Jul 242010
 

Word 4 WritersThe past few months I’ve been flat out getting Word 4 Writers ready for re-launch and updated to Word version 2010. I’m really pleased that it is all coming together again. Ironically, it was Word itself that almost made me give up on Word 4 Writers.

Word does not do graphics well. Including more than a few graphics blows the file size out to huge proportions. On top of that, screenshots are memory-hungry files too. So back in 2005 when I wrote the first Word 4 Writers E-Guide I had to shut down every non-essential program on my computer in order to work on my mammoth 200MB document. Opening this document took ten minutes while each page loaded and touching anything while it was doing so would result in the blue screen of death. I think I only just managed to print the final document to .pdf in time before Word decided that file had erred fatally and deserved termination. All my attempts to update Word 4 Writers since have been suffocated by frustration.

Until the teaching bug bit again this year when I bought a much-needed new laptop. My old one’s equals and delete keys died: the loss of the first is a nightmare when you need to write html, the second when you want to write anything at all. And I started feeling my way around Word 2007. I learn something and I turn around and teach it; that was the first “ping”.

The second “ping” was opening the old .pdf file of Word 4 Writers (I still can’t open the .doc file) and finally seeing the bigger picture. This was Word for Writers, not Word for business. I have to admit that the first Word 4 Writers was still ingrained in the mindset of business letters and annual reports. After all, I’d been using Word for just that up until a few months before I sat down to create a course for writers. So, now, I grabbed a good dose of mental thunder and lightning and reorganised the material around exactly what it is that writers do when they click that Word icon. Or should be doing.

The third “ping” occurred while I was surfing the Internet and put a couple of ideas together that I’d found, most notably on CopyBlogger, one of my current favourite resources (thanks Sonia 😉 ). If I offered Word 4 Writers as a course delivered weekly I could start teaching as soon as the first few modules are ready. One of my biggest problems is motivation, and my best motivation comes from someone else relying on me for something. So now I have my charter students and the motivation to deliver one bite-size module per week. And I really can do this.

This post has gone on rather longer than I’d planned and the point of it was supposed to be to list the current Word and Computer-related articles on HearWriteNow:

Keyboard Shortcuts

How to Create Your Own Bookplates

Word Processing Shortcuts for Character Names

Editing with Track Changes and Comments

Shorten Your Synopsis Using Word

Viewing Your Notes and Manuscript Together

Removing Unwanted Formatting From Your Manuscript

Do You Need Writing Software?

I’d love to hear what else you need to know about Word. I want to create a library of tips, so fire away with your questions.

This is the final week that Charter Membership of Word 4 Writers is open. The price per month will go up on the 1st August.

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Elle Carter Neal

Elle Carter Neal is the author of the picture book I Own All the Blue and the teen science-fantasy novel Madison Lane and the Wand of Rasputin. She has been telling stories for as long as she can remember, holding childhood slumber-party audiences entranced until the early hours of the morning. Elle decided to be an author the day she discovered that real people wrote books and that writing books was a real job. Join Elle on her new publishing adventure.

  4 Responses to “Does Compute… Sometimes”

Comments (4)
  1. You are a legend. That’s all I have to say. Thank you for all your Word related articles. They are invaluable!

  2. Aw thanks Selma 🙂 I’m glad you find them helpful.

  3. Maybe you’ve covered this somewhere else… would there be a way to be in your document, say your manuscript, and quickly (one click) pull up something like your character charts and auto add notes, like hair color if you change it, or a particular quirk, etc.

    (Well, that question was certainly vague and convoluted.)

  4. This is a great question Helen and there are a number of possible solutions. Three easy ways to set this up would be:

    1. Always open both your notes and manuscript documents every time you write and either toggle between them or use Compare Side by Side to show both documents at once (a wide screen computer is great for this). Here is the article that discusses this feature: http://hearwritenow.com/articles/computing/viewing-documents-side-by-side/

    Or

    2. Use one document for everything – your notes AND your manuscript – and use your Document Map or Outline View to navigate it.

    Or

    3. Add a hyperlink in your manuscript directing to your notes file.

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