Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January 2015: Be Fearless: Use Writing Technology

I explain my writing tool journey in two sentences:
"I started writing stories using a paper and pencil. 
Now, I have siri, galaxy, or dragon speak as options for my first draft." 
This journey continues to challenge my comfort and my risk taking levels.

Writers take risks each time they allow their stories to pour from their minds and onto paper. Why not take risks with the technology you have available to improve your product?

My high school college prep curriculum consisted of math, science, history, literature, and language. Only the business students were allowed to take typing and shorthand. (Go figure?) When I asked to take typing I was told if I was on track to go to college, I would "always have a secretary."

High schools back then had a tendency to be short-sighted when it came to women. So I bought my own typing book and learned to type the summer before my junior year. My used an used black "Underwood" standard typewriter.  I had a love hate relationship until I discovered erasable paper.

 After college, I did have secretaries, but that was short-lived. The day came in the 1989 when I was promote to a corporate level job at the headquarters of a major retailer.  When I walked into my new office not only did I have a window with a view, but there on my desk was a computer. My director looked at me with a grin of deep satisfaction when he said, "We know you're a smart gal so we thought this machine with WordPerfect would serve you better than a secretary, It helps me with my budget."  It was the beginning of my love affair with technology.

Since then there have been many versions of software and many computers models in different companies along with supervisors who challenged me to stretch my technological boundaries.  Today's writer needs to befriend technology. Yes, it can be befuddling. It can drive you crazy, but like
a story plot you have to be willing to fail, overcome the obstacle, and earn the reward of human over machine.

Of course, you could hire a secretary or someone who loves technology to transfer your creativity from your scribing to the hard drive.

Two technological tools I use and recommend:

autocrit.com (This is an editing tool extraordinaire) It goes beyond grammar checking.

Scrivener www.literatureandlatte.com  (This is a story writing tool that gives the writer the option to write an outline, flesh out characters, move parts of the story around, and as one of my writing buddies said, "Write continuously.")

Please share with me and my readers tools you found that helped sparked your creativity and improved your writing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January 2015 - Be Fearless: Seek Workshops or Conferences

Take a workshop. 
Learn to give and take criticism.
                                                         Jodi Picoult

League of Utah Writers Conference 2013
The biggest challenge we writers face is keeping our writing crisp, contemporary, and relevant.  We write in isolation. Some of us may step out in trepidation and join a critique group. We believe we are generous by allowing others to read our "creative scribing." This is a good exercise in improving our writing, but you need to find the masters. "Nothing succeeds like success." (Alexandre Dumas)

Where do you seek success? Well, you might find one or two successful writers in your local writing organizations or you may even live next door to one. Seeking information from successful writers gives one the opportunity to learn. Conferences also help a writer take advantage of some of the new technology, publishing options, agents, editors, etc.

Bing Image
Where do you find these individuals? At writing conferences or workshops, okay, I know they are expensive. Finding an excellent workshop requires research, planning, and an investment of personal time and funds. Every writer needs to budget for a workshop or two each year.

 While you are formulating your writing goals for 2015, make sure you add put a workshop or writers' conference on the list.  Take some time to surf the net for the workshops or conferences you think will rejuvenate you and your writing career. After all, you are what you write.  If character development holds up your writing, a webinar could be all you need. If you want to meet agents, plan on attending a large writer conference. Check out conferences in Sun Valley, New York, Chicago,  Las Vegas, or San Francisco.

If you live on the West Coast venture to an East Coast Conference. If you are a Midwesterner, look at a conference in Canada or a Southern state. Look beyond the area you reside to extend your "writing  network." Sometimes it is not only the speakers of the workshop or convention, but the location that propels you to reach your writing goals.

Genre driven writers' organizations offer local and national events.  Research these opportunities. You may find something interesting. This is an investment in you, the writer. It is an opportunity to get you out to discover yourself.

So, if you truly are a "fearless writer," find a workshop, conference, or webinar, or two to sharpen your skills in 2015.

References: writing.shawguides.com

pw.org (click on "Tools for Writers, click on "Conferences")

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Living A Life of Writing: Self-Publishing and Visual Illusions

Sharing this blog to all interested writers.

Living A Life of Writing: Self-Publishing and Visual Illusions: I t's the same word count. It's all the same font size and font. But the visual look to your book can make or break a book sale.  Si...

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2015: Write On Fearlessly!

Taking my first step out into a new year of my writing journey, I am pledging to adhere to the following advice:

Think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.

I found this 3"x 7" piece of paper while I was clearing out a box in December.I  don't know the author so I  can't credit he or she for this advice.  The quote is part of a bigger article on "Inner Peace." When I read this quote, the realization came to me that I wasn't approaching my fiction writing with spontaneity. I was trying to take the rigors, frameworks, and rules of writing to create my stories. 

My family and friends ask why I submit myself to the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This quote elicits the joy and abandon I feel during November. I write spontaneously. My fingers fly across the keyboard. My characters write the story. 

Yes, there is a flexible outline. The characters are defined, but they are in charge of the story, not me. I write my 50,000+ words in 30 days without worrying about spelling, redundancies, verb agreement, and consistency.

My resolution this year is to let the characters and my critique group help me polish my book using all the tools available to a writer. I am going to use my writing tools with the same enthusiasm as I had when I wrote my first draft. I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Writing should be similar to the creative process of cooking or baking. The ingredients are defined by the recipe, but you are able to enhance the outcome with your additions. No two bakers have the same results with cakes or cookies. No one makes soup that tastes the same. So writers who follow the basic rules of writing have a wide berth to create their own story.  

Happy New Year my readers. Let me know what New Year resolution you made this year to enhance your writing experience.