Monday, July 13, 2009

Organizing tools for writers

Organizing tools that I've found useful for organizing and writing books.

Microsoft Word outliner
Create topic headings for your book. Collapse the headers to see a high-level 'table of contents.' Expand individual headers to add detailed information as you work on individual sections or paragraphs.

Google documents
Lately I've been using Google documents to collect information for a book I'm working on.
The advantages of Google documents are many. The two major ones:
1) All my files reside 'in the cloud' instead of on an individual laptop, netbook or computer, so I can use any computer to access my files.
2) Simplicity. Google documents is simple and easy to use.
The only real drawback I've found so far with Google documents is that it doesn't have an outliner function.

Inspiration visual organizing software
Inspiration is a 'hyper outliner' that allows you to arrange your ideas visually. You can then expand and collapse the headings and subheadings. The interface is designed for grade-school use, so it is simple and easy to use. (Buy the 3-pack if you have more than one computer. I've found transferring registration between computers to be a pain in the ass.)

Post-its on a wall
Clear a large space (a blank wall works) and stick 3x5 post it's to the wall. Rearrange the topics as needed. This is an extremely effective and low cost method of seeing the overall structure of a book.

How to keep a journal

Collecting ideas and notes is an ongoing challenge for writers. An idea for a book may flit through your mind and--unless it is recorded--disappear within minutes.

One solution is to keep a journal of your life. On his Cool Tools blog, Kevin Kelly reviews a book that tells how to keep such a journal.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Digital economics (writing)

Dan Cook writes clearly and lucidly about the realities of digital economics.

Again: how do writers get paid?

(Cook wrote this article for Flash Game developers, but the concepts apply equally to authors and artists.)

Innovative publishing model (writing)

No one quite knows quite what the new publishing model is going to be. How do writers get paid for their work? What is the role of the publisher? No one knows. The Internet has up-ended everything.

Here's one innovative publishing model, via Kevin Kelly.

Sell 200 copies online at $9.95 and thereafter distribute the book as a PDF, for free.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Becoming "Bullet proof" (Yoga)

"Bikram yoga is designed to make you "bullet proof." You are learning the valuable lesson and honing the valuable skill of not allowing others to steal your peace and power. Bikram himself doesn't have faith that your fellow yogis will annoy or offend you adequately; he takes it upon himself to do so! Bullet-proof, my friend.

"Think of a life where your mean boss, your annoying co-worker, your needy friend, your petulant teen-ager DOESNT BOTHER YOU. And remember, return on investment in changing others is much much lower than in changing the way you tolerate others."

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

When will people pay for content? (writing)

Seth Godin understands what the Internet and blogs mean to the business of publishing and writing.

He writes:

"We're always going to need writers, but the business model of their platform is going to change.

"People will pay for content if it is so unique they can't get it anywhere else, so fast they benefit from getting it before anyone else, or so related to their tribe that paying for it brings them closer to other people. We'll always be willing to pay for souvenirs of news, as well, things to go on a shelf or badges of honor to share.

"People will not pay for by-the-book rewrites of news that belongs to all of us. People will not pay for yesterday's news, driven to our house, delivered a day late, static, without connection or comments or relevance. Why should we? A good book review on Amazon is more reliable and easier to find than a paid-for professional review that used to run in your local newspaper, isn't it?"