How To: Improve Your Writing Workflow

How To: Improve Your Writing Workflow

My thanks to the team over at Literature & Latte for sponsoring this post & series of content on writing. They’re the makers of the essential writing app Scrivener for Windows or OS X. Providing an all in one writing studio that allows you to edit, outline, storyboard, and most importantly write in an efficient system. Use it for scriptwriting, books, essays, and more. A must have for all writers.

Outside of this site I do quite a bit of writing both personally & professionally. Whether its for clients, my own personal archive, or my other sites I like to write. That said it wasn’t always that way & I view writing as this muscle that needs to be exercised frequently. So I wanted to throw together some tips and advice to improving your writing workflow. The process in which you write & tools you use to do so. Now keep in mind everyones workflow is unique and you’re free to tailor it to fit your own needs. Rather I wanted to provide an outline of my workflow and tools I use to better help others out there improve in their areas of writing.

Video Overview:

 

Tips:

Physical & Digital inspiration-

They say to keep something handy be it a physical notebook or digital app for when inspiration strikes. However when it comes to writing inspiration doesn’t just always strike. Rather to improve your overall writing workflow I believe in practice. Of course keep something handy for whenever an idea strikes or something you want to express & just write it. Don’t worry about grammar, structure, or what have you just write. Writing daily helps implement a routine & improve your writing fluency.

Using great sites like 750Words allow you to build up your writing skills by tasking you to write 750 words on a daily basis.

Text Expansion-

Text expansion when it comes to writing has been something has saved a ton of time & unnecessary keystrokes. Using an app like TextExpander allows you to take let’s say an e-mail signature for example.

Regards,

Adrian Cauguiran

CEO & Founder DigitalDojos

Rather than constantly typing this I can set ;sig2 to automatically translate into that. You can very technical with this of course having it type out current dates & times, common answers to questions, and so much more. Saving you a ton of time when writing out anything as the app is supported in anything that has a text field.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.02.36 PM

 

Cloud Storage-

Using a cloud storage service can highly improve your writing workflow in various ways. First and foremost keeping your content be it manuscripts, books, essays and so on in the cloud allow you to keep them off site. This means if your local copies are ever damaged or corrupted you have the stored safely in the cloud. Additionally cloud storage allows you to access your files anywhere you have internet access so you can write on the go on a variety of devices. Be it Dropbox or Google Drive syncing files to these services has never been easier. On top of all of this a service like Google Drive allows for collaboration editing. This is very useful in projects where you have multiple people overviewing a document & gives a live look at whats ongoing.

 

My own Workflow:

So when it comes to time for me to write I approach it a systematic way depending on the project I’m working on. It can be a blog post, formal letter, essay, and a variety of other things which allows me to adjust the methods I use.

Most importantly I always focus on the writing itself. I write first & edit/revise later. The best way for me to overcome a blank page is by filling it with whatever I have on my mind or have to tackle. In conjunction with the following steps I try to always follow.

 

1.Research

Gather all material I need beforehand. This helps in terms of preparation in that I have everything I need in one place be it an app or document. Scrivener provides an amazing feature to do just that. Allowing you to  couple everything in one place to easily focus on your writing and reference your research material links, web pages, sources, in one place without interrupting your workflow.

Screen Shot 2015-04-29 at 6.11.50 PM

 

2.Outline

From there I tend to outline my projects. Providing a visual look at what I’m about to put together. This helps in structuring my content and in a sense gives me a template to work off of. Now you can outline yours however you please some people prefer a mind map, audio notes, or just a typical outline number/lettering system like I use to structure my posts.

3.Organization

With bigger scale projects extra organization is required & having to sort through files, research, material, can be very cumbersome. I prefer to keep my content separated in folders or tags much like what Scrivener offers in it’s binder. You can color code notes, make collections, and easily branch out files/folders. Of course this may mean physically organizing your material if you don’t use a digital solution. I find the easier and more accessible my material is the easier it is for me to focus on writing.

4.Write

As simple & complex as it is the last step is to sit down and write. Focus on writing and putting together what I’ve visualized & organized and worry about the details afterwards. Dropping in video/picture media, grammar, formatting. I try to let myself just create before fine tuning it. This allows me to look at the work again with fresh eyes after I finish writing. All these steps in conjunction make up my writing workflow. Filled with practices, apps, and various tools that have helped me improve my writing overtime. More importantly knowing it’s something that I have to constantly be doing & improving upon.

 

Look to establish your own workflow with tools & tips that work best for you. However if your serious about writing & or do it for a living you can’t go wrong trying some of the apps mentioned above.

Be sure to check out the previous post we did in line with our series of content on “Writing Workshop” highlighting the

Best writing tools for Mac OS X

 

Best Writing Tools for Mac OS X

Best Writing Tools for Mac OS X

My thanks to the folks at Literature & Latte makers of the amazing content generation tool Scrivener for sponsoring the series of content we’ll be running on improving your writing workflow filled with tips & tools we recommend. Scrivener has been one of my go to apps for outlining, editing, and writing on either OS X or Windows and we’re proud to have them as a sponsor. Try out Scrivener today! 

I wanted to round up of some of the best writing tools available for Mac OS X. Looking at apps, sites, and tools you can use to help improve your writing workflow on your mac whether it’s for a website, book, schoolwork and so on. These tools help you stay focused & provide the utilities to get the jobs done in their own unique interface & feature sets.

The team at Literature & Latte themselves put together an amazing post on references for writers thats worth checking out. As they state

There is a lot of good writing software out there for the Mac. Most of the programs linked to below are direct competition forScrivener. I provide links because the writing process is different for everyone. Scrivener suits the way I write, and hopefully some others too, but if it doesn’t suit the way that you write, then you may want to check out some of the excellent software below to see if any of it fits the way you work.

All of the following tools are writing apps/services that I use or have tested on my own mac for various use cases. Some of them are free while others are paid. In my opinion when it comes to tools that I use everyday to get my work done its definitely worth the investment.

Quick & Free

TextEdit (FREE)

TextEdit is built into OS X & is basically a great notepad for mac users. If your looking to quickly take notes down & do some very basic writing then TextEdit is the tool for you. Something I constantly use for quick notes before shooting a video as its simple to open & use.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 4.48.02 PM

Notes.app (FREE)

On that note…OS X also offers a dedicated notes app thats even simpler. Again great for quick to-do lists or things you need to write down to remember. Something I constantly use for quick reminders that I want synced back via my iOS devices as it integrates perfectly with iCloud & your other iOS devices.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.07.54 PM

Office Related

Pages  ($20)

Apple’s pages is the OS X equivalent to office & works well regarding basic documents. I typically use this to interact with .doc files & or to type up essays as it’s a familiar interface & offers all the basic tools to get things done. Being an Apple product it syncs together with iCloud and has a series of apps that interact well with it from Keynote to Numbers. Pages interacts with OS X in general seamlessly & provides a great basic word processing experience for users.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 4.47.40 PM

Office for Mac ($7.00 monthly)

For those of you who can’t escape the .doc files & windows based office environment than Office for Mac is for you.  Word 2011 is the most current version for OS X and ties in with Office 365 program. For former windows users this may be the most comfortable interface.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.07.22 PM

Focused

WriteRoom ($10)

WriteRoom provides a clean and simple approach to writing. Just focus on writing & thats it. An app that offers virtually no interface & allows you create the content you want to write. Just words on the screen nothing more nothing less. A great app to use when you don’t want to be distracted by outside apps, toolbars, and formatting tools. I use WriteRoom now and again to compile first drafts of posts for my personal blog. Focusing on the writing first then working with other tools to worry about the formatting/editing afterwards.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 4.52.16 PM

Programming Editors

TextMate (FREE)

This app is geared toward developers & programmers. It’s massive support for syntax & code snippets makes it convenient to use for coders & best of all is completely free. Of course you can code in any basic text editor however this makes 10x more easier & more structured for whatever language your coding in. With the ability to manage multiple projects in tabs TextMate keeps your coding simple & organized.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 4.57.41 PM

Sublime Text ($70)

On a more advanced level Sublime Text offers a sophisticated approach to a programming text editor. Packed with features from distraction free mode, split editing, cross platform and more. Definitely the premium programming editor for OS X.

Personal/Journaling

DayOne ($10)

One of my favorite apps for journaling has been DayOne. I’ve found myself recently recording thoughts & writing small blurbs for my own personal archive. Things that don’t get published to the web just privately cataloged for me. Gathering my thoughts in a beautiful interface that displays your life logged over time in a brilliant way. Whether its a quick post or full on essay DayOne can support it. The great thing about DayOne is aside from the desktop app it has support for both iPad & iPhone.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 5.37.35 PM

All in One/Essential for Writers

Scrivener ($45 USD)

Aside from making this content possible the folks at Literature & Latte have developed an amazing all in one editor that is Scrivener.

Scrivener provides an amazing interface that’s useful for just about anything. Be it script writing, writing a book, or what have you. The great thing about Scrivener is that it has a whole organizational set of features for writers allowing you to structure, revise, and organize your thoughts in one application. What I find best about Scrivener is its studio based interface that makes it easy to access everything I need without constantly having to switch from one app to another. Simply the best and most advanced software for writers.

screens2-std

 

All that said keep in mind while there are a ton of text editors out there you don’t have to just settle for one. Rather you can use each to your advantage depending on your usage & needs. Be sure to keep up with the series of content we’ll be publishing regarding writing & other tips to improving your writing experience & workflow.

 

Curbi Overview: Parental Controls for iOS Devices

Curbi Overview: Parental Controls for iOS Devices

My thanks to Curbi for sponsoring the series of content we’re running on web safety. Curbi provides a great application/service to manage your kids iPhone, iPad, or iPod easily. Allowing parents to Curb, Block, and Monitor your kids activities. Use it to make sure that they’re safe & more importantly give yourself peace of mind knowing Curbi has you covered in the complex world that is the internet.

Video Overview:

 

I often get asked about tips on parental control on iOS. Parents/viewers asking how they can manage certain sites, filter material, or overall monitor their children’s usage. There’s some solutions built in but not to easy to find & most services out there just make it to complicated. That is until I found out about Curbi & now its easily the best parental control app for iOS that I can recommend.

Curbi is all about providing parents the ability to manage & control their kids iOS device usage & safety. It does this a seamless & easy way that anyone can set it up. The service focuses on 3 areas Curb, Block and Watch.

  • Curb: Your child’s use of social media & time wasting apps
  • Block: Adult & inappropriate content
  • Watch: Your child’s internet access with detailed reporting from Cubi

Setup:

Setup is super simple. That’s one of the best things about Curbi, parents can easily set this up without any complex installs to jump through. There’s a simple 2 step process to go through after setting up your account that involves installing 2 profiles on the iOS device you want to monitor. This takes literally a couple of minutes & then from there on out you can monitor the activity via the web or their Curbi app.

From there you hop into the dashboard & get detailed reports in multiple areas & can setup rules dependent on your kids and what you want blocked/curbed.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.29.43 PM

 

There are 3 elements to Curbi worth breaking down. The rules, restrictions, and monitoring.

Rules:

Curbi allows parents to do define rules for their children. This means you can setup content filtering & time based restrictions for your kids. A good example would be if they had a bedtime you can define a rule blocking internet access at a given time on setup on schedule. So cuts out earlier on weekdays & later on the weekends. You can easily filter out specific content on that can be browsed on the device as well. Things like social media sites, sex related sites, and or gambling sites. Giving you complete control on how you want to define the rules for your children.

Restrictions:

Restriction wise you can easily define restrictions for your kids devices. This is very useful for young children in which you can deactivate In-App purchases off the app-store saving you any future issues or unwanted charges.

Monitoring: 

Another aspect is monitoring the device in general. Get detailed reports of your kids usage as far as where, when, and how long they’ve been accessing certain media. This provides a great breakdown of your kids activities on a day to day basis & you can see what they may be wasting time on.

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.31.03 PM

Pricing:

Curbi offers a free 14-day free trial for users to test out & see if its right for them. Beyond that it’s only $7.00 a month to provide full protection for your kids. Really at the end of the day what your paying for here is peace of mind which in itself is priceless.

With the subscription you get access to the following:

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 3.25.55 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign up here

 

At the end of the day Curbi answers the many questions & concerns parents have about the internet & their children’s activities on it. Looking at where they’re spending most of their time, how much time exactly are they on their iOS devices, productive usage vs non productive and so on. All while offering a service that is super simple to use & setup. No hassles or loop holes to jump through just straightforward technology that works. Allowing parents all the controls & access with the ability to access it on their mobile devices or on the web.

Check out Curbi today & start providing a better and safer environment for your kids today.

 

Sponsor: Astaricks

Sponsor: Astaricks

Astaricks: Premiere Digital Business Card System

I wanted to thank Astaricks for sponsoring DigitalDojos for the month of February. Astaricks provides the best digital based business card system that takes your business and makes it shareable, interactive, and updatable. All of this is achieved in a brilliant and vast system that reaches from their mobile app to mapping technology.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to the Astaricks team for their February campaign & helping make the content produced here & on the Youtube channel possible.

Astarick’s World Premiere Digital Business Card System

Astarick’s World Premiere Digital Business Card System

I’d like to thank Astaricks (Website) for being one of the first official sponsors of the new DigitalDojos network in 2015. Supporting the site & it’s content for the month of February.

Astaricks is a digital business card system unlike any other. Giving you the ability to save, sort, view, and share your digital business cards with ease. I’ve personally had the great privilege to work alongside Astarick’s team to learn about their innovative & highly powerful system they offer. More than the ability to simply create an online business card your joining a system that enables any small to big business to increase exposure & effectiveness of their online presence. From their amazing card based system, business directory, mapping solution and more your business is literally at your fingertips.

Having a system like Astaricks is unlike any other platform. Offering the ability to:

  • Update hundreds of thousands of business cards in a click of the button never having to distribute out new cards to people again (Have a change simply make it & distribute it out to your contacts)
  • Free advertising on their business directory & maps service
  • Instantly share cards via SMS, QR Codes, Mobile app, e-mail, and more
  • Full contact details, HD pictures, links, and more all displayed on your high quality card

and much much more.

 

You can also see the video overview I posted on our channel previously.

Find out more information on Astaricks at their site & get your business the digital business cards it deserves.

DigitalDojos 2015 Revamp

DigitalDojos 2015 Revamp

As 2015 has came upon us I’ve decided to revamp DigitalDojos as brand & business. This site which was originally founded by Duncan Maile, Joshua Oakes, Dan Valverde, Nuno Ledo, and I began as a way to provide high quality technology content for the masses. The nerds & everyday users alike. Focusing on content from news to reviews & tutorials.

The site & network has both grown & stagnated along the way. I took ownership of the network a little over a year and half ago. I had visions to scale the site which didn’t go according to plan. I was spread to thin & had other obligations which prevented me to providing the attention DigitalDojos needed. Since then I’ve started ScreencApp a client services business which has grown in the last year to 100+ clients.

All of that said I wanted to revisit the idea of DigitalDojos & what we intended it to be. A content platform to provide the masses with meaningful & educational material. One of the most important goals for me in my work over the last 9 years has been to instill value to my audience & community. To make an impact with the work I produce.

In order to do so I’ve directed a more focused idea for DigitalDojos & its future. While this network isn’t my primary source of income I’d like to still scale the project & continue offering content to my viewers. To do so some changes have to be made to allow more time and attention to be spent on it.

I’ve made the decision to go fully independent with the site as far as the business model goes. Allowing me to not only pick advertisers & sponsor campaigns but rid it of any big named networks. Another big part of the site will be the community involvement. A membership program has been instilled to allows supporters to contribute a small portion to keeping everything running as well as pave the road going forward. Another big part of the change to the site will be an expansion of content coverage.

While technology is still something I’m very passionate about my interests are very diverse. I’d like a platform to share just that & educating consumers in other areas that I’ve developed a passion for. Still following the same principle of delivering content of value no matter the category.

The following outlines the details of the major changes of DigitalDojos:

  • Revamped design & clean slate

I’ve decided to revamp the whole site in relations to the new direction for DigitalDojos. Providing a better sense of the content I want to produce & how I want it presented. A clean slate was something that I also found necessary to begin the new year. So that the mission statement of the site isn’t confused in the archives of posts. I wanted to illustrate a network that focuses on more than just one side of technology. Truly catering to the nerds, entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, and most importantly everyday user.

  • Renewed Revenue Model

Switching to a more independent model allows me to ditch some of the older forms of revenue streams I use to run through the site. Two major components will make up the new model. Advertising will still exist to keep the lights on & allow me the site to have a revenue stream. However we’ve moved to a hand picked model allowing me to accept & decline sponsors at will. Campaigns will be chosen specifically by me in interest of the content & what I believe my readers will enjoy. Ditching the older ad networks to provide a more tailored experience when browsing our network. The other half will consist of a membership program for my readers to help support the site & content we produce. Lastly the site will be introducing some new methods of income from paid content to new courses that I’ll be introducing down the line. I’ve spent the last 9 years producing free content for my viewers & will continue to do so. Paid content will just be something new to supplement the income of the network but primary content will remain free.

As I aim to be transparent about the revenue streams of the network hears a breakdown

  1. Membership Program (Crowd Funded by you the readers & viewers of my content. Support from my audience allows me to invest more time in DigitalDojos & focus on expanding the network as a whole)
  2. Advertisers/Sponsor Campaigns (Independent advertising method will allow me to hand pick the sponsor campaigns that go live on the site. This allows me to showcase products/services I believe in while paying some of the bills without directly affecting the audience. Above all this allows me to cut out advertising networks & provide a more streamlined experience for everyone)
  3. Premium Content (Elaborated in the section below.)
  4. Affiliate/Referral Program (Products/Services linked may have affiliate programs tied in which essentially means I get a cut if you buy any products we link off to. In some cases even saving you some while we get a small portion of the sale.)

All of this again to bring DigitalDojos to the next level & of course create an income for the time I’ll be investing. This is a network of valuable content that I aim to deliver but at the same time a business I’d like to keep up & running. The independent model allows me to have complete control & provide a better experience to the readers & community members so that you get content you enjoyed coupled with amazing supportive sponsors & campaigns we believe in while doing our best to deliver the same high quality content.

 

  • Content Expansion

A bigger part of the revamp will be the launch of new content categories. Focusing not just on technology itself from news, reviews, and tutorials but in a much broader sense. Branching out to business based content & lending my advice, tips, and experience from my entrepreneur background. Beyond anything I don’t want to limit the site by focusing on just one topic of interest. Rather as an enthusiast of many things I want this network to reflect my interests & passions. All while giving back to my readers & viewers of my content. Another part of this expansion will be diving into new media opportunities. Podcasting has been something I’ve tried to tackle on & off without much success. DigitalDojos will be a platform for me to publish shows I’ve been wanting to release for quite some time. Expanding into new areas & platforms of media that I hope the audience will enjoy. Most importantly bringing a better sense of order & focus that has long been lacking in my content. New types of content you’ll be seeing on the site will include

  1. Opinion based pieces (Keeping the personal feel to the site I’d like to expand on my thoughts/insight on specific topics)
  2. Linked Content (Sharing & getting other great content from other creators is apart of something I’d like to share on this site as well)
  3. Curated Content (Rounding up the best of my own material as well as curating the internet so that you can get a feel of not just my own reviews or thoughts but others as well. So best of, list content, and more)
  4. Paid Content (I’ll also be introducing some paid content such as courses, educational material, and so on. This will be covering software & other lessons from technology to business. These premium content will be another way to supplement a revenue stream for the site & myself. While majority of content will remain free these course which I’ll be putting a lot of time, effort, and research into will be content that I’ll charge for in the hopes that the community will support the work & gain some value out of it)
  • Value & Community

One of the most important principles behind the content I’ll be putting up here is instilling value. I aim to give back as much value as possible to my readers & community members. The new content in areas of business will aim to shed as much light on the things I’ve learned over the years. In an effort to influence others to chase their passions & become self sufficient themselves via the internet. A total transparency model that will dissect the income of this very site & how I draw my revenue streams in an effort to showcase by example. The failures, pitfalls, and ultimately successes of the network. Another big focus will be community. I’ve always wanted to get the viewers of my content more involved & hope to do so going forward with direct input. Implementing some new tools & services to get a feel for what the readers want & are interested in viewing. Anywhere I can give back in my areas of expertise I aim to do so. From tech-support, FAQ’s, and more. We’ll be implementing new ways for our users to stay up to date with everything from a newsletter & e-mail list to account system that’ll give users certain benefits to interact with the site & its members.

 

All these new changes will take some time to get right & for me to adjust to. It’ll be a tedious process but one that I think will be worth it for both the business end & personal direction I want to be taking. Allowing me to focus more on producing content that I enjoy while expanding to new areas of interest. My main goal in this line of content production work is to always enjoy what I do, to have the underlying passion always be there. While also maintaining a successful & prosperous business. This is a project I’m currently undergoing completely by myself & independently with 100% bootstrap funding. Down the road it may be something worth hiring some extra hands for but as of current it’s something I choose to pursuit alone. I’ve reduced other responsibilities & even cut off projects to focus on the future & where I see myself down the road. DigitalDojos has become a hobby in light off of my other ventures like ScreencApp I hope to be able to rebuild it as a more stable & successful business going forward while maintaining many of the core values & passion that begun this whole journey. As always your continued support across all platforms & in any capacity is always appreciated. I literally would not be writing this very announcement if it wasn’t for my audience & the voice they gave me.

That said I’d like to end this post with a list of goals I have in place for 2015 & DigitalDojos one that I’ll be checking on periodically as the year goes on. A list to keep the mission of the network in focus & allow us to have milestones to work towards.

DigitalDojos 2015 Goal List:

  • 10,000+ registered RSS readers
  • 1,000+ Subscription Members
  • 2+ Podcasts launched reaching 50+ episodes
  • 10,000+ Youtube Channel Subscribers
  • 100+ published articles

These are broad goals but attainable none the less. I look forward to the 2015 year & chance to rebuild the site & name that is DigitalDojos. The name which originally formed in part because of the technology angle & age we’re living in “Digital” & “Dojo” which derives from a martial arts school popularly known in Asia. In effort to connect that of the internet age & a place of learning & education. An enthusiasts playground if you will, a place to learn, interact, and most importantly enable you as a reader to go out & pursuit your own goals in life. My aim as an individual & by extension my businesses is to be to complex to categorize. A jack of all trades. I look forward to partaking in that journey.

Welcome to the new DigitalDojos.