Posts Tagged: Scrivener

Top 5 Things I need to Write

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Every writer is different. We all have our own system in place to be productive. For me, I start with a time limit on social media! Most days, I come home from work, eat dinner, and then start writing. My Saturday mornings consist of grocery shopping – followed by writing. Sunday mornings consist of laundry – while writing. Working full-time means I have fewer hours in the day to write. I sacrifice a lot to be able to give my characters a voice. For this system to work, here are five things I can’t do without.

1. My note pad. I’m old fashioned. I love to hand-write notes. This actually comes in handy when I’m at my day job. I can keep a notebook on the desk and when an idea strikes, I can write it down before I forget it. I also carry pen and paper with me to various appointments – like the doctor, or getting my oil changed. I use it to map out characters or plot lines. I’ve got a great new series being plotted right now. Of course, I’m keeping that on the back burner until I have all of the Tip of the Spear novels finished! I don’t think I can handle more than two series at a time! It’s very rare that you will find me without a means of writing something down.

2. Mac Book. I generally write on my Mac Book Air, though I also have an iMac in my home office. The screen on it is bigger, so I generally use it for edits and the more tedious aspects of writing. But usually you’ll find me in my recliner with my laptop propped up on a blanket, usually surrounded by at least two of my three dogs. Maybe I should have added the recliner and dog cuddles to this list….

3. Scrivener. I discovered this software on an author forum that I subscribe to. It has a unique layout that authors either love or hate. It’s not without its idiosyncrasies, but what it lacks in user-friendliness, it makes up for in formatting. This program has saved my life (or rather, the life of my computer) when formatting frustrations threaten to get the best of me. I don’t do well with electronics that don’t cooperate – just ask the last poor DVD player that malfunctioned on me!

4. Dragon Dictate. I heard so many complaints about dictating software that I was hesitant to purchase any. Then I flipped out of my hammock in the back yard and injured my wrist. For an author, not being able to type is a death sentence. My solution? Dragon Dictate. It took me a while to admit that I liked it. In fact, it wasn’t until I started using the transcription functions on it, instead of dictating, that I found it was worth the cost. The “How to Train Your Dragon” facebook group has also been a lifesaver. I doubt I would have come so far without the support and encouragement.

5. Books. Yes, you read that right. Books play an important part in an author’s life. To be a good author, you have to love to read. For me, reading is a way to escape, to live another life – even if only for a few hours. I usually take a week to binge read the books that I’m saving up during my deadlines. It serves as a reset button on my brain to enjoy someone else’s words instead of my own.

So, there you have it – just a small peek into my world. I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I would have no problems coming up with another 20 items I could list here…

Dictation software – sexier than it sounds!

Have you ever done something stupid to injure yourself? Well, welcome to my world. Last week I woke up Monday morning and couldn’t lift my head off the pillow. Somehow, as I was sleeping, I managed to pull my neck. I couldn’t raise my left arm. I couldn’t lift with my right arm. I’m really not sure typing was a viable option when I couldn’t use my arms. So how do you fix this? Well, for me, I decided to get some dictation software.

 

dictation softwareDictation software is almost harder than actually typing – at least the set up part. Speaking your thoughts out loud is kind of awkward. It’s good that I live by myself because some of this dictation could be embarrassing. I’m pretty sure that my dogs can’t tell secrets that come out of my mouth. It took all of 20 minutes to download the software – and three separate trips to the store to find a microphone that actually was usable with the program. I’m sure that they were tired of seeing me at the customer service counter returning various microphones. But the third time is the charm and I finally got one that worked.

 

Three days after I started the process of trying to download dictation software it was finally up and running. By this point I had more usage of my arms, but I’d already started this journey and I wanted to see it through. In my case you never know when it might actually need. I figured I’d be better off just seeing this through to completion.

So far I have gotten dictation to work with Scrivener, which is the program I used to write my books. However, Word is not cooperating. I can open Word; I can start speaking; my microphone is on; yet it doesn’t recognize that I’m actually saying anything. But I guess it doesn’t really matter if word recognizes what I’m saying, as long as Scrivener does.

This morning is the first day in a week that I’ve actually sat down and began writing something. I lost a whole week of writing due to injury and new software. But now I think I’m back on track and I’m jumping right in. Today I’ve already managed to write 1200 words and in a fourth of the time it would’ve taken me to type them. I think I might like this dictation stuff. As long as I can get used to speaking things out loud that are little uncomfortable.