scrivener

Starting a new book writing project: embracing the unknown

Starting a new book writing project: embracing the unknown

I've recently started working on a new company history project. I've conducted interviews with about 20 people and had those interviews transcribed. I've also been provided with a number of newspaper articles and other items from the archives. All up I have about 200,000 words of raw material that needs to be condensed down to about one tenth of that for the final book.

At the moment I don't have a clear idea of what the finished product is going to look like structurally. I have some major headings in mind, but what order they will be presented in is unknown. And those topics may change too. There might be a few 'ins' and 'outs' along the way.

But that's okay. What I've learnt over the years is that uncertainty at this stage of a book project, or any large creative project for that matter, is quite normal.

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5 rules for writers when working with fonts

5 rules for writers when working with fonts

I was a bit misty eyed during the week after reading of the death of Hermann Zapf. Zapf was a typographer and font designer. He gave us the widely used Palatino typeface, Optima (one of my favourite fonts) and the Zapf Dingbats (you’ve probably used some of them), amongst others.

To be honest I hadn’t heard of Zapf before. What made me go all nostalgic was the thought of what this 96-year-old had seen over his life and that he will continue to make his mark, via his fonts, for many years to come.

I’ve always loved a good font. However, as a writer I’m also aware of the potential dangers of being a ‘fontoholic’. Believe me, there are a lot of fonts out there if you go looking for them.

Here are the five strategies I use in order to manage this condition.

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How to sort yourself out as a writer

How to sort yourself out as a writer

Some years ago I stumbled upon a piece of software designed to help writers of books to, well, get the job done. That application is now central to everything I do as a writer and ghostwriter: books, blogs, articles and speeches. I cannot imagine being able to do what I do without it.

Sound like a big rap? I can confidently say that Scrivener, the software in question, deserves it.

Scrivener is difficult to describe until you’ve used it. A good way to think of it is like having a separate desk for every project you are working on.

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Think twice before choosing Microsoft Word as your writing tool

Think twice before choosing Microsoft Word as your writing tool

Back in the day, writers had two choices as writing tools: a pen and paper, or a clunky old Olivetti typewriter (or equivalent – mine was an Olivetti portable). Obviously, and thankfully (for most of us), the desktop computer changed all that. I think the first word processing software I used was WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS. It was white type on a blue screen and not much else, but at least you could correct a misspelling without reaching for the Tipp-ex.

Eventually Microsoft Word took on the mantle of ‘go to’ writing tool, and it has reigned supreme for over 20 years. MS Word is ubiquitous to say the least, particularly in workplaces. ... However, there are hundreds of alternatives to Microsoft Word if all you want to do is write. They fall broadly into three groups.

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Write and publish your book in a year – Step 1: Collect

Writing a non-fiction book or ebook on a subject you know a lot about is a bit like tidying the house. There is a ton of stuff in there (the house, and your head) and the challenge is to spread it all out, sort the good from the bad, then neatly arrange the good in a logical and satisfying way.

Let's start with that first task – spreading it all out. From a writing perspective, that means collecting as much information as you can in one place. That way you can stand back and have a good look at what you've got.

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