Archive for the ‘Writing tools’ Category

Consider this an experiment. I’m creating this document in Scrivener, then I’m going to copy/paste it into Medium and see if it retains my formatting.

The Problem

Do I rely on technology too much? Right, I know this is a strange forum for discussing technology, when one considers that without technology this forum wouldn’t even exist.

But here’s my problem:

I access Medium—at varying times of thee day and depending on my location and mood—either by my laptop, my iPhone, or my IPad. I find my laptop gives me better control over formatting—not to mention a greater source of images—than the other two options. But I don’t usually use the laptop until I’ve been up and functioning for a few hours. Instead, my default device is my iPhone. Yes, it’s easier to type on the iPad’s larger keyboard, my my iPad is a few generations old, and is rather slow. And I get impatient as I wait for my tea water to boil so I can brew my first cup of soothing, calming tea.

So the iPhone it is. It’s much newer than the iPad—it’s a 6S Plus that’s a little over a year old, so it still is fast enough—and it handles the latest updates to iOS without blinking. But I’m really unhappy with the lack of formatting options on the iPhone through the Medium app. And I’m not above admitting that it may very well be the ID Ten T at the keyboard. (Write it down and you’ll see it becomes ID10T.)

Enter Scrivener

I’ve been using Scrivener for well over a year now, and I’ve never bothered to truly delve into all of its secrets and wonders. Rather than using it to compose my writing—mostly blog posts—I create and edit everything in Open Live Writer, then copying them to Scrivener, which serves as an archive. But I’ve recently decided to get my money’s worth out of Scrivener and use it as it was mean to be used: to create, edit, and save one’s writings.

So this is the first test. As I said, I’m doing everything in Scrivener, then I’ll see how well it it transfers into Medium.

Well, THAT sucked. A simple copy/paste lost all of my formatting. And no, a Google search didn’t yield a Medium-specific editor.

So it’s back to the drawing board.

I’ll keep you posted.

I don’t often review software on this blog, but as an author, blogger, and Medium contributor, I’m always painfully aware of language. And I use the word “painfully” advisedly: as the daughter of a mother who had a genius-level IQ, and the niece of a retired English professor, a paranoia of a kind is always present when I’m writing.

Open Live Writer, my favorite blogging tool, has a spell checker, so I’m not too worried about misspellings. But it doesn’t check grammar, punctuation, usage, or any of the other things I worry about.

The Tool

Enter Grammarly, which may well be the ultimate writing assistant. The free version, which is what I’m using, performs critical grammar and spelling checks. The premium version adds:

  • Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure
  • Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
  • Genre-specific writing style checks
  • Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure
  • Vocabulary enhancement suggestions
  • Genre-specific writing style checks
  • Plagiarism detector that checks more than 8 billion web pages
  • Advanced checks for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure

If you’re a professional writer, you might consider the premium version; however, at $30 a month, it’s a bit rich for my blood. There are actually 3 pricing structures:

  • $29.95 a month, billed monthly
  • $19.98 a month, billed quarterly at a single payment of $59.95
  • $11.66 a month, billed annually at a single payment of $139.95

For now, I consider it a useful addition to my Writer’s Toolbox. Maybe when I win the Nobel Prize for Literature, I’ll consider upgrading to premium.


No animals were hurt during this blog. However, several million pixels voluntarily give their lives in the service of communication and snarky remarks.

Yes, it’s fancy. And yes, it’s beautiful. And yes, I love my iPhone 6S Plus.

But I’m going to give the X (which Apple says to pronounce “10”) a miss. There are a couple of reasons.

First, there’s the iPhone 8 Plus. In every way that’s relevant to me, it’s the same technology as the X…for a few hundred dollars less.

Second—and crucially—the iPhone X uses facial recognition to unlock the device. There is no alternative. The iPhone 8, on the other hand, still gives you the option of logging in with your fingerprint, a password, or a PIN.

Why is this important?

Courts have held that passwords and PINs are intellectual property. That means that you own them. Law enforcement officers (LEOs) cannot make you divulge them without a warrant, nor can they make you use them to log in without a warrant.

Fingerprints and faces, however, are not your property, plus they fall under the “plain sight” exception to any warrant requirement. In other words, if a LEO asks you to log on to your phone by looking at it or just touching it, you have no legal right to refuse.

And that, my friends, is something that may not have occurred to Apple.

Also, Samsung’s facial recognition on their new flagship smartphone has been shown to be fooled by a photograph of the owner’s face!

So yes, as soon as I pay off some bills and save some money, I definitely will upgrade to the iPhone 8 Plus. My only remaining decision will be 64 Gb or 256 Gb. My iPhone 6S Plus has 16 Gb. I wanted to save money, but it was a mistake. I should have gone with 32 Gb.

BLOG: (noun)
1. a website containing a writer’s or group of writers’ own experiences, observations, opinions, etc., and often having images and links to other websites.

2. a single entry or post on such a website:
She regularly contributes a blog to the magazine’s website.

The definition of journal is a diary you keep of daily events or of your thoughts or a publication dealing with a specific industry or field.

My standard disclaimer applies: These are my own thoughts about things that work for me. They may or may not apply to you.

Blogging and journaling are two forms of therapy that work for me, with this difference: what I post on my blog are random thoughts and ideas I feel comfortable with sharing with others. My journal, on the other hand, are my deepest thoughts that I keep to myself. They’re not things I’m comfortable sharing with anyone else.

Both methods help me keep centered. From time to time, I may go back to my journal and discover something I am comfortable in sharing, and so I’ll post it on my blog.

For more information about the health benefits of journaling, I’d recommend “A new reason for keeping a diary,” or “Journaling for Mental Health.”

I’ll admit I’m biased in favor of the URMC article, because that’s where I’ve been going for my mental health help for the past 8 years, and because I know one of the reviewers of the article.

Regardless, take a look at both articles and see if they offer any insights for you.

I stole today’s title from The Huffington Post. Over the years, I’ve had any number of therapists tell me I should be keeping a journal, but none of them have been able to explain just why I should be doing it. Consequently, I’ve always told myself, :Hey! I write stories and I blog. Isn’t that good enough?”

But this morning I cam across the article I reference above in the Huffington Post. It gives a pretty good layman’s explanation of some of the benefits associated with regular journaling. I thought I’d share them with you as background to thus post about the great journaling app I discovered the other day.

Day One is a simple journaling app for the MacOS and iOS platforms. But don’t mistake “simple” for “bare bones.” With Day One, I can write my journal entry and have it keep track of where I was and what the weather was like when I wrote a given entry. I can add photos from my camera roll, or I can take pictures from inside the app. I can also add maps and tags.

I can honestly say that this is the first journaling software I’ve ever used that suits my needs. So much so, in fact, that I went ahead and spent the $5 it cost to buy my own copy. I also took advantage of the apps “Reminder” feature to remind me at a particular time every day that I need to add a new entry for that day.

I’ve also created two journals: the standard one that comes with the app is for my daily entries, and I’ve added a TRAVEL journal to document my train trip across the USA.

So far, I’ve only found three (very minor) drawbacks to the app—if you want to consider them drawbacks—it’s only available for Mac, iPhone, and iPad (no android or PC version), and while the previous version was capable of posting your entries to a web site, they haven’t yet added that capability to the latest version (2.01). The publisher says it’s because they redesigned the app from the ground up for version 2.0, and still have more coding to do so they can incorporate the web connection.

The third drawback is that Version 2.0 doesn’t sync with iCloud or DropBox. It does, however sync across all your devices. So if iCloud and/or DropBox syncing is important to you, the publishers recommend using the previous version.

Day One 1

My experience with the app has me convinced that for me, at least, it is the best journaling app available.

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