Showing posts with label mind mapping. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mind mapping. Show all posts

Preparing for Nano--Writing Tools to Help

Get ready for Nano

Image courtesy of punsayaporn at
The real Nano die-hards will have been setting themselves up for success for almost a month now. The plotters will have a flexible scheme of work, chapter headings, a synopsis and maybe even a blurb at the ready for the off on November 1.

The Pantsers will have character sketches of their main protagonists loaded with virtues and flaws--all motivated toward meaningful conflict.

But, whether it's for Nano or any other time of the year that you'd like to challenge yourself, let battle commence.

When Inspiration Flags

Look to writing software for help. Most writers now have heard of Scrivener but despite its wonderfully detailed manual, it has so many bells and whistles that it can seem a very steep learning curve. Find help from Gwen Hernandez, who is one of the renowned go-to tutors when you're struggling to profit from the software. The articles listed under Scrivener Help on her blog include several which focus on the usefulness of the software when accepting the challenge to write the statutory 50,000 words in November.

Scrivener does have a 30 day free trial to give you a chance to decide whether you find it useful or not.

If you are a visual learner you may find yourself opting for the new  program on the block. StoryShop developed by the Indie legends who make up Sterling and Stone has a strong visual base to help you see your story develop as you write. it has a 7-day all access pass but you can keep using the writing tool for free after that.

Scapple from the Scrivener stable is a beautifully easy mind mapper/text editor where you simply drop and drag items to connect them. Another helpful notebook and list organizer is WorkFlowy which comes highly recommended by many writers although I have not myself used it.

Another great book writing tool, which has been noted by Reedsy and Nanowrimo as one of the best tools to write books, is 

Speed up Your Writing

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at
Voice recognition software has come a long way since the earliest versions of Dragon. It does depend on your training it to recognize your voice and vocabulary. I suggest you read your articles or writing if asked to do this while training rather than giving access to your emails or documents.

For the writer on a budget, the new Google add-ons for Chrome are amazingly good--at least they suit me. You can upload the printed text to Google docs then download from there to your own computer.

Windows 10 has its own Speech Recognition option built in. Click on Ease of Access in the Control Panel and you will find the option to start it and to set up  a microphone if you wish to do so.

It certainly speeds up the writing, saves fingers and muscular strain.

What are your favorite aids for writing? Please share your ideas in the comments below.

Anne Duguid Knol
A local and national journalist in the U.K., Anne is now a fiction editor for award-winning American and Canadian publishers. As a new author, she shares writing tips and insights at her very new Author Support blog:
Her novella, ShriekWeek is published by The Wild Rose Press.

Easy Tips to Achieve Your Goals

Last January, my husband and I received pedometers as a New Years gift from our son.  He was nudging us towards more exercise.  It worked.  Why?  I think there were two reasons--we had daily visual cues and a goal buddy.  Our fitbit pedometers provided us with a daily visual of the amount of exercise we were getting.  We set a target of 15,000 steps a day.  My husband was my goal buddy and we held each other accountable for reaching the 15,000 steps.  Six months into this experiment, I lost my pedometer.  Within a month, my steps took a significant drop.  I had lost my visual cue and when my husband couldn’t see my steps, he stopped holding me accountable. I just bought a new pedometer, I’m sure I’ll once again reach my exercise goal.  

I’m someone who needs to build support and structure around my resolutions.  This applies to most areas of my life.  I’ve used similar strategies to achieve my writing goals.  Creating visual cues and having a goal buddy has kept my writing on track.

Here are a few strategies to boost your writing life.
1.       Create visual cues that remind you of your writing goals. 
a.       Design a vision board.  Put pictures, words and phrases that represent your story and your publishing goals.  Are you hoping for a book contract?  Draw a contract on this board. You can create a vision board for one manuscript or your whole writing life.   Enjoy the process.  Arts and crafts are good for the soul of a writer.
b.      Stick post-it notes all around your house...on your nightstand…bathroom mirror…computer.   Write the title of the book or project and your goal. (Finish first draft by Feb 1st; identify two ideas for marketing plan by Friday)
c.       Use mind mapping to outline all your projects.  See the post by Shirley Corder on mind mapping and writing.  She hand drew her mind map.  I prefer using software like freeplane or freemind.  Below is a mind map of my children's writing projects.

2.       Find a goal buddy to connect with once a week or every other week. 
a.       Find an online partner.  Instead of exchanging manuscripts, share a weekly goal and then check in once a week to discuss your progress.  A goal buddy should help you establish achievable goals for the week.
b.      Phone a friend.  Select a friend that you’ll call the same time each week to discuss your weeks accomplishments and set your goals for the coming week.

These techniques provide me with the structure I need to stay disciplined in my writing.  What strategies have you used to boost your writing? 

Mary Jo Guglielmo is a writer, teacher and intuitive life coach. She helps clients push through their blocks, envision their path and take the necessary action to live their True North. 

For more information check out

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing Uni...