7 ways to manage technical support for writers

Project 365 #282: 091013 Give Us A Clue Mate!Most writers use a computer of some sort these days, and the thing about computers is that they go wrong. It’s not an ‘if’, but a ‘when’. In my experience, it happens when you have a deadline for the same day or when you were just about to dash out of the door to start your holiday. Unless you’re working for a company or some sort of co-operative, chances are you are your own technician. So what can you do to minimise the pain?
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5 Ways to further your writing project when you can’t work on it directly

I am a writer.There can be several reasons why it is not possible to work on your book, blog or other writing project. Maybe you’ve saved it in the cloud, and don’t have an internet connection. Perhaps you didn’t think you would have the time to write, so didn’t take your laptop with you. Or maybe you’re waiting outside the school gates. Whatever the reason, you can usually still do something. Here are the strategies that I’ve found work for me.
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Antivirus Blues

Sign(6u7g)One of the things I’ve learnt over the years is that if my antivirus program tells me there is a new version that I need to install, I always create a system restore point (I’m using a PC). Why? Because on almost every occasion something doesn’t work afterwards.
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Backing up your Blogger blog

Blogger Backup 4What can be worse than losing your beautifully-crafted prose that you’ve published as blog posts? In this short series I’m looking at how you you can try to guard against the inconceivable happening. Today, I’m looking at Blogger. If you have a blog using the Blogger platform, then here’s how to back it up.
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Backing up your website or blog

The word “paranoid” is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as

“exhibiting unnecessary or extreme fear; characterized by unreasonable or excessive suspicion of others.”

Well, you know the old joke: Just because you're paranoid i doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you!

In a similar sort of way, I don’t think there is anything “unreasonable” in being paranoid about losing the content on your website.

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What acting taught me about public speaking

speaker with a lot of microphonesMany moons ago I took up amateur dramatics for a while. That may seem a bit odd for someone who likes to keep himself to himself, but someone invited me to see a play he was in, and I thought it looked like fun.

I have to say that the thought of going on stage was a terrifying experience. Note that I said the thought of it, not the experience itself. I’ll try to explain.

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Further thoughts on using Word for Desktop Publishing: Text Boxes

Back in April 2014 I penned a few lines on using Word as a desktop publishing tool. On the whole it works, but, as I noted then, it does have serious limitations.

I mentioned in that article that it was impossible to use automated cross-referencing between text boxes. Since then I have discovered something even worse.

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Ideas for making your blog work for you

Young girl in morning dress, blogging, after Philipp Friedrich von HetschIt can be quite hard coming up with ideas for making your blog work for you. By that I mean help you generate traffic to your blog, help you to establish yourself as the go-to person in your niche, or how to generate income from your blog (whether directly or indirectly). However, I recently came across a blog post that suggests 90 ways to “make your blog rock”. It’s pretty good.
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Is it possible to write better if you write faster?

I’ve been prompted to ask this question because I recently picked up, in a second-hand bookshop, a book called “No plot? No problem!”. The author is Chris Baty, who started the "Write a novel in a month” competition, otherwise known as “Nanowrimo”.

I haven’t read very much of it yet, but from what I have read I’m impressed.

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Bash first, craft later

SDC19335There is a “law”:

Ninety-nine Rule of Project Schedules

The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time, the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.

I never really understood this in the context of “projects” as normally understood. But in the context of a writing project or assignment, it makes perfect sense.

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The best laid plans and all that

I have to say that I am becoming increasingly cynical about writers who give advice on how to write all the time, regardless of circumstances. I am happy with advice like, "Always carry a notebook so you can jot down ideas while waiting at the supermarket checkout", or "Get up an hour before the rest of the family so you can write in peace", but sometimes life just, well, takes over.
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4 reasons to work with pen and paper

ARTICLE OUTLINEErm, look. I don’t quite know how to put this but, well, er, sometimes – gosh this is so embarrassing! Well, the thing is, I know I’m supposed to be some sort of techno-geek but often I find that working on paper is better than working on a computer. For the initial outline anyway. There, I’ve said it. I feel much better now!

There are several reasons why working on – and with – paper is beneficial.

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