn on the computer. Some program are useful while others simply take up memory. I shut off all programs, although you might want to add programs. This is a personal choice for users.
  • Back your files! I cannot emphasize enough for computer users to use some method to back up their files.  I prefer the USB flash drive method, but cloud drives are also useful. Remember to back up items in the My Documents folder, as well as any add-on files you’ve added.

These are just the basics. Feel free to add questions and comments below on the topic of computers. I’m a PC users, and I realize some readers are Mac users, but feel free to post or share your own input on the topic of technical issues.

Friday Writing Prompt:

The Door…

Write an excerpt, story idea, or thoughts on this closed door. Where does it lead? Does someone live here? Is it a special place?

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