May 2021 Update

I’m afraid I don’t have much to tell about this month.

I’ve been sick, which forced me to write only when I felt like it. I know my brain feels better about resting when there’s a physical reason (which is very ableist and I wouldn’t do it to anyone else), but some years ago it would still feel guilty in those cases, so I will take it as a step in the right direction. I just need to convince my brain that anxiety, depression and burnout are also “valid excuses”. I’m working on it.

I managed to finish changing the Section Type and Label Colours on all my Scrivener projects, and now I can make them more visible thanks to the options in View → Use Label Color In. I also remembered to upload backups of my projects to different cloud services, so now everything should be safe.

I’ve been wondering about what else to post on my blog, since I’m not doing much at the moment. I wanted to ask whether a new post on How I Write with Burnout would be interesting for you. I mean, everyone is different, but you never know. It might help someone feel less bad about struggling and taking their time, right? In fact, it was thanks to a similar post that I managed to write at all this month. And I was really stuck on a transition scene from my Sanctuary WIP, so that was a big moment for me.

And that’s all for now. I want to keep working on monitoring my health so I can take breaks when I need them. Next month, my goals will be to drink a lot of water and to start writing that Burnout post if you’re interested. See you next month!

Peacock feathers.
Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

PS: You can check my previous update here.

Scrivener

Scrivener's new logo

I’ve shared some tips and a masterlist for prospective writers (there’s a second masterlist here) and I’ve just realized that I never explained what Scrivener is, thinking that everyone would know better than me. But I believe that having a writing blog is all about sharing how you understand and use things because every writer is unique and your way might resonate with someone out there. So here I am, about to tell you some things you should know about Scrivener.

First, you should know I use Scrivener for Windows, so I’ve been a Scrivener 1 user for years, and I’ve recently upgraded to Scrivener 3. Good news, everyone: if you own a license for Scrivener 1 or Scrivener 2 (only available for Mac), you’ll get an awesome discount for Scrivener 3. You just need to download the free trial and then click on “Upgrade from an older version” when this window pops up:

Screenshot of the Scrivener pop-up window where they prompt you to Enter your License, buy a new license or continue with the trial version.

Anyway, for those of you who don’t know Scrivener: yes, you can download a trial version here. The trial is the actual program, no limitations until the trial period ends. Moreover, the trial period is 30 days, but they don’t have to be consecutive, so you might be able to enjoy it for 30 weeks if you just use it once per week. If you want to see whether Scrivener would be good for you, I encourage you to use the trial version, because it’s very difficult to know unless you’ve familiarized yourself with the program and used it for a while. I’ve been a user for years and have just decided to take advantage of some advanced features I’d been ignoring until now, so you can definitely do that too.

Scrivener can be a bit overwhelming at first, but they have a very nice tutorial, and you can choose whether you want to learn only the basics. I’ve completed the whole tutorial at least three times because I keep forgetting stuff, but it’s not necessary. Scrivener is very user-friendly, so you can just choose a template for your new project and start writing. For me, the best approach would be to try different things and find out what you want to keep, make a template (I’m working on that at the moment), and use it on all of your projects from that point on.

But why do I use Scrivener? Well, I first bought it because I needed a program that would save automatically, create backups, and allow me to have everything (research, images, writing) related to one project (my thesis) in one place. Basically, I use it because I’m forgetful and scatterbrained. It’s also incredibly easy to compare information with the split screen, and you can now have over 5 files open at the same time if you use the new Copyholder and Quick Reference functions:

A screenshot of five files open on the same Scrivener project by splitting the editing window in two, using copyholders for both files, then a Quick Reference on a floating window.

Now that I’m using Scrivener for my personal projects, I find myself appreciating its organizing features more and more: the corkboard, the labels, the targets, the metadata… And these have improved in the new Scrivener 3, where now there’s a freeform corkboard, a label thread, section types, a revision mode, bookmarks, a daily target calculator (useful when you have a deadline), etc. Scrivener 3 even has themes and a name generator! But, even before I started using any of those features, I liked Scrivener because it was very easy to organize the project into different folders and documents, so I could have a folder for the Manuscript, one for the Characters, one for the Settings and another for the Research. The text could be split into different documents for each chapter or scene, and they could be compared or swapped around easily.

A screenshot of the Scrivener Tutorial, showing the different folders and documents on the left sidebar.

All in all, Scrivener is a very versatile tool, and not expensive at all if you take into account that you’re buying a license. I’ve been using my first license for almost 10 years on 8 different computers bought in 3 different countries, customer support has been super fast the only time I’ve needed them, and they don’t force you to upgrade if you don’t want to. But I still encourage you to try it out before you buy it, because it’s not a tool for everyone. By the way, November is a good month to try it out because sometimes they have special offers during NaNoWriMo.

I don’t want to make this unnecessarily long, because you already have the tutorial and the official website explaining all the different features, but now you can use the comments section if you need anything. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to answer them to the best of my ability.

April 2021 Update

This update is gonna be much shorter than my previous one because I haven’t done much this month. My goals were to adapt my projects to Scrivener 3 and to finish the reference files, and I’ve done so… More or less. The reference files are finished, and some WIPs (plus my personal template) have been updated so I can use a few of the new functions, but I haven’t updated those I haven’t used this month. I guess that’s fine since, whenever I open a project, I keep checking whether the Section Types are correct and the Session Target includes text written anywhere in the project.

I’ve also finished the Scrivener 3 tutorial, although it wasn’t one of my goals. I’ve shared one and two amazing illustrations I’d commissioned. And I attended a virtual (and free) series of conferences organized by a young Spanish author to celebrate the International Book Day. It lasted a whole day (15 writers in 10 hours!), but the authors were very interesting and they covered different topics, so it didn’t seem long at all.

I feel like I haven’t done much this month because I haven’t been writing as much as before, but I think that the Scrivener update, tutorial and organization took a long time and a lot of effort, so maybe I shouldn’t have such unachievable expectations. Plus, I haven’t even finished with Scrivener yet. The next step will be to change the colour labels. I’ve already updated a couple of projects in which I’m using the labels to highlight the POVs, so I would like to do the same on my longest project (it will take a while), and I want to find another use for the labels on those projects that don’t have multiple POVs. After that, I’ll save the latest backups on my cloud services. That will be one of my goals for the following month.

My other goal should be to stop feeling guilty about prioritizing my mental health, but that’s probably a lost cause. One of the reasons why I’ve been so blocked during this month, apart from the usual stress, is that my anxiety sometimes makes me have this paralysing fear that tells me that nobody is going to enjoy my work and that all my efforts are useless because people are going to hate what I do. I’ve had some good weeks, so I guess it was due, but I never know how to get out of it. Maybe the only way is to take it easy for a while until the anxiety subsides, so my second goal will be to only write when I feel like it.

Two pink roses on top of two books. In Spain, there's a tradition to gift a book and a rose to your partner on International Book Day.
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Art – Character design II by RoyalSea Art

As promised last week, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s the other main character from the Sanctuary Project:

A skinny creature with purple skin, big white eyes and elongated limbs is holding a blue bioluminiscent butterfly. The light reflects on his very big eyes. The hair is long, and black and white.

As I said in the previous Sanctuary post, this WIP was going to be a High Fantasy short story full of atmospheric vibes and aesthetics, but it will be a bit longer than I expected. I think I mentioned it is set underground, so there are characters who don’t look like your regular human. Such is the case of this (literal) cave dweller who is trying to follow his dreams… even if his friends and family don’t understand him. There are many places he wants to visit and views he wants to see and, among his people, that might be a bit peculiar.

The artwork was done by RoyalSea Art, who is amazing at character design, as you can see. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links:

By the way, they were kind enough to make a spoilerific version of this character so we could all see how he’ll look like.
You can see it below if you don’t mind spoilers.

The character looks exactly the same as the one above, but the hair is completely white.

Art – Character design by RoyalSea Art

As promised in my previous art-related post, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s one of the main characters from the Sanctuary Project:

A plump water elemental judging you with their arms crossed.

As I said in the previous Sanctuary post, this WIP was going to be a High Fantasy short story full of atmospheric vibes and aesthetics, but it will be a bit longer than I expected. I think I mentioned it is set underground, but there are characters that used to live underwater. Such is the case of this genderfluid water elemental who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time… or maybe it’s the right place and time, but it will take a while for them to realize. If you like this character, soon I will share the other main character of this project, so do come back next week.

The artwork was done by RoyalSea Art, who is amazing at character design, as you can see. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links:

March 2021 Update

I’m very happy I swapped one of my goals with February, because I had more time to focus on the timelines during this month. I was meant to start working on them and shaping them, but some of them took very long, especially Oracle, Alcalá and Brothers. because they take place during a longer period of time.

You’ve seen I’ve shared a new illustration and a new blog design, but there’s more I’ve done during the month: I’ve finished beta-reading a book, I’ve finished the draft of the second chapter in Feathers (which took a lot of effort, because I’m very bad at second chapters), I’ve added some ideas for a possible Sanctuary sequel, I’ve rearranged the setting of Alcalá and Brothers so they will be closer in time, I’ve contacted my country’s National Library to find a document I was looking for, and, last but not least, I’ve upgraded to Scrivener 3.

And now I guess it’s time for my word-count check, because it’s already been two months since the last one:

  • Heroes: 22000 (It was 20000 two months ago.)
  • Fireflies: 21000 (It was 17000 two months ago.)
  • Brothers: 42000 (It was 24000 two months ago.)
  • Alcalá: 45000 (It was 18000 two months ago.)
  • Oracle: 128000 (It was 120000 two months ago.)
  • Academy: 33000 (It was 30000 two months ago.)
  • Feathers: 20000 (It was 8700 two months ago.)
  • Sanctuary: 40000 (It was 35000 two months ago.)

I can’t quite believe they’re now all over 20000! Allow me to remind you that these numbers include everything I write, not just the draft. In fact, everything I’ve written for Alcalá and Brothers in these two months is related to the timelines and research. But I’ve found it’s better to count everything, because writing is not only making a draft.

By the way, is this update too long? Would it be better if I posted a different update for the word count?

Anyway, to sum up, I’ve managed to fulfil my goals at the very last minute, but that’s more than enough. Next month I want to spend some time adapting my Scrivener 1 projects to Scrivener 3 (including the master template I’m making) and to finish a couple of reference files I’m working on. See you in April!

Lonely tree growing in the center of the horizon surrounded by stars. Everything is reflected on the water
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

New design

I had meant to leave the Canva header for a while, but the text didn’t work well in all devices and I was feeling energetic this weekend. So I got all of my used notebooks and the one I’m using at the moment… and took some photos to create a new personal header.

I hope you like the photo I’ve chosen! You’ll notice I’ve changed both the header and the blog’s palette, and I think it looks a bit better now, but please let me know if the background is too dark for you or if it makes reading difficult for any other reason.

A photo of 12 notebooks, all different, over a purple background. There are white and violet LEDs decorating the notebooks.

Art – Chibi characters by Helen Kord

As promised in my previous art-related post, I come bearing more art! This time, it’s a pair of chibi characters that belong to the Fireflies Project:

A boy with brown hair (left) and a redheaded boy (right) looking and smiling at each other. The one on the left is wearing a black turtleneck and black trousers while he holds a ginger cat. the one on the right wears a dark t-shirt that once belonged to the other man and a red jacket with rainbow-coloured details. He's petting the head of a brown labrador sitting between them.
The dog and the cat are also looking at each other, and the cat is softly booping the dog with a gentle paw.

Fireflies was supposed to be a Low Fantasy short story set in Madrid, but I don’t know how long it’ll end up being. I think I mentioned it is set in northern Spain and animals are important. As you can see, they’re so central to the story they’re even pictured here. These are the pets that belong to the main characters (also pictured in this image), and I hope you find them as deadly cute as I do!

The artwork was done by Helen Kord, the person with the most impeccable taste I’ve ever met. Please do check their work and commission information in the following links: