Monthly Archives: July 2013


It seems distractions are a part of life. There are always things we allow to distract us from what is really important. At home it may be the TV or worrying about how we are going to pay our bills that distract us from spending time with our family. At work it might be the Internet that pulls us away from performing our job duties. Studies show that Internet misuse is widespread with the most commonly visited sites are porn sites.

Yes it seems that we allow anything to distract us from an honest day’s work. I am working to become a writer as such I keep getting distracted pulled away from my goals. First I had a stroke, OK that’s not my fault but it has caused new distractions. I can’t work so I worry about money, how am I going to pay my bills. I try to come up with ideas to earn money but they take me away from writing. I’m working on a book but other ideas keep popping into my head, good ideas so I stop and sketch out the basics. Often, tasks that need done at home including honey do tasks keep popping into my head and I feel time would be better spent getting them done. I have the added problem that I am forgetful so when I think of something I either have to do something about it or I forget about it.

In the first of the Kavilion series the Elven Maiden Lady Jesillin is befriended by a Unicorn. Problem is I have no idea what kind of names unicorns have. So off I go onto the web searching for unicorn names. In the process I see something that looks interesting and off I go off on a distraction that has nothing to do with my writing. Next thing I know hours have passed and I’ve gotten nowhere in my writing.

What am I to do to keep me focused? A couple of tricks I’ve heard about

  1. Set aside a specific time to write and make sure everyone knows when it is.
  2. Find an area away from distractions, if possible a room where there is no TV and it is unlikely others will distract you.
  3. If thought interrupt, write them down then keep going, deal with them later.
  4. Do any research at the end of your scheduled writing time thus if you lose focus you’ve already written for the day so no big lose.
  5. Turn the cell phone off
  6. Work on a computer that doesn’t have internet access.

Here is my goal.

We have an area beside our house where the prior owner built a work shop. Currently we are using it for storage. My goal is to clean it out and turn it into my writing workshop. I have an old computer I can write on that doesn’t have Wi-Fi thus no internet distractions. It’s not part of the main house so I shouldn’t get distracted by family members asking me questions. All I need to do is get it set up. Sadly one more distraction. Lets  see how it goes.


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The Blessings of Modern Technology.

Isn’t modern technology great? I remember in 1990 going to the public library to type my resume on an IBM Selectric typewriter. If I made a mistake I started over. It took a long time to type my resume. Today I open up a word processor, type it up. modify it to look pretty, and print it out on a laser printer. So much easier, of course now you’re expected to personalize your resume for each job. Maybe things aren’t better after all.

For creative spellers like me, we have spell checker, and even autocorrect which changes common typo to what they should have been. Or more specifically what it thinks they should have been. I’ve discovered that the iPad autocorrect has a sick sense of humor. There are dozens of websites dedicated to autocorrect failures. Autocorrect is a good reason to reread what you typed.

Now days I can run through my document looking for things with either a red or green squiggly underline to see if they need to be fixed. It is a great time saver all too often I’ve put in the wrong verb tense or wrong word. Of course, as a creative speller, Spellchecker all too often just gives up on me and has no idea what I met to type. Leaving me either no suggestions or nothing close to what I want. All too often I fall back on the thesaurus entering in a meaning I can spell then hopping to find the word I wanted.

My dog Tristan is a Bichon Frise. The spell checker in word wants to change it to Bacon Fries, which are good by the way, but they aren’t my dog. True he would love them as much as I would but if I started telling everyone his breed was a Bacon Fries, they would look at me like I was insane. So much for spell checker.

As a writer I make up names all the time. Spell checker marks all these wrong so did I make a typo or did I get it right? One easy option is to “right click” on what I want the spelling to be and select “add to dictionary” this adds my made up word to my custom dictionary. However, now it’s always there even if I don’t want it. I use Microsoft Word which allows for the creation of custom dictionaries. I create a custom dictionary for each world or book. In word click on the flag in the upper left corner. Next at the bottom of the drop down menu click the “Word Options” button. In the new window click “proofing” on the left then the “Custom Dictionary” button. Now on the right click the “New” button  DON’T change the location Microsoft Word needs it to be there but give it a name that makes sense i.e. the book name. Then click OK. Now you have created the new dictionary which really is nothing more than a list of words. Sadly I can’t just start “right clicking” to add words to my new dictionary. I need to manually add them. The way to do this is to make sure my new dictionary is selected then on the right click “Edit Word List” top right. This will bring up a new window where I can type in each word clicking “add” to add the word to the list, I can also delete any mistakes or words I decide to change latter. I can even go in and change the words saved in the “Custom” dictionary Word uses by default. Once you’ve added the words you want click “OK” to close this window. Don’t worry you can always come back and add new words latter if needed. Now you are back to the list of dictionaries before leaving this page notice the check box to the left of each dictionary. This allows the dictionaries to be on or off as needed. For instance, when working on a book in the Kavilion series I turn on the “Kavilion” custom dictionary when I’m done I turn it off. Finally click on “OK” to close out of each window and save the changes you have made. That’s it nice and easy I have just removed all the red squiggles from under words I meant to type that way without needlessly filling up the default custom dictionary. I personally keep a excel spread sheet of names for each book. It allows me to keep the spelling and add a brief description so I don’t get confused on who’s who. I can then send this to my editor so they have a list of all the names.

Now with that done you can go back throw your document looking for all the squiggles fixing them as you go. DON’T make the mistake of thinking you’re done. Once you’ve fixed the obvious errors go back and look for the hidden ones. Mistakes not caught by spell checker or the grammar checker. Don’t just silently read through it in your mind read it aloud you will be surprised how much more you catch when you take the time to read it aloud. Do I catch every mistake? No of course not that’s why I need an editor badly.

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 A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agree that they had no other recourse but to pray to God.
However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island.
The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.
After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing. Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.
Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered.
As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?”
“My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.”
“You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.”
“Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “what did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”
“He prayed that all your prayers be answered.”
For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us. Remember this and always pray for others too!
– Author Unknown

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