Friday, October 12, 2012

How To Get Your Shit Done & Stuff


You guys have probably seen a zillion posts on this before, but let me tell you something. As of late, balance in my life has been SO difficult! This is probably why you see my website a little neglected. 

I’m a part of three different writing sites, one blog reviewing site, run a book club, and as of yesterday I was offered an internship with a publishing house. I also work full-time, am engaged and trying to plan a wedding, own pets, and I have a hearty book addiction. I’m also gearing up for Nanowrimo. Oh, and I’m sick.

Sometimes I think of the things I have to get done in my day and wonder, when can I possibly make all of this happen?! I barely even know. I’m sure you feel or have felt the same way.

Don’t get me wrong. I love all of these things that I’m a part of! I really, really do! So why am I complaining? I’m not trying to. I just want anyone out there feeling kind of like I do, to know that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed! It happens. Life gets busy and usually when it does, something has to be neglected. Whether it be that you start forgetting to do little things you were supposed to, a significant other or family member feels like you’re neglecting the relationship, etc. It’s not easy. But there are a few things you can do to make the balancing act a little easier.

  •           Create a plan - How will you accomplish what you need? What tools do you need? Do you have them? Do you need more information? Gather this information all together.
  •       Buy a calendar / datebook / use an online calendar – Use this. Plan out your week. And if it makes it easier, plan everything, even dinner. Believe me. I know this is tough. I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. But for my work life, this is essential and SO helpful.
  •       Manage your time - Allot a certain amount every day to do each task. Once you realize exactly how much each item takes to accomplish, you’ll be able to better plan your day and realize exactly what you can and can’t take on. I know several published authors that have lists like this even for writing. They log when they start and stop, word count, etc.
  •         If you have a Smartphone, use it! - Make that post while you’re standing in line at Starbucks or on your lunch break at work. Sometimes, this is the only time that I have free!
  •        Reach out to others for help. If you have a blog, ask for contributors or guest bloggers. See if a friend can help with something that you need. Most people are absolutely willing to help and happy to do it. Don’t be afraid to ask.
  •            Music – De-stress with a little music if you can. I have several bands that calm me down if I need to be calm, or deflate my frustration, etc. Listen to your band if you can while working or doing a few tasks. I know music while writing always helps me.
  •       Do something nice for yourself – Even if it’s something as simple as grabbing a coffee or treating myself to a nice new bright-red editing pen. Rewarding myself for a job well done always makes the week seem less horrible. And believe me, you deserve it!

What do you do when you're feeling completely overwhelmed? 
How do you maximize productivity? How do you de-stress?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Free Writing Apps

I recently posted an article for YA Stands about helpful apps for writers. 
Just in case you missed it, I've posted it below.

Twitter is one of my favorite tools for writers. If you're a writer, and you're on twitter, you probably know what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the supportive online community for writers, agent pitching contests, book cover reveals, meeting other writers, and so much more.

In fact, recently I met several amazing YA writers through twitter, one of which is Kristen Jett. In case you don't know her or follow her, you should! You can check out her website HERE and follow her blog HERE. What is awesome about Kristen, besides her ever-present positivity and sense of humor, is her her incredible knowledge on all things writing. Which brings me to the subject of my posts.

Kristen and I got to talking about technology and the convenience of having a smart phone with writing apps. I only recently got my first smartphone and I'm learning about all the awesome apps out there. Kristen gave me a ton of them to check out. I want to share them with you in hopes that you find them just as awesome as I do now. Put your feet up and get your phone charging; your phone just got so much better!


Evernote - An app that allows you to capture everything from likes, websites, things you see or hear, and everything in between. You can even save important tweets with it.
Cost: free
Useful for: book research, etc.
Available on: computer and most mobile smartphones

Goodreads - This app allows you to mark books you want to read, review what you have, see what your friends are reading, and get book recs. Goodreads also has a lot of great book giveaways.
Cost: free
Useful for: book research, reviewing, and organizing your digital bookshelf.
Available on: computer and most mobile smartphones

Werdsmith - This is a basic writing app that allows you to sort things into three categories: ideas, projects and portfolios. Not only is the logo super rad, but it's got a clean layout and is easy to use.
Cost: free. Has an upgrade option that costs $2.99
Useful for: quickly jotting down book ideas, writing
Available on: iPhone, iPod, or iPad

Corkulous - This is a wonderful app! It's a digital cork board you can use to plan anything you want. I've downloaded other cork board type apps, but this one is far superior. Your boards update automatically to be able to share between all apple devices.
Cost: free. Has an upgrade option that costs $1.99
Useful for: story boarding, inspiration boards, vision boards
Available on: iPhone, iPod, or iPad

Plaintext - This is a simple text editor that let's you write, edit, and organize your documents. Everything is able to be synced with
Cost: Free
Useful for: editing
Available on: iPod, iPhone, iPad

A Novel Idea - This is amazing! It's ad free and an invaluable tool for planning your novel. It covers characters, plot, setting, and scenes. Setting up your scenes is as easy as dragging and dropping them into place.
Cost: Free
Useful for: Novel layout, planning, character detail
Available on: iPod, iPhone, iPad

I hope you found something here that you didn't know about before! It's always nice to learn about more resources for writers. Oh, and thanks Kristen for all the awesome recommendations! I know there are a ton of writing apps out there, so let me ask you readers and writers:

What are you favorite writing/reading apps?