Category Archives: Cool Tools

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3 Ways To Beat Procrastination and Lack of Focus

Get more productivity for your time with these apps and tools that help beat procrastination and lack of focus.

First – This is sooo simple but effective developed around a simple kitchen timer that was built into a whole technique – The Pomodoro Technique, to keep you focused and productive.

Wikipedia describes the underlying principles as thus:

There are six stages in the technique:

  1. Decide on the task to be done.
  2. Set the pomodoro timer to n minutes (traditionally n = 25).[1]
  3. Work on the task until the timer rings. If a distraction pops into your head, write it down, but immediately get back on task.
  4. After the timer rings, put a checkmark on a piece of paper.[7]
  5. If you have fewer than four checkmarks, take a short break (3–5 minutes), then go to step 1.
  6. Else (i.e. after four pomodoros) take a longer break (15–30 minutes), reset your checkmark count to zero, then go to step 1.

The stages of planning, tracking, recording, processing and visualizing are fundamental to the technique. In the planning phase tasks are prioritized by recording them in a “To Do Today” list. This enables users to estimate the effort tasks require. As pomodoros are completed, they are recorded, adding to a sense of accomplishment and providing raw data for subsequent self-observation and improvement.[1]

For the purposes of the technique, a pomodoro is the interval of time spent working.[1] After task completion, any time remaining in the pomodoro is devoted to overlearning. Regular breaks are taken, aiding assimilation. A short (3–5 minutes) rest separates consecutive pomodoros. Four pomodoros form a set. A longer (15–30 minute) rest is taken between sets.[1][8]

A goal of the technique is to reduce the impact of internal and external interruptions on focus and flow. A pomodoro is indivisible. When interrupted during a pomodoro, either the other activity must be recorded and postponed (inform – negotiate – schedule – call back) or the pomodoro must be abandoned.[1][8][9]

Source via Wikipedia

Find out more about this technique below and let me know what you think.

 

Jett Farrell-Vega over at The Write Life shared a few more apps for productivity.

Block distractions

Writing often feels like creating something out of nothing. It can be easy to just click over to Facebook and never return. Enter distraction blockers.

For Android, FocusON is a true example of the nuclear option for blocking access to apps and websites. It’s hard — I mean really hard — to shut it off once you’ve enabled a block for a certain period of time.

For Chrome, TimeWarp is a customizable option. It requires some discipline, but the option to divert to a different website or an inspirational quote might be all the motivation you need.

Other popular distraction-blockers include Self Control (Mac), StayFocused (Chrome), and FocusLock (Android).

Get organized

Trello has quickly become my favorite writing tool that most writers have never heard of.

It’s a web-based productivity app with a premise very similar to the old school method of using index cards on a cork board. For a writer, the possibilities are endless. You can use a Trello board to make to do lists, prioritize submissions, even to track research.

My favorite use for Trello is as a scene organizer for fiction projects. Make a board to represent your novel, then make lists on that board to represent each chapter. Finally, make cards for individual scenes or story events. It’s very easy to move scenes around.

Being organized can take a huge amount of stress off and allow you to focus on your content.

See more at the Source The Write Life

 

 

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Free Apps to Enhance the Writer’s Experience

Pen and paper are always the first go to but with all the wonderful apps and devices online you can really enhance your writing experience.

Here’s a couple I’ve chosen for you from the Writers Circles list. Please feel free to add in the comment box anything you’ve found that really adds to your experience.

1st app is Omm Writer

Creators describe it as “your own private writing room where you can close the door behind you to focus on your writing in peace.” This web app works on iPad, Mac and PC, a welcome alternative to traditional, cluttered word processing devices. With backgrounds and audio tracks for whatever mood you’re in (or seeking to create), you can fine tune your ambiance and let the words flow.

2nd app Evernote

While researching allows you to jot down anything that comes to mind– whenever and wherever– it lets you organize those thoughts alongside saved web articles, PDFs, photos, and handwritten notes. To-do lists and tags allow you to easily sort through your material and prioritize, fast.

For others like Storehouse (source of photo) which won an Apple Design award saying “Storehouse — Visual Storytelling’s stunning, intuitive, customizable layouts let users tell their stories with grace and share them quickly through social media.”

plus more go to the Source of this article: Writers Circles

3 Fun Ways To Build Your Vocabulary and Get the Storytelling Flowing

What better way to build your vocabulary and get some story telling flowing than with FUN Games!

Here’s 3 Games for you

1) Blind Word Find

This can be done alone or with friends.

Randomly open the dictionary and place your finger on a word.

Check out it’s pronunciation and definition and use it in a sentence.

Now start to build a story around that.

story_cards2)  Story Cards

This is a deck of cards with interesting pictures on them. You can purchase them or make your own (see below).

Each player is given  6 cards to begin with. The rest of the cards are placed in the middle of the players.

One person starts the game by placing a card down, picture up and uses it to create the opening lines for the story. He picks up a new card to add to his hand.

The next person uses one of the cards he is holding to continue the story and so on with each person adding to the story and always picking up new cars to add to their hand.

Make your cars with cut outs from magazines, old calendars or cards or print outs from online.

There is some great pictures for writing prompts on Facebook at:

https://www.facebook.com/hashtag/writingprompts?source=feed_text&story_id=1113921271965217

3) Scrabble  is another great word building game. Play it online at places like Pogo

or http://www.memory-improvement-tips.com/scrabble-online-free.html

One more place to get that writing flow happening is with the inspiring Writers Secrets Online Classes.

Find out more at: http://writerssecrets.com/intro

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Now let’s Get Your Stories Out to the World!

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An Essential Tool for Your Success as a Writer

There was a time when one of the most difficult parts of writing was the researching.

Now with the internet and search engines plus another essential online tool for a writer – Wikipedia, research is becoming a breeze.

A master at researching for writing, Dr. Jeffrey Lant,  covers how to use them and why in his extraordinary online course. Find out more at: http://writerssecrets.com/intro

Wikipedia_bestWikipedia

Everyone can use our work with a few conditionserching,searching,writing,

Wikipedia has taken a cue from the free software community (which includes projects like GNU, Linux and Mozilla Firefox) and has done away with traditional copyright restrictions on our content. Instead, we’ve adopted what is known as a “free content license” (specifically, a choice between the CC-BY-SA and the GFDL): almost all text and composition created by our users is and will always remain free for anyone to copy, modify, and redistribute. We only insist (and our licenses require) that you credit the contributors, state the free license your re-use is under, and that you do not impose new restrictions on the work or on any improvements you make to it. Many of the images, videos, and other media on the site are also under free licenses, or in the public domain. Just check a file’s description page to see its licensing terms.

We care deeply about the quality of our work

Wikipedia has a set of policies and quality control processes. Editors can patrol changes as they happen, monitor specific topics of interest, follow a user’s track of contributions, tag problematic articles for further review, report vandals, discuss the merits of each article with other users, and much more. What are felt to be our best articles are awarded “featured article” status, and problem pages are nominated for deletion. “WikiProjects” focus on improvements to particular topic areas. Really good articles may go into other media and be distributed to schools through Wikipedia 1.0. We care about getting things right, and we never stop thinking about new ways to do so.

We do not expect you to trust us

It is in the nature of an ever-changing work like Wikipedia that, while some articles are of the highest quality of scholarship, others are admittedly complete rubbish. We are fully aware of what it is and what it isn’t. Also, because some articles may contain errors, please do not use Wikipedia to make critical decisions.

Further information: Wikipedia:General disclaimer

We are not alone

Wikipedia is part of a growing movement for free knowledge that is beginning to permeate science and education. The Wikimedia Foundation directly operates eight sister projects to the encyclopedia: Wiktionary (a dictionary and thesaurus),Wikisource (a library of source documents), Wikimedia Commons (a media repository of more than ten million images, videos, and sound files), Wikibooks (a collection of textbooks and manuals), Wikiversity (an interactive learning resource),Wikinews (a citizen journalism news site), Wikiquote (a collection of quotations), andWikispecies (a directory of all forms of life). Like Wikipedia itself, all these projects are freely licensed and open to contributions.

Further information: wmf:Our projects

We’re in it for the long haul

We want Wikipedia to be around at least a hundred years from now, if it does not turn into something even more significant. Everything about Wikipedia is engineered towards that end: our content licensing, our organization and governance, our international focus, our fundraising strategy, our use of open-source software, and our never-ending effort to achieve our vision. We want you to imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That is our commitment—and we want your help

Read more at the source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Ten_things_you_may_not_know_about_Wikipedia#Everyone_can_use_our_work_with_a_few_conditions

Wikipedia can be a great tool for learning and researching information. However, as with all reference works, not everything in Wikipedia is accurate, comprehensive, or unbiased. Many of the general rules of thumb for conducting research apply to Wikipedia, including:

  • Always be wary of any one single source (in any medium — web, print, television or radio), or of multiple works that derive from a single source.
  • Where articles have references to external sources (whether online or not) read the references and check whether they really do support what the article says.
  • In most academic institutions Wikipedia, like most encyclopedias and other tertiary sources, is unacceptable as a source for facts in a research paper.

For more on researching on Wikipedia go to the source at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Researching_with_Wikipedia

Find out about Free Images available at:

https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Free_image_resources

How to use tools like Wikipedia to strengthen your writing is all covered in the Writers Secrets Extraordinary Online Course.

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Using the Power of the Internet and Tech Tools to Get Your Word Out…

The power of the internet has opened so many doors along with www.WritersSecrets.com

Wonderful to have so many tech tools out there for writers.

Here is an awesome one called Creatavist that I learned about at Writers Circles plus Amazon’s new Storywriting Web App. Info below

Check it out and let me know what you think –

Tech Tools for Writers: Creatavist

Creatavist recognizes that powerful stories can be told through a blend of text, images, audio and video. The emphasis is on multimedia. Writers with a flair for aesthetics will find Creatavist an ideal medium for producing and publishing great stories.

You can use Creatavist to publish an ebook, a magazine issue, a news report, a case study. You can even use it to create an app. Giants such as The Wall Street Journal and The Paris Review have already taken advantage of it to publish a variety of work. Creatavist’s slogan is “Storytelling without limits,” and the catchphrase certainly sums up what you experience in the final product. Here’s a great example of a magazine-style Creatavist story, and another sample story that seamlessly ties together text and audio.


If your interest is piqued, get started by creating a free account.

Read more at the source: Writers Circles

Amazon_StorywriterAmazon’s New Storywriter Web App

On November 19th, Amazon launched their new Storywriter web application. But the app isn’t just a publishing platform, it’s a composition tool too!

The application helps break up the the tedium of screenplay formatting. Anyone who’s ever attempted to write a screenplay, a teleplay, or even a traditional play understands how frustrating they can be to compose. Each type of text has its own margins it adheres to and it’s own capitalization. The “tab” and “return” are heavily used to make everything adhere to its proper form. However irritating they seem, all of these formatting stipulations are crucial to the medium. They signal to readers (more specifically actors and directors) what is happening in the script. Underlining, capitalizing, and indenting show the reader what each line means.

Amazon’s Storywriter makes formatting extremely easy. The platform is stripped down so writers can focus on their writing without getting distracted. All that users have to do is click on the type of text they want to include, which Amazon includes in a convenient sidebar. Each option only needs to be clicked to trigger the proper formatting.

Read more at the source of this info: Writers Circles

A new screenwriting experience brought to you by Amazon Studios
Write your screenplay and focus on the just writing the story 
• Auto-formatting does the work for you
• Store your scripts securely and access them anywhere with 
unlimited cloud storage
• Write your screenplays online and offline
• Import and export your screenplays in PDF, FDX, and 
Fountain formats
• Submit your finished screenplay to Amazon Studios for 
consideration

Source of photo and information Google Chrome Store.