Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Flowkeeper Pomodoro Timer

This program is flippin awesome! It’s based on the Pomodoro Technique, keeping track of your tasks, and giving you a great timer for your Pomos.
I love the way you can either leave the timer on screen, making it able for you to watch your time as you work, or you can hide the timer. You can either have the timer tick as it counts down, giving you that feeling of eminent deadline, or silence it so that you can work in quiet. It also has an interruption button and a void button.
Fair warning, the timer is bound to scare the crap out of you if your not expecting it.
At the end of the day or week, you can check the statistics of your Pomos. How many times were you interrupted? Was it of great importance that you do that task instead of the one at hand, or could it have waited until your break or the start of a new Pomo.
I find the ticking clock really soothing as I write, and the timer fits nicely in the upper right hand corner of my screen allowing me to watch as I write. How much can I get done before the timer goes off? Will I be as productive this Pomo? I find myself working harder, concentrating more on my twenty five minutes of writing.


Are you a procrastinator? Try the Pomodoro Technique, then get this handy timer called Flowkeeper.
Happy writing!
Ta!
A.McBay

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Morning Pages are better than anti-depressants


I haven't posted much lately, mostly because I swore I would never leave a ton of whiny posts here, and that is how I have felt lately. I tend to worry and stress more than necessary and am prone to depressions. Not sleeping is a symptom of it and only makes it worse. It's getting better though thanks to my morning pages. They help me get rid of the negativity every morning so that I can enjoy the day with my kids. I haven't stressed as much over my WIP. I decided to let it stew while I was working out my moodiness. I really don't think I would make it through the day without the morning pages. Yeah, I know, I don't seem like one of those people who get depressed. I always seem so happy. What can I say? I'm great at hiding things.

This month I started a course called The Artist way. Although I don't think the course is really helping, I do know that the morning pages, one of the biggest tools in the course, have helped me a ton. I feel like a fog is lifted after my pages. I can think clearer, and I'm much less cranky. The moodiness tends to return by late evening, but having my head on straight the rest of the day has been absolutely wonderful.

The morning pages often have a way of telling you how you can solve your own problems. For instance, the ending of WF, that I have stressed over for weeks now. I realized one morning that I had not been reading lately. Nothing since my trip to Oklahoma. So I took a few days to read and ended up devouring a whole trilogy. Although its storyline was basic, the love triangle was been there done that, and the typos were abundant, I found what I was missing in my own WIP. I have a ton of notes in my cell for revision, and for the ending. Last night I sent off the latest chapter to my alpha beta (Mom) to make sure it was working. I'm still waiting for her to get back to me before moving on. I have to know that I'm on the right track.

Another thing my morning pages revealed to me is my loneliness. I miss having friends that love doing what I do. Right now, I love to write. So I decided I needed to get with my writer buddies here in Abilene (there are only two at the moment) and start a group. Meet up, talk books and writing, but most of all, have fun. I need that connection that I lost when I left Hawaii. When I had to leave the best friends I had ever had.

I know that my morning pages are making a difference in my attitude, because my husband asks me daily, "Did you do your morning pages today?"

He lost that jealousy of the pages sometime after the first four days. I guess he found me more pleasant to be around. Although he is deeply curious about what is in the pages and asks constantly only to be told its private, he has respected me enough not to insist on telling him what I write.

The pages have even improved on my typing time. I started typing about 20 words a minute, which is pretty slow I know, and am up to 30 words a minute as of today. Maybe by the time Nanowrimo this year I will be able to pound out an insane amount of words a day and complete the challenge.

Although the pages are meant to be three pages longhand, I find it easier to type them. I don't have to concentrate so hard on my writing and am able to just let the words flow as they come to me. Every morning I log in at http://750words.com and dump. I unload everything I have been holding in (I'm the world's worst at holding things in…) Afterwards, I can check my mood, what words I used most, how long it took me to write, and my words per minute. Then I copy and paste in Word, save, print, hole punch, and put my pages in a binder.

If there is nothing else I get out of The Artist Way, I will keep the pages. They truly help.

Try them for yourself!

Ta!

A.McBay

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Artist Way


The wonderful Tina over at TPR recommended The Artist Way. It's a twelve week course to reconnecting with your inner artist. Everyone has an inner artist. From decorating homes, to writing novels, or painting and drawing, everyone likes to create in some manner. TAW teaches us to get out of our own way, and get creating.

So far, I'm on week one. I have diligently done my morning pages, a wonderful way to dump everything bothering you, all your ideas, and all of your problems, onto a page. Get it all out of your way. Most of the time, you'll find most of the answers to your problems on what you should do right there in your morning pages. It is required to write three pages. You can do this either longhand or write 750 words typed which is about three pages longhand. A great place Tina recommended (she's full of wonderful advice) is 750words.com where they keep track of your word goals. I won't go into detail, but go check it out. It's pretty cool!

Another thing I have to do for my TAW course this week is get rid of the negativity of my past. All those people who criticized my creativity have to be put on paper. My family was always supportive, but my classmates were not. They mostly just saw me as the quiet girl who reads and draws a lot. Which usually means easy target…

Sometime this week, I have to take my inner artist for a walk, and a date. I hope my husband doesn't get jealous.

I'm also working on my affirmations. Making good comments about my artist self without letting that inner censor say anything negative. That censor, she's a mean one.

I highly recommend you pick up The Artist Way. If anything, try the morning pages and see what they have to say for you. They may just help you find that missing link in your novel.

I'll update next week with my progress into week two.

Ta!

A.McBay

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thuper Thursday:Dad

Yesterday was my dad's birthday. So, to celebrate I decided to do like last week and dedicate this Thuper Thursday to him!
What can I say about my dad? He's a good ol' country boy who works hard for his family, but plays even harder. He breaks horses, hunts, fixes cars, welds, and rides four wheelers and motorcycles. My weekends and summers were spent climbing trees and riding horses bareback. He taught me it's ok to be a little boyish, and man was he right. I have some of the best guy friends who treat me as one of the guys. I've had a lot of fun living by my dad's standards.
So when it came to falling in love, I fell for a man just like my dad. A country boy from Arkansas.
My dad shares my interest in the paranormal, the only one in my family who really does. He has supported me in my creative life, though he dosnt really understand it, and though it was hard, he supported me when I decided to go into the military (even putting one of those embarassing stickers my mom made on all his vehicles...).
If it wernt for him, I wouldn't be the stuborn, country lovin, backwoods talkin, tomboy I am today.
So here's to my long haired hillbilly Daddy! I love you.
Ta!
A.McBay

Friday, April 1, 2011

Thuper Late Thuper Thursday: Da Buzzard

Better quality photo on it's way :P

In the excitement of writing the last few chapters of WF, my husband being home (which just totally threw me off), and the craziness of the week, I forgot about Thuper Thursday yesterday. Bad Amy, I know. This post will differ slightly from the others. I didn't draw the name. It just so happens to be the star's birthday, and I saw it fitting to post about them today. So who is this illustrious star? My grandmother, or as we call her Da Buzzard, a nickname she has taken to since its creation when asked what she wanted to be called by her great grandbaby. She had replied "Da GrandMother," in a godfatherly accent, but was misunderstood as Da GrandBuzzard, which stuck.

Da Buzzard taught me to read, and instilled my love for books at a very early age. I still have the first book I ever read without pictures while sitting on her lap, called A Dog Called Kitty. I remember all the afternoons after school sitting in her backyard where I would stop to do my homework, read, or just sit and chat instead of walking home like I was supposed to do. It's thanks to her support that I started writing in the first place.

Da Buzzard is the Queen of books. She has a larger collection than my hometown's public library. It may have helped that collection grow when she was working for the local used bookstore. I believe they paid her in books.

Aside from my love for books, my grandmother has taught me that true love does exist. You can see the total admiration she has for my grandfather just from how she still looks at him. I have never seen this look dim. The way they still hold hands or each other with such obvious adoration will make you envious. I can't help but smile when I see them share a quick kiss or snuggle. They truly are the essence of true love.

With all that she has taught me about books and love, she truly is one of my brightest stars lighting my path in this world!

Happy Birthday Buzzard!

I love you!

Ta!

A.McBay