I usually aim to post new stuff each Sunday, but yesterday took so much energy out of me that I just had nothing left at the end of the night. Sorry! I have the day off today, and so I shall update you all on what is going on in my world.
First, I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of my new laptop! I snagged a shiny new Dell Inspiron 5493 with all the fixin’s necessary for productive writing (and, possibly, a little light gaming when I’m in between writing). It should be here in a couple of days! Hopefully I can sit down and get everything set up while I’m at a conference this weekend (sadly for my day job, not my side hustle). The biggest and best part: I bought Scrivener while it was on sale last summer, and so I’ll be converting all my projects over to that ASAP (I currently use Novelist on my Android tablet). If any of you out there happen to be Scrivener experts, please feel free to reach out with tips. I’m eager to start hammering out new material!
Now, speaking of Novelist, it has been a critical component of my writing routine over the past year. On my first NaNo try in November 2018, I started with Google Docs, then converted over to Word for the second draft of my sci-fi WIP. These are fine choices for many, but I never took the time to set up breadcrumb trails to be able to shift back and forth between chapters along the way, resulting in time lost while trying to find the exact thing I meant to revisit. Switching over to Novelist solved this problem for me overnight. It operates much like Scrivener, and I highly recommend it for any Android users out there (it’s even free!). However, since I’ll be converting over from Android to Windows 10, I’ll have to learn a few new tricks.
This leads me to another key point: when I was a new writer, I wanted to know what was The Thing good writers used to put together a manuscript. For traditional publishers, Word seems to be the standard (or so I’m told — again, I’d welcome responses otherwise). But for indies, Wattpad writers, and so on, there appear to be as many options as there are writers. Some type out their stories right on their phones; others find Google Docs suits their needs, while a lot of the people I hang around on Twitter and IG love Scrivener — its following seems similar to that of the fabled Instant Pot (not that I can scoff…I own two of those things).
If you are just starting out, or, like I once was, looking for new options, I’ll say what I say about my writing process in general: Play around. Try new things. Figure out what works for you. A great deal of my repertoire has come about as a result of experimenting with different things and seeing how they play out. That’s a key way to how I learn: I often have to see myself do it the first time around in order to decide if it works for me.
Fourteen months ago, I thought I was a sure panster, a discovery writer who would find out more about the story along the way. And to some small degree, that’s true. But I’ve since learned I need at least a little bit of structure to start with, like the framework of a building, in order to get going. Newbie Me would get frustrated at the lack of progress on several things, but Seasoned Veteran Me has realized that those fits and starts have led to new discoveries that will pay off in the long run. As a final example: I noted here how I figured out that doing a set of 3-4 word sprints a night got me my needed word goals for this past NaNo a couple months ago.
In sum, play around with different options until you find something that works for you. It’s the best way, in my opinion, to leave your fingerprint on the writing world.