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Camp Nano – Day 16 – Distraction Free Writing

Are you ever in the moment of trying to write and you find yourself distracted? Whether it’s by Facebook or Twitter, or checking your email. When you’re writing on a computer or tablet, the distractions are endless with the internet only a mouse click away.

What can you do to completely remove these distractions? Well, you could go live under a rock! Just a joke. Have you ever tried to live under a rock? It’s rather uncomfortable and not to mention there are bugs under those rocks!

Seriously though, what you could do is try to do your writing by hand. By hand? I know, it’s scandalous, isn’t it?

I write by hand some times. But I am a technology junkie. At one point I had a desktop, laptop, and 3 tablets (all in different screen sizes).

I also have a wonderfully distraction free piece of somewhat old school technology called an Alphasmart. Check them out at and on Ebay at

They’re not being manufactured anymore, as far as I know but Ebay is your friend when it comes to finding these great little devices.

The easiest way to describe it is a keyboard with a small screen that shows you anywhere from 3 to 5 or 6 lines of text at a time depending on the settings you have set for you font size. I usually keep mine at 4 lines of text. Sometimes I will up it to 6 lines with a smaller text size when I am at work and fear prying eyes of security cameras. But even at a larger font, I don’t know if a security camera would be able to pick it up anyways.

But I digress. I started out with an Alphasmart 3000 that I purchased on Ebay for around $20 USD. I loved it. I had no problems out of it whatsoever except that I work well with knowing what my current word count is. I participate in NanoWriMo (insert link) events and word count is your goal there.

So after doing some research and seeing if the 3000 model had the word count function, I found that it did not. But the Neo 2, which I am currently using to type up this blog post, all you have to do is press Ctrl+W and it will give you the current word count as well as other information as well, such as characters, paragraphs, and pages. I’m not sure how the number of pages is calculated. I think it is like every 250 or 350 words is a page.

One nice thing about the Alphasmart line is that they run off of AA batteries. I purchased my Neo2 back in April of 2017 and have yet to have to change the batteries in it. Now, I don’t use it everyday. I have actually just recently gotten started in using it again and it is becoming a daily used tool. Now, my 3000 model, I used every day for quite a while and never had to change the batteries in it either.

To be able to transfer the words from the Alphasmart to a computer, all you need is a cable. If you have a printer wired to you computer, you’ll recognize the cord needed. The cords are fairly inexpensive. Look at the listings on Ebay and you might even find an Alphasmart that comes with an included cord.s-l1600.jpg

Once you have the cord, you plug it into the Alphasmart and into the computer. You open up your favorite word processor. Mine is Scrivener. Then, going to the Alphasmart which will turn on and make a connection when it is plugged in, you hit the SEND button and it will type out what is in the current file on the Alphasmart into your word processor. It has a progress bar to show the transfer percentage. Once it’s done, you can unplug and work on the newly created file on your computer.

Saving isn’t a process you have to do yourself on the Alphasmart. *You would have to save the file that is created on your computer obviously!* But the Alphasmart stores the words you have put into it on it’s ROM on the circuit board.

A friend of mine asked me the other day, “Does the Alphasmart lose your words if the batteries die?” I’m not 100% sure on this. It shouldn’t. After being asked this question, I took the batteries out of my Alphasmart and let it sit for a bit and then put the batteries back in and the words I had written were still there. So I would assume that even without the batteries, it would save your words. Now, that’s not to say that if it stays without batteries for an extended period of time, the words wouldn’t be lost. A good rule of thumb for any writing endeavor is BACK UP OFTEN!

I have learned this lesson the hard way. I have lost more words than I care to admit over the years. Power outages. Lost floppy disks! Blast from the past, I know!

I feel like I am rambling here. Long story short, if you’re in need of a way to write without distractions, check out the Alphasmart and see what you think!

Stay tuned for my upcoming post on Cloud Backup Options for BACKING UP FREQUENTLY!!!

Happy Writing 🙂

Camp NanoWriMo – Day 6

So, it hasn’t started out as a very productive month for me! But that’s alright. I am pushing forward. I have a local overnight write in that I am attending and hosting


tonight. This cute little coffee shop a town over, owned by this nice older lady who has graciously allowed us to take over her cafe tonight from 9pm to 3am. She always takes such interest in our writing endeavors and she makes us all feel like we’re at home when we are there.

So I plan on cranking out a few thousand words tonight. Hopefully! I will be making notes of what I want to work on and things like that and hopefully that will help me to stay focused and get the words written.

Stay tuned for another post early early in the morning or mid day tomorrow after I sleep. I will be posting pictures of our write-in, word count updates and any prompts I might have given out during the write-in!

Happy Nanoing! Happy Writing! 🙂

Camp NanoWriMo – Day 4

Camp hasn’t been as exciting this year as it has been in the past. Why? I’m not a hundred percent sure why. I got time off from work. The first time ever, I actually have the first week of April off. My new job allowed me to actually take time off for me, for something I care about but so far I feel that I have slightly squandered the time. I have been doing quite a bit of reading.

But I shouldn’t be reading. I should be writing. I want to write but when I sit down to actually write, I can’t seem to.

This blog post is going rather well, if I do say so myself. I am writing this but when it comes to my actual novel, I can’t seem to get it done.

Maybe I need a change. Maybe I am finding this blog post easy. What’s different from this and my writing on my novel? I am using my Alphasmart on the front porch. My laptop is in my backpack. My desktop, obviously can’t be carried out on the porch!

So maybe tomorrow I will take my Alphasmart with me and see how that goes. I had planned on getting out today. I had planned on going to Starbucks or the college campus but neither of those things happened. I wound up reading for a better part of the day and then I took a nap. By the time that I got up, it was already 7pm. Too late to go anywhere.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I could have went somewhere but chose not to. I could have went to Denny’s or somewhere else that is open 24 hours but I didn’t.

Again, why? I’m not sure on that one either. I woke up with a headache and acid reflex.

But I still could have went somewhere and did something that I enjoy.

Trying to write at home is not always easy or conducive to a welcoming writing environment.

My parents don’t understand why I write. They think it is a waste of time. Always have, probably always will because I never plan on telling them when I actually do publish and make money from my writing.

Being a gay man, writing gay romance, they don’t understand the first part of that, they don’t care to understand the last part because it’s linked to the first.

Some might be asking, well if they don’t understand, explain it to them. Believe me, I have tried. It does no good. Even in this day and age, there are still some people who just do not want a gay child.

But anywho, I am going to end this here. Hope writing is going well for others. It’ll get better for me. Just gotta push through the slump I am in at the moment.

Day 3 Word Count – 38 written
Day 4 Word Count – Nothing yet other than this blog post! But there is still an hour left in the day!

Happy Nanoing! 🙂

Camp NanoWriMo 2018 – Day 2

Day 1 WC – 219
Day 2 WC – Nothing Yet!

I didn’t spend nearly as much time on prepping for Camp as I had hoped. Depression and anxiety reared their ugly heads at the worst of times throughout March. I also spent a lot of time reading. I surpassed my yearly goal for my Goodreads Challenge! So that’s a plus!

But as for Camp, Day 1 started out sluggish. I only managed 219 words. I had a write-in I was planning to attend. I got all the way out there, 45 minutes from my house, only to find out that the place we were supposed to meet up at was closed due to the Easter holiday.

I wound up going to a couple book stores. After the disappointment of not being able to go to the write-in, I kind of floundered around town, procrastinating big time. I then wound up getting home late and sluggishly writing a couple hundreds words.

So far, today, I haven’t written a thing. I’m not happy with that. I’m not happy with it at all but it’s alright. I will be writing a little each day even if I don’t feel the spark of the flow that I need to knock out thousands of words.

But the words will come. They always do. They may not be perfect but that is okay too.

For now, I am going end this here and get Scrivener opened up and see where I’m at!

Happy Writing – Happy NanoWriMo! 🙂

BEDS Day 28 – Favorite Book Series

Blog Every Day in September

What is your favorite books series?

I’d have to say that my ultimate favorite would be the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. I grew up on the series. It was first published in 1997. I was only 10 at the time but I was hooked. The entire series is such a well crafted adventure. You can lose yourself in Hogwarts and Diagon Alley.

I remember first finding Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone at my school library and I was instantly taken to a magical world.

The characters were so easy to connect with. I was a school student and so were they. No I didn’t go to a school to learn to be a witch or a wizard but it was nice to be able to dream of a world like that.

What is your favorite book series?

Let me know in the comments section below.

BEDS Day 27 – Self-Run Promotions

Blog Every Day in September – Self Run Promotions

We are all in need of promotion as authors. Whether you’re writing a book or a web-based comic book, we all need to promote those endeavors.

So far, to promote my work or other’s work, I have three main locations.

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. WordPress

These three are great ways to promote. They are the most widely used social media networks but there are a lot more ways to promote as well.

Check out the 50 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Promote Your Book post online.

Do you have any ideas for ways of promoting your book?

Let me know in the comments section below.

BEDS Day 26 – Percolation

Blog Every Day in September – Percolation: Writing Before You Write!

Bonnie Goldberg’s book ‘Beyond The Words‘, talks about writing before you write, called percolation.

Some examples of percolation are thinking or daydreaming on your story or characters during your daily routine.

I do this quite a lot. I’ll be sitting in traffic and I’ll think about my characters sitting in traffic. How would they react to it? Would they be angry or would they act like it was no big deal?

Another example would be if you find an interesting name when going about your daily routine. Jot the name down and you could use it for a character one day.

What do you do to write before you write?

Let me know in the comments section below.

BEDS Day 25 – Outlining VS Not Outlining

Blog Every Day in September

Do you outline or not?

For me, it was always pantsing! I never outline. I never knew what was going to happen from point A to point Z. This usually caused stress and a mad-dash for the finish line at the end of Nanowrimo. I do most of my writing during November, at least in the past.

But now, I have learned the true benefit of outlining. That’s not to say, if you pants and things work well for you, then by all means, keep up the awesome job!

But for me, I started with three characters who were going to be my main characters and then I researched Character Sheets and I printed out a set for each of my three main characters. Working through those sheets, I found out things that pantsing would never have led me figure out.

Now, going into Nanowrimo, I will have a good bit of information about my characters.

After the character sheets, I found some plot outlining sheets. My plot always seems to lose steam and fall flat during the middle.

My next thing will be to create a sheet with every scene I could possibly use in the story. Some might not get used but they are there if I need them and for Nanowrimo, I will most likely write all of them and then cut what isn’t needed come December and January.

What do you do for novel planning? Do you do extensive outlines or do you pants the entire thing?

Let me know in the comments section below!

BEDS Day 24 – Character Interviews

Blog Every Day in September

Have you ever been stuck on how to create a character? Or did you start writing and realize that you didn’t know enough about your characters?

I have recently found that I like using interview questions and act as if I am actually sitting down and interviewing my characters.

Two sites that I have found with some good questions to ask your characters are:

Do you ever interview your characters and see what you can come up with to make them more deeply fleshed out?

Let me know down in the comments section below.