Scrivener – The Aesthetically Pleasing Writer’s Tool

Folks. When I got my new (used) computer several months ago it didn’t have Pages, which is what I generally use. From what I could figure out, I was going to have to pay for Pages, so therefore I decided to spend a little bit of time looking into what would be a better writing platform to work with.

A blogger who’s writing knowledge I applaud had mentioned that she uses Scrivener, and she kinda maybe gushed a little bit about various features. Therefore, I decided to do the 30 day trial period.

I might or might not have skipped the tutorial and bumbled my way around for 30 days, using Google and Youtube and having permanent heart-eyes at some of the great features. I might have also spent hours creating the perfect corkboards and working on character sketches and sending screenshots to Hosanna.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 8.36.53 AM.png

And then my trial period ran out. Thankfully, by then I knew I wanted to buy the program. Only, life got busy and so it was a while before I actually was able to input my credit card info and download Scrivener.

By that time I’d kinda forgotten some of what I’d learned through Google and Youtube, and besides, I was working on a re-write, so I didn’t need all the fancy corkboards to get me going. (Although let’s be real: I still wanted them, I just couldn’t justify the long hours on Pinterest.)

The problem is, once I actually had Scrivener, something kinda overwhelming happened:

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 8.31.51 AM

People. To learn how the program works I’m supposed to read all of this. And although it’s probably not that much, my brain was like No, No, NO! This time at your computer is set aside to write, not to read a bunch of randomness. So I once again skipped the tutorial and, imagine a moose at a tea party, I just leaped in and started adding and erasing and making the whole thing look pretty messed up.

Screen Shot 2018-01-17 at 8.46.52 AM

Confusing, right? So, at the beginning of this month, I decided I would take the time to learn how Scrivener works. And guess what? It’s really not as confusing as I thought it would be. It’s actually fun to see what I’m supposed to be doing, and how I’m supposed to be doing it. It also makes the whole program seem that much cooler. Cause, ya know, there really is rhyme and reason for all the little things scattered around on the page.

And now to see how fast I can master being a Scrivener writer…

Do you use Scrivener? If so, what’s your favorite feature?

30 Unique Author Interview Questions

It’s 7:14 in the morning and I just shot off an email of questions for an author interview for Connilyn Cossette who’s book, A Light on the Hillis coming out February 6th. Times like this make me feel like a legit blogger. And a writer. Ya know, getting the writing work done before going out and jetting off to my non-writing job. (And when I say jetting, I actually mean driving very slowly and taking the long way around cause roads are icy.)

FullSizeRender-50

Recently I’ve been thinking about author interviews, and how it can be slightly annoying as an author when I get the same questions over and over and over again. Therefore I thought it would be fun to share with y’all 30 unique questions to ask during author interviews. But really, I do like the traditional questions as well, so I like having a mixture of normal and unique.

  1. If you had to give up either snacks and drinks during writing sessions, or music, which would you find more difficult to say goodbye to?
  2. Which is your favorite season to write in, and why?
  3. If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
  4. Picture this: You feel uninspired and you’ve sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
  5. What has influenced you the most as a writer?
  6. Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?
  7. What is your preferred font to write in?
  8. Do you use any special writing software? If so what is it, and what are a few of your favorite perks of it?
  9. If you have pictures on your writing desk, who/what are they of?
  10. What is your most unusual writing quirk?
  11. Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists or C) Epic settings?
  12. What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
  13. What behind-the-scenes tidbit in your life would probably surprise your readers the most?
  14. What is the funniest typo you’ve ever written?
  15.  Do you feel like you’d be a better writer if you wore sparkly socks during your writing sessions?
  16. What does being a successful author look like to you?
  17. What are two of your favorite covers of all time? (Not your own.)
  18. What is your favorite cover out of all your books? Why is it your favorite?
  19. How do you come up with names for your characters?
  20. Who is the most supportive person in your life when it comes to your writing?
  21. Do you ever take random writing breaks to dance? If so, when do these breaks generally occur?
  22. How many drafts do your books generally to through before publication?
  23. Do you have any writing blogs you recommend?
  24. Give a shout-out to a fellow author.
  25. What would the logline be for your book?
  26. What was the hardest part of writing your author bio?
  27. What is your favorite time to write, and why?
  28. How do you think being a writer has helped you as a person?
  29. What is your favorite word, and why?
  30. Do you have any writing buddies?

What kind of questions would you like to see in author interviews?

Stillness

This is the third month in a row that I’ve gone to Pennsylvania. The last two times I haven’t even taken my computer which is nearly unheard of for me. I know, crazy, right? Going on a whole six-hour car ride without working on writing is something that six months ago I would almost deem irresponsible. Life only has a certain amount of hours, and it’s imperative that we get the most out of those hours, right?

What I’ve been learning though, is that sometimes the most redeeming thing I can do is…nothing.

I’m in a constant state of tiredness, mostly due to health issues – but ever since last summer, I’ve been working at paying more attention to what I’m really doing, and what I’m really telling myself. And do you know what I tell myself? That I need to keep going, going, going until I crash. That if I don’t have a list of things I’ve accomplished at the end of the day, then I haven’t done enough. That I need to do everything possible to make the biggest difference possible, because yo, life is short.

As it turns out, all those things have some truth in them, but I’m an all or nothing type of girl, so I take them to extremes.

For years I’ve worked at finding my identity in Christ, and there are times that I’ve felt like I’m doing a fairly okay job of it, but I’ve never mastered it. It wasn’t until last year that I realized I put so much of my identity in my accomplishments. A breakthrough moment for me was when I realized that I was literally never satisfied with what I’d done unless I was too tired to get out of bed the next week. And so I began making changes. I began making myself have times of quiet and stillness. Instead of always lugging my computer around or pulling my phone out when I had two minutes of stillness, I’ve been learning to sit. To observe. To pray. To dwell on future possibilities, or indulge in a fond memory.

IMG_8584

On the trip out to Pennsylvania instead of working, I did a lot of dancing with my best friend’s two-year-old, watched a movie on my phone, joked with my car companions, and just relaxed. On the way home I was with my sisters and spent most of the time conversing with them. (Older sister: “Riding with you is a really interesting experience, Lydia. I don’t think I’ve ever had a whole series of such weird topics in one conversation.”) It was good for me, and just what I needed at the moment.

I was scheduled to work at the coffee shop this morning but then didn’t have to after all. So, guess what? I was tired enough that despite a very early bedtime, I allowed myself to sleep in until 7:30. Yes, I had a list of things I needed to get done this morning, but once again, sometimes I’m learning that I do the most when I do nothing.

Life.

It’s a once in a lifetime experience, and I’m determined to do the most with it that I can, and sometimes that means doing nothing at all. I want my life to count. To make a difference for eternity. And it will. Everything you, or me, or the bully next door, or the Queen of England does, everything makes an impact. Some for the better, some for the worse. And instead of cramming the most accomplishments I can into each moment, I want to fill my moments with God, and what God has for me. And some of what He has for me is accomplishments (oh, glory be!) but, I want to be just as happy and just as fulfilled when I can’t check things off my list. When I can’t celebrate another job perfectly carried out. When I can’t bask in my own well-carried-out and completed tasks.

Life isn’t all about doing. It’s not all about being. It’s not all about who we’ll become or where we came from. Life is an elusive mixture of so many things, and it won’t look the same for any two of us. Therefore, I want to make sure my life is spent doing what God has called me to do.

Sometimes He calls me to be still.

And I’m learning to take delight in stillness.

Vlogging for 2018

Y’all. I’ve been vlogging (somewhat) consistently for about a year now. I feel like I’ve come a long way. When I started I didn’t know how to customize my thumbnail. I didn’t know what PicMonkey was. I didn’t even know how to do any editing. Like, to the point that if I messed up on filming I’d start the recording over because I didn’t know how to cut anything out. It was bad, folks, it was bad.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 7.37.12 AM

But I learned. And Learned. And Learned some more. I watched a lot of Youtube tutorials. I learned what Booktube was. I bought PicMonkey and spent endless amounts of time fiddling around on it. I discovered the joys of editing, and when I say joys, I mean joys. Do y’all know what I often want to do when I have a little bit of time to relax? Yep, that’s right. I want to edit a vlog because it’s downright fun for me to watch it all come together.

I’ve come a long way, but there’s obviously still endless amounts of distance to cover before I’m a pro at vlogging. Still, the learning curve has been fun and steady and I’m thankful for that. I’m also thankful for all of y’all who watch my vlogs.

Screen Shot 2018-01-11 at 7.36.53 AM

As I go forward with vlogging this year, I thought it would be helpful to hear some feedback from y’all. Therefore, I put together a short survey and it would be really helpful if you could take two minutes and fill it out. Thank you!

My Most Anticipated Reads of February 6th, 2018 ;) {Vlog}

Hey folks! I’ve never done an anticipated reads vlog before. In fact, I’ve never even compiled a list of books I’m excited about being released before.

Y’all. Until about two years ago, I never even read newly released books. Crazy, right?

I grew up on a bunch of the same books my older siblings grew up on, and since I’m the seventh out of ten kids, that meant that the books had been out in the world for a long time before I came on the scene. Therefore, it was a lot of fun to be able to look up books that are being released this year (ahem, more specifically February 6th), and know that in all likelihood I’ll read them this year.

Do you have any books you’re looking forward to in 2018?

January From a Bookerly Perspective

January is one of those months that makes me want to do two things: Cooking and Books.

It’s the best when you heat up the house by having the oven going with fresh breadsticks and the stovetop full, and knowing that soon everyone is going to gather around the table to enjoy a big, homemade meal that you just prepared. Cooking in the winter time with snow falling lightly and hues of gray, white, brown, gold, and blue taking over the world creates a cozy atmosphere. It steeps the world in calm and makes me think of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books.

And then books… What could be more delightful? It’s equally as wonderful to read as to write because winter is the catalyst that makes words build up inside me, eager to escape, but also makes me long to fill my brain with more words.

FullSizeRender-49

My preferred writing setting is to sit at my desk with low lighting – my Christmas lights and salt lamp – soft music playing, a hot beverage standing at attention nearby, a candle filling the room with heavenly scents, and my office clean. It’s not like I’m picky or anything… (insert eye-roll) Really though, I can write in most environments, I just know which environment sparks my muse and sends my imagination off on a flight of happiness.

As for reading? That can happen anywhere, at any time. But, if we’re talking about the cozy winter reading? Then my overstuffed couch, a fuzzy blanket, light snack, and lighting that’s just the right brightness so I can read without straining my eyes wins out.

This will be the first winter in a long time that I’m not going to Florida at least once (last year I went twice). My grandparents live there and since I work from my computer, I generally spent a couple weeks with them a couple times a year. I very much miss not getting to go hang out with them (due to my job at the coffee shop), but I’m delighted to be spending so much of winter in, well, wintery settings.

Do you like winter? Is it wintery where you live?

2018 Musings and Goals

Today is one of those snowy, icy, you’re-probably-not-going-to-work-today type of glorious winter mornings. It’s also one of those you-just-got-over-being-sick-now-make-today-fantastic type of mornings, and I’m pretty excited about it.

Last night as I was falling asleep I was marveling about how there are only 51 weeks left in 2018. And yes, I know 51 weeks is a long time, but the fact that one week is already gone reminds me of how each day wooshes past at a rather fast pace and after the time is gone there’s no way to get it back.

IMG_0230

(Side note: My Christmas lights that have adorned the perimeter of my room for the last three years just – literally just – gave up the ghost.)

This year I don’t have a lot of goals. 2017 ended up throwing me so many plot twists that when I sat down to work on praying about and planning 2018, I seriously couldn’t fathom many specifics for what I wanted to accomplish in the year.

I have ideas.
I have ideals.
I have dreams.
Hopes.
Prayers.

But goals? Those aren’t as easy to tack down when talking about a whole year. Twelve months. Fifty-two weeks. Three hundred and sixty-five days. It’s a lot of time, time that I’m becoming more and more aware that I’ll never get back or be able to redo. Each of my moments count because once they’re gone, that’s it. Do you know what the cool thing is, though? That’s enough time to accomplish what I’m supposed to do this year. Time flying isn’t a bad thing, it simply means I need to stay on track and be focused.

IMG_0188

I only have seven goals for 2018. They’re goals I’m excited about and that leave me energized instead of overwhelmed. They’re going to stretch me, but not break me, and that’s how goals are supposed to be.

My Goals for 2018

(If the Lord wills, and I live…)

  1. Write Weekly and Monthly goals – This will help me decide what’s most important each month, and then what I need to do in order to get there.
  2. 15 days of eating Paleo each month (At least)
  3. Review all the books I read
  4. Finish Echoes and When Life Hands You Lymes (both huge, huge writing projects)
  5. Query for o0ne of those ^ books
  6. Teach Junior Church for three months
  7. Vlog once a week (at least until May)

IMG_0187

I’m excited about embracing this year and seeing how I grow and change and how I can help others. January is beautiful, in full swing, and just bursting with potential. #Happiness