The title may be a bit radical, but today I’m going to talk about writing or what gets in my way when I write.
Steven Pressfield wrote an excellent book (a must read) titled “The War of Art”. In this book he describes the many things that prevent writers from writing and how to overcome them.
I enjoyed the bookl very much but I don’t think he described my problem.
I can hardly admit this but, I’m addicted to technology, not all technology, primarily the kind related to computers.
Okay, you got me, I’ve got a thing for cars too. But that’s pretty much under control.
How does this addiction manifest itself?
I collect tools, software tools, hardware tools. Tools that will help me in writing.
While searching, reading, looking for the perfect tools. I completely overlook the fact that many of these tools carry a high learning curve. But does that matter, not one bit, its all part of the quest for the perfect tools.
Using tools are not bad in fact many of my tools are excellent. Why else would I have bought them?
Step back and give me some room–I’m going to open the toolbox.
Let’s start with notes and research. I store my research articles, photos, web pages using either Evernote or One Note.
Why do I need both of them? Both programs are very similar, you can clip pages from the internet, type directly into the program, save email, etc.
I think Evernote is easier to work with and more flexible in using stored information.
One Note has an outstanding feature that sometime tips the scale in its favor. The program installs with an included print driver that allows you to copy a large document and “print” (think insert) it into One Note.
One Note comes standard with most of the Microsoft Office packages or it can be purchased through Microsoft. The basic version of Evernote is a free download and comes with a variety of optional packages.
Another tool that I depend on is Writeway Pro. This is a fabulous program designed to literally meet a writer’s dreams. It was designed by a programmer who is married to a writer and it was designed to his wife’s specifications.
You can develop and record the traits and background of your characters, plot your scenes considering location, environment, character actions, and tensions. You can create storyboards, outline, and it includes a full featured word processor.
If you’ve reached one of those spots in your story, you know the spot. Your hero has been driven to go on a quest, who will go with him and why? At this time I turn to a web program called Webspiration, this is a mind plotting program. It allows you to consider alternatives, all of the Hows, Wheres, Whos, Whats, and Whys. Webspiration will develop outlines or charts and instantly coverts from one format to the other. There is a fee for using the program but I think it’s worth it.
I use an Alphasmart Dana to write my draft copies. It’s the greatest little gadget for writing. In essence it’s a small computer (1.9”H x 12.4”W x 9.3”D , weight 2Lb) that has a full size keyboard. It’s powered by either a rechargeable battery or 3 AA batteries. It is advertised to have a 30 hour battery life and comes with a charger.
It syncs to another computer through a USB connection. With other included apps it can perform standard PDA functions. It can even be used as an ereader. Due to its compact size it can easily be taken anywhere.
One of its disadvantages is also a big advantage; it can’t access the internet, which means you can concentrate on writing. Isn’t that you’re supposed to do?
I find the screen on the Dana too small to do editing, for that I need my regular desktop or laptop.
Speaking of my laptop, I never could get used to using it. The glidepad or whatever controlled the cursor would not behave. While typing I would suddenly find myself in the middle of a previous paragraph, then have to go back and see what chaos I had wreaked and correct it.
I tried changing the sensitivity of the pad but that wouldn’t do it—then I saw an ad in one of the PC magazines for a Swiftpoint mouse. You have to see this mini_mouse to believe it.
Please follow the link; you’ll be glad you did. Swiftpoint
Your book or story is finished and it’s time to edit.There are many books on editing; I must have a dozen of them.
But, in addition I recommend a program called Editor, the program searches for problems using a customized set of criteria. As you would expect it catches spelling errors, in addition it detects errors in grammar and usage, it will identify problems with homophones, and suggest changes that might improve the manuscript. One of the more valuable tools is a word count of the appearance of each word per paragraph or sentence (I’m always amazed at how many times I use the word I in a paragraph. See, I used it three times in the last sentence.
Serenity Software the creator of Editor have made regular updates to the program, one of the more recent improvements adds Editor as a Plugin to Microsoft Word. This improvement allows you to review your word document with the suggested changes highlighted and explanations accessible.
All of these tools are very helpful to any author—as long as they don’t get in the way of your writing.
Tell me about any tools or programs that you have used. Maybe I missed out on something.
Don’t tell me that you use the oldest tools available stone tablet and chisel or tablet and pencil .