A small sum of words about always online

I read a lot, but I often forget to “log” it on sites like Goodreads or other social media. I wonder if that means I’m not actually reading a lot since I don’t have some sort of public-facing proof of my accomplishments.

I think back to my earlier days on the internet and the sheer joy at “winning” or “earning” a small gif that would live near my avatar, under my username, somehow highlighting me as an elite, chosen one, or able to afford $5/month. We have giffed1 life, I think. Making all accomplishments meaningless unless accompanied by a publically acceptable emoji.

If feel like we’ve surpassed the dystopian vision of Black Mirror‘s “Nosedive” episode and the trends of “cottage-core,” “slow-living,” and “quiet-whatever” are an aesthetic response to hustle culture and digital achievement. Influencing a slow life is still hustling, but at least we can tell ourselves that it’s a lifestyle we can achieve, if only we didn’t have to pay rent.

I prattle on in an attempt to not work more on my revisions to Art History because I am enjoying it and have an appointment in an hour. If I work up until I have to stop, then I’ll be annoyed and I want Seb and Derek, and Woodlawn College as a whole, to be my happy place.

In the meantime I’ll see if I can finish reading something to get that achievement online. Ding!

*swish* (⊃。•́‿•̀。)⊃━⭑・゚゚・*:༅。.。༅:*゚:*:✼✿

  1. You can pronounce that any way you please. I do not care. ↩︎

The new setup up, same as the old setup

In which I fall out of love with Ulysses, rebound a bit with iA Writer, and finally just go back to Google Docs.

What is it about spring cleaning your “systems” that feels like work, but is really procrastination? 

It’s the feel of my fingers flying across the keys, typing out what I’m doing instead of what my characters are doing somewhere else.

I’m not nearly as interesting as they are, but still, here I am.

I have been wanting to keep my files as close to plain text as possible. Being able to access, export, import, and move simple text files somehow makes me more secure in saving them in, say, Google Drive or Dropbox. 

I’m pretty sure this desire comes from a place of fear as if being able to control the format in which I write will somehow allow me to control the writing. Writers don’t talk enough about losing control during the writing. We call it “flow” or the “zone,” but it’s scary. I digress…

I’ve been testing out a few different applications and am working on a trial with iA Writer. I have to say, I’m intrigued.

The interface is pretty bare-bones, but I’m not looking for a publishing app (I have one of those). I’m looking for relatively distraction-free writing. I want a visible word count as I go and the ability to take my laptop offline.

I know I can do all these things with Google Docs or Office 365, but mostly I want a simple text editor that recognizes Markdown.

Future Betty here: I’m editing this in Google Docs because I am fickle and I recognize a diversion when I construct one. This is a blog post because there are a lot of already generated words that I can use, but also because I see you, writer, who is interested in writing apps.

I often wonder why we can be so particular about the software we use. We have a near-infinite ability to adapt and adjust, yet, here I am, squirming around trying to find something that is almost Notepad, but not Notepad+. Perhaps I am still yearning for the old Word Perfect days.

FB: I am, in fact, not yearning for those days. I am currently sitting in a beautiful library writing this on my laptop, in a cozy chair. These days are better.

I’m rambling and I’m only hitting 250 words. What on earth am I talking about?

I can write in Markdown and preview its output on the right-hand side of the screen. That’s nice, but I wonder why I have to hit Return twice to get a proper paragraph break. Will I have to remove a bunch of extra returns later on? That’s odd.

I can preview hidden characters and while there is still a single return, the paragraphs wrap together. Not just stacked on top of each other, but wrapped together as one paragraph. I don’t think that’s a Markdown thing. 

A lot of these apps have some sort of “typewriter” feature, whether it’s part of the focus or the way the page scrolls. It’s fine, but as someone who spent time with actual typewriters, I have little nostalgia for them. I will turn this feature off.

What happened to underlining things? Is it because hypertext links are natively underlined? 

I exported this document into Word and the “double” returns render as single returns. The space is there, but fixable by removing space before and after paragraphs in the line height selector. That’s good. Double return for readability and minimal formatting adjustments later. I can live with that.

FB: I could not live with that.

I think iA Writer could be a good fit for me. I particularly like that they have Mac and Windows options. Though, I think for a while I’ll just keep this trial on the home computer.

I’m not completely sold yet–and that has more to do with my quirks than the software–but I’ll let you know if I pick up iA Writer or stick with Notepad as my writing workhorse.

I never really used iA Writer again after that, nor did I stick with Ulysses. Both of these are fine apps and have their advantages, but, I was kidding myself that the plain-text file was what I wanted.

What I wanted was to feel like I was writing, without writing. I see what I did there. I ended up switching back to the old stand-by so I didn’t have to think about it anymore. It’s easy to export a plain-text version as a backup. 

Stop fiddling about and get writing. You too!

*swish* (⊃。•́‿•̀。)⊃━⭑・゚゚・*:༅。.。༅:*゚:*:✼✿

Dear Kindle Vella: It’s not you, it’s me.

I fell in love with writing serially until I didn’t. For me, the lack of regular feedback made it difficult to feel motivated to post. But that’s my fault.

One of the first decisions I made this year (aside from my “Late Start” post) was to remove myself from Kindle Vella and admit that it’s not the right platform for me. I enjoy writing serial fiction. I loved discovery writing with it and coming up with interesting cliffhangers in each episode. The problem is that to make the platform viable, I need to be a much more consistent writer. And more prolific.

Perhaps I need to be a better writer, as well, with a better idea.

When I first started, I was surprised by the bonuses Amazon handed out, and for a couple of months, it felt like I was really earning some money with my writing. But I still didn’t keep up with the pace and found that with each episode that went without comments or feedback, without a sense of people actually reading my story, the little bit of bonus money wasn’t enough to keep me writing. I may have dreams of supporting myself with my writing, but money has never been the motivator for me. 

I’m like an old Chevy in the winter, hard to start, but put me at the top of a hill and I’ll keep going.

So, my specific goals for January are: Getting the first Season of Wound revised and extended a bit to be published as the first novella in the series. Finishing up Art History and getting that ready to be published as well, because the sequel, Lacrossed Lovers is just itching to be written. Both of those titles will be released on Kindle Unlimited (at least at first). I’d like to finish up a couple of short stories and post here, and I need to hop into my new weekly flash fiction as well (I’m adding another tier just for that. Stay tuned!)

I have no idea what I’m going to do with Just a Blue Moon Phase. I like some of the characters, but first-person present is not something I enjoy writing.

In other words, I’m trying to align my practical goals with my year-long theme of “FINISHING!” I’m even writing this blog post nearly a week early! Go me!

How do you take your big ideas and break them down into workable goals? I could use all the suggestions!

*swish* (⊃。•́‿•̀。)⊃━⭑・゚゚・\*:༅。.。༅:\*゚:\*:✼✿