(Transcript) How I organize and keep my writing safe in Dropbox

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Morgan MacDonald : Hello. Welcome to the replay. Hello as you’re joining. Welcome. Come on in. Type in the chat box. Let me know your name, and where you’re coming in from. I hope you guys are doing good today. It’s a Wednesday. It’s awesome. I LIKE Wednesdays. [They’re] nice, [it’s] in the middle of the week. I feel like I’ve got SOME stuff done, but if I haven’t been as productive as I wanted to [be] I’ve still got a couple more days to finish [things] off.

 

So THIS week, on my daily lunch writing Scope, we’re talking [about] writing tools, and how to use them most effectively. So welcome as you guys are coming in. Let me know your name, and where you are Scoping from.

 

BlueSparkCol ( https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) : Blue looks great on u.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Blue looks good on me. Thank you Courtney. I appreciate that [laughter].

 

BlueSparkCol ( https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) : Matches the purple hair.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …It matched the hair. It does. I like my hair. I just it done a couple of days ago, so it’s still, kind of, “rock star red”. But that’s fine [laughter]. It’s all good. It helps me feel young. I have three kids. I mean, I NEED to feel young [laughter].

 

All right. So introductions. Who am I? Why do you care that I’m talking? I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. I’m a writing coach, and editor, founder of Paper Raven Books, and I’m also an author.

 

BlueSparkCol ( https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) : How old are you?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Courtney, what a presumptuous question [laughter]. I’m 30. That’s fine… I’m officially crossed into the threshold of my 30s, and I’m fine with that. I did NOT have a “third life crisis” [laughter].

 

Yes. So, we are talking [about] writing tools. And if you guys are new to my Scopes, I take Scope Notes for you.

 

BlueSparkCol ( https://twitter.com/CourtneyOLIN ) : Me too.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Oh, Courtney, you’re in your 30s too. Nice. I think it’s a good decade. I think it’s actually an AWESOME decade…. I take Scope notes for you, because you’re probably busy. I mean, I watch Scope while I’m making dinner. I can’t take notes.

 

Jenn Vazquez (https://twitter.com/jennvazquezfit ) :  30s are great. 40 is better!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … 30s are great, and 40s are better. I like that, Jenna… Saludos desde Mexico. If you watched my Scope last week, when I was reading my daughter’s book. She wrote – well, she DICTATED – a book to my nanny in Spanish, and I read it out loud. It was, kind of, funny [laughter]. I might post that at some point. It’s on my Katch [page].

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Hey Morgan!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Hey Ron! I missed your Scope earlier, but it’s on my replay list, so I’m going to go catch it… You guys, Ron Estrada… Ron, put some emojis up so that people can click on your profile… If you click [on] him, and follow, he’s a writer [who] does amazing Scopes about writing, and techniques, and how to write fast. He does fiction… There he is, Ron Estrada, right there. Click “follow”, [and] you’ll be glad.

 

Okay. I take notes for you. So as we’re going through today. Let me flip you around…

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

Know that you can find all of the notes at http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Ruggedly handsome.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Ruggedly handsome [laughter] … Right there. That’s where you’ll find notes, replays, transcripts…

 

[change of camera to face view]

 

So, don’t worry…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Humble.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] Ruggedly handsome and humble, Yes Ron. Perfect [laughter] …

 

Okay. So today we are talking [about] Dropbox, because I LOVE, love, love Dropbox. And if you’re a writer you need tools, and if you’re a digital writer you don’t want your writing to get lost in the abyss of a hard drive crash, right? We want to keep all of our writing safe, because it is VITAL to us, and our survival [laughter].

 

So I use Dropbox. Okay, I have been chastised before, because this is NOT technically…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Dropbox is life.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Yes, Ron. Dropbox is life…

 

Angel ( https://twitter.com/f_angelmx ) Speak Spanish?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Speak Spanish? Hablo un poquito espanol, pero no mucho. Estoy aprendiendo…

 

Okay… So there are a couple of ways to keep your writing safe, depending on HOW you like to write. Most people fall between two camps. Some people are into Scrivener, which is a word processing software, and some people write in Word…

 

If you’re Scrivener person, I’ve got a solution for you to keep your Scrivener file in Dropbox. If yoú’re a Word person I can give you a system that you can POSSIBLY use to help keep your Word files more organized.

 

I HAVE been chastised because this is not TECHNICALLY a backup system. Okay? So if you’re like REALLY into IT and things like that, and you have like “backup buddy” systems that do auto-downloads onto external hard drives, and what-not, this is not TECHNICALLY a backup. It’s more like a copy of your writing that’s stored on Dropbox. So I’ll just [add] a caveat there. I’m NOT an IT person. This is just what I do…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Scrivernerbox

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] Scrivenerbox. I like that… This is what I do just for my OWN stuff. So let me flip you around.

 

First I’m going to show you a Dropbox example of how you can set up some Word stuff, and then we’re going to talk about Scrivener, and how to keep Scrivener there. So let me flip you around. But feel free to keep giving hearts. I like the hearts guys. Thanks. If this is USEFUL throw some hearts up there.

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

All right. Hopefully I can zoom in so you can see pretty well. Okay, this is Dropbox. Dropbox is …

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Close! Love the auto backup.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Yes Ron. Right. Love the auto-backup. I need to do MORE of that… But this is my “”lazy man’s” quick way of doing this.

 

So, Dropbox is free. You go to http://www.dropbox.com … [and] you get a free account. Free is good enough for ALL of your writing, unless you store lots of huge images.

 

Rye Young ( https://twitter.com/ryeyoung25 ) : How safe is Dropbox?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … How safe is Dropbox?…  Dropbox is REALLY safe, as far as I know. It HAS been hacked before, but I didn’t notice any changes. And honestly, WHO wants to steal my writing? I would LOVE it if someone wants to steal my writing [laughter]. I don’t think anyone is going to care about my Word and Scrivener files.

 

Okay. So this is my actual Dropbox. I can show you my organization system for all of my OTHER stuff later, but I just created this little example. So if you have lots of Word files your MAIN problem is that they’re everywhere, right? [laughter]. So the first thing you need to do is separate them out into little sub-folders of projects here, So I created an example project. Let’s say this is a book that you’re working on. Instead of creating ONE folder with your book and Word files just everywhere…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Stephen King stole my writing from Dropbox. True story.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] Stephen King stole my writing from Dropbox. True story. Yeah Ron [laughter]…   

 

So this is how I would organize MY book if I wrote everything in Word. This is partly based on my philosophy of how I WRITE a book, and how I coach OTHER authors through writing a book.

 

Rye Young ( https://twitter.com/ryeyoung25 ) : Can other see your work on Dropbox?

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Can others SEE your work on Dropbox? Not that I KNOW of. No. It’s all private. It’s password protected. Unless you specifically SHARE a folder with someone it’s completely private…

 

So I recommend that you always start with free writing. So I separate that out in a folder, and I keep a running list of documents here. Free writing – and I talk about this in my other Scopes, and on my blog – is a really great way to generate ideas, and the structure, for your book. So I would keep all of those is their own little folder.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Great for critique partners.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Great for critique partners. Good point! If you want to share a folder that IS a really good place… I keep the “rough organization” at the very top. The rough organization is, kind of, like an outline, but more LOOSE, I guess you could say. I didn’t put an example in here, but it’s like a running list of what your book is going to talk about. So I would keep that outside of the folders, but on top. You can use a little exclamation mark – let me see if I can zoom you in [laughter]. You can use an exclamation mark to make sure that THIS file is always at the TOP of the list, rather than alphabetically organized. Then I like to NUMBER things, just so they stay in the order that I actually want them to.

 

So then you can see, I would have a separate folder for free writing, which I would do throughout the writing process; chapters, appendices, references, and research.

 

Okay. So you want to do each chapter in a separate Word file when you’re writing them. You’ll combine them later, especially when you’re sending out to beta-readers and editors. But formatting in Word can get really crazy, and if something gets corrupted, and the whole file is corrupted, then you lose everything. [It’s] much better to lose one chapter at a time, right? [laughter]. So if you’re working in Word – which I DON’T always recommend – I would separate out each chapter.

 

I would keep appendices separate also. So if you had an appendix for tables and images, I would keep those separate. Keep them separate from your text too, because it helps your mind compartmentalize what is text [versus] what is just supporting information.

 

I also keep references in their own folder, because references can get really out of hand really quickly. So I would put an exclamation point for the document that will ACTUALLY BE your list of references, your bibliography. But then you have this whole folder space just to dump documents in AS you gather references. So when you go BACK – because we always put references off until the very last second – you won’t remember what website, or book title, or author, or whatever you need to reference. So if WHILE you’re writing you can just DUMP those in this folder they’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready to write your references list.  Then I would just have a “dump” folder for research, too. Just as you come across it put in images, or scans, or pictures, or documents as you go. So that’s the simplest way that I would say you could organize a book with Word documents in Dropbox.

 

Okay. Now let’s talk about Scrivener, because as we know, Scrivener is life. Okay, you can see here [that] these are my actual Scrivener files. I have a PRIMARY Scrivener file where I write pretty much everything, from blog posts to essays and articles, and videos scripts and podcast stuff – although I don’t have a podcast yet, I have my brainstorming there.

 

You can see, this is my Scrivener file when I wrote my book, cleverly titled “Book” [laughter]. And I’m actually working on a course right now, so that’s my separate file. So all of those files are actually in Dropbox. So I’m going to show you how to do that really quick.

 

Rye Young ( https://twitter.com/ryeyoung25 ) :  This is great!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Oh, thank you. Thanks. I’m glad this is helpful…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : And only $45.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … And only 45 dollars… I love Scrivener. It is totally worth the $45… Thanks for the hearts.

 

Okay. So this is Scrivener. I always begin just with a blank…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I would have paid $200.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … You would have paid two hundred dollars. That’s a good question. It’s TOTALLY worth $45 for sure… I always just start blank, because I don’t really like all the stuff they throw in there. But when they DO – let me just show you how super duper easy this is – you just put “test”, [and then] tell it where to save…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : You can get templates too,

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Oh, you can get TEMPLATES too? I’ve never used a template. Thanks Ron… Okay. I’m going to put it on the desktop, but then I’m literally going to drop it into my Dropbox, and that’s it, That’s ALL you have to do. It’s like the easiest thing ever. Then it’s safe… Sorry, my desktop is super messy… Where is it? I call it “test”… I should have done a test run – oh, there it is! Okay. It just popped up.

 

Okay. Look at how easy this is… [laughter] My computer is freaking out… Okay, we just saved it. Look there it is! Okay. This is how we make sure it’s safe for all eternity. Click… drag… drop. That’s it! Save it on your desktop, [and] drag it into your Dropbox, [and then] it is safe for eternity… My poor Mac is getting a little bit old, [so] it is hard to process.

 

Okay. Let me turn you guys around. Oh, while we’re here, if you want notes [go to] http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope

 

[change of camera to face view]

 

Okay guys. So that was super easy, with Scrivener, seriously. We opened up a new file, we saved it on the desktop, and we dragged it into the Dropbox. That’s all you have to do, and it is safe.

 

[Another] benefit of doing this with Scrivener file AND with Word files [is that] you can share them with your co-authors [and/or] your editors.     

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Macs are life, but the file management sucks.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Macs are life, but the file management sucks. That’s a fair point [laughter]… You can share them with your co-authors, and with editors. So if you are working on a project with a co-author, and you’re both using Scrivener, get a Dropbox, share the folder between you, drop the file into that folder, and then you both can open up that file and work on it. Not at the same time though, [which is] a bummer.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Show the auto Dropbox backup.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Show the auto Dropbox backup. What auto Dropbox? Oh, when you… Oh, that is a really good point Ron. Thank you. Hold on. Let me flip you around again…

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

Okay. I don’t know if this is exactly what you’re talking about, but you can see here that my Dropbox is syncing right now – that little symbol means it’s syncing. And one of the cool things about this is…

 

Rye Young ( https://twitter.com/ryeyoung25 ) :  Can you work on a file through Dropbox?

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Can you work on the file through Dropbox? Yes… So literally, when I go to my writing, I just click my file here and open [it] up, and write in there. Even if I am on a plane, or somewhere [else] where there is no wifi, I can STILL open it, and then when it reconnects to wifi it will update the file. So no matter where you are – offline or online – you can always access Dropbox IN that file, work on it, and then it will update,

 

…Ron, I feel like you’re talking about something in Dropbox that I don’t know about. It auto-updates though… See how some of the things have a green check, and some have a blue sync button.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : In Scriv settings, it will auto save to Dropbox when you close the file.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …In Scriv settings, it will auto save to Dropbox when you close the file…. Oh! Thank you. Thank you… Okay. Let’s open this up and see how long it takes us to do this [laughter]. Okay. So when we open up our test file, if we were to put in a new note… and we’re going to do a more thorough Scrivener tutorial later – tomorrow actually. But let’s just do a little… Okay. When we close…

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Don’t make me have to scope it myself.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] Don’t make me have to Scope it… You are WELCOME to Scope it yourself Ron. We can tag-team this…. Okay. Did you SEE that?! Oh, it was so fast. It did a backup. Hold on, one more time. It did a backup, by itself, automatically.

 

I’m opening up our test file. Yup! There’s our file. Watch this. Close. Watching. Watching. There’s a little dialogue box that pops up… It was SO FAST it didn’t even pop up! It auto-saves. That’s what Ron is saying. It auto-saves onto Dropbox. Is that what you were talking about, Ron?

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Yes, but you have to set it up.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Maybe we should do a webinar web jam hangout, [so] then we can BOTH talk. Okay. Just a thought. We’ll talk about it later on Twitter… Okay. It auto-saves. That’s what I know anyway. That’s all I NEED to know. Scrivener auto-saves throughout the writing process. It auto-saves when I CLOSE, and then Dropbox saves it FOREVER, for eternity.

 

Rye Young ( https://twitter.com/ryeyoung25 ) : Thank you for the info. Please do more Scopes. This was helpful!

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Thank you for the info… You are welcome. I am doing more Scopes. We’re going to do more Scopes about Scrivener tomorrow and Friday.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : We’ll talk.

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Okay. I’ll set it up Ron. We’ll talk… So, you can collaborate with someone. You can share the same Scrivener file, and you can BOTH work on it, but not at the same time. So your co-author can open it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and work on it, [while] YOU can open it Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays [to] work on it, and everything is saved.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : She rocks.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Thank you! Thanks Ron,.. if you are working with an EDITOR you, kind of, can’t use Scrivener. I’m sorry. It makes me really sad. I wish I could work with my authors in Scrivener, but it’s just retarded.

 

So we do Word, and save Word documents in folders on Dropbox, and share the folders. Then we have a naming convention. So when an author opens up her Word document she puts in the date that she’s working on it, and her name in brackets, and saves it. Then she tells me when she’s done with it. I go in and open it up, take out the date and name, put in the date that I’M working on it, and MY name, and save all of my changes. So that way we have this running list [which includes] : “On August 24th Ann was working on it”, “On August 25th Morgan was working on it”, “On August 26th Ann was working on it.”..

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : This is the part where you plug your editing services.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … This is the part where you plug your editing services [laughter]… It’s all IMPLIED [laughter]. No, but I really DO want to help you guys, even if you don’t work with ME. When you work with an editor, for the sake and sanity of your editor keep different working versions so that no one actually loses everything, because that would be so sad.

 

So every time that YOU have control over the document you put the date and your name, and that way you can always go back and retrace your steps if something drastic happens. Or if you just change your mind, and you’re like, “Man, I really liked the way we had this LAST week.” You just go back and open up that previous version. It’s super simple.

 

Okay. I’m about to go down a “Word rabbit hole” into tracked changes, but we’re not going to do that, because I have a 12:40 appointment. but we’re going to talk MORE about this. So you guys let me know what you want to talk about. I’m on Twitter @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ) HIt the little “Peri Buddy” down there, click “follow me”, and my Twitter handle is the same : @morgangmac . If you ever have anything [where] you’re like, “Gosh! I really wish somebody would talk about this on Periscope” tweet me – I’m not very good at the Twitter lingo yet, [but] I’m getting better – and we’ll make a Scope about it. It will be awesome.

 

So I Scope every day, during lunchtime, about writing. And now you guys [can] go do YOUR writing. Use the rest of your lunchtime to set up your Dropbox, or set up your Scrivener file, and get yourself ready and prepared to start writing. Because sometimes it’s the organization ITSELF that keeps you from writing. But if you get your system setup from the beginning then you’ll be ready to write…

 

Oh! I have one more announcement. I’m doing a webinar. The webinar is about five essential writing habits that successful authors have. So if you are thinking about writing a book, you need to go to this webinar.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Me too! … I Scope.

 

Morgan MacDonald : … Ron Scopes… Ron Scopes every day too. Ron has fantastic Scopes, if you guys are not already following him. Follow.

 

Okay. So I’m doing a webinar about writing habits, and THE five writing habits that you must have if you’re going to become a successful author, like I know you WANT to be. So, I’ll show you where you sign up. It’s next week. Next Wednesday, [at] 10am Central time. The web address is coming up. We need a better way to show web addresses.

 

[change of camera view to computer screen]

 

Okay. http://www.paperravenbooks.com/5habits .

 

[change of camera to face view]

 

I seriously need a prettier way to show that… This is like my premium coaching advice. Every single time I bring on a new client, to write a book with them, we go through these five habits.

 

Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : http://www.paperravenbooks.com

 

Morgan MacDonald : …Thank you Ron… Yes. So this is not just stuff that I pull out of thin air. This is my very best writing coaching advice I’m going to be just GIVING OUT to you next week, [on] Wednesday [at] 10am.

 

It’s going to be awesome. If you establish these particular five writing habits you’ll start your book, be motivated throughout writing your book, and you’ll finish your book. Isn’t that the goal, right? So, sign up.

 

And that’s it for today. Thank you.

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