23 April 2013

A Tech Tip - Personalizing your Digital Workspace: Google Mail

A writer forum leader recently charged members to personalize their writing area. So far, people have added plants, organized paper stacks, painted walls, hung colorful or inspirational posters, generally spruced up their spaces.

There is also the digital makeover, which is just as easy to do. Here are a few suggestions.

  • Clean up the computer desktop.
  • Delete old files.
  • Rearrange icons.
  • Change out your computer desktop with a favorite photo or something related to your current work in progress.
  • If you can, set your computer desktop to rotate through a series of photos, then you'll have something fresh to look at every few hours.
  • If you use GMail in a browser, you can customize your Google Mail Tab background with a theme, a stock photo, or even one of your own photos.
    • Just click on your Setting Gear, click on Themes, scroll down to Change Your Background Photo Image, then select/upload one of your own. Voila, now you might actually get to Inbox Zero so you can see the picture. (It's the little things that make the difference.)

Here is a screenshot of my Google Mail background. The uncluttered and calming blue photo is of the North Sea. (I took the pic on our family trip to Scotland last year.) Perfect and uniquely mine.

Be it the physical space or the digital, play around with it, try different themes, make it uniquely your own.

16 April 2013

Did I tell you...

... that I contracted with an editor? Just last week. While I'm excited to be working with one of my favorite authors, her first exercise for me is giving me lots to think about: details.

I consider myself a detail-oriented person. Let me show you spreadsheets of details and you'd see data in rows and columns, color-coded. However, it seems that I don't convey details well in narrative writing. Probably because I don't like reading it.

Back in high school, I had to read Lord of the Flies. There was a passage about the jungle, and I'm sure I'm remembering this wrong, but one paragraph was longer than one whole page. It took me forever to slog through that passage. Even now, I find myself skipping long paragraphs that are mostly description. Give me action or dialogue and I'll gulp it down, but long descriptions -- ugh.

So adding description and the right details, all from the perspective of the POV character, is proving a bit more difficult that I thought. It's not just describing the setting, but how a character thinks, senses, reacts. A word here or a phrase there can be powerful and add richness. Something I didn't realize that was missing from my writing.

Working with an editor this early in the game was the right thing for me to do.