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Perpetual list of apps

31 Jan

http://evernote.com/ This is every multi-taskers answer to organization. You can text notes to yourself, share folders and create a hierarchy in your tasks… and it’s FREE!

http://www.projectstat.us/ Let friends and publishers see where you’re at with a particular writing project using this appl.  It helps knowing you’re accountable to others watching could help                                                  you keep on task.

https://bubbl.us/ This free mind-mapping software will let you get your thoughts out and share them with others for feedback.

http://vue.tufts.edu/ A mind mapping freeware that does the same thing as Bubble but without the online sharing aspect. Good news is, it is free, you own all your maps at no cost.

http://wridea.com/ Wridea is an online idea management and collaboration service which is developed for anyone who is interested in managing their ideas on an innovative service with their friends.

http://www.officearrow.com/small-business-management/drill-down-word-oaiur-4113/preview.html#oaiur-in-line-comments-4113 This app helps you break yr projects into discreet proportion and time.

http://www.creativity-portal.com/prompts/imagination.prompt.html Get helpful prompts to get your creative juices flowing from this site.

http://thestorystarter.com/ The Story Starter provides 1,108,918,470 creative ideas ad writer prompts for writers of all ages. All of the story starters are randomly created. This idea generator can be used for short stories, novels, plays, scripts, or just for fun.

http://www.writingfix.com/Classroom_Tools/dailypromptgenerator.htm Whether you’re writing a story or just in your own personal journal this site can help you get started right.

http://www.writing.com/ Create a free online writing portfolio, share your work, meet and bond with fresh minds

http://workingcreativity.com/activities/index.html- This website is full of creative excersizes.
http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html – writing software designed spec. for writing novels!
http://storybook.intertec.ch/joomla/ Open Source Novel Writing Software
http://www.lyx.org/Home Open Source Novel Writing Software
http://jott.com/default.aspx- If you’re out and about and you come up with a great idea, this application will let you simply speak it into the phone and send it to yourself for later.
WordPress: Start your own blog with this free site and let everyone know what you’re working on.
http://slimtimer.com/ Track your tasks to make sure you’re getting paid for the time you’re putting in with this app.
http://www.efax.com/?CMP=OTC-us_tx_houston Email a Fax, membership based.
http://faxzero.com/ Fax right from this site for free anytime
http://www.mailchimp.com/ mass email marketing that actually has good design.

https://my.pbworks.com/- Create your own personal wiki about you and your work using this site.

Pandora.com Music- create your own stations- perfect for all-nighters

dictionary.com – Obviously this is useful for writing anything.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/ – Don’t use slang the wrong way and lose all your hippest readers.

http://storymash.com/- collaborative fiction website, meet up with other people and start a story or finish someone else’s

http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/106 Try out this tool to create fun and original characters which you can use or discard at your will.

Jott for iPhone will not only record your notes but also transcribe them. The process involves your recording your notes and transmitting them to a server at Jott, where they’re transcribed and sent back to your iPhone. The process takes a few minutes. You also can get your notes from the Jott site if you want to cut and paste them into an app on your desktop. It’s not flawless but worth a try. Free.

SnapTell Explorer, a free app from SnapTell is pretty remarkable. Snapshoot the cover of almost any book, upload it, and in return you’ll get an image of the book and a list of places online where you can buy the title and search for more information about it. SnapTell Explorer works for DVDs, CDs and videogames as well.

This week, I’ve been playing with Pinger Phone, a new app from Pinger. It’s free (ad-supported). It has a number of worthwhile features but one that stands out is that you can send instant messages to any mobile phone number (like texting, in other words). The difference is that unlike sending text messages, sending IMs as text is free. On a scale of 1-10, I’d give it a solid 8, maybe a 9, if I use it long enough.

The App Store features several apps that pump binaural audio waves into your head that supposedly will help you be more creative, overcome writer’s block, self hypnotize, feel weightless, meditate, sleep and who knows what else.  I looked at a bunch of them and I didn’t get much out of the experience except a touch of nausea and ringing in my ears. Some people swear by it, though.

http://www.echofon.com/ maybe will help make sense of Twitter- but will at leaste keep you connected in the low left corner of your browser.

http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/generator/— Free barcode generator- Including ISBN!

Finally, the obvious :

  1. Twitter: Twitter can be a great place to share your thoughts as well as promote your new work.
  2. Facebook: Create a professional page on Facebook and let friends and others become fans of your work.
  3. LinkedIn: Make it easy for potential clients to find you by creating a professional profile on this networking site.

How a deck of cards can save your writing.

17 Dec

 

There is nothing worse then being in your studio and your in the gutter, unmotivated.

Your mind is blank with feelings of panic because you don’t know what to do.

The creative block is the meanest kid on the block and its bad reputation exists for a reason.

Being stuck in the middle of a project can feel like your driving to the most important destination of your life.  Your lost in a vast, white, featureless dessert and your tire goes flat.

You can do two things:stay in the car in bewilderment or  walk.

In my series, creative hacks, I will arm you with enough TNT to blow right through any kind of hold up.

One of my favorite hacks is a deck of cards called “ Oblique Strategies,” published in 1975 by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt. Oblique strategies are designed to create a new problem for you to impose on your  project.

They are one-liners, pick up lines for your imagination. Each card has its own seductive, brain-teaser that will throw a wrench in your “I don’t know what to do” machine.

Take a sabbatical from your current problem, vacation to a new one. You’ll return to your old rut refreshed and ready or you might have found a whole new direction.

Pick a card, any card- but commit yourself to doing it and your muse will come back. In fact, she’ll show up with a spare tire and a GPS. Keep on truckin’ on.

Read it. Try it.

  • Cut a vital connection
  • Work against your better judgement
  • Work at a different speed
  • Move towards the unimportant
  • Mute and continue
  • Emphasize repetitions
  • Bridges -build -burn
  • Not building a wall but making a brick
  • Magnify the most difficult details
  • Call your mother and ask her what to do

Get some Twitter love with my Sweet Tweet creative hacks.

The writer yet to commence

11 Dec

THE BASICS: WHAT ARE MY ODDS OF GETTING PUBLISHED?

At the risk of being a buzz kill, let’s get real.  The reason for doing so is to make you understand just how high the bar is in the publishing world, and just how deeply you must dig to reach that level.  Too many writers with casual affection for writing and an equally soft work ethic still maintain the loftiest of goals.  This violates a law of the universe — you have to scratch and claw your way to the top.

This blog is for people who want their writing dream fulfilled that badly.

The odds of getting your book published by a legit New York house, the kind of contract that gets your work on the shelf at Borders, are about the same as someone setting out to be in the Olympics. In a word, miniscule. More realistically, in 2.5 words, almost non-existent. Roughly, about one in a thousand submissions award themselves a glance from a publishing house, if it’s a bonafide writing career you’re dreaming of.

Are you that one in a thousand? That’s the tough question all of us at a writing workshop, or simply sitting in front of a blank screen with an idea and a dream, need to answer. And with the answer, while daunting, resides our hope: we could be.

All of those professionals who make their craft look so easy, be they artists or athletes, know one thing better than all of us sitting in the next writing workshop. Not to mention that every last one of them was where you are right now, sitting in a writing workshop fantasizing about seeing their name on a dust jacket. They know that writing at a professional level is about more than a killer idea and a knack for whipping out nifty little sentences. It’s all about craft. A craft that is deeper and wider and more challenging than you can imagine (the astute reader will realize that in that sentence lies the key to everything you want). And yet, a craft that can be packaged and taught, and therefore (unlike Olympic athleticism), learned. When practiced, it can even be mastered. Even if you aren’t blessed with athletic ability or the sensibility of an artist.

What you need — the ante-in to this businesss — is a willingness to learn and to work at it, to go deep and wide, and evolve your killer ideas and clever prose into something that becomes a symmetrical, structurally-sound, compelling story.

And that’s what this blog is all about. Not only about packaging and delivering the nuts and bolts of that craft but the gears that turn the machine- “the hutzpah”.  It’s the most precious gift I can bestow: the gift of truth.  And, the gift of hope that the dream is real if, and only if, you’re willing to do the hard work required.

Dreams are just that: they remain in your head. So let’s get real about turning your writing dream into your career reality, or at least (because the career part of the equation is largely out of your hands – more on that later), into the moment in which the book you hold in your hands has your name on it.

That moment is worth every sleepless night, every rejection and every new start, I promise you.

I invite you to stick around. That is, If you have the hutzpah- or your willing to get it- if you really want to navigate the complexities of developing and writing publishable stories to that place on the other side, where simplicity really does reside.

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