Writing with A.D.D.

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In this post, I’m going to go over how to become a writer when you have A.D.D., or Attention Deficit Disorder. I have this condition so I’ll go over some of my own challenges. This disorder can be seen as a severe disorder because it affects you literally all the time, even when you try to sleep.

The most common symptoms are restlessness, overactive thoughts, forgetfulness and the inability to focus for long periods of time. This can cause issues at home and at work. This is especially true for those of us who would like to have our works published. What can you do if you suffer from A.D.D.? Here’s a breakdown of some ideas that may help.

Small Notebook and Pens

This can be a time saver in the sense that as writers and people with A.D.D., we want to be as far away from electronics as possible (though even our computers can lead to wasting time). Why? Because when we have our phones nearby, we can become distracted every time it goes off. The same with iPads. How many times have you gotten bored with writing and find yourself playing games, losing yourself on Facebook/Twitter or texting? Luckily I don’t get on my phone often. Usually I keep it in my backpack from Wednesday to Sunday night. By then the battery is dead and I have to recharge it for Monday. I’ve never been a phone person.

The paragraph above has a point. With people who have A.D.D., we often think of something that we want to remember and we type it into a program so that we can have a reminder. After we do this, we more than likely will be drawn to something else and our manuscript sits there for hours without being worked on. With a small notebook, we can write our thoughts down when they come to us and then continue with the manuscript. This is because when we write it down, we can temporarily forget about it because we know we have the notebook available.

Timer

Another important issue? Losing track of time. There is a thing called Hyper Focus that affect people with A.D.D.. This is when we are so focused on something, such as reading or playing a game, that we lose all track of time. Sometimes it’s so severe that we forget to eat and drink, which is dangerous. I’ve been known to do that, and the result is always suffering a migraine and dizziness. Not fun! But with a timer, we can set the it to go off whenever we want it to. Personally I’m going to experiment with setting the timer to write at the first and last 20 minutes each hour (1:00-1:20, 1:40-2:00, as an example). The 20 minutes in the middle will be dedicated to another activity to break up the monotony.

No matter which type of timer you use, whether it be a timer on your phone or a kitchen timer, make sure you set it on the other side of the room, or at a distance to where you have to stand up and walk over to it. You want to do that in order to break out of your Hyper Focus and do other important things, or even to take a break.

Boredom

Unfortunately, the A.D.D. person will get bored with writing not long after we start. When we sit down and do anything, we’ll eventually get bored of doing the same thing for long periods of time. This is why the timer works. We can plan out our time before we start writing and decide what could be our reward for sitting down and working. As stated above, this helps with the monotony. The A.D.D. person craves variety, which is why we begin multiple projects and probably haven’t finished even one. Does that sound about right? We need to figure out what we’re in the mood to do, and disperse it throughout the writing schedule.

I hope these few pointers help out everybody and not just those of you with A.D.D.. I’m not an expert on the subject of A.D.D., I just shared what my experiences are with this medical condition. If you feel I have forgotten something or have a comment/question, go ahead and ask in the comments below and I’ll answer to the best of my ability. Til next time!

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Tech Thursday: Writing App

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Today’s post is about the iPad app that I use for my writing. It’s simply known as Writing App by Thomas Sillmann. I bought it for $2.99 but for me it’s a great investmemt. The price is subject to change.

Some reviews mention how the app erases your work and crashes, but I’ve never had this problem personally, so it might’ve been an issue that’s been fixed in an update. I always export my work to multiple places (Dropbox and E-Mail) so even if this ever happened, my work will be safe. I’ll include some screenshots directly from the app store in this post.

Writing App by Thomas Sillmann
  
In the picture above, you can see that the home screen resembles a bookcase of sorts. With your works in progress, you can have pictures to represent your covers.  This is a great feature for the visually inclined. To insert a cover image, go to the Story Summary and you’ll see an Edit button on the top righthand corner of the app.

  
In the picture above, you can see how everything is organized within your story. If you’re a minimalist person, you could use the categories of Characters, Places and Items. As you can see, word count is tracked. This is highly useful for those who do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) or who’d like to keep track of their word count for statistical purposes.

  
In the picture above, you can see what you can track under the Characters category. The Items and Places each have their own things to fill out.

This app is both easy and fun to use. It’s a great app to use if you need to work on a project while on the go. The syncing and exporting options makes this app even more useful.

My Rating

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Tech Tuesday: NoteMaster For iPad

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Hi all! Today I’m going to do a review for the app, NoteMaster for iPad. There seems to be three versions. NoteMaster Lite (which I have never tried), NoteMaster (I assume this one is for iPhone) and NoteMaster for iPad (which is what this review is for).

NoteMaster for iPad
Cost

This version of the app does cost $3.99 as of today. If you need to have an on-the-go Story Bible, this is the best app in my opinion. NoteMaster is compatible with both Google Drive and Dropbox, so you won’t have to worry about losing your notes if the unfortunate happens and your iPad breaks. It’s well worth the price.

Intuitively

This app is very intuitive. There is a folder dedicated to how to use the app, but there’s only six pages which tell you how to use the app. Those six pages are plenty and each page is so simplified that a child could figure things out.

On the side of the app you have “folders”. For us writers, this setup is perfect because each folder can be dedicated to a story and contain pages for our notes. I use a different page for each character, location and other types of notes, such as historical facts for period pieces. Different pages are also used for food, clothing, housing, ect. If you want pictures for visual inspiration, they don’t have to be saved to your photo album. You can copy a picture from a search engine and paste it directly onto a page, so you won’t have the same picture taking up double the space.

Customization

This app has the option to choose from 24 background themes and 21 fonts. Being someone who loves customizing everything, I wish there were more! I use a different font/theme combo for each folder/story. Even the folders can be color coded for those of you who have stories in a series to make them easier to see at a glance.

My Rating

5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

So, do you have an app for your fiction that you enjoy? If so, leave a comment down below. ‘Til later!

Creating Fantasy Maps

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Hey all! Today I’m going to go over the first step of creating your story’s world. Creating a map. It may seem daunting, but I’m going to share the perfect videos to get a start on this task. Don’t worry, this is going to be fun!

This post will be about creating a fantasy world. I’ll go over real world locations in a separate post.

So, why would you want to create a map? The simple answer is: to keep your story locations in order. This is going to be a tool for your use, though, many people decide to add an image of their map into their novels. A map can help your readers follow your characters across the world. Another use for your map is to help you flesh out your characters. A map has borders. Borders mean differences in cultures; military conflicts; and your characters’ back stories.

The videos I will link to have been a huge help to me! You pretty much use dried beans on paper. Outline around them and that becomes your map. I’m not going into detail, because the guy who made these videos (YouTuber WASD20) can explain everything better than I can. It’s his method, after all! I highly recommend trying this method at least once. Once you have a map, the rest of the worldbuilding elements will click into place so easily. You’ll probably kick yourself for not trying it first! The dried beans that I use were years expired, but they still work for me. I have them stored in one of those acrylic trading card deck holders. It stores great on a small shelf. 

I’ll close this post for now because there isn’t much to say about it. Hope you find these videos as useful as I have. ‘Til later!

Drawing a Fantasy Map (part 1)
Drawing a Fantasy Map (part 2) Mountains
Drawing a Fantasy Map (part 3) Rivers, Lakes and Sea
Drawing a Fantasy Map (part 4) Forests

Music as Inspiration

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I’m so sorry for lack of posts over the weekend. A slew of storms blew in during the middle of the week and my Internet hasn’t been working since. At the moment I have to wait until I’m at work in order to post. I’ll be making up for this with two posts per day (I work two days a week, part time), until I have adequate Internet access again.

This post is going to be about using music as inspiration for your fiction. How often do you watch movies or TV shows and hear music that fits perfectly with the scene being played out in front of you? Do you ever hear this music and have something completely different play out in your mind? If so, you may have the “intuition” needed to use the feelings of the music to create new things. Most people can do this, but I believe some have an easier time of it than others.

Perhaps you are someone who listens or reads lyrics and scenes pop into your head? Those scenes could easily become full-fledged stories great enough to become novels, maybe even a series of novels!

If you feel as if you have trouble with this concept, practice may be in order. There’s nothing better than listening to a song on repeat as you write a scene using the music to convey the feelings you want the readers to feel. This is an important point. You want your readers to understand how the scene is supposed to feel as they read it. You want the readers to care about your characters and what happens to them.

Here’s a little activity to try. Take one of your favorite songs and find the lyrics to it, even if you know the lyrics word for word. Read them. What comes to mind when you read through the lyrics? Are you surprised by something you haven’t noticed before? Once you write down your thoughts, take the song and play it. Does the music add another layer to the story? Perhaps after reading the lyrics in detail, the music doesn’t go with the lyrics? An example would be fast-paced music with melancholy lyrics, or sad lyrics. The music could be the outside appearances while the lyrics are what is felt deep down. Characters are just as complicated, or, at least they should be.

Try practicing this method with various songs and genres. You may be surprised by what comes to your mind. I’m going to start working on the next blog post now, so, ’til later!

Pantsing vs Planning

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In the writing world, there are two terms which are popular. Pantsing and Planning. What are they?
Pantsing: When you write a story with no planning at all. You sit and write. The story and characters come to life as you write. You have no idea what the story is about, nor how it’ll turn out until you write it.

Planning: When you take time before you officially begin writing your story to create lists, notes and the like. Planners will likely have an item called the “story bible”, which contains everything from the rules of your fictional world, sketches of maps, character sketches and more. The story bible is pretty fun to create, though a writer could spend so much time on it that it takes awhile to begin the actual writing.

I’ve tried both ways, and I tend to do a little of both. If a novel is going to be part of a series, then some planning goes into it. If I get stuck on anything, I’ll use a tool to gain inspiration. Some of the tools I use? Online story generators, tarot cards, Story Forge cards and generator die (weather dice, injury dice, class/job dice, ect.). At times I use multiple tools and figure out how they can work together, either in a scene or in a chapter to move the story forward. If it doesn’t work, I can always redo those parts of the story in the drafting process.

I’d recommend having a story bible of some kind. After you finish a scene or chapter, you want to keep track of what you’ve written so far. One example that I see often while reading eBooks? Giving one description in a scene (blue eyes as an example) and the same person having brown eyes later on, without the use of contacts. The author themselves forget which details they gave characters or places. They wouldn’t have that issue if they had created a story bible. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. A spiral notebook or even the Notes app on your phone or tablet will work. Personally I use an app called NoteMaster, which I’ll go into more detail on in a future post. I’ll also explain what I used before that in yet another post.

If you’re just starting out with writing, I would recommend trying both methods and see which one feels right to you. Some authors will say that one is the right way and the other is wrong, but it really is about which one makes you more productive. Throw in a little of each like I do. Just make sure you keep the timeline and descriptions consistent, otherwise your readers will call you out on it.

Ready for the pros/cons?

Pantsing

Pro

  • Flexibility – A pantser isn’t confined to a rigorous outline, so if there’s something about the story they don’t like, they can easily get rid of it and it likely won’t affect the story much because everything else can easily fall into place.

Cons

  • A pantser is likely to get stuck while writing the story.
  • Multiple novels unfinished. A pantser is likely to abandon one piece of work to begin another one. This could be a neverending cycle, until the pantser gives up writing altogether.

Planning

Pros

  • A planner knows what will happen in the novel before they begin writing it. When a planner gets stuck, they can simply look back on their notes and continue on from there.
  • Novels are able to be written at a faster pace.

Cons

  • If something doesn’t work for the planner, they will likely have to redo their whole novel either from the beginning or when they noticed they mesed up something major in the story. This could lead to many hours’ worth of wasted work.

So, which category do you fit into? Do you have any tips you’d like to share with those who might be struggling? Where do you fit in these categories? Perhaps you’re one of the people mentioned earlier who are a combination of the two? Leave a comment bel. ‘Til later!

So You Want to be a Writer?

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How many of you have told yourself that you would like to write a novel? Have you told anyone else? If so, what was their reaction? Were they negative? Positive? How did that make you feel? Did it give you a boost in your confidence, or did it tear you down? The thing is, if you want to write, do it for yourself. Don’t let others tell you not to write if that’s what you really want to do.

Many people say that they will begin their writing project, whatever that might be, and never start it. The most common reason? Fear. It might be the fear of failure or it might be the fear that they don’t think they’re good enough. Unfortunately, those kinds of thoughts will cause the person to give up before they even start.

If you have those kinds of thoughts, try to push through them. It won’t be easy, but once you get started, you may find it to be easier to continue the project you had in mind. It doesn’t matter how well or poorly you write in the first draft. This is why writers have multiple drafts, to make corrections in the later drafts. If you feel you’re struggling with grammar, sentence structure and the like, there are plenty of resources available to you.

You could take courses related to the language spoken in your country. These will go over all of the important factors such as grammar, ect. If that isn’t an option for you due to finances and whatnot, check out your local library. Libraries often have free weekly classes dedicated to different subject matter. They’ll have guest speakers in that subject matter come and teach the classes. Some of these classes might have a small fee attached to it, but that is normally for crafting lessons which have hands on material brought in. The fee is for reimbursement for those materials. Libraries are also great for checking out materials, which the librarians will be happy to help you find.

If there is a community college near you, see if the campus is open to the public. The library I work at is open to both students and the public and offer resources to everyone. We also have a location on campus called the Writing Lab, where those who work there help students with creative writing, if their day is on the slow side. Even if these tutors are not available to the public, they will likely have resources for you such as a writer’s group or a website list for you to check out.

If none of the above options are available to you, for whatever reason, the Internet is your library at home. A simple search will bring you to a lot of websites that are dedicated to grammar and the like. I’ll put two of my fave sites in the links down below. These are the two I’m most familiar with.

Purdue University Online Writing Lab
You don’t even have to be a student at Purdue University to take advantage of their writing lab! They offer everything online for free! They offer a wide variety of articles from the mechanics of language (grammar, sentence structure, ect.) to how to deal with writer’s block/anxiety. This is the resource the English professors snd tutors recommend at my college.

NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo is one of the best known sites in the writing community. Here you can view the forums to read what other people are saying about a topic you may have questions about. If you’re a registered member, you can post questions of your own. The premise for this website is to write and complete a novel within one month. November is the main event, though they have what they call “camps” during the summer. The idea is to get into the habit of writing every day. You don’t have to do the events if you don’t want to, but the forums are an excellent resource, often having posts with other websites to visit.

So, I hope this gives you the start you need to begin your writing goals. I also hope my post was helpful to you all. If you have any other resources that you believe others will find useful, or if you want to just leave a comment, do so below. And don’t forget to subscribe either by E-Mail or through WordPress. Stay tuned for Wednesday’s post, which I shall be working on now. ‘Til later!