Sunday, July 24, 2011

Adding a Table of Contents in Word

With only a first draft under my belt, I continue to see myself as a novice writer. When I learn something new I like to share. So what did I learn today? How to add a table of contents (TOC) to a Word Document. Yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Using the TOC can make revision and editing easier by using the TOC to locate the chapter you want to work on simply by pressing the control button and clicking the chapter on the TOC you want to jump to. I tested this out with my first draft of Wild Fire. Not only is it great in word but when I converted it for my kindle I was able to jump around the book using the TOC.

Here is a quick way of creating a TOC:

  • Select the chapter text you want to use as reference. I did this by selecting Chapter One and so on throughout my draft.
  • Click Heading 2. If you wish to keep the same font then go ahead and change the font you want to use. Do this for all chapters
  • Make sure your cursor is in the position where you want your TOC to be placed
  • Click the Reference tab
  • Click Table of Contents
  • Click insert Table of Contents
  • Click OK

Easy Peasy!

As you work your pages may change or you may change your chapter titles. This is an easy fix. Simply press F9 and update your TOC.

I hope this is found useful.



Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Productivity Helpers

There are so many distractions out there for writer’s today. Take this blog post for instance. Shouldn't you be working instead of blog hopping? Yeah, me too. The internet provides us with great research opportunities, but surely we don’t require it to be running all the time while we work, because the oh so tempting social networks tend to lure us in, allowing us to waste anywhere from minutes to hours of good work time.

I've talked about the Pomodoro Technique, where you work for four twenty five minute increments taking a 5 minute break between each one, and then a 15 minute break after all four are complete. This helps with concentration, but I’ve found the net still causes me to break, at first looking up only research, but then checking up on my Facebook while I am already online.
So how do we stop this?

It’s an internet blocking program. You can use it along side your Pomodoros, setting the timer for 25 minutes of no internet. The only way to counter it is to reboot the entire system, which discourages cheating. After your time is up you can either set aside 25 minutes of research and social time, or you can reset the clock and get back to work. The cost of the program (no, it’s not a freebee) is only 10 bucks and it has a free trial with full features so that you can try it out before you buy it. It’s defiantly worth a try!
If you own a Mac you might give Anti-Social a try. It only turns of the social networking sites, giving you use of the net for research.

Finally, there is Rescue Time that has the ability to track what you do on the internet and shames you into being more productive. It follows everything you work on, all your time on the net, and what you were doing there, then it graphs it out for you to show you where you are loosing the most time. Rescue Time is free, but you do have an option to go pro if you wanted for about 6 bucks.

How do you limit you internet time for productivity's sake?


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Scrivener VS LSB

With Nanowrimo right around the corner, writers are gearing up for the insanity that is November. Outlines, character profiles, and word processors, Oh My! Not only do we get the chance to write ourselves into a straightjacket in November, but we now have the opportunity to go nutters in July and August with the all new Camp Nanowrimo.

In this writing frenzy, a word processor can either be a writer's best friend, or worst enemy. So, I spent the day yesterday searching for and trying out the best software, and it comes down to two. Scrivener (which is now available for windows) and Liquid Story Binder.

Which is the best? T.N. Tobias put it to the test in their post Software Shootout: Liquid Story Binder vs Scrivener for Windows.

Overall, if you like tons of organization abilities and love to outline your little heart out, LSB is the software for you. If you prefer to have minimal organization abilities but better output options, go with Scrivener.

Then again, you could just keep it old school, and keep on rockin the Word.

Which will you choose?