Ebook vs Print

This has been a question since Amazon came out with the first Kindle. First, I will say that as an author, I will write and publish in both digital and print formats. That’s not what I’m talking about here, though.

I’m talking about what I — and you — prefer to read.

In case you don’t know, I’m legally blind. I have difficulty reading small print, to put it mildly.

I love the feel of physical books. The crispness of the pages. The smell of a new book. The slight resistance of the spine when you open a book for the first time.

You get the idea.

The problem is most books don’t have large print. The ones that do are huge and awkward to read.

I love ebooks. I especially love that I can have hundreds of books on a device in my hand or in my bag. I don’t have to decide which books to take with me on a trip.

I love that I can make the print as large as I need it so I can read comfortably. I also like the option (in many but not all) for it to read a book to me if I’m doing something else or don’t feel like actually reading it myself do some reason.

With print books, I like that I can highlight passages or make notes in the margins. That’s not as easy to do with ebooks.

Do I think ebooks will replace print books? No. I think there will always be a place for both. I don’t think ebooks will ever fully replace hard copies of books.

At least, I don’t think that will happen in my lifetime.

What do you think? Will ebooks replace print books? Which do you prefer?

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Begin at the Bell

The following is an excerpt from 80 Creativity Tips.

A friend of mine said this before writing exercise we did at the kick-off party flash meeting with a lot for the local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) group.

“Begin at the bell” is actually pretty good advice. When it comes to working on our creative projects, we almost always say we don’t have time.

Make time! Otherwise, it will never get done.

Get a timer. Set it for no less than 15 minutes, preferably 30. If you can, have a bell ring to signal the beginning. If not, start the very second your hand comes off the timer.

Whatever it is you do, then do it. Right. Draw. Paint. Cook. Dance.

Create!

When the timer goes off, you can stop, but not before. Give yourself at least that 15 minutes. If you are going good when the time is up, turn the timer off–or reset it–and keep going.

At the end of your time, step back. Look at what you have done and pat yourself on the back.

This is important: Do not evaluate or critique what you have done. Now is the time for creating, not for editing or judging. There will be time for that later.

Here are some tips for you on your work with a timer:

  • Don’t look at the timer. Turn it away from you. If it’s on your phone, turn the display off or turn your phone over.
  • Don’t stop and wonder how much time you have left, no matter how much you want to know.
  • Time isn’t important except as a way to get started. Unless there is a hurricane or a fire, the amount of time that’s passed isn’t important.
  • If you’re writing or drawing, keep your hand moving. Pause as seldom as possible to work out a hand cramp if you need to. (As a side note, if you’re getting cramps like that, it means you’re holding your pen/pencil/paintbrush/knitting needles/crochet hook too tight and need to loosen your grip.)
  • Focus on what you’re doing. This music or TV on in the background? Tune it out. There are people who said they have to work in complete silence. Those people really get any work done. Distractions are a fact of life, even if it’s just your cat jumping up on the desk. Learn to deal with it.

Remember you’re creative in your life, not separate from it.

What Do I Pay to Get Published?

It’s often an unasked question, implied instead of direct. Many people don’t want to appear crass or rude by talking about something as obscene as money. (Please read that as tongue-in-cheek as it was intended.)

The question is still there, though. “How much do you pay to get published?”

In the early days of the Internet and before, the answer was usually nothing. “Usually” because although vanity presses and self-publishing did exist, it wasn’t as commonplace.

Now, that answer can be very different. There are a lot of things to consider before putting a book out, whether fiction or nonfiction.

An indie author has to consider whether or not they pay for:

  • Editing.
  • Formatting.
  • Cover art.
  • PR/Marketing/Advertising.

Depending on how you do things, it can get quite pricey.

Right now, I publish through KDP, part of Amazon. There is no cost to me unless or until I purchase actual print copies of my books. That’s how I prefer it.

That said, I am exploring other self-publishing options. There’s nothing wrong with Amazon, but you know the saying about don’t keep all your eggs in one basket? I’m too much in one basket. A little diversity in publishing options would be a good thing.

What about you? In what way(s) do you need to diversify?

What I Write About

I get this question quite a bit when people find out that I write.

“What do you write about?”

The short answer: A little bit of everything.

Or: Whatever needs to be written.

The long answer is more involved. The topic areas I cover (for nonfiction) are creativity, social media, and disability/diabetes. Writing about planning falls under creativity because it can help make room for more creativity in our lives.

When it comes to fiction, I write romance, fantasy, and young adult. Topics vary from project to project.

I also write articles, short stories, and poems. One of my personal projects this year is a daily haiku. You can follow that on my Instagram.

That’s not exactly the full answer, but it’s a good start when it comes to what I write.

My question for you is: What do you prefer to write? If you’re not a writer, what do you prefer to read?

My 2019 Planner Setup

img_20181220_2107511501491200035.jpgI thought about this one for a while. I wasn’t going to post about it, but I’ve had several people asking about my planner, so here it is.

I’m using a Bullet Journal/traditional planner hybrid as my main planner. I’m also using Fresh Start 2019 by Amber McCue to help me get things set up the way I want them to be and 5 Second Journal developed by Mel Robbins and her team as a supplement to my planner. (I talked about the journal in a separate post a couple days ago.)

For my actual planner, I’m using a Carpe Diem A5 6-ring binder (in one of my signature colors – purple) with a printed calendar insert. Before that, though, there are several other sections with dot grid paper.

Section 1: Contact info/medical info/emergency contacts.

Section 2: 2019 words/goals, mentor notes, 90-day plan, monthly reviews, quarterly review.

Section 3: Trackers (personal and business)

Section 4: Idea log/brain dump/notes to self Section

Section 5: Calendar Section. This is where the pre-printed calendar with a week on two pages lives.

Section 6: Info for contacts (email, phone, address, industry, etc.)

I also have a thin notebook in one of the pockets that’s for my content calendar. I’ve already started filling that in.

Note: I don’t put my to-do items in my planner unless/until I have a specific date or week for it to be done. These dates are either external (appointments) or internal (self-assigned deadlines). I use my NNL (Now, Next, Later) lists in Trello to hold all those.

One thing I think is important to remember is your planner is for you. No one else has to see it. It doesn’t have to be pretty/perfect as long as it works for you.
So this is what I’m using for 2019. I’ve actually already started using it and it seems to be working well. It’s easy to adjust if not. If you want more information on setting up your own DIY planner, check out my book, Create Your Own DIY Planner, or email me about a consultation.

Give Yourself the Gift of Creativity

There is something to be said about buying something for yourself from yourself. It’s not selfish (unless absolutely everything is for you). It’s taking care of yourself.

If you want to give yourself the gift of creativity, I can help you with that.

I have three books, Devoted to Creating: Igniting the Creative Spark in Everyone; 80 Creativity Tips; and Journal Your Way to Creativity.

Devoted to Creating is a book of devotions centered around creativity. Each one has a verse, short story, prayer, and creativity tip. It’s available in print and on Kindle.

80 Creativity Tips contains tip, exercises, and techniques to help you tap into your creativity. There are photos and pages for you to doodle or take notes. It’s also available in print and on Kindle.

Journal Your Way to Creativity is a 90-day self-guided program to help you uncover your creativity and use it on a daily basis. It is available on Kindle as well as in print, but considering the format, I would recommend the print version so your prompts and journaling are in the same place.

These are just a few ways you can give yourself the gift if creativity. If you would prefer coaching or courses, send me an email and we’ll talk about what would fit your needs.

My Writing Process

ecrireA couple days ago, I told you a bit about my editing process, so now I guess I should tell you about my writing process.

This is a more difficult post to write because the process is more involved. I’m going to try to summarize it, though.

I tend to go through five steps, though I don’t think of them like this at the time.

  1. Idea Generation
  2. Stewing
  3. Prepping
  4. Writing
  5. Editing

What happens in each step of the process?

Idea Generation
I keep a notebook with lists of ideas or summaries of something I want to do. Some of these “notebooks” are files in my computer, though I am a huge fan of keeping a notebook nearby as often as possible.

Stewing
When I find an idea that I want to work on, I walk around with it my head for a while. How long varies. For one story, I walked around with the main character telling me all about herself for two weeks before she finally told me her name. That story was started, but it hasn’t ever been finished. It will be in the not-too-distant future.

Prepping
Otherwise known as planning and research. This is where I figure out if it’s nonfiction or fiction, poetry or prose, long or short. And I do some preliminary research if it’s something I don’t know much about. I limit my research time, though, because I could easily spend too much time doing that and very little writing.

Writing
This step is pretty self-explanatory. I will do extra research from time to time if it’s needed. This step also generally takes the longest.

Editing
We already talked about this on Tuesday, but it’s worth including here, too. I view editing as part of the creative process as well. In my writing phase, I get the bones of the story/article/post down. Then in editing, I often add new content, so it’s a mashup of editing and writing. In general, it’s shaping.

Sometimes I will listen to music as I do this. Again, it’s something with little or no lyrics and often the same type of music I listen to while editing.

What does your process look like?