stress
Blogging,  self publishing,  That's Life,  THOUGHTS

#Scrivener, #Audits, #Revisions and #Publishing

I can hardly believe it’s the first real day of summer today. I ask myself where March, April and May disappeared. It seems the days pass so quickly when so many things are going on, and when we come up for air, we try to account for all the days that have gone by.

stressed

 

This past week in particular has been absolutely hectic. I have been working on my latest book off and on due to unforeseen circumstances that seem to have been circling me since I returned from my winter vacation. Throughout these busy months I was caught up in the worry of my dear aunt who passed a few weeks ago while trying to get back to my latest book and working on revisions intermittently.

When I finally put my head to the grindstone and got into third round revisions, I discovered that I was not happy with this book and sent it to an editor friend with a great pair of eyes for a beta read. Sometimes, it’s very hard for writers to find what they feel isn’t right when they’re constantly going over their own work. My friend gave me a lot of positive feedback, helping me figure out what needs to be moved and changed etc., but then it dawned on me. Bingo! My book wasn’t one book, but two. I thought I could meld past and present ideas together but it wasn’t sitting right with me. So, I’ve decided to separate it into two short novellas, which of course entails more writing and revising, thus this book will not be ready for edits until later in the summer.

This realization sent me scurrying through my Word files trying to pick out what should be moved, deleted, etc. But it became a daunting procedure. This is when I reminded myself of how badly I NEED TO LEARN SCRIVENER.

I promised myself after my last book that I would master the beast. But after watching a few tutorials, reading many publications, and reading ‘Scrivener for Dummies’, I couldn’t wrap my ahead around it fast enough, and found that I need to dedicate a few solid days to learning it. The program sits inside my computer, I have tried to fiddle with it, but I felt it was eating my precious time while so much was piling up that I’d just continue to use my prehistoric method of sorting chapters until I could dedicate the time.

good monring stress

 

So after much frustration, I printed out the manuscript draft and begin separating the chapters, sprawled out on my floor. And that is where they are currently residing, for the past four days. Why you may ask? Because once again, life has interrupted my flow of thought by Revenue Canada coming down on me for an audit. As if I needed something else to do!

As many of you know I moved at the beginning of the year, which left my income tax files buried in boxes at the back of a storage locker. I had to find the boxes and files and start digging for all receipts and files for not only 2014, but 2013 also. Fun wow! Not!

I lamented to my accountant, “Why on earth do these people pick on me, a tiny author, working her butt off trying to make a living with her costs to publish and advertise, far outweighing the income. And he answered, ‘Precisely, because they go after the small guys claiming write-offs and they want proof that they are not being scammed.”

So I once again dropped the book writing and revisions and spent the better part of this week searching, sorting, and photocopying receipts for the accountant to help me get this situation rectified and out of my hair. My dining room floor is carpeted with income tax files, and my living room floor is blanketed with book chapters. Thank goodness my place is ‘L’ shaped so we can walk through the kitchen to get to the bedroom. I ain’t moving that stuff until I can deal with it all. So needless to say my social interaction and blog reading has suffered once again. It seems when I finally catch up, something else lands on my lap. Oh, and I will add that for the fourth time in one year, MY LAPTOP DIED AGAIN. Surely I am being tested!

Here are a few tips you can all take from this:

1. If you’re writing a book, make it a point to learn scrivener (something I will be doing before this year ends!)

2. Make sure you keep all your receipts and files pertaining to income tax intact and accessible because you never know when Rev Canada or the IRS will call your name.

3. And never put off for tomorrow, what you can do today because you never know what else is coming.

I’ve recently been reading from a few author friends that they have been taking technological vacations, ie: time-out, or vacations sans laptops. I envy the way they can just ‘say no’ and take a breather without worrying about how much more they will have to catch up on when they return. I am going on a MUCH NEEDED vacation in two weeks and have been threatening myself that I will also go away without my laptop. The thought terrifies me, yet sounds so inviting. In fact my friend Sue Dreamwalker has dared me to do it, and I’m thinking I just might!

If any of you have discovered an orderly way to play catch up after taking a techno break, I’d be more than happy to hear your suggestions.

 

 

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D.G. Kaye is a nonfiction/memoir writer, who writes from her own life experiences and self-medicates with a daily dose of humor.

45 Comments

  • lynettedavis

    You and me both need to learn Scrivener. I’m afraid that learning something new will take up too much of my already limited time. I’m definitely going to learn it before I write the next book.

    • dgkaye

      Ha Lynette! You sound like me. Well I hope we both can find a few days later in the year to dedicate to this what seems like a confusing set up, but will pay huge savings time once we’ve mastered. 🙂

  • marianbeaman

    First of all, grab that vacation and leave your laptop at home. (One day I will double-dare you on this!)

    “Scrivener” and “tax audit” got my attention. I bought Scrivener when it was on sale from Joseph Michael (or is he Michael Joseph?) and I have gotten as far as printing out the pages of the manual. Scrivener is still sitting there as an app on my hard-drive with empty files.

    Tax audit? Yes, we were the beneficiary of one in 2011 just as we were about to take off for Ukraine where Cliff, artist/performer, was to do 19 shows in churches and schools pro bono. The stance of the IRS here in the States as in Canada is that you are guilty of ___?___ until proven innocent. It was not a good sign when the auditor said in spite of evidence to the contrary: “We have to treat you as though you are a drug dealer and perhaps hiding funds!” I ask you, “What funds? Where are the drugs? Ugh!

    You are a strong woman, but take that much-needed vacation. Without your laptop too! 😉

    • dgkaye

      Wow Marian, so you too were a victim :(. You know all too well what a pain in the neck this is, as if we don’t have enough on our plates.
      It’s funny to hear another fellow writer also struggling with Scrivener, yet so many writers swear by it that it makes life easier. We will have to put on our big girl pants eventually and learn it for our own sakes.
      Oh, and thanks for the double dare. At this current moment, I am leaning towards leaving the darn machine at home! 🙂

  • Cat

    I’m not writing a book, but couldn’t resist having a look via the 30 day free trial… groan, a 2 hr tutorial… quickly uninstalled. I hope you have a good break.

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Cat. And yet again, another writer dashes away from the learning curve on Scrivener. 🙂 P.S. You certainly have a book to write if you ever felt you wanted to. 🙂

      • Cat

        A simpler version would be just as effective, there seems too many options that many probably wouldn’t even look at. Thanks for the compliment, but I seriously don’t feel I’m good enough. I left school barely able to write and only began teaching myself in recent years. Some people learn to play the piano by ear and this is similar to how I approached writing, but I’m chuffed to bits you interacted with some of my posts

        • dgkaye

          Agreed! Simpler would be appreciated. As for writing, don’t think you are so different from many writer’s backgrounds Cat. Your posts are wonderfully written, and you have much to offer to those who’ve walked in your shoes. A voice and experience is a great writing aid. You write, people listen, and that’s why we have editors to help in our delivery. 🙂

  • Kev

    The frustrations of being a writer, hey, Debbie? … I downloaded Storymill, costs half as much as Scrivener and does the same job, from what I gather. I’m going to be using it for my next to see how it goes.. I thought rather than jump straight into Scrivener I’d give this a go. So far, not sure if this kind of program is for me or not. But, I do understand your frustrations… very well. The amount of times I’ve moved chapters around and taken things from one part… put in another or even from one chapter and decided it would got better elsewhere.

    I feel you pain!

  • Smorgasbord - Variety is the Spice of Life.

    Hi Debby – having just been away for a week without Internet I found that telling people I was out of the office did keep the number of emails down. Obviously it is important not to advertise to strangers that you are not going to be at home but you can use another reason for your absence. The break is worthwhile as I came back much clearer in mind and direction.. physically and mentally we do need a break from time to time. Hugs

    • dgkaye

      Hi Sally. Lovely to have you back. Agreed, we do so need a break, especially the fact that we work from home and our work is too accessible and never ending. There is much truth to the slogan “A writer can never retire.” And yes, you’ve hit the nail on the head, I used to be concerned about telling the world wide net I’m away, for security reasons. I feel a bit more secure with that now that I’ve moved into a high rise condo armed with security, living near the top, lol. I felt a lot more vulnerable in an urban house. Thanks for your tips. Actually, my many emails are mostly writing related since I subscribe to many publications and having 4 email addresses, so many of them I can’t limit unless I unsubscribe or choose not to follow up on many platforms. Like the blogs I subscribe to are plentiful and I try my best to read them all because I like to stay on top of things. Naturally when my time is limited I will have to miss a few when I’m playing catch up. But one of the great things about the circles I travel in with certain groups of writers is that if I miss a blog here or there, I tend to come across it a week or so later as a reblog from another blogger’s page, or on google or facebook which comes in handy. Regardless, you are correct, we all need a break, and I am certainly looking forward to my upcoming trip! 🙂 xo

  • Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

    I have heard in several author groups on Facebook that Scrivener is the bomb (do people still say that?). Maybe some Scrivener fanatics can explain why. A million years ago (in techie terms) I learned Word and it hasn’t required much from me since. It certainly didn’t take two hours to learn, but even if it did, that two hours has been spread over emails and memos and books and work reports for a few decades – can Scrivener do that?

    Anyone?

    Bueler?

    I hear it makes plot holes easier to fix and helps you to be more organized. We writers are an unorganized bunch, I’ll rant you that, so maybe that’s helpful to some. Maybe. But I’m pretty organized as it is, so I’m not convinced, and as long as Word works for publishing my books and is basically part of the Office package with excel and Notepad, etc, WHO NEEDS SCRIVENER?

    If you’re a Scrivener fan, tell me why. I’m open. I’m just lazy.

    • dgkaye

      Lol Dan, you crack me up! I used to say the same things as you just said. Word helps me publish my books, I’m organized, etc., but my organizational methods sometimes are a bit prehistoric. For example, when having to organize my chapters once in Word, it involves a lot of scrolling, cutting and pasting, and searching through chapters that way. This is where Scrivener can help, by organizing each chapter in the binder, we are able to pull out any or all chapters and organize them on a corkboard, right in front of our faces to see what belongs where. My newest book is currently resting on my dining room floor in scattered chapters for me to visually pick up and move around to fix the flow and see what needs adding. That’s what I wish I knew how to operate Scrivener for. Other than that I don’t think I’d like to abandon using Word. But I’m with you, hoping that somebody is going to post something here fantastical to induce me to leap back into another try at it! 🙂

  • Lorna's Voice

    I feel for you, Debby. Sounds as if you’ve had a rough go of it.

    Two observations…

    First, no matter how bad it seems, know that whatever is happening will change. When it does, you can look back on it and realize that you have fodder for another book! For now, just breathe and set aside a bit of time to step away from the chaos. By doing that you know that you will gain much-need perspective. You will see exactly how things could be so much much worse–and that will make you feel better!

    Second. When you take a tech vacation, you are on a much-needed break. There is no need to catch up when you return. Think about it. The world got along just fine while you were “off line.” So returning is really a matter of jumping back in rather than catching up. Delete all those blog posts in you inbox. Only respond to emails that absolutely essential (life or death). Delete the rest. Start fresh with a renewed energy and wow them like never before. They won’t know what hit them! 🙂

  • Deborah Jay

    Oh boy, does your house sound like mine!
    Writing notes on the WIP scattered everywhere, and tax books and receipts everywhere the writing notes aren’t.
    The parallels strike again 😉
    Regarding Scrivener – I use it to a limited extent, because I find the corkboard really useful for assembling chapters into a coherent order. I just wish it would then let me convert back to Word documents, instead of which I just use the corkboard, get the thing arranged, then put the chapters in order back in Word. Odd way of doing it I guess, but right now, that works for me. I did invest in Joseph Michael’s ‘Learn Scrivener Fast’ course, and I can watch any module I want, any time, so ideal to just pick out the bit I want immediately, without having to invest time in learning the whole thing first.
    And tech-time-out. I fretted about going to NZ for a month’s holiday (year before last, now) with very limited access time (hotels out there rarely offer free Wi-Fi, and some don’t have it at all), but it was fine. As per Lorna’s advice – when you get back, just delete anything that isn’t life/death or taxes, and pick up with a fresh slate.
    Enjoy 😀

    • dgkaye

      Hi Deb, thanks so much for sharing your always helpful info. Regarding Scrivener, what you do with it is exactly all I really want from it, to sort out chapters on the corkboard. Thanks for mentioning Joseph Michael’s course. I had signed up for the webinar and didn’t make it there, and I received the transcript from it, which I still haven’t even had time to open.
      When I get my act together and a bit of breathing time, I do intend to learn how to manage the binders and the corkboard for organizational purposes. Thanks for reiterating what Lorna said. I’m going to do it. In fact, I’ve got a post in draft regarding my decision.
      PS, let me know when you publish Cassie’s short so I can post the review. 🙂 Thanks again. <3

  • Sue Dreamwalker

    🙂 I have had to look up the link of Scrivener Deb that’s how switched on I am to these things LOL.. And as for the Inland Revenue.. You are just not putting the correct vibes out there LOL.. 😉 😉
    I knew I had some tax owing after my retirement, as I knew I had been on emergency tax for a couple of months due to employers errors..
    So I rang the Tax office up.. After being on hold for about an hour.. It was all finally sorted and I have had a lovely Refund.. 🙂 Great surprise as it was more than I thought. 🙂 LOL

    And ” He Who Dares Wins ”
    Lol
    Hugs Sue xxx

    • dgkaye

      Lol Sue, I didn’t think I was putting any wasted energy or vibes towards the good old government! I suppose my vibe resonated with them :). I’m glad you got a refund and cleared up your mess.
      I’m not worried about doing anything wrong. My accountant assured me that all is in order; that they just pick out the people randomly who are sending in write offs with less income than being claimed. I guess they don’t understand that publishing costs a lot more than what we make in our early years. The real pain is the work involved to dig out everything required for proof. Very taxing (pun intended) and time consuming.
      I’m becoming very daring! LOL 🙂 <3

      • Sue Dreamwalker

        haha… it comes with our ‘years’ of experience.. Being Daring LOL.. And Yes I so understand this about the tax office.. My hubby was self employed, and in his first year was hauled before a pannel to prove his income. They had the figures, so did he.. What they had failed to take into account was that I was the one working Full Time and he was only Part time working around my children’s school day ….. When they added both figures they tallied LOL.. 🙂 so I so understand how ‘taxing’ LOL they can be.. xxx 😀

  • Diane Tibert

    Go on vacation without the laptop. There will be lots of time to catch up, but not loads of time to enjoy the simple things in life.

    As for Scrivener, I tried to learn it. After two weeks, I discovered my brain doesn’t work the same way as the program. It’s too unorganised and complicated for me. I dumped it and never looked back. Word is so much easier.

    And as for shuffling around chapters in Word: easy as pie (which isn’t easy to make at all). All you have to do is apply a header style to the chapter heading (ie: Chapter One). Then you reveal the headings in the left margin by using the find button (top right). You can click and hold on the header in the margin and drag it to where you want it to appear amongst the other headers. If you need help with this, let me know. I’ll write a blog post about it. In seconds, you can shuffle around chapters, sub-sections (if you apply a sub header) and another level (if you apply a sub-sub header), rearranging your book to how you want it.

    • dgkaye

      Oh thanks so much Diane! It’s so strange. For all I hear about authors who love Scrivener, many of the comments I’m getting here are like yours; we can’t seem to work with it.
      Thanks so much for offering up these Word tips. At the moment, its confusing, but I sure would look forward to your always informative post on it. >3

  • jorobinson176

    I downloaded the free Scrivener trial and it nearly blew the top of my head off so I gave up fairly quickly on that on. I use AllMyNotes which isn’t especially for writers, but it’s simple enough for my old head to get around. Have a fabulous vacation. 🙂

    • dgkaye

      Thanks Jo for your input and well wishes. So once again, another writer who can’t seem to deal with Scrivener. It’s been amazing to learn how many replies here feel the same way. Good to know I’m not alone. 🙂

  • Let's CUT the Crap!

    I’m taking the summer off. No messing around on social media or internet unless I need to do research. It’s scary but I promised myself I’m going to do it because I’m burning out. I need to r.e.a.d, to fill up again, to veg, to play with the kitties, to walk more without watching the clock, to take the grand kids out while they’re off for summer.

    Okay, I’ll stop whining now.

    I can’t imagine ‘catching up’. Who can do that?? Getting behind on ONE day and I can’t catch up, let alone during vacation or the summer off. o_O

    • dgkaye

      Wow Tess! Good for you. I’m envious. And here I am worried about taking a week? I wish I could take off the summer but I have a list of to finish off’s this year; mainly my next book and straightening out my media kit and a few interviews, some webinars I missed on file, and life. Oh how I wish I could read the 40 books I’m looking at in paperback that I have ordered in the last 6 months, never mind the 300 I have on my kindle. Next year I may try your plan when I go off to Arizona in the winter for a few months. Then get back and finish working on my sequel to my first book. 🙂

      • Let's CUT the Crap!

        I’m pushing away from blogging and social media, not from working. I have incomplete projects that have been driving me crazy because I haven’t enough time in a day. I’ll be working and plan to do some serious reading. I need to r.e.a.d. I bring books home every week from the charity bookstore I volunteer at and certainly can’t keep up reading them from week to week either. :'(

        • dgkaye

          I hear you. Keeping up with writing our blogs and reading the ones we enjoy is a job in itself sometimes, time-wise. We all have to decide when it’s time to re-arrange things to make room for things getting left out. Including our own time-outs. 🙂

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