Okay, first some background info: I am a writer, a memoirist, with an MFA degree. I’d say as writers go I tend not to suffer from writer’s block and tend to be well-disciplined as far as keeping a work schedule goes. I work hard at times and really had to do so when I earned my degree and when I did Nano (National Novel Writing Month) in 2009 and 2010.
Enter anorexia nervosa. Now mind you, it’s a big deal. I am okay now and I eat fine, as of a couple of months ago, but you could say the disease left some marks on me. I am much more fortunate than many. At least I’m alive. But my brain doesn’t work right and it’s frustrating. Starvation fries your thinking. Between my doctors and me, we don’t know if this is permanent or if I’ll get my abilities back. But for now, with Nano coming, I’ve got what I’ve got and I’m dealing with it.
What you do is you adapt. Do you hear me? Adapt. Because that’s how you survive. No, I did not say compromise or settle for second best. You gather up everything that you can, and you do your darndest.
I have recently downloaded yWriter, which is free software. I cannot tell you how invaluable this software is. I must say, it is a helpful tool for me now that my organizational ability seems to be lacking. yWriter is like a filing cabinet. I wouldn’t call it “writing software.” It’s kind of a databank or organizational tool, and has sort of a word processor built into it in case you want to write material directly into it, which I think you will want to do unless you’re just copying and pasting into it. I don’t find this program difficult to use at all.
Think of it this way: People who have trouble seeing use glasses. People who still have trouble seeing use screen magnifiers when they use the computer. So when I use yWriter, it’s like a screen magnifier, like a tool for someone who has trouble getting their brain to organize the material that they are writing.
yWriter is meant to be used to write novels, but I am using it to organize the short speech I am giving October 21st in Cambridge, MA. I suspect there will be hundreds in the audience, not sure yet, though. So I want my speech to be good. With yWriter, I can rearrange paragraphs and groups of paragraphs very quickly, and use the software to view summaries of what I have just written (I write these summaries myself, the software doesn’t come up with them).
Of course, I am also trying to use yWriter for my Nano book. But right now, I’m focusing more on the speech and find that the software is working brilliantly for it.
Yes, you can call it an “off-label” use for this software.
We do what we can with what we have.
You are sitting in a room with a shiny pair of crutches. What are you going to do, try to walk without crutches, and fall, or pick up the shiny crutches and walk to where you need to go?
Now you might say that this is an argument for taking all sorts of antidepressants and the like. No, I did not say that the crutches have nasty spikes in the sides that poke you every time you take a step. These are called “side effects.” With crutches like that, you may want to consider some alternatives.
Here is the page for yWriter5: http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter5.html
Please tell me what you think! I’ll keep you updated.