All posts by Lee Tyler

You can find me on G+, Twitter (LeeJTyler), Tumblr, Facebook, Pinterest, Writer.com, RedRoom, , A-List Bloggers and thepointofthequill.wordpress.com. Mizzou grad with Hard science degree/Psychology, PR, Marketing, Company Manager, freelance writer, working on 3 books.

Writers’ and Their Notes

 

handwritten versus electric note taking and memory recallAs writers, we need to come up with a name for all of those little notes we collect with dialogue or story ideas. A writer never throws those slips away, for within their scribbled lines, there a story awaits.

Do you have a cache of notes you refer to for ideas?

 

I had been considering this as I decided on a calendar for the half-year. I had plenty of calendars on the computer, but the act of writing down a note or meeting in my calendar somehow solidified it in my brain.

Then I chanced upon a study write-up in Psyblog. (Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014) The study was conducted after one of the researchers, Pam Mueller at Princeton U., noticed that she had better recall of notes when written by hand. She and her co-researcher, Daniel Oppenheimer, discuss the beginnings of their research:

The study’s co-author, Daniel Oppenheimer, had a similar experience, which Mueller explains:

“Danny said that he’d had a related experience in a faculty meeting: He was taking notes on his computer, and looked up and realized that he had no idea what the person was actually talking about.”

This research was also written up in Scientific American, i09, The Atlantic & Psychological Science.

Another great study on the act of physically writing things down can be found at Lifehack.

I have looked up a great many studies on this topic, but the one that hones in on the process is conducted by Timothy Smoker, Carrie E. Murphy, & Alison K. Rockwell and ties the act of psychomotor skills while taking notes by hand and the subsequent recall rate:

This is an investigation into the possible links between psychomotor action, in the activities of handwriting, and memory.

The correlations are solidly behind the psychomotor factor in memory recall. What I wonder is if this will be an evolutionary sort of thing when you consider all of the students today take notes via their laptops or smartphones/iPads. How will this now and in the future affect their learning curves?

(Interestingly, I found the link from Lifehack re: the Norway study quite haphazardly after I had written this post. I point this out mainly to flog myself for not continuing my graduate studies in research. Also, this shows just how important this subject is, for everyone in today’s “go paperless” digital society.)

Further, I wonder how our brains work in the planning stages of something as complex as a novel. I among many have noted that outlining and many times the writing itself, during the creativity stage, is better done by hand rather than computer.

Have you noticed that as well? What are your note taking hacks? Leave them in the comments!

Oh, and I got my calendar. It’s perfect and cheap and has plenty of note-taking space. ;p

 

 

Free Author’s DIY Modern Marketing Workbook

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writing help

The Write Tip, Your Quick Tip of the Day for Writing

Your characters are waiting for you! Follow these tips for mindful writing.

Yep, you know it too, don’t you? “If I had a dollar for every time I got distracted… I wish I had a puppy”

 Do you find that there is more to do each minute of the day than there are minutes in that day? Do you feel that you could stay up all night and not feel caught up, ever?

You are not alone.

 

There is more pressure today than there ever has been to accomplish everything on your to-do list, immediately.

What’s more, the barrage of information has increased exponentially since the internet’s growth. How can you relax and write creatively with these pressures?

It helps me to listen to or read a beloved author’s discussion of his writing practice. Additionally, readiwriting helpng quotes from authors is helpful. Paris Review is always a muse whisperer. This site jumps deep into the writing process as you will see here with an interview with Don DeLillo.

While I’m not a famous writer (yet), I have jotted down some tips for you that I find conducive to getting my wip whipped into shape. Hopefully, you find them helpful as well.

 I added something I had heard Michael Chabon mention while he discussed his writing practice (see the Great Reads Page in the menu). Instead of listing the music in your iPod under style and artist, make a genius list for yourself. Pick the songs that you personally find joyful, contemplative, angst-ridden or any other emotion that you need to provoke for your writing. Use these lists as needed for the soundtrack of your writing. I am doing the same and have started an Excel sheet coupling the music lists with the style or “vibe” of writing, story or article I need to write.

While writing; forget punctuation; it brings the right (logical) brain into a left brain more creative work; go back when you are not “in the zone” and get picky about punctuation and grammar.

You will be surprised at how mindful your mindless tasks can be.

If you are not finding time to write due to pressing tasks, take 30 seconds out to look at a picture that you’ve picked to draw out your protagonist. Still working on some mindless task? Make it mindful by looking over your outline.

Back at your writing desk, start with a page that you felt good about and flip  through to a spot that needs work. Do this in stages of concentration blocks; two minutes, on and off. Don’t write on the breaks for at least twenty minutes. Then, allow yourself the option of continuing to write. It’s just an option. Purely up to you.

What this does is eliminate the guilt that every writer faces when they are not writing as much as they hoped for. Instead of worrying as you run through your day, take that mindless task and use it for thoughtful consideration, concentrating on areas of your manuscript that need some polish. Work on the secondary characters or plot points that need some tweaking. Doing this as you fold the laundry, as an example, will eradicate the guilt and leave you wanting to run to your desk and finish what you had started.

Remember to have your smart phone or moleskin handy when you do this.

Important: Run through this article on writer’s block. These tips can help you get further and deeper into “the zone” and you will be creating of sentence structure and story structure an easy task for your mind and hands.

There is far more coming. I am testing a number of things for the security tutorial that I am preparing for you. I am also working with some incredible people on several intensives in which you will benefit. But in the meantime, I would love to hear of tips that you use to increase writing time during your busy day. Leave your comments in the box below.

 
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My writing community

Lifechanging Writing Course & Community Closes Enrollment This Wednesday Night

My writing communityFollow my blog with Bloglovin

How would you like to work in a supportive environment to write and critique your work? What are you seeing in costs for the registration for writing conventions these day? Yeah. Then there’s the ticket and the gas. The kids and the pets. Shopping for needed supplies for just you and anyone left at home let alone for your computer, notebooks and the list goes on.

You’ve heard of Story Cartel, right? Joe Bunting, one of the best teachers and the man behind The Write Practice has developed this coure. Here are a few things he says about the process:

 

Most writers think writing is a solo business, that you’re supposed to do it all on your own. Except this “doing it all on your own” thing is a good way to make sure no one reads your writing.

 

 

When you look at the best writers, the Brontes, the Hemingways, the Tolkiens, they never did it alone. Their success, even their creativity, didn’t come solely from themselves. It took other people, a community, a Cartel.

If you are wondering why he named the course The Story Cartel, he describes it this way:

A “Cartel” is an agreement amongst competitors. You see, too many writers treat their fellow writers as competitors, when what they should be doing is treating them likeallies. By helping each other, you and I can multiply our efforts.

 

The course is usually run per quarter and was put off until now for Joe Bunting and his family to stay in Paris for a few months. Imagine the stories you’ll hear! It’s a writers’ mecca and sure stole my heart when I was there.

You have read my discussions on all of the opportunities to get the word out about your work, to market it and format it or stay up on the latest and greatest. This community helps you from start to finish. You grow together and you promote each other. This is different than the author clubs that I have discussed and continue to discuss as the bonds from the beginning of class last a lifetime. This takes the fear, a big problem with all writers, out of putting your work out there are wondering how to submit or format. Much like Bookbub, after you publish your book, it is is put into categories and sent out to subscribers for a fair and honest review, the real life example of critiquing in writer circles. The website for books is on the top fringes of new, responsive, and beautiful design to showcase your book and your blurb to all. The reviews are key for any author. It is the lifeblood and this is how it gets your author profile noticed, something I’ve repeatedly lectured on like the Paper Chase (though I don’t like comparing myself to the character. ;p)

Here is the link again: Story Cartel. It’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity. Grow your writing family tree now!

I Lost 500 Subscribers & How to Make Sure it Doesn’t Happen to You

thepointofthequill security issues

 

The Quill was hacked. Did you notice Russian lettering in many of my social streams? 

 “Tom, don’t let anybody kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business.”

 The Godfather

All things come down to The Godfather, right?

I’d been working on a writing project when my emails started flying in and Google+ and Facebook notices started piling up.

I opened the first email, “Lee, I think your site was hacked.”

The second, “There is something going on with your site.” This coming from all sectors of my social life.

So I checked it out.

I saw about 350 new administrators, including me! I deleted all of them and the posts they had created, changed my password and notified my hosting site and spent the rest of the night cleaning up my social streams

 Murphy’s Law is as true as the Law of Gravity

My computer was in the shop (of course) so I spent the rest of the evening deleting posts off of my social feeds and then crawling into the back pages of my computer and deleting the (new) subscribers that had signed up in a concentrated attack (throwing their grammar laden posts out with them. I of course changed my password in the process.

I also started the calls for help. There was no way that I could get rid of these hackers without help. No one around me was proficient in coding, social media, et al. The fix given to me by my server didn’t work. Their reason for the invasion was off as well.

The first thing I thought about was you. Yeah, you’re supposed to say that all of the time and it sounds trite, but I’m serious. I was lost without my computer. I was concerned that your emails were getting swamped with spam. I started calling subscribers that I knew and asked what was going on with their email. I called hosting but I was not getting to the problem because I had no computer. Murphy’s Law struck again. The host company thought they had fixed the problem but it hadn’t. And now I could no longer log into my own page.

Of course, I knew this wasn’t personal. They weren’t targeting me; they were taking advantage of a vulnerability (which occurred as I switched from one theme to a live version of another).

But, like the Godfather, everything feels personal whether it’s business or not.

Make sure your sign-in name is not “admin”

This is the first thing hackers look for when trying to break into your site. Then they will try and look on your social feeds to find something familiar only to you that you might use, like your first name or the name of your pet. Be aware of this. You cannot change the name after it is in the server. But you can make your password a triple barriar.You can also install a captcha plugin so it is even harder to get inside by a coded bot or mischeovous hands.

* For the record, I changed the “admin” at the sign in page to another passcode, which is what all of the security pages encourage you to do from the beginning. If you haven’t done this, please do it asap.

What to look for in wordpress plugins

Please be aware that this could happen to you as well First, change your password.

Especially after Heartbleed. if Google got hacked, someone could hack your site as well.Make sure that all of your plugins and themes are up-to-date with a code fix after Heartbleed. If you are looking to download plugins, make sure that they are also updated after Heartbleed. To check this, read the “detail” info on a plugin before downloading and look to the right in the box to see when the last update was, making sure it was after the latest problem and that it will fit with the theme you are using. Also, look to see ratings and how many websites have downloaded this plugin. I always go for the five star plugins.  Make sure you have Wordfence or one of the paid security plugins. You, as the webmaster, must do your due-diligence.  My window was when I switched and went live with another theme and then switched back again late at night because my old theme offered more so I had to reset everything on my site. Again. But somewhere in the world, there was someone looking for a free ride on the blogosphere and found it, and me, at the moment when I was most vulnerable. 

For security plugin, I use Wordfence Security. It lets me know if there is an update needed ony site or if there was an attack of 10 or less (the number I set it at) to my site. It keeps an eye out for me. It’s brilliant.

 

Don’t let this happen to you.

To help you make sure you are covering your…bases, this is a top-notch article on safety:

 http://www.creativebloq.com/web-design/website-security-tips-protect-your-site-7122853

For general security advice, check out Chris Wiegman’s site for great references.

That one known hacker from Korea will not be able to visit my site after installing this plugin basically banishing him from my site: WP Ban

Troy Hunt: Lessons in website security anti-patterns by Tesco use this plus all other 27th reminders

 

Back-up your site

You know this already but have you done it? If not, just go to the “add plugins” section on the back end of your site and hit Updraft Backups. It’s a free plugin but also a good one. If you feel more comfortable with a paid one just do a search for your budget and plug it in. Your site will be backed up by the time you wake up tomorrow.

 

Years and years of work to get great connections on Google Plus and to build up to Google Authorship for this?

Soon after, I had typed in my “admin” address for the back side of my site. In Chrome the url bar is also “search in Google”.

Whatever I typed in, obviously tied to “admin” brought up my profile and number of people in my circles and a page with all of the information on getting into the backdoor of sites. It was extremely jarring, my face–which is your “brand” as an author–right next to the post that discussed how to use loopholes, for any site and for servers. (My server has since closed that loophholes.)  It brought back all of the heartrending minutes upon hours stretched into days where I was deleting one “post” after another, thinking of all of the years that I worked on learning about google authorship and then putting codes in the header (without breaking the site) and the years of research and writing …it just drained my spirit.

At least my site ended up #1 on the first page of Google for hacking into my site. I would expect nothing less. 

My site had become not only was an outpost for paid postings but also a forum for the hackers and a way for them to touch base. Even after I had raided them and killed them dead they would send me messages from the contact page; spamming my site and crunching Askimet, my email host, and my patience.

Each time I logged into my site to update plugins there were hundreds of comments, apparently since they were only able to get at the site from the front of the page, they would still leave comments with many, many links so if there were any hackers living and they saw the comment, they would be able to regroup, if all went well, at the newly hacked site.

But you and I are going to make sure our business doesn’t get too personal from hackers that are deficient in morality.

The next post I have written for you is a tutorial on what you need to so behind the scenes to make sure your site stays away from the lesser-ones and I will give you a great many tools for you to help you be an even better webmaster.

 

I do want to thank you for all who hung in there, aware in generalities of what was going on and sitting patiently through it all. I very much want to hear from you. Were you overloaded with spam or worse, had control of your site taken away from you? Please let us know how you handled the situation.  And thanks again for being my loyal subscribers. After this next post, I have the Monster Book Marketing Post coming soon after the Webmaster post!

 

The Writer’s Read

The Writer's ReadI hope this finds you well and writing to your heart’s content.

 

Per the usual round-up, I have compiled a list of great reads that I have come across regarding writing, publishing, your platform, writer schedules, advice to writers and marketing information. Please let me know if you would like additional information for your writer’s read. 

 

I came across a blog on twitter that I wasn’t familiar with but, it turned out, had a very well-thought-out article on Amazon’s move to cut and cap the rates of audiobooks for its ACX platform for indie authors. This is fully worked over in the article and equates the expense of production and the rate of return nearing traditional publishing rates. Have a read here.

 

Are you an indie author who likes to make people laugh? As I have mentioned before, (see microcerpt) there has never been a time in history where author and reader can communicate at such crucial points in the writing, publishing and promotion process. This is further borne out with the newest website connecting authors and readers. It’s called Riot Press and is worth a look and the article on GalleyCat is a nice write-up of the site. Check it out here. 

Did you know GalleyCat runs educational programs for freelancers? You can even try your luck at getting a discount to this program. This is limited offering, both in time and in ‘seating”. Additionally, I would highly recommend Carol Tice’s Freelance Writers’ Den. She is such a powerhouse and will guide you through the learning process of this exciting new career and help you avoid the pitfalls that scare us all. Head over to Freelance Writer’s Den now to sign up for an opening.

 

 

Clive Eaton always has great marketing tips for authors. His article can show you how humor can capture attention. If you are feeling overwhelmed at this point, this is a good article to read.   

 

Including your readers (and future readers) in your “behind the scenes” research is a great way to-get steadfast fans. One of the best examples of this is author Keith Thomson’s website which not only links to his novels, but to research for each of his works. It’s a great way to leave them wanting more (ie:your book!).   

 

The National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) announce a discount on their JPass membership. Head to that link if you would like access to all journals in your research. This applies to freelancers, fiction and nonfiction writers.   

 

In line with the last item, if you are in the midst of sussing out information on the computer for instance who really wrote that piece that does not have the “voice” of the author listed, than you might be interested in reading this piece in the Smithsonian.

 

As part of the self-publishing series, though it is quickly becoming mainstream, there is a post on changing book covers if you decide to ditch the first cover. You can find the link here. The author is no less than Joanna Penn. If you are a self-published author or are considering it, she is a must follow. Her website is called The Creative Penn.

 

 

And for those who are looking to find where their readers hang out, try wattpad. No, it’s not new, but there is a new “try it out for free” marketing tool that you will, I believe, start seeing more and more. This has been a possibility with Amazon in the read a section option, but this marketing campaign is catching the eyes of readers and other important people within the publishing world. And this is really what we all want, whatever our goals in the publication “brave new world”. The only thing we have to fear is, obscurity. Get your name out there with wattpad. See this campaign for The Nememiah Chronicles by D.S. Williams.

 

There is a petition going around to stop bullying of authors on Amazon. It’s more intriguing than at first glance. Read up on it here.

 

This fills all of the loops in marketing and is one of the most brilliant tweets I have seen. He will drive attention to his book by the sheer number of eyeballs drawn to the offer, he will add to his email list one way or the other  He is marketing his book, increasing the views on his tweets with the offer (“Free” is one of those words that grab attention. See: GoinsWriter, Michael Hyatt and the king of grabbing attention, Jon Morrow. He literally wrote the book on writing great headlines.)

 

 

Russell Smith asks if we need Writers’ Unions in this day of “DIY” publishing. See what he has to say about it here.

 

After the big hoopla over Wool series author, Hugh Howey’s disclosure of earnings, are you studying everything that Hugh is doing? Tracking every move that J.A. Konrath makes? Well, here is an article that can help you without cyberstalking.

 

Are you wondering about all of the discussion about blogging? This is what I call the “to blog or not to blog” question? (That sound you heard was The Bard rolling over in his grave.) There is a great article on Write to Done by Kimberley Grabas about this very issue. You should also look at all of her posts at Your Writer Platform. She does a stellar job helping us writers write.

 There are fewer newsletters coming since I have tied myself to a strict writing schedule. I am also reviewing a number of books, so please excuse the lack of information. I do have quite a few drafts that I’m adding to so those will come out as the writing schdule allows. Do know that if you “mouse” over the grey outlines in the upper right corner of the page they will become hyperlinks for social media. Feel free to follow me on your favorite. You can also write to me using the contact form. 

I also want to thank all of the kind people who have sent me messages. These are the times that “try men’s’ souls” but “what won’t kill us can only make us stronger”. Platitudes, and yes, cliches, but there is a reason we fall back on them in real life; but never in our writing. ;p My warmest wishes as your write and create to your “heart’s content”.