Technology I Use For Writing

Yesterday I told you about what I use to write my novel from a software perspective. Today I want to tell you about the technology I use. The Kindle did not make the cut. I was so mad that I considered not even offering my book on Kindle. I am joking, that would be ignorant.

Moving on. I have mentioned before that I love technology. That’s a blessing and a curse when writing a novel because you’re always wondering if there’s something better out there that you’re not aware of.

I’m not going to go into what’s out there because there are a lot of options. I’m going to stick to the two devices that I use daily.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10+

This is honestly the best phone that I have ever used. Before this I was using an iPhone 7 and a iPhone 6s Plus. I chose the Note 10+ for the large screen and the pen. I’m in my mid thirties so I remember a time when all of my writing was done with pen and paper. This phone lets me go back to that, but I can save my work online. It’s awesome!

I use it to take lots of notes. If I think of something for my novel I can pull out the pen and write on the screen without turning the phone on. That may be my favorite feature. I also enjoy writing my novel by hand and seeing it becomes text on the screen.

Chromebook

I have talked about the Chromebook before and I still love it. It’s been a few months now and it’s still fast, I can do 99% of what I want, and I can’t play Sims. Playing Sims while claiming I was using it to plot novels is why I never got anything done. Without Sims I have written over 28,000 words. 

I also like the Chromebook because it’s simple. Over 99% of the stuff I need is online and that’s where Chrome OS puts it. There are very few apps on the desktop. It’s great!

So those are the two things I use the most. I am adding a Windows tablet with a keyboard because I really want to try Scrivener. Once I give it a good run I may update this post.

Thank you for visiting the Berry Cottage today!

What I Am Using to Write My Novel

I have always been an iPhone and Android tablet user, but when I decided to write my book I had a hard time finding anything that worked across both platforms. It seems like most writers prefer Apple. I kind of get that, but Android offers more storage for less money and there are phones available with a Stylus (Samsung Galaxy note series and the LG Stylo 5). You can’t use Apple pen on an iPhone which is dumb to me.

So, what do I use? Well, I discovered Novlr during NaNoWriMo and it was great! It’s website based so you just go to Novlr.org and you can write your novel. It keeps your chapters in order and you can write on any device. It’s amazing! Unless you write on your Kindle and it decides when you delete one word to delete everything on that page. The only drawback for me (besides the Kindle) was when I decided to change a character’s name around chapter twenty-three and there’s no find & replace option. It may be coming, but that’s something that would make me switch back to Google Docs.

After using Novlr for almost thirty days, I discovered Dabble. Dabble is Scrivener without the learning curve. You can have your book, character profiles, and notes all in one place. What I didn’t like was how it formats your novel for you. Dialogue does not get indented, but Dabble does it anyway. That’s frustrating, but it’s still a neat tool.

Another website I found is Hiveword. If you are a planner then I think you will love it. You can plan characters, scenes, settings, chapters.  Pretty much everything. It only works on a computer. It’s a tiny screen even on a 10″ tablet. That’s okay, though, because it is still awesome. I didn’t use their novel writing software so I can’t say if it’s great or not.

If you are wondering why I was trying so many things when Google Docs is free, I’ll explain. First, writing a 50,000 word document and then trying to find the section you want to edit is a nightmare. You can break it down into chapters, but while it’s a work in progress your chapters are going to be shifted around. Unless you number them, but I have moved chapters before. It’s time consuming when you have 30 chapters and decide to add a chapter between say 2 and 3. Now chapters three through twenty have to be re-numbered. Actually, they have to be first. It’s time consuming when all you want to do is write your novel.

So the point is that nothing is perfect. I recommend trying a few of these if you’re curious. I will write about Scrivener once I try it out next week. For now, I think this is a good start.

Thank you for visiting the Berry Cottage!

NaNoWriMo

You may have never heard of NaNoWriMo before. It stands for National Novel Writing Month and the goal is to write 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th. Yes, I am telling you about it too late or too early depending on how you want to look at it. I participated this year, but I started on the 4th because I forgot. That plus not being consistent lead to my novel only hitting 28,109 words, but I’m happy. The longest novel I ever wrote was 21,000 words when I was fourteen. It was my pride and joy, I worked on it endlessly. Then my MS Dos computer died taking my novel with it. Yes, it still hurts.

My point in all of this is that December has just started and soon it will be 2020. I want to encourage you to choose a day and for thirty days do something that has meaning for you. For me, it is still NaNoWriMo. My novel means a lot to me and I feel the story must be told, so that is my focus. Starting today (December 1st) I am giving myself until the 31st at 11:59pm to complete my first draft.

Your goal doesn’t have to be writing. It can be something else creative that you enjoy or it can be working on an area of your life that needs improvement. Tell me what you’re going to do in comments, I’ll hold you accountable as you hold me accountable. Thank you for visiting the Berry Cottage today!

House update

So, the house is coming along, but we’re a bit behind schedule. This is our inspiration, the original Country Charmer. I apologize for the picture quality on this one, I used my phone to take a picture of my computer screen.

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We are making a few changes based on our preferences and what we were able to find locally. Ours will have wood siding (the color hasn’t been chosen yet) and the second story windows are completely different. These are the ones we’ll be using.

This is the house so far. Our goal to be done and moved in is currently January 1st. I will continue updating the blog and may possibly write a book because start to finish this house is only going to cost us about $13k. Keep in mind that where we live we can do the work ourselves.

The house is going to be around 1,000 square feet with three bedrooms and one bathroom. We bought a wood stove to save money. I’ll add pictures once we get it out of the SUV. It’s heavy so we’ve left it alone for about a week now.

Thank you for visiting the Berry Cottage today.

The Country Charmer

Fifteen years ago my husband and I were newlyweds in the Virginia mountains. I was 20 and he was 25. Our overly ambitious selves decided that we were going to buy a house. We looked and we found one dubbed, “The Country Charmer”. It was adorable! We instantly fell in love and found a wonderful realtor to take us out to look at the cottage. It had three bedrooms, no bathroom, and no running water. It did have an outhouse and a cistern so we figured we could make do until we had enough money to get a composting toilet and a well. We figured family wouldn’t argue about us coming over to take showers or wash clothes (if we actually thought that far ahead back then).

Almost two decades later, my husband and I still talk about how that was the house, not just a house. I still remember the nook where I was going to put my Queen Anne chairs and a little coffee table, the same place where our Christmas tree would be set up in December. I remember the dark green metal roof, the red concrete porch and steps, and the little windows upstairs that looked like eyes at night. We dearly loved that house, but never could come up with the money to buy it.

Now we are building that little house on our own lot. Ours will have a fully functioning bathroom and county water, but it will pretty much look the same. I’ll have my nook, my husband will have his deck, and the kids will get to look through those little windows in their rooms. The goal is to be moved in just in time to put up our Christmas tree in the nook and enjoy time with our family. I’m excited to update everyone as we progress.

Your Calling in Life

Today I want to focus on your calling and tell you about mine. If you are a follower of Christ I believe that He has given you a purpose. You may not know what it is, but it is there and it will be revealed to you in His time. I was saved in 1997 and I started praying for my calling then. I got married in 2004 and had our first child in 2007. For the last twelve years my children have been my calling, or so I thought. For twelve years I felt like God was preparing me for something different.

In April 2019 I went on the North Mississippi Walk to Emmaus (you can read about that at The Walk to Emmaus. While there my anxiety hit me head on and I realized as long as I let it control me God can not use me. I’m useless! Before the weekend was over God led me to speak twice and a woman who I consider very wise told me that speaking to others is my gift. I know my other gift is writing. I have passion for writing, I have for years. Public speaking not so much, but I promised God if He called me to do it then I would never say no.

When I got home I was immediately asked to speak in front of one hundred strangers. I did it, I survived, and I felt God was with me. I promised Him again that I would follow, but I knew no one would ever ask me to speak again. I actually laughed about it. The next day one of my best friends asked me to be director of Mississippi for The Silent Voices Project. It involves public speaking and lots of writing.

My point is, when God places a call on your life you don’t have to do anything, it will fall into your lap if He wills it. I knew my friend was starting a nonprofit, but I also knew I wasn’t qualified. She, and God, saw it differently. I may not have experience (well, I have some now because I’ve been working diligently since day one), but I have compassion for others. That and my love for God drives me to help trafficking and cold case victims.

While you wait for your calling, be faithful. Pray, read your Bible, and stay close to God. Prepare your heart that it may not be easy at first, but when you know that God has orchestrated this moment, you will have peace. I was terrified and paranoid at first, but now I want to tell everyone about what we’re doing. I have a passion and an excitement that I haven’t known before.

If you want to check out my other blog, here is my latest blog post, Why Epstein’s Death is Bigger Than You Thought.

Thank you for visiting today!

Why You Should Consider a Chromebook

I consider myself a gadget person, even though I typically use what most would consider “outdated tech”. I still use an HP desktop, a Dell e6400 laptop, and an iPhone 7. The newest “gadget” I have is my Kindle HD 8 that was released in 2018. I recently received an older Chromebook for work. It’s a Dell 3120 and it is phenomenal! I found them on Amazon for around $89 and it is definitely worth the money.

The best thing, for me, is the battery lasts about eight hours before I have to charge it. So I can work on it all day, even if I forget my charger. It may drain a little faster if I watch videos, but I don’t know since I’m usually just using Docs and Spreadsheet.

My second favorite is how fast this little laptop is. I have 4GB of RAM, but it’s faster than my e6400 with similar specs. I can click a document and it’s open before I can blink! Okay, maybe not that fast, but it’s not far off.

I hate trackpads. I always have. I can never scroll a page up or down and it just feels off to me. I plugged in my wireless mouse and it works flawlessly, but then I watched a Youtube video from Chrome Unboxed. I decided to try the trackpad and I love it! My mouse is now in my laptop bag while I’m using this device for the first time ever!

If you want to try Chrome OS for free it’s easy. You just have to have a USB thumbdrive. Instructions and software are available at Neverware. You can also watch a video about it from Chrome Unboxed. Their YouTube channel is great! It is very informative.

I honestly can’t say enough good things about my new Chromebook. It’s incredible! I would like to maybe upgrade to something with a touchscreen so that I never need my wireless mouse. Maybe a little sleeker for expos. However, for work, home, or school use this is absolutely perfect.

Lots of Updates!

So today I kinda just want to update y’all on what is going on in our super busy lives (why I haven’t posted). I am hoping that as I get into the new swing of things I will be able to post more, but I can’t promise. So I won’t do that.

So, update number one: We are NOT moving AT THIS TIME. Our lives are in this location so it would be super hard to start over right now. That may change in a year or so, but for now we are staying put. We will be remodeling our 1997 Buccaneer single wide so look for those updates here and on Pinterest.

Update number two: I have a new career. I am the brand new director for Missississippi of the Silent Voices Project. We investigate cold cases, help search for missing people, and educate the public on human trafficking. The website is here and I am working on a blog for my state. I have been praying for sixteen years for a ministry and this literally fell into my lap one day. Every talent God has given me has been put to good use and I am still floored that my friend asked me to do this. It’s incredible!

The very last update is that I am also selling Scentsy as a way of funding the Silent Voices Project. Gas to do expos and education, business supplies, and future goals all cost money. By future goals I am talking about a home for human trafficking survivors as well as supplies for survivors in the United States as well as in Nigeria.

So, that’s what I have been up to these last few weeks. I don’t plan on slowing down any, but when I have a few minutes I’m hoping to update this blog. Thank you for stopping by!

Our Trip to Pigeon Forge

I am not being compensated for my opinions or if you click on any of the links. We had a great time and I wanted to share our experiences with you. Enjoy!

Last week our family went to Pigeon Forge. Thanks to a homeschool discount we got an amazing rate at the DreamMore. I have been to Disney World many times, but this is my favorite resort anywhere! Everyone was friendly, our luggage showed up in our room right after we did, and we didn’t have to fight the stroller on to the bus. It was great! We also got free TimeSaver passes for everyone in our room!

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We spent four days in Dollywood. Before we went we figured two days would be enough to see and do everything. Pfft! We went four days and there are a lot of things we missed out on. We’re hoping to catch them when we go back. The shows were fantastic, we loved the rides, and the craftsmen and the people in the shops were awesome. We enjoyed talking to all of the employees. My husband became good friends with the gentleman serving meat at Miss Lillian’s Restaurant. Miss Lillian herself is so special. She came over while we were eating to offer her “chicken blessings”. The food was phenominal, too. We ate there twice! My daughter is very shy, but she had to hug Miss Lillian. That’s one of my favorite memories from our trip.

My four-year-old’s favorite ride was the new Dragonflier. She’s big for her age so be sure and check your child’s height before you get in line. Dollywood has a child measuring station beside the Emporium. We weren’t able to ride Wild Eagle or Lightnin’ Rod because they were closed for maintenance when we tried to ride them the last day. We loved Mystery Mine and Tennessee Tornado, though! I could have stayed on either one of those.

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We took an afternoon and visited Anakeesta (see above). Y’all, we thought it went up about 100 feet. No! It goes up 900 feet! We took a gondola up there instead of a chair, because I knew I couldn’t handle that even if it went up thirty feet. That’s a no. My twelve-year-old and I were almost in hysterics by the time we reached the top, which caused my husband to have anxiety. The employees were kind enough to let us ride the Ridge Rambler back down even though it doesn’t open to the public until this week. The ride down was so much better!

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After Anakeesta we went to the Island. If you go, grab a YeeHaw beer and eat at Paula Deens. I can’t say enough about this combination. The beer went down smooth, I could have drank it all night. Paula Deen’s is all you can eat served family style, except you only get one desert. That was my only complaint about the entire meal.

This was my favorite vacation by far. It is hard to entertain six people at once, but we didn’t have any trouble. We had a great time exploring during the day and hung out in the heated pool at night. We can’t wait to go back.