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 What I learned after getting a newer version of the iPad, was how much I’d missed writing this way.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

Scrivener for IPad

I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube lately. Since I received my iPad, and uploaded the new app for Scrivener, I wanted to learn more about how other writers use their iPads with the program. I’ve loved using Scrivener for years on my laptop, but having the versatility of using my iPad appealed to me greatly.

In the past, I used Docs to Go on my old iPad. This was more like writing in Word, which was the program I used back then. It worked fine, but I don’t want to go back to using Word for writing. I remember taking the iPad when my hubby had therapy at the VA Clinic. I’d sit in the cafeteria for two hours and just write. I used a bluetooth keyboard. One day a gentleman came to sit at the table and asked me what I was doing. I told him about being an author and working on my book while my hubby was in therapy. Many people were interested in my endeavor. LOL! It was fun to tell them about my published books and I suppose it was a bit of marketing as well.

Once I learned about Scrivener, I became attached to my computer. The iPad was abandoned except for mundane tasks. Eventually, the operating system for the iPad 2 became obsolete and wouldn’t work with most of my apps. I still have it, though. I’m not sure where I learned about the Scrivener app for iPad, but it intrigued me. I knew I’d be happy to write on an iPad again!

I did some research and decided the 9th generation was good enough for what I wanted to do and found a good price on Amazon. It arrived the next day. (Now I need to sell books to pay for it!) I already had a bluetooth keyboard, and I decided to order a mouse to go with it. Why? I find it less distracting to use a mouse than to use my finger on the touchscreen while I’m writing.

And now we circle back to the YouTube world. Did you know you can find almost anything on YouTube? But one must use common sense. I found writers who were using the Scrivener app on their iPads and watched their videos to see how they set it up. Yes, it is different from the Scrivener app for Windows. Everything I need is there, but it is hiding. It’s more streamlined, which is a good thing. I’m so anxious to begin working on plotting my next book or series on the iPad, but it will have to wait until I finish the memoir I’m writing to give to family for Christmas. Since we are having out get together on the 17th, I have to concentrate on finishing!

I don’t know what tools you might use to write (if this is a fellow author reading this), but I’d love to hear from you. If you use Scrivener on your computing device of choice, especially the iPad, please feel free to share your thoughts. Oh, and do you use YouTube to reference “how to” videos?

Author's Life

Writing with Finnegan

Writing hours have taken on a new look since Finnegan came to live with me. He’s the most adorable muse , um, complication to my story telling. He wants to be a writer and as such is exploring the moving things on the monitor. With the memoir I’m currently working on, he has become more of a complication than an assistant.

I’m adding as many photographs as possible, so my children and grandchildren get a better view of my life as a child. If I happen to be lucky enough for Finnegan to fall asleep at the top of the keyboard, the sound of the scanner at work wakes him. He twists to look at the monitor instead of me and sees the little dots moving across the top. This prompts him to catch them before they disappear. After that he blocks my view of the picture and makes saving to the appropriate folder a difficult maneuver. As I get out of the chair to replace the picture on the scanner, he decides to try his hand paw at writing a caption. He’s gotten good at eights and nines!

When he came to live with me, I thought it was so cute how he bonded quickly and, unless eating, kept closely by my side. I think he’s trying to make sure I don’t disappear. Well, after all, I’m his feeding source!

Honestly, I’m very blessed by his presence. He brings me joy and infuses this into every word I write. I know God brought us together because we were two broken souls who needed each other.

Being an author has always been a passion for me, but it had lost its glow over the past few years. Finnegan has instilled in me a renewed energy which has spilled into my writing. God understood the need and He provided.

Now, dear readers, you can perhaps picture the orange tabby, whose long hair is slowly growing back after being shaved, as my constant companion at the keyboard. The joy of his purring encourages me to lead my characters into a place of love and peace. And though I may shed a tear or two as I go back in time to a lost little girl’s life, I know the ending. It’s a happily ever after.

Author's Life · Senior Life

Home Again, Great Granddaughters, and New Software

I’m home! Friday was a traveling day. We had a nice ride until we reached Ohio. That’s when we hit several downpours where we couldn’t see the car in front of us. While we made good time, when we arrived, we didn’t have the energy to eat out as planned. Instead, we had food delivered.

Yesterday one of my daughters and son-in-loves stopped by for a visit. They brought my great granddaughter. She’s growing so quickly, and one of these days she won’t rush to throw her arms around me. I’m loving and savoring these moments. If only I had even a drop of her energy! Watching her run around in the grass barefooted brings back childhood memories! Her mom stopped by to pick her up, so I was able to visit with her, too. After they left, my neighbor who lives closest to the pond walked over with several of the tiniest little frogs I’ve ever seen in a dustpan. She wanted my great granddaughter to see them. She said their sidewalk is covered with them and they have to keep sweeping them off!

Today, I am back to normal and ready to make the final edits to the book. The mini vacation did wonders for me both physically and mentally. Didn’t realize how much I needed the break. Things are different without having my fur baby, Templeton. I’m adjusting better after the trip.

So, it is back to editing this morning and I’m excited for it. My dear friend and author, Sandra Lea Rice, told me about an editing program, ProWritingAid. This is awesome because it works right inside my writing program, Scrivener. The other editing program doesn’t integrate. I love technology and learning new software. This old dog loves to learn new tricks!

Thank you, Lord, for EVERYTHING!

Author's Life · Morning Thoughts

Writing in the Great Outdoors

Saturday morning…not a usual day for me to blog. The reason is a new tablet and bluetooth keyboard I’m trying out. As I sit here with my cup of tea, listening to the birds singing, I find it a nice change from having to squint at my laptop screen. If only it wouldn’t be so difficult to view outdoors!

This setup is working nicely so I’m feeling encouraged. Today is my cleaning and laundry day but I have all day to deal with that. Right now I simply want to drink a cup of tea while enjoying this lovely day and birdsong.

I’d like to find a way to write my books on this tablet, but my writing program doesn’t work with the Android operating system. One cannot be choosy, though. Actually this tablet is replacing a 12 year old iPad. It had an app that worked for writing. If I can write and save as a word document, I can then email it to myself and then upload it to my laptop writing program. Perhaps I will find an app.

For now I’m happy to be able to sit outside and blog!