writemonkey preference (Photo credit: kengo)
So I’ve started work rewriting my manuscript now that I have decided to make the heroine disabled. I also downloaded WriteMonkey a minimal distraction writing software which you can download for free. I love it. You can change your font and background colors as well as font styles if you want. When the program opens for the first time it automatically opens into full-screen but you can put it into a window by hitting escape, useful if you find you need access to the rest of your computer but don’t want to close the program. It also has a “jump” feature which opens a window to the side that logic to search through the files on your computer which may contain elements that you want to place into the project. WriteMonkey also has a white noise feature which can be unlocked if you donate to support the project,the only thing I don’t like is that as far as I can tell there is no way to disable the Markup formatting which I find annoying because I personally don’t write with it. Markup is a system which allows for visual representation of format, such as a pair of asterisk around something which would be in bold text or underscores around something which is supposed to be in italics. I would much rather just be able to bold a word and see it right then instead of a pair of asterisks, but that’s really the only minor complaint I have about the whole thing. So I leave you with the first piece of rewritten prologue that I turned out in my first 15 min. of distraction free writing. Please feel free to comment.
The sound of her alarm clock startled her awake. By comparison the seagulls she often heard cruising past outside her windows were down right melodious. Her “second alarm” was far more pleasant. As she fumble for the snooze button she found herself nose to nose with 60 odd pounds of Golden Retriever will upon seeing her eyes open began to bark enthusiastically. “Okay, okay I’m awake I promise. Go get the chair Reid.” Quick as a flash, the dog had hopped off the bed and across the room, cheerfully retrieving a wheelchair by means of a rope attached to the bar across the back of the chair. For his trouble he received a thank you and a quick pat on the head before continuing on to fetch her a sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. An hour later they left, both sporting backpacks ready to take on the brand-new world of college. It wasn’t until much later after all of the action was said and done that she remembered the forgotten umbrella by the door and wondered how different things might have turned out if she had only remembered it.
Authors Note: Reid was my second choice of a name for my Golden Retriever. I didn’t know for sure until I saw him whether Reid or Gideon would fit better. Gideon won but fictional Reid the Golden is mine pen and ink homage to my buddy.
Kilroy was here (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Writing is a funny, thing you start wth one thing in mind and buy thr time you pause for break be somewhere else entirely. When I started the blog I never expected followers I just wanted space that was “mine” something that is somewhat hard to find when your physically dependent on caregivers (some paid some not) for some level of help fur nearly everything. I started writing the blog with no grander then to leave scratches on the wall of the universe that amount to “Rachel was here.” I never expected people, much less strangers to leave comments but they have and what started as an inner monologue of sorts and as a way to get through the bouts of writer’s block has over time become,much to my great surprise, a conversation of sorts. I don’t get comments on everything I write obviously but I think of those post as akin to the times of comfortable silences in between conversation. Though it is and probably always will be a quiet, unassuming blog with no real theme other then being a chronicle of my life I’m amazed at how much it has evolved almost without me realizing it.
Diversity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I was browsing through the blogs I read when I came across something sad. Some of the blogs I read are more personal, some are more topic centered and some are somewhere in between. I read Courage 2 Create to remind myself that’s ok for life to get in the way of writing sometimes, my life does that a lot. Recently the author of the aforementioned blog suffered discrimination because of something which had nothing to with his ability to write. (He was asking to be a guest blogger , the link is to the post on his blog,it gives more details.) I understand that is a blog keepers personal choice who to allow to write guest posts and whether or not to allow guests at all. I can only assume that this blog has had guest bloggers before .though I’m not exactly sure since Ollin has more class then to trash this person and her blog in his. If, for some strange reason, something I write here prompts you to want to write a longer response than can fit in the comments section feel free to ask to guest post. I will be putting up a Non-Discrimination Policy Page to Writer’s Desk and Gideon’s Golden Way soon because, no matter if anyone chooses to use the opportunity discrimination is wrong and if my small stand against makes a difference then I’m happy.
A blinking cursor and a blank page:the bane of all writers. So when all else fails write about the blinking cursor. Most writers have had the option of using a simple pencil and spiral notebook at some point. I have never had that option. My handwriting (if somebody feels kind enough to describe the graphite squiggles that somehow appear instead of the script I wish I could manage. So the blinking cursor has been my personal for longer than most. The cursor appears to be taunting me, laughing at my more than occasional bouts of writer’s block, I suppose for someone who writes on pen and paper a blank page is just as bad but somehow a computer cursor seems to almost develop a personality, one that seems to reflect the tone of the writing itself. Then again, it is quite possible that I just spend too much time with text documents open on the screen.
Image by rosefirerising via Flickr
I have heard that if you write three pages of writing in the morning (approximately 750 words) you will find that your mind is less cluttered and it may be easier to focus because your brain is not bouncing around as many unrelated ideas. The original exercise was meant to be done in longhand, with pen and paper. Fortunately for me because my handwriting is worse than chicken scratch and if I actually wrote three pages I would give up before the second paragraph someone decided to create a digital version. 750 words.com you can login using your Facebook account info as well as Yahoo or Google if you prefer. Just make sure that you stick with the one you initially login with because apparently the account verification is completely different for each site. Your 750 words are completely private and the various ways to connect are used only to monitor site statistics. When I first heard of the 750 word exercise I admit I scoffed at it but it is actually helpful . There are even badges that you can earn for instance a picture of a cheetah appears when you reach the 750 mark particularly fast, the criteria for the rest of the badges remains a mystery you find out what milestone you hit when the badge appears. I would like to know what everyone else thinks of this site’s actually pretty simple.
Image by texasgurl via Flickr
I am still surprised at how much this attention this blog has gotten in the fairly recent past. I started it is nothing more than a repository for my thoughts. It was a last ditch effort to keep writing fun for me, a place where I didn’t feel obligated or under pressure to write and with the pressure and overhanging sense of obligation gone I write. What I never expected was for other people to write me back. When I began I wrote out of desperation now I write in the hope of hearing even just one small voice cheering me on in the distance. Even constructive criticism has that effect. If a person offers constructive criticism I don’t take it negatively because the person’s comment is in effect saying to me, “I believe in you and I want to help you become someone greater than you are at this present moment.” Some of the people reading this might be aware that I have a half written manuscript gathering dust on my hard drive. To be honest, I haven’t touched it in months, every time I have tried I am overwhelmed with a horrible case of performance anxiety and anything I managed to write sounds stilted and two-dimensional and therefore gets scrapped almost as soon as I write it.I have discovered that the comments and even just the simple views that this blog accumulates are slowly helping to rebuild my confidence in myself as a competent writer, for that simple gift I will never be able to say thank you enough.
Image by macetech via Flickr
I have noticed in the past year that while I call myself a writer I lack consistency. I allow things like depression provide me with a ready-made excuse not to write. I tell myself that I am”too busy” to write that morning or what ever time of day it happens to be. I’m 25 years old, still living with my parents, without a job and most of the bills are not my responsibility. I’ve heard many people say that if only they lived my life, were one very similar to it, then they would be able to write to their heart’s content. The question that may occur to you at this point is why if I live in what some would consider a writer’s paradise why don’t I write more? The honest answer is… wait for it… I’m lazy. Well no more. Starting today, this the second day of January in the Year of Our Lord 2011, I commit myself to writing at least one post a day in this blog for the next year. I also promise that not every post will start off sounding like a English history book penned in a monastery!
I’m not proud of too many things that have happened over the past year, it has definitely not been the year I hoped it would be at the beginning. That being said the thing of which I’m most proud in the past year is my Little Man, he is the light at the end of the tunnel and despite a few rather annoying setbacks I know we will go far.