Who Else Wants to Take Writing on the Road This Summer? (Part 2)


Inspiration Can Be Anywhere! (www.cherylreif.com)Best Practice #3. Find a writing app (or apps) that works for you.

I already covered the benefits of using a cloud service to help you keep documents easily accessible–but many cloud services only allow you to view files, not edit them. Editing files stored in Dropbox, for instance, requires opening them in another application.

In the past, I’ve had iffy success with iPad and iPhone word processing apps. Although great when they worked, they had the unfortunate tendency to crash unexpectedly. If (like me!) you’re used to the autosave features of your desktop machine, you might not remember to save as often as you’d like–resulting in hours of lost work.

It’s important to choose a program or app that works and plays well with your primary computer, your mobile device of choice, and the cloud service you decide to use.

Recently, Dropbox integrated with Microsoft Word for iOS. I’ve had a good enough experience with the iPad version of Word that it’s now my go-to app for editing Word documents. Unlike other iOS word processing apps, it doesn’t strip away or mess up formatting or Endnote codes–which means that files transfer seamlessly from mobile device to desktop and back again. (Note: that some functionality, such as Word’s Track Changes feature, are unlocked only if you have an Office 365 subscription.)

Simplenote, Evernote, and Onenote, mentioned last week, are also good options for writing and note-taking. Whatever program you choose, make sure you will be able to access files while offline. Some store files exclusively in the cloud, so you’ll need an Internet connection if you want to access previous documents.

This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means, just a list of the apps I’ve specifically tried. You can find more great apps for writers here; the list is a few years old, but almost all info is still accurate. Definitely chime in if you have others to recommend!

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5 Steps to a More Productive Year

I must have productivity on the brain. It seems like every blog post and Twitter link I click these days has something to do with




Hmm…maybe this is delayed-onset guilt for not writing up New Years’ goals or resolutions this year?

Thomas8047_Flickr Photo – Thomas8047, Flickr Creative Commons

In any case, I doubt I’m the only one who’s a month into 2015 and wondering why I’m not getting more accomplished, so enjoy this terrific roundup of tips, tricks, and inspiration for getting more done this week!

Productivity Strategy #1. Find and use a few great time-savers & productivity tricks

  • Time-Savers for Writers: Ways to Automate and Delegate
  • 3 Weird Productivity Tricks You Probably Haven’t Tried Yet
  • Yes. I’m trying #4. Want to do #3~7 Insanely Productive Habits of Successful Young Entrepreneurs
  • 51 Life-Saving Holiday Hacks That Are Borderline Genius http://bzfd.it/1ytaeHc ” (via @JoannaShupe) (yes, I know this is about the holidays. But it’s awesome, and I’ll never remember it by the time next December rolls around, so you’re getting it now!)

Productivity Strategy #2. Commit to maintaining some white space in your life

  • Still recovering from the holiday crunch? This might help: “Adding More White Space To Your Life” bit.ly/1zVRulP

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Time-Savers for Writers: Ways to Automate and Delegate

For two weeks this summer, I got to set aside other writing projects to focus on transmedia storytelling. (I know, I know…you never would have guessed!) In case you’re curious, here’s a screenshot of what I’ve been working on (and will *hopefully* unveil before the year’s end–fingers crossed!!):


It was pretty darned exciting: my brother-in-law flew into town to help with website and database coding and my husband/co-conspirator and story inventor took time off work to help with writing, story structure, and all the little details involved in telling a story through multiple media channels. We started each day early with an update on where we all were and worked pretty much nonstop, bouncing ideas off each other, brainstorming, troubleshooting, critiquing…

Sounds like fun, right? It was! It was also a ton of work. And a ton of time. We only had two weeks together, and needed to make the most of it.

Can you say BUSY? Yes, that would describe us!

The truth is, though, we writers are often usually busy. Even if life and work obligations don’t fill up your to-do list, don’t you find yourself cramming in as much as possible, because there are so many cool ideas to explore, so many projects you want to work on? Or maybe you’re simply busy because it’s November now, and with or without NaNoWriMo to fill your spare time, this time of year can easily get out of hand.

Whatever the cause of your busy-ness, I thought you might appreciate some of the time-savers that help me stay afloat when my schedule gets crazier than usual :).
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Things to Love About Life…or: Why Stress Hurts Performance

This post is part of an ongoing series (first mentioned here) about looking for what’s going right in my writing life. It’s so easy to focus on everything else, don’t you think? On rejections, failed queries, long hours, or negative feedback…and yet, when we start looking for it, there are so many things to celebrate. I have an ulterior motive in all this: to increase my “positivity,” as defined by Barbara Fredrickson in her book of the same name. (Take the positivity quiz here.) Positivity is like a many-fingered vine, its tendrils twisting through our mood, productivity, family harmony, stress responses, creativity, and more. Join me in my journey to boost positivity, and along the way find more joy in writing and life!

It’s really hit me this week: when I write about what I love about the writing life, I’m writing what I love about life.

Tatters-smileemoticon Photo by Tatters:) on Flickr Creative Commons

When you think about it, the two aren’t that different. When I struggle with mood in my daily life, it’s often because I’m struggling in my writing life and vice versa. When I search for what’s going “right” in writing, the very act of looking shines joy on the rest of my life, too.

And as tempting as it is to claim that this connection exists because I’m a writing creative-type, I see this relationship everywhere I look.

Our feelings of success or failure at work spill over into our lives outside of work. The result? Stress hurts performance, creativity, and productivity.

Positivity in one life arena pulls us up, whereas negativity in another life arena drags us down.

John Medina sums it up in his book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School:*

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