Blogging · Writing

Weekend Writing Goals

I’ve been working at my Day Job non stop this entire week, and I’ve got doubles all weekend so I’ve got even less time than usual to write and read.

Sometimes, I have to wonder, when does my Day Job stop becoming just that? A day job is meant to be a supplementary place of income, something to get me by in the winter months. But I’m practically working over time—of course, the summer is the peak of BBQ season so of course I’m working plenty—and it’s leaving me more drained and less likely to want to get my writing done.

But I’m coming on 30k in this draft of my YA Fantasy and I’m nearly at the end of Act 1. Someone’s about to get kidnapped! I’m excited.

It’s been a lot of fun getting back into this manuscript. Every time I take a break from the story and the world and instead focus my writing on a different project, this world is just sort of sitting at the back of my head. It’s always so tempting to go back to it, even if I know I need to take time off from it.

So this weekend I’m hoping to hit 35k and get as close to the end of Act 1 as I can.

What are your weekend writing goals?

Blogging · Writing

Useful Apps for Writers

I’ve been called a lover of apps. Mozzarella sticks, nachos, onion rings… wait. Not those kinds of apps. What I actually mean are applications, useful bits of tech that make my writing process smoother and a little more enjoyable.

I’ll start this off by saying that none of these apps are sponsored, I’m just a 20+ writer who loves using these apps. Most of them are free (#brokewriterproblems), some have a one time or monthly fee. There are probably other apps that achieve a similar goal for free, but I’ve found what works for me and my operating system. All of the following apps are 100% compatible with Android and Windows, as I don’t use Apple or iOS, so if you use a Mac or iPhone, be aware of that!

Onto the apps!

Pacemaker.press (Base functions, free/Premium functions, $8/month. Web)

I’ve talked a little about Pacemaker before, and how much it’s helped me keep a good schedule throughout my drafts, but my deadline anxiety has been eased significantly thanks to the Pacemaker. It’s a progress tracker that lets you input your goal, be it word count, chapters, pages or anything else, and a deadline. Then you select the type of workload you want, like Steady, a Mountain Climb, Random, and it’ll determine your daily goal in order to finish on time. You can even designate certain days to do more work. Prefer to work more on weekends? Do you work part time or have certain days where you’re at school and can’t write? You can plug in those exceptions and it’ll calculate around them.

pacemakerIt was vital when I knew I would be working weekends and traveling to school two days a week during my undergrad, since I was able to get more writing done on certain days than others and still meet my deadlines. 

There are a dozen different ways you can customize your Pacemaker, but my favorite will always be the ability to see my progress in a graph and the calendar export that lets me keep tabs on my goal on my Google Calendar. The basic functions are free, and you can have up to two projects running at the same time on the basic plan. The premium plan is $8 a month but gives you access to a calendar feature on the site which tracks all of your projects, of which you can have an unlimited number of on the premium plan. But the best part of Pacemaker is that you can use the base of the app for anything, not just tracking word count. I use mine to keep track of when blog posts need to be written, and if I’ve done my daily lessons on Duolingo, and all my writing projects. It’s versatile and I love that about it.

Writeometer (Free, Android/Google Play Store)

writeometerI love graphs and trackers. I’m such a visual person. And Writeometer was the first tracker I fell in love with. It’s a free mobile app only available on the Play Store for Android systems.

Writeometer offers pretty much everything you might need in a mobile word count tracker: multiple projects, reminders to write (customizable to your schedule), it’ll calculate an exact word count or end date for you, and it has a timer to write to. The default timer is set to 25 minutes and you can access the timer directly  through the notification it sends you, and you’re encouraged to write through the whole time, then you can input your word count.

It even has a widget you can stick on your home page that is a shortcut to your project and has a little bar that fills up with your word count as you get closer to your goal! It’s so satisfying to watch it fill up day by day.

Freedom (Free trial, then $6.99/month or other pricing plans. PC/Mac/iOS)

dashboard-ca302c0a5f9210e467742f1b4c817364b9e9ba61b2a03efa1b869b756cad66baFreedom is a site and app blocking app that works across all your devices to block websites and apps. It’s incredibly  handy and I love it because you can have different lists of what to block. Say some days you only want to block your social media, you can make a list for your Facebook and Twitter and any other time wasting site you love. Need to block the entire internet? You can make a list for that too.

The other thing that sets Freedom apart from other app blocking sites is that you can set schedules into it. So say you need to block certain sites and things between 9 and 5 on weekdays, or only certain days. You can do that. This isn’t available in the free trial, last I checked, but the full program includes it.

Since Freedom isn’t available on Android devices, they provide a free promo code to download Offtime, which tracks your mobile app usages and can block apps on your phone for you in the same manner as Freedom.

Whatsapp (Free, mobile, web and PC/Mac)

Okay, okay, I see the irony of suggesting a messaging app right after suggesting an app blocker. I know.

whatsappBut Whatsapp is actually just the latest in my long history of favorite messaging apps. I’ve tried Slack and Skype and Google Hangouts. But Whatsapp is one of my favorites right now for plenty of reasons.

But I mainly use WhatsApp to stay connected and chat with my writer friend(s). Mainly JM Tuckerman. But we use it to chat when we’re writing and reading, and the app runs both on our phones and on our computers and browsers so we can chat while one or both of us are at work. We’re collaborating on a project together so it’s vital that we have a reliable app that lets us chat easily and quickly and also exchange media files if need be.

Plus, the built in gif search is integral to sending each other reaction gifs to our writing or whatever book we’re reading.

Rainymood.com (Free, web)

rainymoodI like listening to something when I’m writing. Usually white noise or my Deep Focus playlist on Spotify. It helps me, unsurprisingly, focus.

Rainymood.com is my go to white noise generator. Technically all it generates is a constant stream of rain and thunder, which is just fine by me. I love the sound of rain and it really gets me in the creative zone when it’s playing.

Some people need more than that, like a generator you can control exactly what kind of white noise you hear. For that, I recommend the mobile app, White Noise Generator by Relaxio on the Play Store. It lets you generate different soundtracks, like rain, a stream, birds or a fire place, and then save that track for listening later. It also has a timer in case you want to use it to fall asleep after a long day of writing!

Those are all the apps I’ve come to love while I write, and I hope they can be of some use to you as well. If you liked this content, be sure to follow me on Twitter and if you want to help me create  more awesome bookish and writerly content, consider buying my a coffee at my ko-fi!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Writing · Writing Advice

On Minor Characters

Your main characters are important; they tell the story. Without them, there wouldn’t be a story. But what about minor characters? Secondary characters that are only there in a passing scene or two? They exist for two possible reasons: one, to progress the story and two, to progress the main character’s characterization.

So what happens when a minor character doesn’t fulfill either of those reasons?

Continue reading “On Minor Characters”

Writing

Watson’s A Woman?

I posted this for a class assignment last semester, and I still think it’s pretty relevant! Maybe I should start watching Elementary again…

Gendertainment

I know this is old news, but in one of the more recent adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, Lucy Liu (of Charlie’s Angels fame) has taken up the role of Dr. Watson. That is, Doctor Joan Watson.

This is great news! A WOC (woman of color) playing a well known doctor! On American TV. How awesome is that?

Jon Michael Hill plays “Detective Bell” and Lucy Liu is “Joan Watson” in CBS’s Elementary.

I’ll admit, when I first started hearing of the show (which was just after BBC’s Sherlock had just finished it’s British premiere of season 2) I thought it was just us Americans trying to get some ratings off of a popular British TV show.

Then I started hearing about how Liu’s character Joan is a disgraced surgeon, with no military background (as opposed to the canon, where Watson is a former military doctor). Then…

View original post 396 more words

Writing Advice

Writing Diversity (Writing Tip Tuesday)

 

Diversity in literature, especially Young Adult literature, had been exploding over social media lately. That’s not to say diversity in fiction hasn’t been an issue prior to Twitter getting its hands on it, it’s just now openly available to everyone.

If there is one point I plan to make in this post, that you can take away from it, is this: diversity is important. If the world is diverse, your writing needs to be diverse. 

I’m not just talking about slapping on a “foreign sounding name” to a background character, or changing the description of a minor character’s skin to read “dark” or “ebony”. Write a story featuring a person of color (POC); make the main character POC, make the love interest POC, make everyone POC if you really want. But include more than just white and black.

Continue reading “Writing Diversity (Writing Tip Tuesday)”