Author's Life

Finding the Joy in Writing on an iPad

Taking a break in December was a healthy choice for me. It gave me time to reflect on the past year and to think about my writing plans for 2023. I did research and listened to a lot of podcasts from other writers utilizing the tools I planned to embrace. So when the fireworks went off, and the ball dropped in NYC, I was prepared for launching 2023 with a bang.

I purchased a new iPad and set it up for launching my new goals. My old iPad was a version which no longer worked with my apps and the system was way too old to upgrade any longer. I stopped using it for writing quite a few years ago. What I learned after getting a newer version of the iPad, was how much I’d missed writing this way. I have a bluetooth keyboard, a generic pink one with keys that have the right feel for me to be productive. Writing on the iPad takes away my distractions. I don’t have an annoying task bar at the top or bottom of the screen. When I use it, I see only what I’m writing. The colors are soft and non glaring on my eyes.

What I find is myself connecting to the characters in a deeper way. I am inside the story and the words just flow. I’m in the zone, so to speak. (Excuse the cliche.) I’m much more productive than I have been in years.

I spent the first days of the year outlining, in brief format, the entire book. I took time to write character profiles which helped me to understand and learn the individuality of each. And then I began writing. I love using my Scrivener software on both platforms, my iMac and my iPad. Both work seamlessly together by utilizing Dropbox as the place where my writing is stored. I do the original setup of the folders on the iMac, but the actual writing of the draft is completed on the iPad.

I love being able to know exactly how many words I need to write each day which is established by the date I want to be finished and the estimated total word count for the book. Scrivener does this automatically for me. I can see how I’m doing and I know that by reaching each day’s goal, I will finish by my deadline.

Of course, I’m a person who loves to be organized. It’s wonderful to have one program that keeps me that way. Any notes, research, thoughts…all the things I used to keep in notebooks, on sticky notes, and such, which ultimately became difficult to find when needed, are now all in the same program. All easily referred to without having to leave the program. Scrivener for me screams success.

This is how I wrote from 2010 through 2013 when I took my husband to VA for his physical therapy. While he spent his time working out, I was sitting in the cafe and writing my story. I loved it, and now, a lot of years later, I’m loving my writing time just as I did then.

We are all different and find our comfort zones and our tools. I’ve found mine again. Mine might not be the same as yours. Whatever your choice of tools, I only suggest you find the method that works for you. Make writing pleasurable and make sure you can get into the zone and away from the distractions. Set yourself up for success.

Happy writing!

Author's Life

Don’t Lose Your Voice

In the past, I was all about learning the “rules” of writing. The ever-changing “rules” of writing! I took classes, read multiple books, went to conferences, attended webinars and soaked up all the information available in an effort to “do it right.” My mind became so jumbled with rules I lost my writing voice. Editors told me what not to do. I was told only the big authors could get away with writing what I wanted to write. I was a tiny seedling in a huge forest.

I learned to always be in editing mode when I read anything. So I lost enjoyment in reading, too.

I spent so much time writing in editing mode, my characters became cardboard. My writing became stilted. And I wasn’t enjoying writing at all.

Something had to give. I stopped worrying about all the rules. Everyone had a different interpretation of them anyway. And I began to write what I wanted to write using the “rules” I wanted to follow. The ones that made sense. The ones that turned me into an author. Writing became fun again. My characters became real in my imagination and my heart was invested in them.

My suggestion to any new writer is to read. Read what you enjoy the most. Fall in love with the words. Fall in love with writing. Start a journal of your thoughts. Pour them out on the page. Write short stories. Just write. Learn about plotting, about character development, about setting, about using the five senses. Incorporate good writing style into your prose. Don’t worry if you happen to write “She rolled her eyes.” Only writers stuck in the world of rules will picture eyeballs rolling across the floor. You’ll begin to write that phrase in a better way, but while writing the first draft, just write. Enjoy writing what you like and once it’s finished, you can put on your editor’s hat and fix the things that pull you out of the story. Just have fun.