Indie Publishing

5 Ways I Use My Journal

NOTE: This is an updated version of my blog on why I journal regularly which was posted several months ago. I’ve added some content to share more on the subject.

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

I never considered writing a daily journal until a few years ago. At the time I wanted to see how much I could write per day on a consistent basis. After a month I was surprised by how many words I could churn out. It gave me a baseline for how much I could expect to write daily, weekly and monthly. I even realized I could write most of a rough draft in thirty days – here I come NanoWriMo.

But as I used a daily journal I discovered a few more reasons to continue. I’ve since read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and found that she emphasizes using “Daily Pages” (essentially a journal) to write three pages in the morning. I don’t always write that much since I’d rather spend as much time as possible on projects but the notion and reasons discussed in the book are great for gaining creative traction.

  1. I could use it to prime the pump. You want to get started writing but how? Sometimes you need a warm-up and writing about anything can be just the trick to clear the mind. Also, I found that I could set the scene in my mind with a few notes on what I expected to accomplish and how dialogue might flow. I might even return to the journal to further nail down additional scenes depending on what I accomplish.
  2. I can track what I need to do during the day. Yesterday I wrote about how I work with goals but I find that putting them in my journal keeps them in my sites throughout the day. I use the Strikethrough button in Word to mark off goals achieved. I can also easily “re-heat” goals that roll over to the next day for whatever reason.
  3. I also use a journal to create a loose, fluid schedule of what I’m doing – everything. This way I know how I’m progressing through goals and other activities throughout the day. Now you might wish to use a calendar for this function but I find using the journal is one less thing to update than a calendar. Besides, I find a calendar is better for reminders about events and appointments in advance.
  4. A journal can also be used for project development. It’s a great place to explore creative ideas. Once you’ve written these concepts they are easily transferred into other apps or files you use for development such as Scrivener, Evernote, your blog or anything else.
  5. A cure for “writer’s block”. I don’t believe in “writer’s block”. I view this problem as something which is troubling me in some way. I journal to discover what the problem is. It could be personal or something in a project that I intuitively understand is a problem. If the issue is something personal it could also be the seed for for a writing idea to be used in some way which actually becomes a creative opportunity. But either way I work the problem out through my journal.
Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

What can you use to journal? I mainly use Word and update it during the day but I only keep a monthly file and transfer developmental ideas to other files and apps. You could use Evernote as a purely developmental journal and tack in links or pictures. You could also use Instagram as a visual journal. While Scrivener would not directly serve this purpose, research containers could be used as a developmental journal as well.

Do you journal? If so, what do you use? I love to receive comments so feel free to leave one.  See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend but don’t spend too much time writing in the journal.

PHS

 

 

 

 

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Tech for Writers: 7 Thoughts about Web Presence

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

In this tech tips post, I’m covering more than just how to approach technical aspects of being a writer in todays world. A web presence is essential for a writer since the web is now Main Street where people do much of their business and, essentially, window-shop. For this reason, it’s important for a writer to consider how to build a platform on the internet. It’s easy to simply rush into the process and make a site and use any old email address. But careful consideration should be made in order to present yourself, the author, and your writing products as a consistent brand.

  1. Today’s writer must have both a comprehensive and cohesive web presence. A web site is necessary, preferably with a blog (more on this later), and social media.
  2. Regarding a website, a writer must choose how to create a site which needs some forethought. First, you must consider your needs and tops on that list is a domain name that fits your name. Why? Because this is the sign for your business and the domain to where your readers will email you which is the second need. You need to have at least one email address where you can be contacted at a professional level. Take care to plan these aspects first since they will be the foundation of the site.
  3. Next you need hosting. There are numerous hosting services available on the web. Shop around for what meets your needs for budget and control. Research what the offerings and services are available for each hosting service as well as the add-ons. Personally, since I didn’t want to initially sink a large sum of money into a long-term hosting contract, I went with a free hosting service and purchased my domain and got my email hosted over Google. However, I plan to move into paid hosting services in the future. Why? I will need more control than the basic services now allow me – such as custom themes and forms.
  4. You also need a cohesive set of themes when you can afford it. At the moment, I am working with a cover artist on the cover of my first novel. As part of what I’m having designed there will be banners and themes based on my cover art that I can use on Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media. This will lead to consistent branding for the entire platform. I would rather have done this from the beginning but there were budgetary concerns so I decided to grow into this. Consistent branding is an important goal and will be a major milestone for my writing platform when reached.
  5. Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

    You need to be prepared to blog. Why blog at all? There are several reasons. First you can offer additional/parallel content to your main content (novels or books) via your blog. In my case, I’ve posted a serial prequel, “What is Needed“, for my novel. Additionally, you can blog about writing-related topics that interest you such as responding to opinions expressed by other writers. Bottom-line, a blog is a great way to gain traffic to your site and your products.

  6. Social media presence serves to funnel interested readers to your site which represents your products. In this way you can grow your email list which will serve as a core of prospective readers who will be your word of mouth advertising. As noted above, when you have the means try to present a consistent brand across all formats that make up your web presence just like any other business.
  7. Finally, you must update your web presence regularly. Most writers just want to write and put out their products. However, you must attract readers. To do this you must offer updated information on a regular basis. You need regular traffic to your site to sell books. Schedule the time to build to maintain your web-based writer platform so you’re not distracted into wasting time. Have goals when updating your web presence so that you set limits on both what and how much you will update.
Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

What are your thoughts on a web presence? Have you hesitated to build a platform? In the near future I’ll re-visit the topic by discussing the nuts and bolts of what I’ve done and why, as well as where I’m going with it. Share your thoughts, strategy and platform-building ideas in the comments section. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS

 

 

 

Clip Art Image Copyright by Microsoft. Clip Art Used by Permission of Microsoft

Tech Tips for Writers – Scrivener

Screenshot of My Novel WIP - The Bow of Destiny

Screenshot of My Novel WIP – The Bow of Destiny

Many writers are using Scrivener to develop projects ranging from fiction to non-fiction varying in length from articles, blogs, short stories to books. So understanding that usage is high for this software, I wanted to share insights on usage in a short post.

Why you should use Scrivener if you aren’t already? Isn’t is just another writing editor with some tools geared toward writers? Is it a waste of money? The main reason you should put it in the budget or at least give it a try for free is one word: development (and here are additional reasons). Scrivener is a great tool to use for developing almost any kind of writing project. It is organized so that you can store all kinds of information related to the project all in one location. Likewise, you no longer need an outline since you can use the folders in the software as the outline. Using this method you can easily move pieces of your work around until you are satisfied. I’ve been using it for just this kind of structural re-organization of my novel, The Bow of Destiny, duing my current revision. Michael Sullivan discusses how he realized he could make use of Scrivener and even further developed his fantasy world. Troll River Publications posted a useful video for using Scrivener’s tools for outlining.

Editing for Deep POV

Editing for Deep POV

I especially like using this software for developing shorter projects like a blog post, article, paper, or even a short story. I used Scrivener to develop my blog serial – What is Needed and will use it in developing my longer projects. It has helped me re-organize my current novel but I’m still learning all the features for editing purposes. If I have trouble editing I get around this by doing a copy/paste from my novel into a temporary file in Microsoft Word to do my heavy editing and then copy/past back into Scrivener. Why do this? Because the whole book is organized in Scrivener which also allows you to compile the manuscript into a single Word document, PDF document or even an e-book. I look forward to expanding my skill with Scrivener and sharing more details about the features as I do. Regardless, I done with organizing and editing the “old-fashioned way” – perhaps you should consider doing the same if you haven’t already.

If you aren’t using Scrivener, why haven’t you tried it? If you are using it, please share your tips and ideas in the comments section. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today!

Thanks for reading!

PHS