Well, I’ve already gone against my own advice. I know I said it’s important to keep going even when you hate your WIP, but mine got to be a little too much to handle. The more I write on it, the more holes that present themselves. At this point, I feel like if I continue to write it I am throwing away effort and words that could be put into another project. I don’t mind going back to edit, but if I’m going to do away with entire chapters because I need more worldbuilding, then it’s not worth it.
So, I’ve moved back to working on Drawn Together, my fun contemporary romance novel about an indie comic book artist and a lawyer-turned-comic book shop owner. It’s so much fun to write, and I really love the characters I created. That makes it an easy choice to see me through to the end of NaNoWriMo, and I might even make my 50K word count! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–I never thought I’d write a romance novel (instead of just a novel with romantic elements) and I don’t think I’ve ever had as much fun writing before.
I have about 20K more to write on it and planned to finish it in December, so I’m really just getting a head start. I was pretty easily able to write over 4,000 words on Saturday and plan on writing at least that many today. That leaves me writing about 2,800 words per day through Friday, which is tough after a long day in the office, but definitely doable.
As for my other goal, critiquing a novel for my wonderful CP, that is actually going really well. I got an app for my iPad that lets me edit and create Office documents and it features track changes, and that really makes a difference in my productivity. When I am not chained to my desk, I can edit in small portions here and there (and in a comfortable place!) rather than having to knock out 20+ pages per session in my desk chair. I should be done with that critique really soon.
I hope all my fellow American ROW80 participants had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and good luck to everyone who is sweeping through this last week of NaNoWriMo!
First of all, I should know better. I’ve gotten lazy about backing up my websites on a regular basis since I did some housecleaning on my server and moved to a new computer at home. But despite my tech nerdiness, I almost had a disaster.
Last night my site went down–all my sites, in fact, since they run off the same place. I frantically dialed tech support and something was wrong with that particular server. I figured it would be back up before I went to bed…but it wasn’t back up until almost lunch time today.
I was fortunate in that I hadn’t lost anything. Nothing here is so important or precious that I’d have been devastated if it were lost, but I would have certainly been upset and annoyed, both with my host and myself. I haven’t had any trouble or downtime with my host in almost a decade, which is a great track record, but I’ve grown complacent and not been putting up that extra bit of security by backing up my blog.
There are a number of easy ways you can back up your blog, and if you’re using WordPress many of them are available as plugins. I myself use wp Time Machine and I just set it up to back up to my Amazon S3 account. If you don’t know what Amazon S3 is, it’s scalable, flexible storage that you pay a small fee to use ONLY the space you’re taking up at a time. For me that currently equates to less than 10 cents per month. You can also use wp Time Machine to back up to Dropbox (which I couldn’t get to work) or FTP. I even have mine set to back up every time a new event (like a post) occurs. So as soon as I publish this little PSA, a new backup will be sent to my archives and I can rest assured that if my host ever goes out again, I’m covered.
Moral of the story: back up, back up, back up. Just in case. You won’t always be as lucky as I was last night.
I love seeing how writers apply technology to their writing lives. Part of what I enjoy reading about from other authors is their writing process, and I am always happy to stumble upon a fellow tech geek writer who successfully incorporates gadgets into their writing routine.
I got my iPad alongside a new Mac Mini that I share with my husband. The iPad’s intention was to replace my aging netbook as a mobile writing tool and couch web surfing machine. It not only met my expectations, but exceeded them. It has become one of the most useful things in my writer’s toolkit over the past year. So how do I use it as a writer?
The iPad wouldn’t be very useful to me at all if I couldn’t use it to create. A lot of people will argue that the iPad is strictly a consumption tool, but I disagree wholeheartedly, especially if much of what you create is text-based. I got my iPad with the intention of using it to write an I have not been disappointed. There are a number of writing apps available to meet almost any writer’s needs, from simple plain text editors to more complex word processors. I use a few different apps based on my writing task:
Elements – This is the app I use for all my fiction writing. It syncs very easily with Scrivener on my Mac via an Elements folder in Dropbox. It has a pleasant interface, an accurate word counter, TextExpander support for frequently typed phrases or names, and a scratchpad for keeping notes separate from my manuscript. I have tried similar apps, such as the excellent free app Plain Text, but I always come back to Elements.
Nebulous Notes – This is my all-purpose, Swiss Army knife text editing app. It gives me access to the contents of my entire Dropbox. I use Nebulous to write blog posts, take random notes, make lists, or edit text documents. It features support for writing in Markdown, which helps with easy formatting, various export options, TextExpander support, constant Dropbox syncing, a customizable keyboard bar for shortcuts, and numerous themes and fonts.
Notability – I use my iPad at the office as well as everywhere else. I was a copious notetaker all through school, and my professional life is no different. Detailed notes have been my saving grace far too many times, and they are a part of my learning process. However, I usually don’t take typed notes unless high speed capture is necessary, because I don’t absorb the information as well as when I handwrite. Notability is a great tool that lets me handwrite, type, draw, and record audio. I use a Targus stylus to take notes just as I would on paper, and Notability’s zoom function makes it easy to write normally. It syncs to Dropbox so I can easily pass the notes along to coworkers or review them at my computer when I am working. I really like using Notability when I am brainstorming for a story. Writing my notes versus typing them, or sketching out mind maps, gets me deeper into the details. Often, that helps me get unstuck on a plot point or character interaction.
One of the best things about the iPad is that it makes surfing the web so easy. I love sitting on the couch with my husband, spending time next to him instead of chained to my desk. I have a pretty handy research process I’ve been using for a while and it is even further simplified on the iPad.
Instapaper – This is one of my all-time favorite web services. It allows you so save things to read later and strips out all the unnecessary junk, leaving only the text of the content for your reading pleasure. I have the Instapaper bookmarklet installed in all my browsers on both my computers and my mobile devices. You can organize things into folders, and I have entire folders of content, complete with originating URL, for my projects that require research. It is dead simple to use and helps me lessen my bookmark load.
iCab Mobile – I like Mobile Safari, but it is far from being a fully featured browser. When I heard about all the added features of iCab, such as the ability to download files (and upload them to Dropbox) and built-in support for Instapaper and other services, I had to give it a try. I really love it and it makes surfing the web on my iPad that much more like a desktop experience. I really don’t miss a thing now.
Nook, Stanza, GoodReader – I don’t use my iPad as my primary reading device; I have an eInk Nook for reading most books. But for highly visual books, PDFs, or material that I need to refer to at some point while writing, I have a handful of go-to apps. The Nook app syncs with my Barnes & Noble account, letting me access any of the books in my library. Stanza is a very flexible ebook reader that I have connected to my Calibre library at home. GoodReader is a PDF reader with annotation abilities that has proven invaluable when reading source PDFs or even when editing my own writing. I love marking up my manuscript with “real” editing marks as I read.
Form and Function
Apps aren’t all that make the iPad a joy to use. It is practically a feather compared to my old hefty netbook, which got surprisingly heavy to tote around (especially considering the fact that I had to carry the charging brick too). I can throw it in almost any bag or purse I have and not notice the extra weight. I love having my writing tools with me wherever I am!
The battery life is also excellent. I have the original iPad, which was reported to get around ten hours of use on one charge. I have actually exceeded that and see closer to 11-12 hours of use, including plenty of browsing online. That of course lowers with lots of video watching or other processor intensive app use, but on the whole I rarely need to worry about leaving the house with my iPad charger. The freedom of no longer being tethered to an outlet is awesome.
I write, blog, chat, Tweet, and more on my iPad. 90% of my computing takes place on my iPad (or iPhone) instead of in my office at the Mac Mini. All this may change when I am able to afford an 11″ MacBook Air, but who knows…I also plan on getting an iPad 3! Have you worked an iPad into your writing routine? What about another tablet? What is your favorite writing gadget?