Category Archives: Software

New Book Release - All the Advice from the Writer in a Book!

It’s here folks! In Your Write Mind - A Writer’s Thoughts on the World of Writing was released on 12-18-2013 and is now available on Amazon. This is a collection of all your favorite advice in an daily inspirational (and funny) book. There is a new piece of advice to dwell on for 150 days. Before your day’s writing begins, grab the book, read the day’s offering, muse over it for a bit and then apply it to your craft. Simple, easy and fun!

So head over to Amazon and get yours.

In Your Write Mind - A Writer's Thoughts on a Writer's World

Buy from Amazon


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Back That Thing Up…Your Work Not Your A#*

Writer’s Note: This is Friday’s Column and yes that is a cuss word in the title.

I made a huge mistake when I left my last relationship. Things had been going bad for a long time and by the time I was ready to walk out the door I was okay leaving with the underwear I had on, my Elmo lunchbox, my light up in the dark pen and my favorite pair of boots….until I sat down a few weeks later and realized that I had left everything behind…even some of my writing. (and an Underwood Antique typewriter…that still hurts)

I paid hell getting some (not all) of my things back. As many of you know, when relationships go bad, just as when folks die, people get stupid. That person whom you thought was a loving, caring person is now setting fire to your possessions on the front lawn of the house you still have to make payments on. (Nope, I’m not the least bit bitter) Trust me, no matter how secure you feel at this very moment…if you leave him/her…you will discover the pain of yours and mine.

If there was a silver lining to that episode in my life it was this….I now back up my work as many times as possible and I carry a USB drive attached to my keychain so that I always have my writing with me. I lost quite a bit of valuable work during that time, work I will never truly get back. Of course the stories are in my head, but as you well know, even if I write it all down again, it will never be the same story…that’s just the way it works.

So my advice is…back it up and back it up a lot. If possible carry that little USB with you with your work. They even have a credit card type USB’s that can be carried in your wallet…just do it…you won’t regret it. One of the worse feelings in the world is to lose any of your work so take those steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

And one last word on this subject…it wouldn’t hurt to have a hard copy and a disc in a safety deposit box either. That may well be the best $100 per year you invest. It’s your work…you can’t get that back if there is a flood, fire, break-in or ex-spouse….

A Special Note about THE CLOUD….

I know that many of you are in awe of the idea of “THE CLOUD”…(I think it sounds ominous so feel free to use the booking mysterious voice when saying that…) While I think that the cloud is a nifty idea…it makes me nervous. Call me old school but anything that mysteriously sucks up my work so that I can access it anywhere makes me feel like, if I can, anyone can….


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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You are a Great Writer until You Are a Bad Speller

There are more than a few ways you can say, “I’m a writer” and then get laughed out of the room. Perhaps the best ways is to ignore spell check.

I’ve been a writer in one form or another for most of my life. I had my first piece published when I was nine years old and now (at way over 9 years old) I am still pecking away at the keys. When I was nine, Highlights Magazine published my short story and my mom spell checked it before I turned it in. (Thanks Mom) Now, my mom has had right about enough of my writing and I have spell check to fill in the space. And I use it….every, single day.

You might note that I claim to be a writer, but I have to tell you one thing I don’t claim to be is a speller; cause I’m not. One of the most annoying things in my life as a writer is to have someone turn to me and ask me how to spell a word that the average person would have no clue how to spell. They assume that because I am a writer, I must be an excellent speller…well…I’m not. In fact, I give spell check quite the run for its money most days. The thing is…I KNOW I am not a great spelling prodigy. I can tell a good story. I have all these voices in my head that I can listen to and then sort out until I have a mystery thriller that will curl your toes. What I am NOT is a person who can tell you how to spell words out of the medical dictionary. (raise your hand if you think most of those words are just made up any ways…) I’m a writer. You want a speller…Google “spelling bees”.

Here’s the thing though, you have to USE the spell checker if you are a writer. It is because of these very stereotypical ideas about what a writer is that you must use it. If you don’t, you’ll just look downright stupid. You might be a great writer but if your readers catch a spelling mistake every fifteen sentences, they will not see your story…they will see your spelling mistakes. True story…when I first started out as a reporter (I was 18 and still in college) I would write these great stories for the local newspaper and people will rave about how great I was covering the crime beat. Everyone, except a little 89 year old retired school teacher named Mrs. Burchum. She took my stories, cut them out of the newspaper and red-lined each one, highlighting every mistake. And then she would mail them back to me…I was crushed at first. Then one day she came into the office and asked for me. She told me that she loved my reporting and she loved my stories but, she hated my spelling. She told me that my editor was horrible and that if I wanted to be considered a good writer, I needed a better editor. I had to learn to spell, or she said, cheat, use a dictionary. Mrs. Burchum made sure that I understood that I was a good writer but that my spelling mistakes were hiding my talent. When she passed away four years later she left word that I was to write her obit. You can be sure that every word was spelled correctly.

Use your spell checker folks so that people will not be blinded by your spelling mistakes and see you for the really great writer that you are.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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Software - The Freedom Not to Be on the Internet

Ok, I admit it…the title is a play on words. Today’s post is actually about a program that helps folks gain freedom from the internet. Now if I sound like the internet is a prison, that’s because it can be. We have all done it…gotten out of bed, slogged over to the coffee pot, sat down at the computer and suddenly it’s 6:15 p.m. and the kids are asking if grilled cheese is really dinner. The internet can catch you and hold you for the better part of the day if you let it.

I get caught in the trap if I don’t severely organize myself. There is so much to do on the internet. As it is, I get up and check my e-mail, update Facebook (personal), update the Facebook fan page, check my website, update my blog, check the news and look at the obits in my hometown newspaper (okay, that last one is a little creepy but I am at an age when folks I knew in high school are dying off…it’s sad and interesting all at the same time) If I allow it, the internet can bleed through into my writing time very quickly. You really do have to have enormous self-control and…well…and I don’t. (There I said it)

So what can you do if you are an internet weakling like me? The answer for me, currently, is a software program called “Freedom”. Freedom was developed for the MAC originally (because all the really cool programs are) but now you can also get it for the PC. The program does only one thing, turn it on, tell it how long you’d like to be offline, and it kicks you offline. It literally blocks your system from the internet for the time you allot. Freedom enforces freedom. Once the time you set is up, the program allows you back onto the internet.  If you want to get back onto the internet before the time is up you’ll need to reboot your entire system and having to do that means you’re less likely to cheat, and you’ll enjoy your freedom. It’s a really cool program. You can get the program here.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


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