tech

I’d like to take this time to thank a few apps, without which my NaNo-ing would not be possible—or, at least, without which I’d get much less done, in a much longer timeframe.
First, the newest discovery of mine, from a fellow NaNo-er on Twitter: OmmWriter! Here are my first four paragraphs, as they appear when I’m typing:
In case that’s too small to read, I’ve posted these 1st four paragraphs as my excerpt on my NaNo profile.
Super minimalist, right? A mere wiggle of my cursor brings up this:

This screencap made possible by the wonderful Skitch, of course.
Such a slick interface! Features that disappear when unnecessary, leaving you with just your words. But that’s not all, folks! One of those controls is a music note, which gives you, in the free option, three different ambient types of noise (they suggest you wear headphones, which of course I do while writing anyway), and let me tell ya, it’s pretty neat! There are also keyboard noises, which are somehow different from a keystroke click… I don’t know how to describe it, but it sounds delightful. Something about the slight noise of typing, and the absence of noise when you backspace makes you subconsciously want to JUST WRITE, which of course is the whole point of NaNoWriMo!
Of course, if you, like me, need a change of audio pace, say hello to Rdio!
Listen or subscribe to my NaNoWriMo playlist here.
Rdio is a wonderful app. I actually have the paid subscription, so I never have to hear an ad and I have unlimited streaming on my laptop, online at work, on my phone while driving or anywhere else. It’s astounding how much music there is available. I run across artists every now and then who choose not to have their albums made available for listening (why, Metallica, WHY?!), but for the most part, I can hear anything I want anytime, which is wonderful for a muscially ADD person such as myself. I’ve NEVER been able to pinpoint a fave genre…
For writing, I prefer mostly non-lyrical music. Last year I almost exclusively wrote to Hans Zimmer’s Batman movie scores. Of course, I was writing about Bat Man last year, so that was super fitting, but in general, movie scores are wonderful because they embody drama and spur one to write without the distraction of words. Through another fellow NaNo-er on Twitter, I recently was turned on to Alexandre Desplat, who did the stunning score for The King’s Speech (which is currently making me tear up and want to watch the film right now again…) and scores for lesser-known films like Harry Potter (teehee, I kid, I kid.), The Queen, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Okay, so the third NaNo helper isn’t so much an app as a program, I think: OpenOffice. I don’t have Microsoft Office (I have mixed feelings about that… It would be nice to have for compatibility reasons, but BOOO MICROSOFT PROGRAMS BOO.), so this is my spreadsheet interface. And boy, do I love me a spreadsheet! What do spreadsheets have to do with NaNoWriMo?
Behold:
Now, the tracker on the NaNoWriMo site itself is actually pretty good, but I don’t know if it had that many stats last year… or if I just really wanted to be able to see how far behind my overall word count I was (Row J above), which they don’t show online… but I do like to see concrete evidence of my progress. It’s a compulsion.
Whelp, as you can see above, I’m doing WAY better today than I was yesterday (which registered ZERO on the word count side), and Day 1, but I’m still a couple thou behind where I need to be today to stay on course… and I’ve got some pretty exciting events coming up in the next week or two (including Mozcation, speaking at a Portsmouth Chamber small biz breakfast event on Twitter, and Digital Portsmouth) that might set me back on my word count, so I’m-a get back to it!
Thanks for tuning in, folks, and may the Muse be with you!
xoxox
—Crystal
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Aww, our little Wednesday morning breakfast gatherings have gone legit! Jason Boucher has started a real live website!
What started as a tweet:

@walterelly @dougridley @briandekoning @LainieH33 @melsieburger @Monte_Bohanan I miss you already. Tues/Weds #PortsBkfstClub needs to happen
— Crystal Paradis (@laughtercrystal) April 24, 2012

And grew into a Twitter list:

Became… ta da!

Site by Jason Boucher
Awesome video by Monte Bohanan
I’m so proud!
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WHEN is Skitch coming to the iPhone? According to their site, it’s “coming soon”… According to their blog, they’re hiring people as of September who are good with iOS, so… safe to say it won’t be, like, tomorrow. Sigh. The ONE thing Android has going for it… the ONE thing. As far as I’m concerned.

I want to do THIS:

on my phone! (I did that on my Mac—thank HEAVENS there’s at least a Mac App for it)

Blarg.

My novel editing is going… very slowly. What was a blast to write and a thrill to finish is becoming a huge task to refine. I’m too close to it. I think it’s brilliant. It cracks me up. It’s hilarious. The problem is, there are huge plot holes! Things just don’t make sense beginning to end! They all make sense on a micro scale, but overall they need to be shifted around. I need to break them off into sections and rearrange them without looking at the individual paragraphs… I’m just too attached to my own perceived hilarity. It’s a real problem.

Here’s some great writing advice from David Oglivy:

 “If all else fails, I drink half a bottle of rum and play a Handel oratorio on the gramophone. This generally produces an uncontrollable gush of copy. The next morning I get up early and edit the gush… I am a lousy copywriter, but I am a good editor.”

So wise.

I’ll temporarily shift my writing to the 10-sentence story inspired by my Story Cubes. Here’s what I was cast in the last Creative Writing Group meeting:

Ten sentences… 
…and I’m off!
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Oh man oh man oh man.

You know when you finish a major project and you’re all, “Woo! Now I can relax! I am going to have SOOO much free time!” and then a few days go by and you fill your time with so many things that you’re excited to be able to do again that… you are still exhausted!

Welp, that is totally happening to me right now. Today I had NOTHING to do after work, but after some quality roomie time, watching the new What Not To Wear show (it’s the ONLY show I enjoy that is NOT available ANYWHERE online, which irks me), cleaning up my room, and settling in to bed only to discover all these productivity/organization tools take serious time to set up… here I am after 10pm and still going strong. In fact, I’ve had to pee for about 30 minutes and am so caught up in what I’m doing that I haven’t had the time to stop and go down the hall to my bathroom.

So. A few things I’d like to share out of sheer excitement at their existence!

#1: Evernote.
I’ve just discovered this, and already am super psyched about it. Basically, it does everything I’ve known was possible for years but have never found one program that is SUPER INTUITIVE and super easy and super fast that does all those things. Short reminders, longer notes for reference, web links (I’m going to move all my Google Bookmarks there, since they are discontinuing lists (which is the ONLY reason I was using them in the FIRST place!), etc., etc., &c.
I’d love to use it more for work, since it is so exactly perfect for my crazy busy Administratvie Assistant/Copywriter/Scheduler/Gopher/Social Media Manager/Keeper-tracker-of-everything-er job, and I am somewhat using it, but currently I’m at the bottom of a long totem pole of computers, and I’ve got what  I’m quite positive is the last of the non-Intel, PowerPC Macs (a G5, pretty good speed, but… no bueno for being able to upgrade any programs, use anything Mac App-related, Chrome, etc., all won’t run on a PowerPC processor), so although thankfully Evernote is available for PowerPCs, it’s got a disclaimer that it’s a non-supported version and upgrades aren’t available, so it makes me nervous to rely on it much…

BUT. Super amazing life program! 🙂 Maybe, just MAYBE, when my Franklin Covey Classic 7Habits planner refils run out in June, I’ll go all digital with my life planning. We’ll see.

Here’s an adorable video promoting it. I have to say, the ad style, the voice, the elephants in the sky… all convinced me to try it.

Oh, also it’s free. You can pay $5 at any time to boost your upload limit/amount for that month, but your cumulative upload/memory size is unlimited!

#2: My desk fetish is fueled by this image from a random spam-mailed ad:

Le sigh. Right?

#3: Shoeboxed.

Dude, it’s like the Netflix for cluttery paperwork! You sign up for a certain level of membership, starting at $9.95, and then you can just cram reciepts, bills, etc., into these envelopes and send them off, and someone scans them and they appear in digital forms online, and– get this– there’s an auto-import option to your Evernote account, which also contains text-recognition, which means even notes you jot on recieipts will be searchable on your COMPOOPER! Amazeballs, right?

Now, I don’t know if my trust level is up to snuff with this. I’m sure the Shoeboxed folk are fully certified and professionals who deal with important papers a lot… I think I’d be more worried about mail-handlers. I mean, I love every single USPS employee I’ve ever known. They have to go through all sorts of background checks, have to sign all sorts of things and swear by all sorts of gods, and have super cushy Federal jobs I’m sure they don’t want to risk, but… ever since my Mom warned me that she heard that some post office employee told her that some guy that one time would steal checks if he could tell they were in envelopes, I’ve always wrapped rent checks in other paper to make them look like letters so it’s less obvious.

This is a ridiculous fear for several reasons: a) nowadays, people can’t really steal from you with a check, as most places require ID, and fraud is so easily reported and you get your money back when someone obviously rips you off, and b) my mother is paranoid about everything, even to this day, and c) I’m pretty sure that just doesn’t happen anymore… it has NEVER happened to me or anyone I’ve ever heard of.

But. This envelope screams “I HAVE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN ME!” To anyone who might  be familiar with this company at all, and I’m assuming it’ll grow in recognition if it does well … so it just seems like tempting fate to me. Although… everyone knows that Netflix envelopes have DVDs in them, and they NEVER get stolen. At least, that I’ve ever heard of. So. Silly fear.

And anyway, I just think this is a great time-saving idea. And that’s the kick I’m on lately, so this was right up the alley of eye candy por moi!

Okie dokles, kids, I’m off to bed. Let’s see if showering tonight will help my morning routine be less rushed tomorrow (I keep trying the “waking up earlier” route and… it just doesn’t happen for me! Suggestions welcome…).

xoxo

—Crystal

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Lucky 13. Yay. If I sound less than genuinely enthused, it’s just that I’m getting a little burned out on this whole novely endeavor. I want to go romp with Carlos! I’m not letting myself until 3:30 or 22,500 words, whichever comes first.

Mayhaps you’d like to see my sketches? They are named for the word count I was at when I drew them:

There’s “3,212”:
and then “4,253”:
I know. pretty great.
Also, I must sketch more, but this weekend I’m joining @ReShootComics for a 15,000-word count weekend challenge (have I mentioned that already?) and am therefore trying to squeeze every second of writing around the irritatingly necessary tasks of daily life (eating, sleeping, etc.). Perhaps Monday will be sketch day. I think that’s a good plan, since Tuesday is Write-In day and very productive.
Side note: any other NaNo-ers out there become extremely conscious of hyphenated words now? The NaNo official word counter counts hypenated words as one word, while my Bean program word counter counts them as two, which means when I verify, I come up shorter than I thought. Blarg.
So on one of my interwebs breaks from writing, I stumbled across Skitch. Do you guys know about this?! It’s SO rad! Look what I can do! I’m going to time this.
Three, two, one… go! 
30 seconds. And that was the first time I’ve ever tried to put it in a blog post, either! The possibilities are endless. Go download it. It’s totally free. I am going to check out the company that bought them, too– Evernote, as I’m a organization fanatic and am curious to find out what that’s all about.
Okay, only 21,253 words. That means 1,247 until I get to go play. Peace out, home slices.

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