The Bus Station
Call me Maybe

ROW80-3 check in 7/29 - down a rat hole

Actually, I'll be heading down a rabbit hole, but that's for later this week, as I read Alice in Wonderland for my course.

The divergence that caught me was related to my course, but technical. I wanted to be able to read the course assignments at home or out and about, and annotate what I was reading for later use in composing an essay. After a lot of digging and comparisons last week I settled on epub books in iBooks. That would let me keep all my reading assignments in one program and add notes to each one as I read it. Also, I'd be able to email the notes to myself just as text in the email body. So I started just chugging through the stories, using the iPad to read was lovely - cafe, pub, wherever. I did discover that using it to annotate is not so nice. It's awkward to get the selection to cover the words I want, and sometimes iBooks decides to change pages instead. And then it seemed the more notes I added, the slower it was. Between the awkwardness and the slowness I realized my productivity was dropping drastically. And my annoyance level rising. I did some browsing, and found the slowdown was a known iBooks issue. Great! I looked into working with the epubs on a pc - can do with Adobe but maybe lose annotations going to and from the iPad. 

So - on to plan B. Adobe Reader on pc. It does annotations very nicely, lets you search and filter them too. On the iPad, bought iAnnotate. Does more than I need, but I can focus for now and experiment more later. Very flexible, easy to use. And the pdf's are easily handled back and forth between it and the pc program, using my Dropbox - iAnnotate lets you set up a connection. Annotations are preserved between the two and I can email them separately to myself. Just rocketing along now.

My focus was to be on this course. Less(?) editing. A Flash Fiction.

My progress:

  • did a lot of reading of the Grimms' book. Halfway through, but going much faster now that I'm no longer fighting the programs. Finish tomorrow, then do the essay. 320 words max, will be a challenge to make a point - with citations - in that space. 
  • Downloaded Evernote for stories, solved import issues, and did some tidying up of it
  • No episodes of True Blood, but I did accidentally download Season One of Buffy. Oops. I figure it's research into screenplay and vampires. 
  • Flash Fiction - did a story for Terrible Minds - about Time Travel
  • Publishing - will use Duotrope to track my submissions and list markets - they have a good database and a flexible layout. There's a deadline for Glimmer Train tomorrow - would like to try it.

Next focus? Well - the course. Read, do essay by Tuesday noon, evaluate 4 other student's essays by Thursday noon, watch video on this and next book, start reading. Is Alice in Wonderland, as well as Through the Looking Glass. Might do a mathematics themed essay. And try to keep at Flash Fictions, have a short one for Wednesday morning, another for Wednesday evening. Gee - this being a writer is a much harder job than being retired.


Just for reference, my overall objectives for this ROW (which I never expect to meet all at the same time):

  •  Writer (8) - writing for fun, but also working to become a better writer. Writing every day, editing. Reading about writing, books and blogs, as well as networking.
    • Editing (1) - this will be a fixed early task. 2 hrs ?? 10 pages/day 
      • Due North. First pass pencil edit done. Now do online. Approx 315 double-spaced pages, starting at page 81.  
      •  Due North 2 - sequel. About 260 pages. TBD – cleanup scenes synopsis and notes, print, revise, type in.  
    • Writing (1) - Flash Fiction stories. 2/wk, 3 hrs each, so an hour. 
    • Publishing (1/2) -nothing like rejection/acceptance to hone your skills
      • Short Stories (1/4) – Flash fiction. New, or edit existing. Take from blog while submitting. Use market survey from Flash Fiction Chronicles, aim to send in one a week. 
      •  Fairy Tale Folk (1/4)- pull them together into collection. Start with a spreadsheet – story, characters, their traits, their development, good for ongoing stories too. Edit if time. Not a high priority this round. 
  •  Learning/sharing (5 1/2) 
    • Blogs (1) - maybe too many subscriptions. Track them all for a week and rate them.
    • Facebook (1) - ROW80 group, Ottawa Writers, Creative Writing Circle, and NaNoWriMo Ottawa. 
    • Podcasts (.5) - have set up a few, mostly on writing. Can follow these while walking or cooking.
    • Reading (1) - non-fiction, to entertain and learn. 
    • Reading (0) - fiction, to entertain and learn (part of course now). 
    • Course –(2) Fantasy and Science Fiction. Reading, writing, critiques, videos
  • Health (2 1/2) - not a lot of time, but needs to be a main item. 
    • Walking (1) - can be an evening activity too. With podcasts. Will aim for 10,000 steps.
    • Exercise/sports (1/2) -Short morning yoga session. Floor exercises? Bike? 
    • Diet – Better food, less alcohol (healthier and cheaper). 
    • Schedule - hopefully this will be healthy addition too. 
    • Friends and family (1) - just to make sure don't get stuck inside doing all these tasks
  •  Chores (2) - the boring stuff. Cleaning, laundry, shopping. And taxes.
  • TV (1)
  • Total 13.5





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Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Ah, Mike, the amount of time I have disappeared into the black hole of learning curves. I have ben resistant to learning Scrivener ro any of the other programs due to exactly that fear. Kudos for figuring out a portable but compact solution.

Ah the extremely short essay--I had a course in graduate school that required six one-page papers. Good grief, that is so difficult.
I'm sure you'll do fine.

I hope you have a lovely week.


Was good to finally figure it out though - now have a process and tools that will get out of my way and let me create! I'm using Scrivener on my PC for my novels, works very well. Does not sync nicely at all with my iPad. It's a Mac program initially so the PC version lacks some bells and whistles. They are doing a specific iPad app, which looks interesting. But, was scheduled to the fall, now is early 2013. Not holding my breath.

Short essay went well, interesting to read what other's wrote too. And to evaluate and comment on them.

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell

Hmm, I may just have to jump into the fray and learn Scrivener.

I always found that I learned a lot from reading other essays, somewhat like reading novels to learn how to write them.

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