Stats

year graph
Half way through March, and I thought I would share my progress.

Now that I am tracking my daily word count I am having a lot fewer days with zero word count. I have had a few days, this month, of less than 200 words, but a lot more of them have been over 500, and I see it growing.

Last night I sat down to write and kept checking my word count after ten minutes or so watching the numbers go up hundreds, not just tens and twenties. I was thrilled! The words are tripping off my fingers with ease now. It isn’t a struggle to sit down and write. It’s more of a demand.

I bought a new game. Tropico 4. Instead of playing it I dangled it as a reward to get myself to write. Now that I’m in the habit of this it is completely natural for me to deny myself something until I write.

I do not yet have a set word count that I need to reach each day, or else. That is my next goal. At the moment I have a monthly goal of 9000 words for March. That’s about 300 words a day. I am just about half way there, so I think I need to increase my expectations.

What I’m learning is that just putting that expectation that I will write, no matter what, each day has been the most effective way of getting the words down on paper. And the more I exerciser the muscle that is my brain, my fingers on the keyboard, my imagination, and my story telling skills… the easier it all comes.

I’d been fretting and lamenting my writers block for all these years. And I am going to give myself a small… I guess it’s an excuse, but I really did have a reason to fall into the trap of writers block. I did not, however, have a reason to STAY in that trap, especially for as long as I did.

I think I’m going to talk about the trap of writers block, and the exercising of the brain like a muscle next blog post. It’s been on my mind a lot lately.

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Scivener

I have been taking the last week or so to convert all of my novels to Scrivener. It’s been a learning experience.

First, let me explain something. I don’t have one file for each novel. If that were the case of things would have been so much easier.

No, the novel I was working on today had nine separate files. The nine files happened over the years as I switched from Lotus, to Word, to RTF, and between three or four different PC’s. Each file had different parts. Two of them had nearly the whole thing, but each was missing some part.

I finally figured out the fastest way to compile these into one file was to open nine subsections in Scrivener, and paste each file in a separate section. Then I compared and compiled the sections together until I had each unique section, and could separate everything into chapters.

It was time consuming, but worth it. I am sure that I missed some minor things, or basic edits that I will have to redo, but all in all the time spent doing this was worth it.

Next I will have to compile this into one file so that I have a back up. But a single backup is much easier to handle then nine.

Why Scrivener?

Over the last few years there have been a lot of people who suggest Scrivener as a writing platform, so I decided to use the free trial and see what all the hub-bub was about.

I actually didn’t get a computer until I was 21. Before that it was always pen and paper. My first computer came with an old program called Lotus Word Pro, and (of course) Word. For years I refused to leave Lotus because it had one feature no other program had.

With Lotus, you could click a little button at the top and it would show each section of your file as a little tab above the ruler. You could then group the tabs and/or move the whole tab/section around. Each section was denoted by a pagebreak.

It was awesome. It made flipping through sections, color coding and marking which were finished easy. Then I could have other sections that where just for notes, crits, maps, or random info. On the flip side, it was really difficult to convert any Lotus file over to Word, or vice versa. They just really didn’t like each other. (It is actually how I got into the habit of saving everything as RTF. Almost any program/computer is able to read RTF.)

Scrivener takes this basic premise and goes much farther. Its organized better. You can open two tabs at once and compare them. Easier to use. Intuitive. And then there is the COMPILE button. Scrivener will compile all of your sections into one file, any file you want. Doc? Mobi? Ebook? Sure… anything.

Best part? 30 (non-consecutive) day free trial (So go try it right now!). Tutorial Videos. And only $40 to keep it. Cheaper then anything else I know of, and far more useful.

After using it just for the 30 uses I realized just why so many people suggest it. So I use it.

Side note: There will soon be a “Scrivener for Dummies” book out soon. Here is an interview with the author.