Word Processing Software Suggestions?

My eight-year-old laptop finally gave up last weekend. One day before I finished my taxes! I knew it was going and had planned on looking for a new one after the weekend, but I waited just a bit too long.

So I went to a store and bought a new one. I have been dealing with a huge learning curve since my old one still used Windows XP. Going from that to Windows 8.1 has been quite a dramatic change. (I know there are other options out there but I needed something quick, fairly inexpensive and one I was familiar with!)

Luckily, knowing I was on borrowed time with my old one, I have been backing up my files for quite a while and so far am only missing a few. I am so glad I did that!

My biggest problem has been not having Word on the new computer and not being able to spend another penny so I asked my Facebook friends if they could recommend good, cheap programs. I had a few people suggest using Open Office and Libre Office which are both free! Wonderful!

I would love to know if there are other programs that you use and like. This might be helpful information for others too.

My question to my blog friends is the same: What word processing program do you like the best and why?


Spring Peepers


I posted this last year on March 12th, almost a month earlier! Today is the first day I’ve heard the peepers and after the very long, snowy, cold winter we just had it is music for my soul!

Originally posted on Sherrie's Scriptorium:

Pseudacris crucifer

Image via Wikipedia

After a long cold winter with silent nights, the sound of the cheerful songs of tiny spring peepers makes me smile.I’m always surprised the first time I hear this chorus. I will drive down roads that I know have a swampy area, turn off the radio, open the windows and listen. Once the nights warm up a bit I can hear this happy noise off in the distance.  This is one of my favorite signs that winter is over. The knowledge that if these miniature frogs can survive, we certainly can!

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Tell Yourself It’s Just a Short Story





Have you ever been overwhelmed by a large writing project? I know I have; especially when I’m working on any long project like a novel. It can be daunting if I think about all the work I have ahead especially when I’m trying to get that first draft done. For me, first drafts are really hard to finish.

I always start a new project full of energy and can’t seem to write or type fast enough. But then I hit that place where I’m not sure how I will ever get it all done. Or that part of the story where I don’t have any idea how I’ll get from one point to another and that brings the whole project to a screeching halt.              

One trick that can work is to treat it like a short story. I tell myself that I need to just get down the major parts or scenes from beginning to end. I ignore the gaping holes that appear. I try not to add too many details. I just push through to the end. When I reach one of those walls where I can’t imagine how to move forward, I’ll make a note  to go back and figure that part out. I just keep writing sketches of scenes knowing I’ll go back and fill in the details later.

If I keep telling myself it’s a short story, sometimes I can get it all out without panicking. And if I keep writing it as fast as I can without giving it too much deep thought I’m surprised when I reach the end. I also know that the end may change. Any of it may change but I work on that later too.

I find that I’ve gotten to know my characters better by the end of that quick draft. I know more about their motivation which makes it easier to fill in those blank places.

It doesn’t always work. Sometimes I reach the end and realize that I don’t really have a story here. But at least it’s a quick draft and often I can use some part of it. I think I learn from everything I write so it isn’t wasted time.

When it does work, at least I have the bare bones of the story and look forward to going back and filling in the details. For me, that’s the fun part. Getting that first draft done quickly makes the second draft feel like dessert.

What tricks do you use to get that first draft done?

Silent Time Sunday

We live in a world full of noise; not only physical noise but mental noise too. I have been enjoying silence today.

On a rare day that I have to myself, I won’t turn on the television, radio or computer. Instead I focus on the silence around me.

I’ve discovered that there isn’t really silence. I notice every car that drives by, every plane flying overhead. But I also notice the sound of the wind blowing outside and today the sound of rain pattering against the windows.

I go about my tasks, trying to focus only on what I’m doing. Eventually, I feel my brain slowing it’s frantic pace. I go from making an endless to-do list to prioritizing what I really need to do. After an hour or so, I sigh in relief enjoying only folding the laundry or washing the dishes.

Once I reach that point I know I can sit and stare out the window and think of nothing. Just be.

After a while I feel I have the energy to think my own original thoughts, rediscover that I have them and what they are.

We are so bombarded with outside stimulation all of the time I don’t think we realize how overwhelming and exhausting it can be. Sometimes we need to be silent to recharge.

I hope you had some relaxing and healing silent time today.

Five Fascinating Facts about J. R. R. Tolkien


This is fun too!

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Tolkien was born on this day in 1892. In honour of the anniversary of his birth, we’re launching a new series, ‘Five Fascinating Facts’, which will be a regular feature on this blog over the coming months. Fans of our blog may have followed our recent series, ‘Five Reasons’, featuring articles on lesser-known writers such as  George Meredith , Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton , Ernest Dowson , and George du Maurier . Now we’re turning to the more famous and canonical figures of literature, in an attempt to unearth the surprising and little-known nuggets about these authors.

1. J. R. R. Tolkien was the author of the second and third bestselling novels written in English. The Lord of the Rings is the second biggest-selling novel in English, while The Hobbit comes in at number three. (If you wish to find out what the number-one bestselling English novel of all time is…

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Happy Tolkien Reading Day!


Since I love Tolkien, I wanted to share this. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Originally posted on Interesting Literature:

Today is Tolkien Reading Day, an annual event launched in 2003 by the Tolkien Society. (The date of 25 March was chosen in honour of the fall of Sauron in the Third Age, year 3019, in Tolkien’s fiction.) The reading day promotes the use of Tolkien’s writing in schools and library groups, and is celebrated in numerous countries. To mark the occasion, we’ve put together ten of our favourite quotations from John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. The first quotation, about  Beowulf , is especially timely because of the recent announcement that Tolkien’s translation of that epic poem is finally going to be published !

On Beowulf and myth: ‘The significance of a myth is not easily to be pinned on paper by analytical reasoning. It is at its best when it is presented by a poet who feels rather than makes explicit what his theme portends; who presents it incarnate in the world of history and geography, as our poet has done. Its defender…

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