#MAYkingItWork Friday Update: Tools

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Hey #MAYkers! This is our last official Friday in May, though I suggest we gather next Thursday too, for our final updates! Well, finalish.

Because I have an idea I’d like to float around, but we’ll get to that in a second. I mean I could go ahead with it and see if you all notice that I’m not actually updating my progress, but you’re an awfully astute bunch, so I know better.

How was that for stalling? Not bad?

I made progress on both projects this week, though not as much progress as I would have liked. I did spend some energy on a political piece at Medium; I’ve decided political opinion writing is something I’d like to get back into doing. So if you’re interested, you can check out my work there, I’m planning to publish on a more regular basis.

My new stylus has infinitely improved my editing, since it hearkens (huh, I didn’t know there was an e in there. Neither did spellcheck, by the way, it just knew it was wrong. Thanks Dictionary.com) back to my early habits of editing on paper. I’m on my third round with the completed manuscript, and that tends to be slow-going because there’s so much attention to word choice and sentence structure.

The downside is the incomplete manuscript I’m supposed to be reading is also getting edited, even though it’s not time for editing. Hmm. But I’m going forward. Incrementally. Still forward.

And now my idea. I’m really liking this reporting in on Fridays, and since I never, ever let a pun go unpunned or a portmanteau go unported, next Friday, I’ll launch #AccountaClub. (I did warn you. Didn’t I warn you?)

It’s our little accountability club–or mine, if no one else wants to play along–where you can come and brag or whine or whatever you need to do on Friday. We can also think of it as our accounting club, but not the math kind, the kind where we just talk about the week.

So how’s it going?

#MAYkingItWork Updates:

Donna B. McNicol

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

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A way editing can be fun. No really. Seriously. Please stop laughing.

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Woman Writing a Letter, with her Maid by Johannes Vermeer, National Gallery of Ireland

So a while ago, I had to replace my computer. I was pretty irritated about it, it wasn’t that old, but it had always been a kind of reluctant co-conspirator, not terribly interested in my computer-usage schemes. Even though I got it new, it had a crotchety-ness about it. It groaned and grumbled; it rejected my shenanigans.

We had to part ways.

In replacement, I got one of those 2-in-1 computers (3-in-1? What would the 3 be?) that can function as a tablet. We’re totally besties.

In the morning, as a tented tablet, it streams me my yoga. When I’m writing, it sits up, prim and proper, as though it hadn’t just done the splits. It’s got a much nicer touch than my previous keyboard.

BUT.

Yesterday, I got the best part. The BEST PART. It’s a part so good I had to just yell about it, as you can see. Yesterday I got a stylus.

And suddenly my childhood visions of marking directly into a computer have nearly come true. I don’t think I could write on the screen like a notebook and have it convert to type (though maybe I can, any suggestions? Google would probably know. Google knows all), but while reading though, I can mark a red line through a word and POOF! it vanishes.

IT VANISHES.

I have the benefit of typing on the onscreen keyboard when it’s in tablet mode, so instead of my chicken-scratch handwriting, I can put in something I can actually read later. Mark up a page as I would if I printed it.

You guys know. There’s nothing like marking up a page that’s printed. Except this.

You can circle to highlight. That’s all I’ve learned so far; I’m sure there’s a guide to the editing symbols it will accept. It’s definitely helping as I work through my #MAYkingItWork goals. Only wish I’d done it earlier.

Wow, I’ve gushed a long post. That’s how cool it is. See? I told you.

Editing and fun in the same sentence. Who’da thunk it.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

Outside can be nice

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Me, four minutes ago: “I haven’t even started my blog post!”

Me thirty seconds after that: “Maybe I like THIS part for 1 line Wednesday.”

Turns out I did not. Have plenty of lines with “lost” in them; can’t really separate any from context. Alas. And I don’t want to let out any future Aunty Ida spoilers.

No game for me today.

Yesterday I got outside for a little while, in the early evening, and the birds were everywhere. High above the trees, small ones circled and darted like bats do. They chattered and they flitted. At one point I stood eye to eye with a woodpecker, a beautiful black-and-white bird with a red cap on his head. He didn’t stay long.

I didn’t bring my real camera. I went outside to get a walk, that was my intention, so all I had was my cell. It takes remarkably good pictures, but works best as a wide-angle lens. Maybe I got some birdies, but I doubt it.

Hang on, I’ll look. Just one came out, which, given it’s a cell and not my super awesome camera, is surprising.

There were some fat round black-and-white ones (like that guy above) I would have thought were finches but may have been warblers;* there was an all-gray smallish medium bird that looked like a robin but had no color at all. From my digging, it might have been a black swift, but I’m not entirely sure.

They were everywhere and so very, very loud. It was fabulous.

*UPDATE:  on Twitter very astutely identified it as a chickadee! It’s a black-capped chickadee, to be precise! Thanks, Dear Reader!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

#MAYkingItWork Friday Update

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Brace yourselves, MAYkers and non MAYkers alike. Brace yourselves. Are you braced in there nicely and tightly?

Good.

Progress has been made. More to the point, progress has been made by me. After my escape in the middle of the week, and after an extensive wrestling session with my cursor, I wrote yesterday. Words. 826 of them. Not my most productive word count day, but I’m back in it.

With a slight problem.

I’ve let it sit so long, I have no idea what’s happening in the broader story. The scene, sure. But the broader story, no. So I have to go back and reread everything I have so far. Nearly 70,000 words in.

So there’s that.

On the editing front, I just left that manuscript to come write this update. So it may have taken more than half the month to ummire me from the extremely sticky molasses of inertia, but I’m unmired.

And I have a little insight as well. Sometimes, if you take the break, if you get away from it, you can get to it.

How’s it going for you? Doesn’t Speak Klingon has a great update I’ve reposted in the comments!

#MAYkingItWork updates:

Donna McNicol

 

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

 

Two-hour vacation

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Yesterday I played hooky. I got away from the computer for the entire day, without an accusing blinking cursor with ten feet of me.

OK, well, part of the day was getting done things you have to get done, like laundry and taking my car for emissions testing, but the other part was spent among the fully-blooming crab apple trees at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Glorious.

It’s one of my favorite times of year there, if not my very favorite, with an entire arching pathway covered in bursts of blossoms. Yesterday there were cloudless blue skies and hot, bright sunshine. Yesterday the winter faded entirely, superseded by the explosion of life that is spring.

Fat fuzzy bees danced excitedly from tree to tree, and I just watched them, not even bothering to try to capture them with my lens. Little birds drank the flowers’ nectar, and in among the branches, stood sturdy nests.

I got groceries and put them away and hung up the wet stuff that doesn’t go in the dryer to dry, but right there, in the middle of the day, it was like I went away to somewhere else entirely.

And it was just what I needed.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

**BREAKING: #MAYkingItWork Midweek Update**

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I’m a little worse for wear. Like this poppy.

**BREAKING: #MAYkingItWork Midweek Update**

There is nothing to report.

Yikes.

Still plenty of week left, though, right? RIGHT??

That’s what I tell myself, anyway. I’m still having a hard time balancing what’s going on out in reality with forcing myself into a fictional place. Writers, throughout time, have done it; it’s mostly what writers do. Rainbows and unicorns should not be required to turn to the quill.

See, maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I need a quill.

So I could spend the time trying to figure out how to write with a quill. Procrastination secured.

Though getting the ink out of basically everything probably wouldn’t be that much fun. But who knows.

I hope it’s going more smoothly for everyone else. At least it’s only Wednesday?!

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.

 

Easy like Tuesday morning or bloggety blog.

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Ah blog. Blogetty blog blog blog. Blogging. Right. Blogging.That’s what I’m doing right now. Blogging.

It’s gray again today, and the air has that clean, damp coolness to the back of it. It’s a tad chilly but I have the window open anyway. As often happens on these soggy days, the noise outside is muted, and the traffic drone a soft nest of sound.

I’d call it soporific if I hadn’t just finished my coffee. Finished? Let me check. If it wasn’t finished before, it’s finished now.

And there’s the siren. Un-citylike interlude over.

It’s funny how one place can feel like another, if only for a brief few minutes. I could have been anywhere with a brisk, humid breeze. Until that siren. And then the low trundle of a bus.

Sometimes, while writing, we want those concrete details, the ones that anchor us firmly to time and place. Usually, in my own writing, I like to use broad strokes; suggestions, and let the reader fill in the details.

Notice. Always notice. At the worst, you’ll get yourself a blog post out of it.

Blogetty blog indeed.

Check out  my full-length novels: 

Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only)   

Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) 

 Her Cousin Much Removed

 The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management.

And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Peruse Montraps Publishing.