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My favorite tools

One of the most useful tools in my kit is Google’s Keep. It is the handiest thing ever to capture ideas or thoughts, no matter where you are or what you’re doing.

I generally use the Keep app on my phone to take down an idea, a thought, a quote or whatever, and then I have access to them on either my laptop or desktop, so long as I’m signed in, when I want to refer to them for what I’m working on at the time.

Just a couple of the newest ones here… I have hundreds of them. Right from the start, I colored them yellow, like the classic Post-It notes we’re all used to. That’s exactly how I use them, come to think of it, as digital Post-It notes to grab a thought that I know I want to come back to later on.

Keep, like Gmail, is free, and in my mind, a far better random notepad application than so many of the paid alternates I’ve looked at in the Play store. You really can’t go wrong!

For writing, I use MS Word. I know many don’t like it because it does have a steep learning curve, but it can be quite flexible once you get the hang of it. I did try Scrivener for a while, but waiting for the new release for Windows was as annoying as seeing all the movies I wanted to see in 2020 get booted to 2021. Gee, now that I mention that, the promised (in 2020) update to Scrivener is now supposed to happen sometime in 2021 too.

Is this a pattern I’m seeing here?

Don’t get me wrong, Scrivener has a lot going for it in terms of usefulness, but the interface is so archaic and cumbersome to work with, I hoped we’d have seen positive changes to that in the upgrade.

So, I learned how to tame Word and get it to do what I needed it to instead. For example, I can set up a book layout after selecting which short stories or chapters I want to include:

Works fine, lasts a long time.

I tend to do my own covers as well. I’m no artist, not by a long shot, but I do speak Photoshop from decades as a photographer, so that gives me a great deal of latitude in layout options for a cover:

Award winner? Nope, not at all… but I have seen worse looking covers out there, so I’m OK with what I’ve done. Besides, I get one hell of a great discount by outsourcing book layout and cover design to myself!

One fine day, I’d like nothing better than to complete a manuscript and send it off to someone else who will then pick up the ball and handle all these chores, but that day isn’t today (and probably won’t be tomorrow either), so I simply follow that old adage, “A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.” and carry on.

Well, it’s always fun to talk about tools (insert Tim Allen grunts here, R-R-R!), but I probably should look at the words I typed yesterday and let them tell me where they want to go next…

As always, do sleep well…

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