Changing Ways

Deep down in my heart, I used to be a purist writer.  The truest form of writing is taking pen to paper.  In my younger years, it was the only way that my stories took shape.  Over the past two decades, lost worlds of handwritten notebooks collected underneath my bed.  Most will never see the light; a select few have been begrudgingly typed up and stored on various flash drives that litter my desk drawers.

In my mind, if the literary greats like Austen, Poe, and Shakespeare hand wrote everything – why couldn’t I?   Well, the crushing reality is that publications will not take handwritten manuscripts.  It was not until my late teens that I fully converted over to using a writing software (ahem, Word), leaving the world of notebooks behind.

However, the purist in me would not allow myself to be 100% digital.  Outlines, research notes, character descriptions, and such were all hand written, and efficiently organized into binders for ease of reference.  A balance was formed between the actual output being digital and the “R&D” lived on as handwritten.

I thought that this was a good and healthy process, until I outgrew space with binders and my organizational skills slacked when I gained a career.

About a month ago, I was introduced to Scrivener.  Immediately, I balked at the idea of using it.  My purist mind reeled – Austen and the like all handwrote.  To which, the person who introduced me to the new tool replied, “Do you not think that if Austen had this technology, she would use it?”

I was speechless.  That never once crossed my mind.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to typewriters, they would have surely used it.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to a computer, they would have used it.  If Austen or Shakespeare had access to Scrivener, they sure as hell would have used it.

So why was I denying myself the pleasure of experiencing the use of an organized writing tool?  I no longer had a valid answer.

On March 23rd, 2014, I signed up for the Scrivener free trial – and instantly fell in love with the tool.  I converted my WiP novel over into Scrivener, and then typed up all of my character bios and research notes into the tool.  It brilliantly and efficiently organized all of my items in a clean UI design, and I was left dumbstruck by the fluidity of the tool.

All these years of my snobbery over being a purist writer lead me to not experience the wonders of all of the writing software programs.  It was pure stupidity on my part (with a splash of ego).

Scrivener has changed my writing life.  No longer do I have to go in search of binders or that random piece of paper that has notes haphazardly scribbled.  I can directly go to my research folder in Scrivener and pull up that piece of information.  My novel is laid out where each chapter is its own little folder and I don’t have to scroll through a 200-page word document to find one single chapter.

I can reorganize or restructure with a click of a button, and have all files everything securely backed up.  My productivity is completely maximized.

The best bonus is the ‘distraction free’ mode, which completely stops me from accessing Skype, Facebook, Twitter, or any of those other Internet attention monsters.

Scrivener was built and designed with the writer in mind.  The entire tool is structured around supporting a writers needs, whether it be writing novels, screenplays, blogs, articles, podcasts, etc.

I am still a beginner with Scrivener and am pretty sure that I have barely scratched the surface of what the tool actually has to offer.

Since the moment I touched Scrivener, I lost my snobby, purist writer title and gained the name: Techy, geek writer


Try Scrivener free for 30 days (and that is 30 use days, not calendar days!!)

Mac OS:

Microsoft Windows:

Have you learned anything, writer mine?

I feel the need to share some of the things I’ve learned in the past few months during my journey as a writer.

Serious things:

  1. Just write. It doesn’t matter if it’s shit. Just write. You can’t edit a blank page. You can’t publish nothing. End of story.
  2. Edit. Edit the first draft, edit the second draft, and then edit one more time before you submit your story to anyone.
  3. Beta Readers can be your best resource. Even better is when you can get a mix of writers and non-writers to beta for you. That is the best combination to work out the kinks in your story.
  4. Don’t get defensive when you get feedback on your writing. It’s nothing personal.
  5. In the same vein, don’t bash an author’s work because you didn’t like their personal choices for the plot, characters, etc.  Be professional and critique to improve what they already have on the paper, don’t add your own creative ideas.

Silly things:

  1. Social media is a black hole, so is YouTube, Google, and Deviant Art.  Beware all who enter there.
  2. Write how you’re comfortable, even if that means naked in bed with a pen and a notepad.  (TMI?)
  3. Being a fangirl can have positive influence on your writing, and your sex life…trust me.
  4. Friends say they want to be in your stories, but they really don’t.
  5. Don’t listen to the haters, take it with a grain of salt and move on.  Even though you want to punch their effin lights out.  *smiles innocently*

So…I hope my list has enlightened you and slightly disturbed you.  *evil laugh*

Can you relate to any of these?

Twitter Holds Free Mini-Seminars Daily

Twitter Mini-SeminarsOnce I let go of shyness and started talking to people on Twitter, I’ve learned all sorts of wonderful things.  However, Twitter isn’t just platform-building social fun.  Twitter is also a great source of free “seminars” and writing groups.  If you have not yet experienced a Tweet Chat, consider finding a few that interest you.

While my focus is narrow, these are the chats in which I participate (and can therefore recommend):

  • Mondays: #writersroad at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.  General writing topics. Follow co-moderator @HeatherMcCorkle.
  • Tuesdays: #writestuff at  9 p.m. Eastern Time.  General writing topics with links to resources. Follow @penpaperpad.
  • Wednesdays: #sffwrtcht (Science Fiction Fantasy Writer Chat, follow @sffwrtcht) at 9 p.m. Eastern Time.  Authors and publishing professionals participate in Q&A.  #genrechat at 9 p.m. Eastern, focuses on science fiction, fantasy, horror. Follow @genreundergroun.
  • Fridays: #writeclub runs practically all day (missing six hours of the 24).  These are word sprints with a great bunch of writers (with a little friendly competition between Australia, UK and USA writers).  Follow @FriNightWrites.  Word sprints happen all week whenever two or more want to go.  The Sprint Shack also runs throughout the week with @TheSprintShack.
  • Sundays:  #fantasychat starts at 8 pm Eastern Time with questions from the moderator and answers/discussion from participants. Moderators are @WarrenCBennett and @MarilynMuniz.  #blogchat begins at 9 Eastern and focuses on aspects of blogging, follow @MackCollier.  #nostalgiachat starts at 10 p.m. Eastern Time and also formatted in questions from the moderator and answers/discussion from participants.  Topics vary by week. Follow @bekiweki

Nurph and Tweetchat make things faster and easier to read (and add the chat hash tag for you).  Tweetdeck allows you to create a column for the chat if you prefer that method.  I don’t have experience with HootSuite, so I’m hoping someone will add to this in the comments.  If you have any questions, feel free to send me a tweet @TheWritingHabit or post here.

Basic etiquette for twitter chats:

  • Sit in on the first session or two to get familiar with the discussion format and tone, but
  • don’t be shy about answering questions (whether general or Q&A)  Always add the hash tag to your tweets so other participants can see them.
  • Compliment where appropriate, encourage where you can, and commiserate when warranted.
  • Be a polite guest and be yourself.  Follow other chatters who interest you.
  • It’s nice to thank the moderator or guest at the end as well.
  • Sample anything that looks interesting and enjoy!

Are you a Twitter Chatter?  Which chats do you find the most helpful and/or the most fun?    New to Twitter Chats?  What do you think of trying one?  Would there be interest in a Sarcastic Muse chat?

All The Advice You Really Need

I don’t know if it happens for everyone, but I periodically find myself going back to the basics to remind my writer’s mind as much as my editor’s mind what is needful to write well.  This video says it all.  Writers write.  Inspiration is overrated.  Put in the time and do the work.  Writers are bricklayers more than we are anything else.  Bricklayers lay bricks one at a time.  We lay words one at a time, because words make sentences, sentences make paragraphs, Paragraphs accumulate into chapters, and chapters make a book.

Here’s something to keep you moving.  Even when you aren’t working on a particular project, use writing prompts and write something creative every day.  I’ve learned from personal experience that writing for a job isn’t the same thing.  Write creatively in addition to journaling and writing for work.  Prompts work well for that, and you might end up like Ray Bradbury, who took his lists of words, picked a pair, and wrote a story every single day.

A Milestone

Today I have reached another milestone in my life.  I turned 30.

This year I have accomplished one of the major goals of my life.  Publish a novel.  Well I succeeded in that, and added the bonus of publishing a novella.

So on this day, I celebrate my growth as an author.

I’m proud of my accomplishments and recognize that all the hard work and determination paid off.  My journey has just begun.  I am learning new things  about publishing, marketing, and social media that make my head swim.  All in a very good way.  It challenges me to grow both personally and professionally.  While it scares the living daylights out of me, it is also damned exciting.

I will celebrate my name day with a glass of wine and a good book.  So join me, and we’ll toast to whatever the future holds.

And thank you all, for your unwavering support.  🙂

An Irresistible Shadow – my medieval novel releases on September 13th from Breathless Press.

Blood, Sweat, and Gears:  Full Throttle – my contemporary romantic suspense novella released on August 15th from Jupiter Garden Press.


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