(Transcript) My Favorite Digital Writing Tools

Morgan MacDonald : …[background music]… Hey guys. Welcome to the replay. Yeay! Everyone's popping in. We're jamming for a minute. Ten seconds. Let some people hop in. It takes a second to click over.


MYTOMMY ( https://twitter.com/mytommy ) : Y'all need Jesus.


Morgan MacDonald : … Y'all need Jesus? We've GOT Jesus… Hey guys. Hey. All right. As you're joining, let know your name and where you're coming in from… [background music fades out]… We'll turn this down, because we've got stuff to talk about. Who's in here. Y'all say “Hi.”


MYTOMMY ( https://twitter.com/mytommy ) : Do you do consulting?


Morgan MacDonald : … Do I do consulting? Consulting is a very broad term. I'm a writing coach, and an editor… I'll introduce myself. Hello! I'm Morgan Gist Macdonald. I'm a writing coach, and editor, and author, and I run my business, and blog out of http://www.paperravenbooks.com .


MYTOMMY ( https://twitter.com/mytommy ) : Auburn, Alabama.


Morgan MacDonald : … Auburn, nice. England. UK. Very nice. Thank you all for joining. Let me show you my web site address, just so you know. I take Scope Notes. That means [that] I know you guys are busy, or driving, or making food, or whatever – that's when I listen to Scopes [laughter]. So maybe you can't take notes. But we're covering important stuff, so I take notes FOR you. Let me flip you around and show you where you can find those notes…


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So my web site is http://www.paperravenbooks.com . That is where I talk [about] all things writing, and writing books. So if you feel like you have a book inside of you, hop on over there. I have a lot of blog posts, and articles, and resources to help you out. And the Scope Notes are at http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope . I share my Evernote files with you, and that's also where I post replays and transcripts, so you guys can always stay caught up with the Scopes.


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All right. So this week I have a theme. We're trying to get organized. I did not Scope yesterday – Ron, I'm sorry [even though] you're not in the room right now, but I'm sure you'll catch the replay. I did not Scope yesterday because I was [just] BUSY with STUFF. Mondays are just hard.


But THIS week we have the whole week planned out. We're talking tools. I love tools. I know YOU love tools. They're very fun to play with. But I want to give you guys some essentials on writing tools, and MY FAVORITES, and where to find them. So, let's go ahead and dive right in.


My first favorite digital writing tool – and we're going to talk about FIVE of them, and three of them are FREE. So my first favorite digital writing tool is called Grammarly ( https://app.grammarly.com/ ), and I'll show you the web site in just a second. But it's a little app that you put into your browser – I use Chrome, so it works well with Chrome – and it spell checks and grammar checks EVERYTHING. Email, Facebook posts, Twitter posts, anything that you TYPE in your internet browser [interface], it spell checks and grammar checks.


Josh Ryan Taylor ( https://twitter.com/joshryantaylor1 ) : I like your red hair.


Morgan MacDonald : … Oh thanks. I like my red hair too [laughter]. It's fun… And this [is] a true confession. I'm really bad at spelling [laughter]. I mean, I know how things are spelled. Like if you ask me to spell something out for you I can spell it correctly. But when I'm typing I'm just going too fast; trying to do too much at once, writing emails really fast, posting on Facebook and Twitter really fast, and commenting on blogs, whatever. I just sometimes go TOO FAST, and the spelling, words, and letters are flipped and backwards.


So, Grammarly saves my life. Because if you can imagine a writing coach and editor getting on and commenting on a blog, and there's like three typos, people will be like, “She doesn't know what she's talking about.” [laughter]. So Grammarly literally saves my life.


And if you think about when you're writing emails to colleagues – or something like that – instead of spending 10 minutes reading, and re-reading, and proofing, use the Grammarly app. It checks everything for you, even the really common stuff, like when you use “to” instead of “too”…


Jake Anderson ( https://twitter.com/Shmander_son ) : What's up from Rhode Island.


Morgan MacDonald : … What's up from Rhode Island. Thanks for joining… So let me show you guys where to get Grammarly. You just type it into Google. Let me flip you around…


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… Grammarly. [That is] “grammar” with an “ly”. And it's awesome. You just go to the official site, and there's a little place where you can get a plug in. If you want to put a document in there it even lets you put in a new document. So that's the interface. Then you install the little add-on for your browser, and then it checks everything that happens in the browser, but you can also add documents separately.


So, one more time for you http://www.grammarly.com . It's not focusing… There we go.


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And that's in the Scope Notes. But that's FREE. You can upgrade, but I just use the free version, honestly.


The next one is for especially when I'm working with short pieces with authors. Like if I'm writing web copy, or blog posts, or something with them, and we need to be looking at the same document at the same time, but they're in Sweden, or whatever, [laughter]. We aren't physically in the same space, but we can both use Google Docs. That's my second favorite one. [Although] I will admit [that] I don't like the tracked changes on Google Docs. It drives me crazy. But I LOVE that the author and I can log in to the same Google Doc at the same time, and we can both be playing around with phrases, and wording, and things like that.


So if it's a shorter document – usually one to two pages, maybe three pages – we'll get in there and work on it together. We'll be on the phone, and we're both typing and can both see what changes the other person is making. So that's a really good way to collaborate like INSTANTLY on a document. If I'm going to do back-and-forth changes I'll use Word, because the Word tracked changes is better. But for that instant connection Google Docs is awesome.


…Hello. Let me welcome people who've come in. Welcome. As you guys are coming in let me know your name, and where you're coming in from. I am Morgan Gist Macdonald. I'm a writing coach, an editor, and author, and today we're talking about writing tools. So Ï've got FIVE for you, and I have the Scope Notes. I'll show you the link for the [them] so you can get the info on all of these later.


But the first one was Grammarly, to check spelling and grammar on everything that happens in your web browser. The second one is Google Docs, for like real-time collaboration with an author. The third one – also free – is Evernote.


If you have hung around me at all, you know that I LOVE Evernote. It is where I capture my life. My life is in Evernote, basically [laughter]. I capture ideas on the fly in Evernote. So I have a specific little notebook [that is] on my phone, so if I'm out and about and an idea pops into my head I have a special notebook [into which] I type in a note really fast. [Then] when I go home, and I'm processing through my day, I can grab those ideas and make notes for whether or not I'm going to flesh them out into other parts of my writing. So that's http://www.evernote.com . I have it on my desktop – well my laptop – and my phone.


Okay. The fourth one is Scrivener. So if you're in the writing circles you've probably heard of Scrivener. It's put out by “Literature And Latte” ( https://www.literatureandlatte.com/ ). This one is NOT free – it is 45 dollars – but it's an awesome $45 (USD). It's the software that I use when I'm writing, by myself, like first draft territory, before it goes to an editor. Because I'm an editor, but I also USE editors [laughter].


So I use Scrivener because it's a word processing software much like Microsoft Word. But if you can imagine, when you're using Microsoft Word you have all of these separate documents. So let's say you write blog posts, [which is] just a really easy example that lots of people can relate to. So you probably have a folder on your desktop with TONS of blog posts, and each on is its own separate document. So if you're trying to remember what you wrote about last week, or last month, or last year, you have to go through, double-click, and wait for each one to open, right? So that's, kind of, a slow process, honestly.


Scrivener is really cool because, specifically with BLOG POSTS, everything is open in the same interface. I’ll show you in just a second. All of the files are there and open,.and you can just click from one to the next, and it just opens instantly. So you can see all of your writing at the same time. We’re going to do a little bit more in depth tutorial of how I use Scrivener, later in the week. But I will show you very briefly what I mean.


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So here’s mine. I’m going to give you guys a fuller tutorial at the end. But for instance, here’s all the blog posts that I have published. So as soon as I click through the title, it pops up. So I can easily browse through all [of] the titles, and instantly pull up the blog posts. And if I want to like create content – make something new from what I have already DONE before – then it’s really easy for me to browse through this and find some bits that would inspire something new. So that’s Scrivener, and I will show you guys more later.


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Okay. So that was number four.Then the last one is productivity. This is my favorite productivity tool. It is called the “Pomodoro” app. What it does is measure chunks of time. It [does] 25 minute chunks of time, and then requires a five minute break. So this is a STYLE of productivity called the Pomodoro Technique. You basically create a LIST of the things that you’re working on for the day. You start at the top of the list. You start your timer at 25 minutes, and the idea is that you work very intensely for 25 minutes and then take a break.


So what I like about this Pomodoro app- let me actually open it up for you – is that it is a really simple interface to use on my desktop. Let me show you…


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So I just put what I was working on – web copy, or this other project – and I just push “start”, and it starts counting down. Then I can see – it’s not interrupting me – but I can see it up in the top here. It’s counting down for me, and I know how much time I have left. So here’s the notes for you, by the way, that you’ll be able to get in a second. It’s called “Pomodoro App”, and I give you a link to the iTunes app. It’s $1.99 (USD), but it’s totally worth it,


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If you USE it. So what I like about it is [that] it’s really simple – I like simple tools – and it reminds me when to take a break. That’s part of the productivity style, is this burst of work, with a mandatory five minute break to take your mind off of it. The you come back [with] another burst of work, and another break. So I have that on my laptop and my phone.


So those are MY favorite apps for writing. And if you want the notes that have all of those links, and stuff, you go to http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope .


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You'll see [that] it has the title of this broadcast, and the date, and it will have little links to the Scope Notes, and the replay, and the transcript – although you've got yo give me some time to get the replay and the transcript up.


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So that's it guys. And if you like writing tools you should stick around for the rest of the week, because tomorrow we are talking about how I organize and keep my writing safe in Dropbox. The next day we're going to talk about THE simplest way to write your book in Scrivener, and Friday we're going to hit how I use Scrivener to write ALL of my content.


So, if you like tools, and you're intrigued by Dropbox, or Scrivener, or how you can use these things in your own writing, hit the little Peri-Buddy down there and hit “follow me”, and it will let you know when I'm going to be Scoping. And if you have OTHER questions, [and/or] other things you'd like me to cover, I hang out on Twitter at @morgangmac ( https://twitter.com/morgangmac ) So if you are looking at my bio, and you see my Periscope handle, it's the same handle @morgangmac on Twitter. If you have any questions, just pop over there and ask.


So I hope you guys have found this helpful, and I hope that you were able to take a little lunch break, watch a Scope, and now you can go do some writing. So go do some lunchtime writing, and I will check in with you guys later. Bye.




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