In Other News This Week…

I’ve had an oddly productive week, what with getting another couple of long scenes written and all. The discovery of TiddlyWiki has made it considerably easier to organise my stories within the world – and even allowed me to find links between stories I didn’t even know were there. It’s even got a journal feature, though I’m not quite sure whether I’ll end up using it for writing. That’s the other theme of the week – what software and/or system will work best for me and my writing?

First things first, I will pat myself on the back because I managed to get a good few bits written this week. Almost all of them were for the story I’m working on, and the one that wasn’t turned out to be a rework of one that’s on my list anyway.

Secondly, TiddlyWiki. In one of my numerous flights of fancy (I refuse to believe any fiction writer doesn’t go on them at least once a day), I envisaged a time when my stories were popular enough to get their own wiki. This led me to a search for wikis, and the discovery that I could create a fan based one for anything. That led to the finding of wiki software, and I promptly began building my grandly optimistic Codex Far. Far, it should be noted, is the name of the world where I set my fantasy stories.

It began easily enough, broadly covering the Ages where things happen, and beginning to build a picture of the geography and politics. Then individual characters came to the fore, and it’s alarming how quickly that devolves into more things I hadn’t realised needed linking. It rapidly became a regular requirement to check out any ‘missing’ Tiddlers (as TiddlyWiki calls them), and also any ‘orphaned’ ones (without any links from others). Shockingly enough, they get cleared up quite easily, which leaves me with a *lot* of Tiddlers.

Then came the realisation that this reference, while extremely helpful, would not relieve me of my dependence on OneNote, which coincides nicely with my other theme.

The beginning of this story is of good intentions. I have amassed a large quantity of music, all of which has been purchased or ripped from CDs (most of which were actually mine). This has been taking up a gradually increasing amount of space on my OneDrive (with a Terabyte, I’m in no danger of running out any time soon). I have employed a couple of different organisation methods previously, so in short the entirety of my music collection is a shambles.

It was brought to my attention by the shiny new Groove Music app available on Android (a discovery made by my recent upgrade to Windows 10), which allows me to stream my music from OneDrive wherever I am. This is a fantastic idea, as it is completely free and I have quite a lot of music which never makes it onto my (purposely) low-capacity 2Gb mp3 player.

However. But. A spanner flew into the works. It turned out that I had two or even three duplicate copies of some songs in the mess that is my music folder. What a colossal waste of space! So, like any enterprising harbinger of doom efficiency, I decided to organise my music collection. It began well enough, with me deciding to use a single, simple method to arrange the files – within folders by artist and then album. Straightforward, you say. Well, yes.

But then my innate blondeness rose to the fore – Malteserism runs in the family – and I DELETED THE ENTIRETY OF MY NICKELBACK COLLECTION. Which is their entire discography. Well, I hear you say; restore it from the recycle bin. Except I didn’t notice the deleting until I had EMPTIED the recycle bin.

At this point, thoroughly annoyed and disgusted with myself, I turned to the God that is Google, and the Temple of Music that is Google Play. What I found: I had almost all of it there. Good save. The two albums I had foolishly not uploaded? Hit the CD collection. Found one – sigh of relief. No sign of the other – panic rears its ugly head.

In this instance, I was saved by my other half and his squirrelling of songs on our NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive. Never Again*. I immediately uploaded all the songs I could find onto Google Play, in hopes of preventing a repeat. I have also been double-checking the recycle bin before emptying.

*coincidentally, Never Again is the title of a Nickelback song.

And back to the dependence on OneNote. That aside had a point, I swear, and it’s this: I do not want to risk losing ALL of my writing (as opposed to my ebooks, which are all also held with one provider or another) to an Act of Monumental Stupidity like the one this week. How to avoid it?

Well, there’s always the cloud. I store my files on OneDrive, and have the same free software installed on any computer which it might take my fancy to write on. However. That software, yWriter, while excellent, has a large flaw. The project file loathes and despises syncing, which leaves me unable to update it unless on my primary machine.

Ah, pants. Well, there’s always OneNote, right? Except that this application, at whose feet I worship when it comes to note-taking, is frankly not at all suited to novelling (if NaNoWriMo can call it that, so can I, albeit with the British double ll for verbing). Nor, it turns out, is there a writing application which is designed to sync across multiple devices. Obviously writers with my level of adulation for technology are thin on the ground.

I’m going to try several methods, and attempt to avoid a single point of failure, but the objective is this: make it about learning to write, and not learning to use an application.

Fin.

Please note: I am not in any way employed by anyone to plug any products. I just happen to have a major jones for the Microsoft Office suite. And the God that is Google*. That is all.

*I may have a story where that is the case.

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