Google Docs for writers

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

[Quick update]

Temporary feather quill tattoo hidden by my watch strap and mi band

This month has been crazier than usual.

The way my schedule is setup, I just don’t have enough focus to write. Note that it’s not the time to write, it’s the focus. For some reason, this year is extremely draining. I can kind of guess where my time has gone, and while it’s not a bad thing, it’s not a completely good thing either.

So exactly how is Nanowrimo going, you may ask?

Not very good hahaha. I’m far more behind in my wordcount for the first time in years. Week Two is kicking my ass, but it’s not so much the week that is kicking me, as it is the energy required. Freelance today is also driving me nuts, though not in the way I expected.

I admit that right now, I feel like Slyvia Plath’s The Fig Tree. (Link leads to a Zenpencils comic, by the way).

There are a bunch of contests and writing places I can submit to, but there’s only so much of me that I can focus on. Do I do this, or do I drop it and do the thing that’s much more interesting? But then there’s also that other thing! And ah, I want to submit a story for that too!

So yes, my focus is distracted and all over the place. Everything is new again, everything is fun again, but do I really have the strength for it all?

The short and true answer is, no.

And so, I have to learn a new habit: Self-reflection and determination on what I can do.

Also, in case you were wondering, in the days since my BAH articles, I’ve managed to create and keep two simple habits that eluded me for the longest time:

Making my bed (current unbroken streak: 30 days) and drinking water when I get up (generally 5 out of 7 days a week).

And while we’re at it, Inktober helped cultivate a habit of creating/writing a day, and so now I have an unexpected problem: I can’t write and socialise like I used to do in previous Nanowrimos. My attention span is much shorter, but the ideas, when they come, are far more intense and full-fledged. Now I have to figure out how to take advantage of them.

[Nanowrimo] Bloodsworn Synopsis

25

This being a synopsis of this year’s Nanovel. Yes, I know it’s a poem rather than an actual synopsis, but this is all I have so far. Let’s hope drafting goes better this year than it did last year.

Secrets unopened
Secrets revealed
Secrets hidden
Secrets unspoken

Blood that binds us all
Blood that holds us all
Blood unquenched
Blood unspilled
In innocence, purify
In sin, destroy.

Tis the end of our journey
Tis the end of our song
Tis a chapter closed
Forgive us all our wrongs.

[Nanowrimo] 2013 Notes for myself

This is also going to be a complaints list to my muses.

  • My villains keep changing. First it was a God, then it was the dad, then it was the sister, then the mother, and now it’s the manservant with a hint to it being the God in the end. OI. Make up your minds!
  • Sleep deprivation is the reason why that voyeur dirty old men scene is in the novel. Which I don’t think I’ll remove. It turned out to be a pretty sweet scene. :)
  • The little girl has a proper name now and she is turning out to be very sweet and a really nice child. Though she does tend to be a bit too passive. I’m not sure if she’s ok for a five year old who’s been taken hostage by her nanny.
  • Speaking of nanny, I’m not sure how to write the current villain. On one hand, he’s quite passive. On the other, there seems to be a completely different side of him when he reveals his identity. I’M NOT SURE HOW TO WRITE YOU, HALF-HUMAN LICH.
  • Also liches are cold. Like, literally cold. I wonder if that’s why Daramiri likes Illyra so much, she’s like a walking airconditioner. /is smacked by muse
  • Previous point: Ow

Ok back to writing.