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?
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?
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.