Google Docs for writers

Inserting Links the lazy way in Google Docs. Gif from Tech Crunch

I love the Google Docs Office Suite. I rarely use the collaborative tools (that’s changing now thanks to Prose-ACK! and Pulp Toast) but I use Docs often to write my blog posts, edit scripts and write my novels. Last week, I found a very cool feature by accident that made my eyes almost pop their sockets. Today, I learnt of another time-saving feature that made me headdesk. And it is these two features, with Google Docs’ output to epub function, that makes me think that Google Docs might just be ready for epics of more than 50,000 words.

Insert link the lazy way
This is the feature you see in the gif above. Inserting a link is now much more intuitive and easier than ever. All you need to do is highlight, select “Insert Link” or press Ctrl + K, and the tool will immediately suggest links related to your highlight. I knew of the “insert link/research” feature as part of the research tools in Gdocs but did not use it until today (at the point of writing).

TechCrunch has a great article about this! And an old one too. ^^;

Automatic outlines!
I was proofing a fairly long contest Terms and Conditions document when I alt tabbed to another window. In doing so, my computer lagged and took my input keys to mean that I wanted to check my document’s outline. I didn’t, but it was a very cool way to see the content. Of course I had to apply it to my other projects, and it was here I discovered a tiny shortcoming.

Docs can detect outlines if you turn them into headers or bold them to make them stand out, but if you don’t and leave them as it is (aka Chapter 1, instead of Chapter 1), then it won’t detect them as outlines and will leave it as is. Still, fun!

Output to epub!
This was announced a few months ago and is the feature that made me giddy with delight. Epub is the most commonly used ebook format, and I actually used it to read Bloodschild (my current WIP novel) on my phone to get a feel of how it’d read on a mobile. I had to jump through a few hoops to get there (among them installing Calibre and tedious formatting) and so being able to output directly to epub makes my life easier.

Plus this also means I should be able to put Chap Fan on sale as an ebook, and so you can now take economy poetry with you!

Caveat: Now, I mentioned earlier that Docs may finally be ready for epics of more than 50,000 words. The reason I say this is because Docs has had difficulty in my experience, handling documents of over 51,000 words. Sometimes it’s the act of copy pasting from my Q10 to Google Docs it has problems with. Other times it’s me trying to add to the story that does it.

So can Docs handle a 100k word epic? We shall find out soon. And with that, good night (I should stop writing before I sleep, it’s bad for my schedule).

Checking in on Imposter Syndrome

The Gap
The Gap between what you think is true, and what actually is

The thing about imposter syndrome is that you always feel like the shoe is about to drop, that people will soon know you for a fraud. It gets worse if there’s a general warning/reminder addressed to the entire team but I always feel it’s a passive aggressive reminder to me not to screw up.

This, as you can tell, wrecks havoc with my brain and my self-esteem. Gets worse in the weeks before my period, and apparently having depression is not that all uncommon.

So on Monday, after being reprimanded for some grammatical mistakes, I asked my boss for a meeting. I think I kind of gave her a scare with how seriously I approached the talk, and made her think I was about to resign. As it turns out, I was actually doing pretty good at my job. There’s room for improvements, but overall she’s been happy with my performance.

One of the things we did discuss was catching up more often, which I think is probably necessary for me; I thrive on external validation, and this helps a lot with the insecurity. And based on what she said, I think there’s a good chance I’ll be confirmed when the time comes in May and they apparently also have two formal reviews annually, so that’s great.

Sometimes all it takes is just asking, no matter how stupid you think the question is. So, what’s your gap?

[Review] MyScript Stylus (Beta)

Price: FREE!
Platform: Android and iOS
Rating: 3.5 of 5

As you can tell from the video, the MyScript Stylus app is quite impressive. It was able to read my writing most of the time and was very responsive. I really enjoyed using this app with my current stylus, but I don’t think it’s quite ready yet to lose the Beta tag.

It has a few bugs that needs to be ironed out, such as a tendency to read letters as numbers and vice versa. The cursor tends to jump around here and there (a reviewer has mentioned this on the Play Store, so I’m fairly confident it’s not just me) and somewhat related, but I find myself pressing on the most recent apps menu and triggering them by accident which breaks the flow of thought.

Something I would like to see is either the speed of jumping to the next empty word being quicker or the writing space being expanded to perhaps two lines or higher up the screen if that’s possible. I tend to run out of space, as you can tell.

That said though, for the grand old price of FREE (minus your data download costs) this app is really impressive. CNet shows it’s been in beta for at least 3 years, so we’ll see how it improves. Last update was in September 2015, so I have confident that they will be making improvements to the app in the months to come.*

And in case you were wondering, yes, the blog portion of this review was written on a traditional PC and not on the smaller screen.

[Weekly Update] Oops late!

image
Where are we going?

Today’s going to be a rather brief update. Work has pretty much swallowed my brain, and I’d like to keep some brain cells for my fiction. So today’s weekly update covers:

  • Joseph Campbell, he of “The Hero’s Journey”
    Mythology has always been one of my loves and the way he explains how culture, mythology, and religion intersect is mindblowing. It’s the difference between listening and feeling it in the gut, as opposed to the head.

  • Moon Prism Makeup!
    Eh, not actually, but close. Thanks to the smog, I’ve started to experiment with foundation to protect my face. So far, it seems to be helping with the minibreakout I had, but it’s still early days.

  • Spending time with people I care about
    Had great dinners over the past few weeks; from dinners with jie to the tenta to mom’s birthday to an old friend I haven’t spoken to in years. It was a good week to socialise.

  • Took over dad’s phone
    The USB port for the Z1 took off, so I switched to dad’s OP2. I’d rather have my dad back.

  • No rushing around
    This week is comparatively quiet compared to the madness of the last few weeks. Nuff said.

[Weekly Report] Stashes

Stash

I originally had a blog entry about migrating from Windows 10 32-bit to 64-bit planned, but that is kinda shot for the time being, mainly because I am too tired to write it.

That was supposed to be my weekly update on last Thursday, but as you can tell, I’m still trying to get into the swing of things. The past one month has been rather eventful, though I think I am adjusting slowly to the new arrangements.

Some quick things: I finished Doulou Dalu (by which I mean I’ve caught up to the latest chapter) and have started on Spotify’s playlist of Joseph Campbell’s lectures. It’s compelling enough that I am considering upgrading to Premium for the next 6 months to listen to the lectures, simply because if you are on free, it shuffles the playlist.

The commute to work has had the unexpected benefit of me paying more attention to my body and my period. There is definitely a correlation between my feelings of uselessness and my period. Additionally, I’m exposed to pollutants so much, I’ve actually begun wearing foundation as a way to protect my skin.

Which brings me to my next point. Some of my primary clients are in the makeup business, and so I’ve been getting more makeup stuff. The bright red Silky Girl Moisture Boost is new, as well as the Maybelline Eyeliner. The rest are stuff I’ve had for a few months now.

So let’s see how long I can continue this trend. Hopefully this will be enough for the time being and I won’t feel the itch to buy more makeup.