Organization for a Scatterbrain

About a week ago, I saw a meme on twitter that perfectly reflected my state of mind. It was a comic strip portraying a figure sitting in a room with a fire brewing in the corner. The fire was small at first, but in each frame it progressively grew out of control. In each shot, the figure kept telling himself that everything was going to be okay. The caption read something like, “when you realize what you’ve been writing is spinning out of control, but you keep telling yourself its going to be fine.” It made me laugh so hard.

In my last post, I wrote about hitting a turning point in my journey. I could have perceived it as a set back, but instead I chose to ride the storm. I was working hard on convincing myself that it was going to be okay. I refused to acknowledge the fire that was starting in the corner of the room and I am glad that I did.

The reality was that I had to rework several parts of my novel. It terrified me. It felt like I was working overtime just trying to control the panic that was threatening to break free.

There were three things that kept me going. First: Call it moxie or call it stubbornness (maybe both), but I refused to give up. Second: After I had accepted that I was moving forward, I realized that the changes were going to make my novel ten times better. Third – and probably the most helpful reason: I had discovered a new writing software app while reading through twitter.

I don’t even remember what tweet brought it to my attention. I wasn’t looking for a new writing software, because I was comfortable with the one that I was using. However, Ulysses caught my eye. At first, it was just a tease, but then I let the affair begin. In whirlwind fashion, I dropped my ex-software, and formed a new and exciting relationship. I will not name the ex because I am about to rave so much about Ulysses, that I am afraid it would come off as bashing.

First, allow me to preface my raving with a confession: I am a self diagnosed scatterbrain – my husband and daughter can attest to that. I have to make a conscious effort to use lists, journals, iPhone alerts and apps to keep myself organized. And even then I forget things. Moreover, I can easily get sidetracked if something catches my eye while I’m in the middle of something else.

Let me give you an example: When I am cleaning the house, I start in one room. If in that room I find something that belongs in another room, I will bring it to said other room. While in that next room, I will probably start tidying something else and then find a nicknack that might belong in the kitchen. You can imagine what I will do next. Before you know it, I look like the ball of a pinball machine bouncing from room to room.

If this sounds familiar to you, no worries, you are in good company because there are a lot of us scatterbrains in the world.

Having mentioned these character “strengths” of mine, I will now rave about Ulysses. It’s actually an app, not the kind of software that comes with a disc that you load into a computer. You purchase it directly from the Apple App Store. It is available for the Mac, iPad and iPhone. To clarify, because it is available through each of these hosts, you can switch from platform to platform and continue writing where you left off. Ulysses uses iCloud to autosave your material and it syncs everything in real-time. It’s amazing! I am no longer chained to my laptop. If I am on the road and think of something that I would like to add to my story, I can just whip out my phone and add it.

Another feature which I found to be really cool is the filter option. You can add filters to each chapter with keywords that can help you locate that material later. This is especially helpful when you have the tremendous undertaking of rewriting/reconfiguring several scenes of a novel.

The app takes some getting used to. If you are accustomed to using word processor, this will feel so foreign to you. As a Word user myself, I had a hard time letting go of the power that the toolbar gave me. With Ulysses you just type and type and type. You use commands called markups to tweak the writing with italics, indentations, etc. But what is even better is that I didn’t have to worry about the layout of my novel. I just typed. The format is taken care of by the export style that is chosen. Auto-formatting?! Yes!

There is so much more that this app has to offer. If you are serious about writing, this app is absolutely a writers best friend. I made the investment to get this app and I am thrilled with it.

The next step for me is to finish this second draft and begin working with a professional copyeditor.

As always, thank you for following my journey!



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