Tips, tricks and information to help you get the most out of your equipment, take the headache out of technology.

Track Changes for Fast Editing


     To improve your editing read this article posted for me by the nice folks at


Didn't Get What You Wanted?



Now that the big day has passed, all the gifts have been opened, nog slurped, you look around are realize one or more of the items you really wanted were not among your haul.  Here’s the chance to change that and be your own secret Santa. Everything is very affordable, or free.

Internet Blocking Software:


A Chrome plug-in that allows you block the social media features on websites, such as comments as well as Facebook, Twitter and other icons. The idea is to increase productivity by removing social distractions. Works for most sites.

Browsers: Chrome

Price: Free


A Chrome extension that lets you block those distracting websites that keep you from making progress with your work. You can choose which sites to block, whether to block them partially or completely, when you want the blocking to start and how long you want it to last.

Browser: Chrome

Price: Free


A Mozilla add-on that lets you choose when and which sites to block in order to eliminate distractions and maximize your productivity. It allows you to block as many as six sets of sites and to set specific times and time limits as well as passwords.

Browser: Mozilla Firefox

Price: Free – $5.00 suggested contribution

Proof Reading:


Is an open-source proofreading tool for over twenty languages. Checks for spelling and some grammatical errors.

Downloadable for LibreOffice, OpenOffice, or for your desktop/laptop. Browsers: Firefox, Chrome

Price: Free


This plagiarism tool with different levels of verification. The free version lets you compare content from different articles or web pages. The premium version allows you to review your content prior to publishing. Copysentry alerts you on a weekly (Standard) or daily (Professional) basis if your content has been plagiarized, and it also finds the source.


Price: Basic – Free, Premium $.05 per search, Copysentry (Standard) $4.95+, Copysentry (Professional) $19.95+

Help with Words:


A customizable, downloadable dictionary and thesaurus as well as a word and term finder. Providing you with a list of references and sites where you can locate the word you’re looking for.

OS: Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, iPad

Price: WordWeb is evidently on a mission to reduce global carbon emissions. It’s free as long as you do not take more than two round-trip flights per year. Otherwise, you have to subscribe to WordWeb Pro after your 30-day trial period. Single-user prices range from $19 to $105 depending on the package you buy.

Providing definitions from a variety of business subjects. Potentially useful not only for writers in these fields but also for fiction authors and screenwriters who need to understand their subject matter.


Price: Free


The Ridiculous Business Jargon Dictionary

This pokes fun at some expressions currently in use in the corporate world and clues the rest of us into their meaning so that we’re not so, well, acluistic.


Price: Free


Stumped for a rhyme? Plug in a word and it provides you with a list of rhyming options. Gives links to Shakespeare’s plays, poems and other writings, an online forum, and several dictionaries and research tools such as Wikipedia.

Web-based; Android, iPhone, iPad

Price: Free


Diagrams are created around a word using different types of colored lines to connect it to related words and phrases. The legend to the left of the screen explains the meaning of the different kinds of lines.


Price: Free



PIM stands for “personal information manager,” an organizational tool that allows you to manage your notes, appointments, contacts, tasks, mail and passwords. Syncs with MS Outlook and can be used across different devices.

OS: Windows, iOS, Android

Price: Basic – Free; Pro – Various Prices


The most flexible and visually appealing of the online tomato timers, allows you to choose from among three timer possibilities: the classic pomodoro technique, a simple kitchen timer that lets you determine your own length of time, and a custom timer that allows you to name and set your times for different goals and workflows.


Price: Free


Lets you track your time both on-and offline, organized by clients and projects, integrate with other business tools, share and color-code your reports, set different billable rates for different hours. According to Toggl, better time management equals better planning, increased profits and improved client relations.

OS: Online, Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, iPhone, Android

Price: Basic – Free; Pro $9 per user/month (annual billing) or $10/month (monthly billing); Business $49 per user/month (annual billing) or $59/month (monthly billing)

Time Edition

Allows you can see detailed documentation of your working hours. Be it for a billing of a client, or tracking the efficiency of a project. The perfect tool to track your work time and your colleagues work time. You can track the work outlay of your project and give your clients a detailed bill.

OS: Android, iOS, Mac

Price: Free



Your digital coach for those moments when you’re feeling clueless, uncertain or just plain negative. Not strictly a writer’s tool, it will help you solve all sorts of situations. Whatever your issue, Unstuck can help you move past your stuckness and get creative.

OS: Web-based; Android, iOS 7 or later

Price: Free

Self Esteem:

Self Esteem Booster! contents are of high quality and will help you improve your self esteem by making you aware of who you really are, is greater than what you can imagine. It is a self improvement app for anyone who needs it.

OS: Android

Price: Free

Rise self-esteem

It's a wonderful educational app containing an unprecedented method to help develop self esteem. Simple to learn and easy to apply. Its very useful app to achieve good results by regular practice.

OS: Apple iOS

Price: Free



Plays the sound of a singing bowl to mark each continuous hour of computer use. It also displays the time since your last break. Taking a five minute break every hour is good for your health.

OS: Mac, Windows

Price: Free


Gift Ideas 2016


Gift Ideas for Writers

    Yep its that time of year again. Getting a useful gift for a writer, can be a challenge. I put together some suggestions to help make your decision easier. I make no apologies that its heavy on the tech.  :)

Non-tech ideas:

Action figures:

Even writers need a hero.  $9.95

Pen Sleeve: 

They look really cool for those of us who still use pen and paper. $49.00

Fountain pen:

Here’s something to put in the pen sleeve. $13.05

Writers Block Soap:Image

Brings humor to the darkness every writer has faced. $10.00

Writer’s block journal:Image

Help your writer face it head on and laughing.  $13.94

Writer’s block, block:Image

Take your frustrations out with this, or use it as a paper weight. $15.00

Twiddle Fiddle toy:Image

Something to fiddle with while pondering the muse.  $9.99

Coffee mug:Image

‘Nough said.  $14.25

Inspiration dice set: Image

Provides ideas when they're stuck with their story. Just throw the dice and reveal what inspiration Lady Luck brings.  $12.00

Lighted Notepad:Image

For capturing the best idea ever when they wake in the middle of the night. $9.95

Lighted pen: Image

Another useful middle of the night tool. Could also be handy while at a movie, star gazing, or looking for UFOs.   $19.95

Coffee Card:

A lot of people like to write in coffee houses/shops. 

Coloring book: 

The adult coloring trend isn’t going away anytime soon. It has been proven to reduce anxiety and create focus. The Coloring Book for Writers: An Inspirational Brainstorming Tool.  $8.95

The Writer’s Toolbox:

Nerdy writerly fun! Includes a booklet and exercise sticks. $21.00

Homemade comfort foods; casseroles, soups, breads, and baked goods:

Know a writer on a deadline? If you can cook, this is the perfect gift. If you can’t cook, consider your favorite restaurant for take-out. 


A hand-written letter:

Authors don’t receive as much support and encouragement as they should. Consider taking the time to snail-mail your writer a note and tell them how proud you are of their efforts.

A place to write:

This could be as simple as a gift certificate to a favorite coffee shop. Or, consider setting up household boundaries and rules for a designated space for your writer, no interruptions. Maybe renting a studio or an unused cottage/cabin, converting a shed, financing a residency, or helping put together a grant proposal to secure funding for such a space.


A foolproof gift idea: Take yourself and the kiddies away for a long weekend, leaving the writer alone. Leave early Friday morning; do not come back until late Sunday night.  Even if all you can do is an an afternoon, your writer will thank you.

Bullet journal: 

Help your writer get organized.

And finally if you MUST give that tired old moleskin notebook - give this one. Paper notebook, fill it up and send it off to be digitized - BRILLIANT!!!!  $25.00


Standing Desk: Image

Experts say sitting is the new smoking. $395.00

Cup holder for standing desk:Image

These would be great clipped to the side of that standing desk. $9.98

Natural light lampImage

Help them take care of their eyes while they work, and you'll enable them to work longer and be more comfortable.$39.00

Facilitate Exercise:

Inertia can keep writers in their chairs until the end of the century. Consider purchasing them a  gym membership or a pass to a yoga studio or dance class.  Give them an excuse to leave the house and improve their health.

Exercise while writing: 

Multi-task and stay healthy, I have fantasized about this kind of things for years.  $119.00


Everyone knows you must have caffeine and snacks to fuel your  writing. Try something healthy that will power your brain, a subscription to Nature Box is the answer. $25.00


A domain name: 

A domain name ( and website is necessary for getting a writer's message to potential readers. A website must be hosted (where the actual files are kept). A host and a  domain name require annual fees. Together, they should cost less than $50 a year.  Need assistance setting this up? 

Website Design:

Hire a website designer for your writer and help launch their career.  

Technology Support:

Gift certificates are always make a great stocking stuffer.

Portable external hard drive:

Its not ‘if’ a hard drive will fail, its ‘when.’ Backup, backup, backup!!!! $54.99

Lazer keyboard: Image

Too cool for school! I put this on the list last year, its so awesome, I’m bringing it back! $30 ~ $199

Bluetooth folding keyboard: Image

How cool would it be to have this along to use with their iPad or Smartphone?  $60

Noise cancelling headphones:Image

Block out distractions while they work and safe their sanity.  $44


A digital writer’s notebook and writer's improvement program which allows writers to keep everything about/for their project in one place: their story, research, sound, images, web pages, notes, every revision, and edit. $19 - $49


 Less like a mind-mapping software and more like a free form text editor, Scrapple offers a way to visualize characters' relationships, how they relate to plot, and even doodle.  I drag in images of my characters, make notes, and add text.  $14.99

Write or Die: 

Write or Die turns the act of writing into a game, complete with leaderboards, different levels of intensity, and a feature that erases their work after just a few seconds of inactivity. Good for those who want to achieve a minimum word count within a given period of time. $20



Mind mapping is a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that literally "maps out" your ideas.  $379

Cold Turkey: 

Helps you improve your productivity by blocking websites, preventing you from becoming distracted and forcing you to concentrate on your work. The more advanced version also lets you block applications, time your breaks, create exceptions, and more. $25

Wooden laptop desk: Image

A platform under a laptop can allow for correct support for wrists, elbows, shoulders, and neck. Also provides a place for phone charging.

Adjustable laptop bed table: Image

Give them permission to stay in bed and write.  $25.00


A personal information manager, PIM, is an organizational tool for managing personal information such as notes, appointments, contacts, tasks, mail, and passwords. Syncs with MS Outlook and can be used across different devices. $33.95


Made for teams, this program tracks time, both on- and offline, organize it by clients and projects, integrate with other business tools, share and color-code reports, and set differing billable rates. According to Toggl, better time management equals better planning, increased profits and improved client relations.  $10-$59


Not strictly a writers' tool, it's a digital coach for solving all sorts of difficulties. Whatever the  issue, Unstuck can help you move forward and get creative.   $49.99

Audible subscription:

A great way to listen to books while exercising or on a long commute. $7.49 


Its hard when you are involved in such a solitary endeavor, not to let your  worries and insecurities get you down. Here are a couple of apps that will help you boost your self-esteem.  $49.95

The Best Gift:

The best gift you can get for your favorite writer is to buy their books, leave them reviews, share their author pages, talk about their work, and spread the word.

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