TRELLO

If you are anything like me, I have all kinds of writing-related information in all forms, from organized files to scribbles on scraps of paper. I often begin writing and find I’ve forgotten a character’s description, or the geography of the setting, and so I end up searching around in my “files” or scrolling back in my written copy.

All of this wastes time. So, I was absolutely thrilled to learn from my friend, Ruth Douthitt, about Trello.

It is a free application available on your computer to help you organize and communicate with fellow authors.

Simply put, it is a series of color-coded cards that can be used in endless ways to help you keep your writing ideas/facts/information organized and conveniently stored. You can color-code them, name them, and/or shuffle them into your preferred order. The possibilities seem endless.

For example, writers can make cards for each of their characters to keep eye color, hair color, and other identifying information. Or, they can be used to keep track of each chapter, scenes within, and so on. You can move the chapters around in different orders, delete them entirely, or save them for another book.

The cards are easy to make, move, or delete.

If you have ever used Google Docs to critique another writer’s work—and they, yours—then you’ll love the fact that you can put the email addresses of your entire critique or Beta Reader teams into Trello. Once done, you can share your cards with them and see what they think about your character descriptions, plot points, etc. This may be of help to you in the PLANNING stages. (Although I have begun to understand what their value might be during the writing process, also.)

Now, I have just begun to use Trello (easy to get and free, did I mention that?) so I don’t know all of the ins and outs. However, I just learned to download pictures onto the cards. If you are a visual person, consider storing pictures of people that your characters resemble, maps, topography, etc. 

Familiarize yourself with Trello to see if it would be useful for you.

Warning: Trello IS FUN and somewhat addictive.

Finally, there IS a paid upgrade you can choose. I don’t know what its advantages would be because I thought it would be best to familiarize myself with the FREE app first.

I’ve Changed My Mind

 

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After a meeting, yesterday, the topic of how often one should write (every day? how many hours per day?) came up.

I listened as inexperienced writers eagerly listened to more seasoned authors on the topic that is as dear—and as often-debated—as toilet training is to young parents.

In one of my previous posts, I said that if you are researching for your book or article, or attending a conference, or viewing a webinar, that “counts” as your writing for the day.

Well, like I told the others after the meeting, I now know a bit more about the craft of writing and have changed my mind about what I advised a year ago.

There is no substitute for WRITING.

Here’s why:

You cannot learn to dance by reading a book or studying diagrams of nimble feet doing the Cha Cha.

You cannot learn to fish without baiting your hook and casting the line into the water.

There is no substitute for actually DOING.

We need to practice writing. All the reading and conference going—although worthwhile—cannot take the place of good, old-fashioned application.

Some people find themselves in such an endless cycle of “learning how to write” that they never actually sit down in front of the computer and try their hand at it.

They think that if they will just read one more book or watch one more webinar, then they will be ready…qualified…fully prepared.

All of that is well and good, but as my neighbor’s son studies his driving manual, I am reminded that he must also get behind the wheel and gain the experience of actually driving.

As a child, I heard my mother say, “Wishing doesn’t make it so,” many times. (Mostly this was in reference to having a clean room.) But, apply it to writing an article or book and you can make the connection, can’t you?

So, my conclusion is this: you must learn the skill of writing by writing, writing, and writing some more.

Every day?

Yes.

An hour a day?

At least.

Grab a partner and dance.

Bait your hook and cast your line.

Back out of the garage and get out on the highway.

Turn on the computer and let your fingers fly across the keyboard!