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Month: March 2015

My Top Ten Writing Tools

So, last post I talked about my goal setting/planning tools…this time I want to talk about my writing tools.  The things that help me plan, research, write, and revise blog posts, novels, and my flash fiction pieces (which I swear, I’m going to get back to).   I still feel like a newbie writer so I didn’t really want to talk about my process, because I’m not even sure I have a process yet, but tools – the things I use and depend on day in and day out to help me write – things I love, that I can talk about.
First up – my four favorite Digital tools:
My go to place for ALL my writing including my blog.  I’ve had this program for a few years now, but in 2014 I finally delved further and learned how to unlock the magic.  It’s truly the best way for me to organize all my writing projects. Digital binders, folders, color coding, special icons, it’s all good.
The second major place I use on my computer (and on my iPhone, and on my iPad) to organize my projects, and my life actually.  I store research, random ideas, crazy names, interesting sounding places, my goals, my Christmas gift list, receipts, business cards – seriously, if I need to save it, it’s probably in Evernote.
3. Dropbox 
The third prong in my three way approach to organization.  All PDFs are stored here.  My writing courses from Holly Lisle, various ebooks I’ve downloaded about blogging, meditation, how to use Evernote, how to use Scrivener, etc.  I mostly read these on my iPad and can access files on the go.  I also use Dropbox as a cloud back-up for Scrivener.  You can never be too safe!
4. Feedly 
An RSS/Blog reader that I’ve been using since Google dropped their service.  I mostly access via iPhone/iPad to read my writing, parenting, and various other blogs that I follow.  I can then save stuff, send to twitter to share, or just browse through and delete at will.  I also “follow” my own blog so I can make sure the formatting looks okay. (I also check via other browsers as well.)
Next – my six favorite Analog tools:
5. My new iHeartOrganizing planner 
I know, I mentioned this last time, but It’s sooooo pretty.  I love writing my daily to-do’s, my monthly goals, and my various appointments in it.  This is the first year in a long time I’m using paper and so far I’m really happy with it. I can color code using washi tape and colored pens, I can use stickers (just like the 80s!) – it’s makes me smile, and really, that’s the point, right?
6. Index Cards
I use these for planning scenes, revising scenes, quick notes, shopping lists, and bookmarks.  I have them in white (lined and plain) and multiple types of colors from pastel to neon.  I almost always have a few in whatever purse or bag I’m carrying too for quick notes while out and about.  
7. Pens
Poppin, Pilot G-2, and Sharpie are my current top three and most used pens.  You can’t have an obsession with paper (and a new paper planner) without pens.  Gotta have ink, y’all.
8. Paper
I have an addiction to notebooks and journals.  There should be a 12 step program, seriously.  I have a hard time passing up buying a new one when I’m in Staples, Target, or Barnes&Nobles.  Moleskin, one-subject mead types, composition, loose leaf, construction paper, you name it – I either have it or want it and probably use it.  Daily.
9. Coffee
This one is probably self-explanatory, but I adore coffee.  I try to keep to 2 cups (because I suffer from insomnia) and try to stop by 12noon, but sometimes the coffee needs to happen all day long!
10. Chocolate
Again, probably self-explanatory, but I LOVE chocolate.  Seriously, some days I would kill for a peanut butter cup and right now it’s all about the Cadbury Creme Eggs.  (I love Easter time for that very reason.) Chocolate makes me happy, keeps me sane, and I swear – my muse talks louder when there’s chocolate.  🙂 
Yup, the above ten things pretty much sum up me and my writing life as of late.  I think I bridge the divide between digital and analog well, especially since you can take pictures directly into Evernote (so I don’t lose notes from those index cards).  I don’t worry about losing thoughts, or research notes, and I feel confident that when I sit down to write a new blog post I have enough ideas to make it easy.
So, what tools do you guys use? What excites you? What apps?  Anything I should check out? Let me know in the comments!
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Goals = Happiness

I became slightly obsessed with goal planning this past Nov/Dec.  I pinned articles, sent clips to Evernote, downloaded free eBooks, but two things really helped me.  

The first was deciding and purchasing a paper planner to use this year.  I know, I know.  Crazy, right?  I love my technology, trust me, I really love my iPhone, but I wanted to have something tangible to write in so I started looking around Pinterest and found iHeartOrganzing on Etsy.  I bought the PDF and had it printed and spiral bound at my local Staples.   

Isn’t it pretty?  It’s colorful and has large spaces for writing down tasks, goals, days off school, vacations, meal planning, etc.  I’m still using the calendar on my phone for things that my husband and I both need to see, but otherwise, I’m using this handy dandy fun tool.

The second thing was finding Leonie Dawson’s awesome book 2015 Create Your Shining Year.  It was a PDF download, but I also had it printed and spiral bound.  I’m not sure why, but I love a good workbook with questions and blank areas for written answers, space to doodle and work out things.  Especially if it’s bright and colorful – and this one definitely is!

These two tools helped me really think about what I wanted from 2015- and myself.  Using Leonie’s book I created real concrete written goals.  I created a vision board (see pic below).  I wrote a list of 100 things to do in 2015 (seriously, this was so much fun – you should try it!).  I came up with serious plans.  I came up with fun plans.  I came up with silly plans.  I came up with a word of the year (Happy).  I had fun and allowed myself to dream big.

And, even before 2014 ended, I started planning blog posts, reading books about spirituality, and was actually looking forward to the new year.  I was excited. I was filled with joy and – dare I say it – happiness.  I’ve been using the planner, decorating it with stickers and washi tape.  Filling it up with my life.  My goals.  My hopes and dreams.  I’ve been using the goal workbook to help me plan my month, go over previous months, and re-evaluate what’s working and what’s not.

I know it’s March already and I’m a bit late with this post.  Okay, here’s a confession.  See, even though I started planning my blog posts I was trying to turn this into something serious and business-y.  And that didn’t work for me. It took me until the end of February to re-evaluate that goal, so I’m back to writing for fun and not for platform.  

So, even though I’m late, I want to hear from you guys – did you make any official 2015 goals?  Are you happy and excited about them? What tools or books or websites did you use?  Let’s all dream big together okay?
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