Tools For Writers

For the past year, I have been searching endlessly for ways to enhance my writing, and most of all stay motivated.

Tirelessly looking for ways to expand my outlets and reach out to as many as possible took a toll on my outlook of the internet and how helpful it could actually be, especially when I was very eager and could not find one effective resource to satisfy my need for progress.

However, my efforts have not been futile, and I’ve put together some useful findings that I’ve discovered through my search.

1. 20lines.com

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This is my personal favorite. Its as if WordPress, Facebook, and Twitter had a baby, and then made it completely devoted to people who enjoy writing – in nearly all its forms *heavens open up and music is heard*.

Relatively new to the US, it originated in Italy and has gained popularity in other parts of the world. When you sign up, you have a profile that you publish stories to, essentially building your own portfolio and allowing fellow 20liners to like, comment, repost or follow your work. If you’re wondering where Twitter comes in, its because you assign hashtags to the stories that you publish, making your work easy to find by the material. Also, the content published by 20liners is broad. Ive seen everything from poetry, to journal entries, and fictional series that are published one short entry at a time.

The great thing about this website is that if you’re like me and thinking about publishing one day, you have an entire community that has a love of words, ultimately relieving the need of having to pin down a target audience (unlike WordPress where it often takes a while to find your own niche within the mass cacophony of motives and genres). When I publish my story 4 years from now, it is likely that I will have over 200 people following my profile. This is 200 people who love words and had an interest in my story. I’ve already had 4 people contact me and tell me they are looking forward to the end product and are ready to buy a book that has not been written yet.

Here is my 20lines Portfolio

2. HelpMeWrite.co

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HelpMeWrite is a web app that allows you to post writing ideas to an audience who tells you that they would like to read it by casting a vote (simply clicking “I would like to read this”). When you finish the idea, you can publish it to an audience who casted this vote:

http://helpmewrite.co/about

This app is very new to me. I’m not sure it will be the most helpful outlet personally, since it uses Twitter and I am not a frequent user  (and actually had to make an account for the app). However, I do believe it could prove to be worthy for those who are already well established on Twitter. This app is best for gaining the motivation you need to pursue an idea that you have.

Follow me on HelpMeWrite

3. Scrivener

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This is more well known than the previous two, so I won’t go into too much detail.

Scrivener has become very popular for writers, and for valid reasons. It is software made for authors, a tool to organize their thoughts, ideas, research, and documents. The first thing I did before entering a single word of my story onto my computer was buy scrivener ($45) and it is one of the most beneficial decisions I’ve made. Im so organized that it is actually difficult to get lost or distracted with what I’m working on. Time isn’t wasted on trying to collect thoughts and synthesize what you want to convey. Its all right there, saved and ready to be built and refined.

I hope some of you have found this useful. Other than this blog, I post and share content like this on Pinterest, and now Twitter. If you have either of these accounts and are interested, follow me!

Happy Writing ❤

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“Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way” -E.L. Doctorow

Is this what writing a novel is like for everyone? I can’t imagine J.K. Rowling knowing every single detail of her glorious series as she sat down to write The Sorcerer’s Stone. No. It is exactly what the quote suggests. It is operating a dream space that can only be illuminated and seen once you begin the journey and go there yourself. She did not not where she was going, and yet she knew she had to do it. 

It is happening to me right now. I have been working on this project for a long time, and have finally entered the stage of execution. Plans are set. Countless days have been spent dreaming up ideas, asking the ether questions about what to make of my story.

Although everything isn’t entirely in its place, it is now demanded that the ideas be put on paper, to manifest out of the invisible atmosphere and into reality. It’s time to fill in the spaces I have not been able to ascertain, and although I know what direction I’m going in and a vague understanding of the destination, I have no idea what I’ll encounter on the way there, or what new insights I will come upon when I finally do get there.

What is interesting to me is that life also feels like this. We don’t know where we’re going, but we make a decision once we get to a certain check point, and so the story goes, as if we were the authors of our own lives. As if our life was a creation in it of itself.

Wish me good luck, and safe travels to you all.

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Happy Valentines Day, Fellow Bloggers!

This Valentines Day, I present to you 30 pictures of hearts. I’ve been collecting photos of hearts for about a year now after noticing that they would appear just about everywhere I went. One even manifested itself as a bruise on my arm!

I’m not sure what brings this coincidence, but I would like to share the love with you on this day.

Enjoy!

Also, check out m previous two posts concerning love: Perpetual Moment and The Obvious (but forgotten) Ways We Can Create a Loving Environment For Ourselves.  

The Obvious (but forgotten) Ways We Can Create a Loving Environment for Ourselves

In light of my previous post and the pending arrival of Valentines Day, I wanted to go into more detail about alternative ways we can incorporate love into our lives, without the help of others.

I’ve already mentioned how relying on those around us for love can be problematic. Chances are, at one time or another, you were either alone, or surrounded by people who weren’t providing the feeling of connectedness that you craved or needed. But there are many other ways to make life just as fulfilling without another’s assistance, which we sometimes forget with the hype of romantics and popularity.

1. Create 

This might already be obvious for fellow bloggers, who are already creating frequently and sharing it with the world. Its great to take pride in your writing and enjoy reaching out to others who were otherwise unreachable. However, it is still worth mentioning, especially with the multitude of opportunities out there that are often forgotten.

Buy a paint set, or a sketch book. Reacquaint yourself with the high tech camera you got for christmas but were too busy to use. Do some gardening. Bake a cake. If you’re like me, you have numerous recipes for dinners and deserts piling up and haven’t yet had the opportunity to try out.

I could go on…

Heres some motivation: Red Velvet Trifle Recipe , How To Make A Water Color Mug , DIY Herb Garden

You’d be surprised how much our creations give back to us in terms of happiness, knowledge, learning, overall well being, and ultimately love.

2. Sift through the impersonal and hold onto sentiment.

Whether or not it is solely due to technology (as it is at least part of the issue) I think it is safe to say that we hold a certain amount of detachment with one another in our society. The internet seems to do a great job at keep us from losing touch with everyone, or anyone, but also impedes our ability to make deep connections. Find a pen pal, a hand written letter has a vintage quality in the midst of our digitized existence.

Make dinner instead of eating out one night, and invite someone over if you don’t live with anyone. Host a movie marathon. Host a wine and cheese party. If you’re an animal lover, host a dog play date with your fellow animal lovers. If you’ve found yourself making less and less plans lately, get away from the computer screen (after you’re done reading this) and make time for it.

Also, don’t wait for someone to buy you flowers, take you out for dinner, or get you that gift you always wanted. Treat yourself from time to time, which leads to my next point…

3. Reward yourself

Whats the point of completing a to do list if theres no feeling of gratification afterward? Do this in what ever way works for your lifestyle. Even if the reward is small, it is better than ending the day with something other than the mere completion of a task.

4. If something makes you happy, even if its minimal, give it your attention and make room for it. Find beauty in simple things.

This can pertain to your physical environment, an activity, or really anything involving your emotional/mental well being. Perhaps it means having a collection of sea glass, hanging a tapestry, coffee in the morning, taking a walk to the ocean at least once a week. It will be different for everyone.

Do not let small pleasures slip through the giant cracks of your expectations.

There is a lot more to enjoy and to cherish than we realize. Its just a matter of noticing it.

5. If something is toxic to you, whether it be a person, a place or thing, don’t grant it your attention.

Life is too short to spend energy on something that will only bring you down and set you back from your purpose, which is fundamentally to be yourself (whatever that may be in your case), and make this world a better one. To do this, you must first become skillful at recognizing a toxic situation. I have a knack for this, but I realize that its not always easy for others. If it were, many of us would not end up in the circumstances we’ve been in or are in now. Once you are able to recognize whats hurting you, your decisions in eliminating unnecessary negativity will become much more effective.

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Romantic love is different and unique, but that doesn’t mean its more valuable than what can be attained from what already surrounds us.

Perpetual Moment

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Heaven is not so much a place as it is a perpetual moment.

The air is somehow both cool and warm as I breathe the saline scent of ocean air into my lungs. There’s no one in sight when I scan the horizon, but I do not feel alone. In fact, I feel more accompanied than I ever have been. The sunrise is welcomed, casting slightly different shades of orange and gold than it did when it left the day before. I drift off into contemplation…

I’ve learned at a very young age that people can be an unreliable source of love. Its not necessarily their fault, we are only human. Families move. People lose interest, find a new person, or new group to associate with. In the worst cases, some will even be subjected to their own mortality early on. It’s not complicated. Others are not always going to be there for you, whether they can help it or not.

I’ve also come to find that everyone has a different idea of loyalty, and that others won’t always try to see from different perspectives in the way I do. I’ve become accustomed to the fickleness of human beings, even learned to anticipate it.

However, it is true what they say: when one door closes, another one opens, and sometimes for a good reason.

I had a unique childhood, cast away on barrier islands on the south shore of Long Island. I was able to find love in the extraordinary, beyond flesh and bone, and I am thankful for it. I found love in the persistent undulation of the Atlantic. I found love not just in the heart of others, but in the heart of nature. I found solace in the relentless way waves crash and recede. I found it in the micro and macro cosmos of all things, both living and seemingly inert. I found it in the potential of a drop of salt water. I developed a deeper appreciation for the physical properties and processes that govern our world. I began to associate love with what was raw, and unseen, as I knew there was more than what my eyes informed me.

I’ve learned almost everything I need to carry on with life in the temple of nature, a perpetual moment of love.

Curiosity

Everything has such greater impact on you as a child. I remember how the meaning of a book or a movie stayed with me until bedtime, the imagery dancing around vividly in my innocent mind out of wonder. Now it seems all that was once meaningful and visceral drifts in and out indifferently, unable to pin anything of substance down from the numbness gained by the passing of time. Our adult lives have encountered new frontiers, and it is curiosity that allows the awe to persist.

Jason Silva describes the mechanics behind this beautifully in his videos. Here is“The Ecstasy of Curiosity” on his youtube channel Shots of Awe.

Do yourself a favor and watch all of his videos. They are truly wonderful and live up to the channel’s title.

Symmetrical Entropy: The Order Within The Chaos

Stumble upon a photo zoomed in way too far, and all you see is an incomprehensible pixelated blur that has no meaning.

This is the metaphor I am using today for my message, as I’ve noticed others rarely consider that they might have to take many steps back to see something for what it truly is.

I consider myself to be a realist, dangerously bordering pessimist at times, but if there is anything that keeps me from losing trust in life, it is this sentiment.

Nothing makes any sense, and it is inaccurate to think that one day it will for anyone. Life doesn’t have to make sense in order to exist the way that it does. What holds my head above water is the only reliable piece of knowledge: that my perspective is limited, and it just might well be that of a photo zoomed in 500%.

So what is this idea of symmetrical entropy? It is disorder occurring in a way that when given enough time and space, it begins to take shape. A slew of seemingly random acts happen collectively, forming something that has symmetry. Simply put, symmetrical entropy is a paradox. It is order being birthed from disorder.

I can never be certain, but I suspect that symmetrical entropy is a real thing in our world. Scientists talk about how all matter strives to be in a state of randomness, but who are we to label it nonsensical?

I’m not saying there is a reason for everything. I’m not saying everything is predetermined. Above all, I am not an advocate of intelligent design. All I am asking is for others to question how we can have completely accurate notions, ideas, and measurements when we are merely on the inside, looking out of something unfathomably larger than ourselves.

You’ve heard it before, the only certainty is uncertainty. Well, perhaps the disorder has uniformity as well.

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