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The broke writers toolbox of 8 ABSOLUTELY FREE APP’s for 2018

I’m a terrible writer. Ever so often I growl in envy, that some people simply have the skill to build words in such a manner that they create the most vivid scenes in a mere fraction of the composition. And ever so effortlessly, these people seem to do this in the first draft, with perhaps a few comma’s thrown in for editing. Life. Is. Just. Not. Fair!

Okay, I’m done sulking.

For the rest of us, there are tricks, check-boxes and most importantly free applications to use to improve our prose. Here I’d like to pause. Unfortunately, no application, book or quick fix can magically wave a wand over you and turn you into J.K. Rowling. And even the greats need a human editor… However used often, some of these do actually in time improve your writing. Or maybe writing and reading improves your writing, but then …

In the past year, where I’ve taken on re-writing one of my yawn effect drafts into something hopefully one day enjoyable, I’ve gone looking for something to help me along the way. And since everyone seems to be sharing their, ‘must read list for 2018’(or at least they were when I first drafted this) it seems fitting to throw in my ‘very useful app list for writers in 2018’.

typewriter text

1. WordWeb ( https://wordweb.info/free/ )

Back in the day, any writer with merit would have told you a good dictionary is like the screwdriver in a mechanic’s toolbox. In 2018 we have a time-saving app for that. It is definitely much easier to type in the word you want to look up. It’s also lighter to carry if you decided you wanted to go sit in the spare office during your lunch hour to get some writing time in.

And while a search in your preferred App-Shop, would probably reveal many a program worth using – I like to use WordWeb. Not only does it explain the word to you, like that heavy, bulky, The Concise Oxford Dictionary, but it often also suggests alternative words to use. It’s like a dictionary and thesaurus thrown into one. Best of all, no pop-up ads, and it works off-line. I have mine installed on my phone. The app is available for Android, iPhone and Windows.

2. Libre Office Writer ( https://www.libreoffice.org/ )

If like me, you bought your computer, tablet or another writing device with only Windows Home or similar installed on it, you know that this does not come with the Microsoft Office package. It seems that even though, there are several other writing programs, which I’ll discuss later, on a writer’s most wanted list – Microsoft Word is still a must-have – or not. I use Libre Office Writer, which is just as good as the Microsoft version. Best of all, this Open Source software is, wait for it, ABSOLUTELY FREE! The writer comes along with the entire Libre Office package, which also includes a spreadsheet and a drawing program. And to top it all off, Libre can easily open and save your files in the popular Microsoft formats.

3. AbiWord ( http://abisource.com/ )

If you simply don’t want, need or have a lack of space for the Libre Office package – Abi Word may be more appealing. It too is an Open Source, ABSOLUTELY FREE, software which only features a writing application similar to Word. No spreadsheets applications are thrown in.

4. Grammarly (https://www.grammarly.com/)

Grammarly is like your spell check on steroids. It spots so much more than your average Language Tool. Used over time, Grammarly will help you spot mistakes on your own. You can use Grammarly for free, online. The only pitfall is that it will not work offline, even the paid version. But otherwise, it is a seriously excellent, spelling and grammar checking application.

5. Pro Writing Aid (https://prowritingaid.com/)

Like Grammarly, Pro Writing Aid is your spell check on steroids. Also, like Grammarly, you can use it for free online. Again like Grammarly, it only works online – even the trial version downloadable app needs a working internet connection. The free version is limited and checks only 500 words per go. Unlike Grammarly, this App has what it calls reports. It will check more than just your spelling and grammar. There are reports to tell you if you have overused a word, reports to tell you how readable your text is and much, much more.

6. Hemingway App ( http://www.hemingwayapp.com/ )

Like Pro Writing Aid, Hemingway is yet another grammar checking application, which will point out adverbs, passive voice, and hard to read sentences. I’ve not had the chance to fully explore this app yet, but unlike its counterparts, the paid desktop app will work off-line.

7. yWriter6 ( http://www.spacejock.com/yWriter6.html )

If you are into writing full-fledged novels, yWriter6 is a very useful App. The windows version is free to download. It’s primarily there to help you organize your scenes and chapters into one workable document. There are also some very nifty tools, such as a read out loud feature, a word counter to tell you how many times you have used a certain word, a word per minute meter, basic spell check, and more. It’s an excellent tool to write your first draft on. And while it’s not as colorful as it’s pricey counterpart Scrivener – yWriter does come packed with many features.

Recently, an app has been added to Android devices, but this is not free.

8. Bibisco ( http://www.bibisco.com/ )

Bibisco is another App you can use to organize your chapters into one workable document. Unlike Ywriter which is classified as Freeware, Bibisco is Open Source.While it certainly seems not to be created for smaller devices such as tablets, it’s an app I still plan on exploring further.

Open Source versus Free-Ware

In case you were wondering, Open Source Software is a group project for programmers. The programming code is open to being downloaded for free. Anybody can contribute towards making the program better. These contributors are often not paid for doing so.

Freeware is usually created by only one individual or company who will distribute the program or part of the program for free. Often you are required to purchase the program to gain access to all its features, such as Grammerly and Pro Writing Aid.

There are many more applications to help you improve your writing, many, many more. These are only a few which I found seemed most popular and useful. As I continue discovering other applications, I may write another post to expand on this one. For now, I hope you find something on this list to help shape you into a better writer.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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6 Perfect quotes on perfection

Perfection. It’s been somewhat of my theme for the year. This ideal of perfection, holds us back in our creative endeavours, our relationships, our goals, and our self-compassion. Perfection, very often is a shackle of fear. So as I look over my blog and social media for the year, here are some quotes I came across.

“It all does not need to be perfect.”

From the my post titled, to the blog posts I did not write. It’s this little poem which prompted me to look at my creative outlet a little less critical.

Eventually, I realized that the criticism in my internal chatter is not just limited to this blog. Neither is that of many other people.

“You are perfect to me”

Pink from the song Perfect, which I featured on my post 15 Motivational Songs to kick A**

“Underneath our perfect is where the true connection lie”

From my post, in the age of Social Media is the fear of rejection keeping us from genuine friendships?

“Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful”

This little snippet of wisdom was smiling at me as I was walking past a coffee shop. I snapped the picture and posted it on Instagram.

#inspiration #motivation is everywhere. Took this pic while out shopping.

A post shared by Sarina (@shiningseeds) on

In the post titled, how to overcome relationship disaster taught to us by bedtime stories, I explored this concept of expectation of perfection we have in our partners.

“Mister wrong, is not necessarily wrong because he is not perfect. He may be wrong because you have an unrealistic expectation”

I love this Jeffrey Allen quote on the matter:

“It’s so wonderful that people don’t have to be perfect to be perfect for each other”

“Sometimes it’s the flaws in life, which make life interesting.”

Admittedly, while the above quote does not actually have the word “perfect” in it you get the general idea that flaws are there when something is not perfect. This is the closing line on the post titled, sometimes flaws are beautiful, a look at the 2017 NaNo Poblano badge.

Often perfection is an unrealistic ideal, an expectation too heavy to carry. Sometimes it’s boring and dull. And sometimes, it is our own imperfect perception which is in error. Some things are perfect, just as they are – but we think they are not.

And sometimes a situation, person, thing, whatever may just be perfect for you – but not perfect for someone else. We are all unique beings. Why are we always looking for a uniform ideal?

This has been the 12th and last post for the 12 days of it does not need to be perfect, suitably ended with a post on perfection.

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:

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Do more of what makes you happy! 

Seriously this! (The quote reads the same as the title.)

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A day-dreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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App #review – #Gratitude Garden

These day’s we have Apps for everything. We have Apps to help our babies sleep, there are Apps to read our news on, Apps for our fitness and Apps and Apps. What about an App to make you happy?
Happiness, it’s a bit vague. It’s subjective. It’s elusive and you’d say there is no App for that.

Well actually, and I’ll quote this straight from the App I’m writing this review on:

“One of the most effective ways that people can make themselves happier is to note down each day three good things that happened to them. Most people spend more time worrying about problems in their lives, rather than about thinking what has made them happy. Research indicates that the act of recalling and writing down what has gone well each day helps give people a positive outlook and greater self-esteem.”

This act of writing down three good things is generally referred to as a gratitude journal. Now for anyone who has been following my blog for a while, will know that I believe in the power of gratitude. In today’s society there’s way too much attention on everything else, but the simple act of being thankful. This small seeming thing can shift your entire perspective and can help you on the road to happiness. Note, I say help you on the road. It’s not the only thing. Perhaps like I recently read it could be one of many things, one 5% contribution towards beating depression & melancholy. Er, maybe this one gets 10%.

Here’s where an App can come in handy. You could certainly jot down three good things in a plain paper journal but an App on your phone has definite benefits. Not only can you jot down three things any time without having to take your paper journal with you, but there are some things an App can do that a paper journal can’t. The App I enjoy in this regard is called Gratitude Garden. It is available both on the Google Play store for Android and on iTunes for Apple devices.

It’s quite easy to use. You simply hit the Start button and jot down three things for which you are grateful, good things that happen.

Reading much personal growth, self-help type of things I know that one breaks bad habits by rewarding good ones. It seems to me this App was designed with this in mind.

If the reward of being grateful is not big enough for you, each time you have written down three things you get 50 points. Once you have collected a certain amount of points you can select an animal to put in your Garden. The Garden consists of beautiful artwork. What also set’s this App apart from the rest is the little “select a card” feature which pops up after you have entered your three items. These cards are mindful little reminders of positivity. Honestly, this feature is what I enjoy most about this App.

And like any good gratitude journal app, this one does not neglect to send you little reminders to be grateful. Reminders are in the form of one of your previous good things which you jotted down. Unlike any of the modern App’s – this one does not pester you with Pop-Up adds. It’s absolutely for free (well apart from your data used to download the App) The only way I can see the developer benefiting from the App is in that there are links to her website under the Courses & Coaching tab and information tab. Seriously, that’s not intrusive at all.

It’s a seriously good App to have. So thank you to Izzy McRae for designing it and Neville Sattentau for the beautiful artwork.

P.S.Neither of these people has asked me to review the App. I do so because I feel it could be of benefit to anyone reading this post. Also, this is my way of saying thank you.
Copyright on above screenshots from the App is used per fair use.

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NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.
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Judgement is an ego thing

“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” – Jesus

Even if you are not familiar with the bible, you are most likely familiar with that quote from it. Mostly it would be quoted as follows “Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

It’s a quote from John: 8:7

Another verse Romans 2:1 reads:

“you therefore have no excuse, you who pass judgement on another. For on whatever grounds you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.”

There are many more verses, and even if you don’t believe in the bible it has many truths you can apply to your life to improve your own wellness.

To be non-judgmental is sometimes not as easy as it seems. It is human to judge people. Even, if you are not aware, you are doing it. You may judge someone on what they eat. You may judge them on how they are clothed. You may judge them on how they speak, how they spell.

To some people it really seems to be an issue of contempt whether pineapple belongs on pizza or not, just as a small example.

People judge other people on their state of mental health and general health. If he hadn’t smoked his whole life. If she would just try. If, if, if. These things tend to be as unhelpful to the person being judged as the person doing he condemning.

Here’s an interesting perspective I found online the other day:

The above embedded quote from Jeffrey Allen reads:

“The difficult thing about JUDGMENT is that we tend to become the things we judge, so we can understand a deeper PERSPECIVE.”

That sheds a whole new light on judging people because they are depressed, negative, unmotivated, are what not for what ever reason – reason we often don’t fully grasp or know about.

Perhaps being right, isn’t right after all. Don’t you think? Being right is about me, myself and I. Even if I’m right about something, perhaps all my rightness will come raining down on me sooner or later.

Just a thought, for this Nano Poblano.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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The Label we forget

“Above all, she is a human being”

Bloggers, we sometimes do a weird thing. We refer to ourselves in the third person. Especially when we are writing an “about the author” section of a post or blog. It’s a style thing.

In that same breath, have you ever checked the bio section in twitter? Any Social Media really. There is this phenomenon. You can even see it in the C. V.’s sent to companies, when people apply for jobs. The entire person get’s condensed into a few words, which we commonly refer to as a label.

Just scroll down, and you will see my own third person account of myself. Check my Twitter bio.

twitter_bio

There’s one label I fell we so often leave out. It’s the label: human being.

I guess it’s a given, an obvious fact. It’s an overlooked fact. However much I may seem as a hero, however much I may seem like a failure I am still a human being.

human_quote

 

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This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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#Motivation Download 

Words are very unnecessary,  sometimes. I’ll let this snippet speak for itself. 

Your thoughts,  comments? 
This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO/ NaBloPoMo.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Food for thought on chocolate

chocolate quote

Chocolate won’t solve your problems, yet neither will an apple.

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO/ NaBloPoMo.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

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Burn on!

We want to burn on, not burn out! – Joyce Meyer

Joyce Meyer quote

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO/ NaBloPoMo.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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Feel this moment

The heat of the mid-morning sun blazes down on my face. Wind in my hair, tied up in a messy bun. A slight smell of dust in the air. Hiking through the yellow blades of grass as high as my midsection. Some of the grass is stuck to my shoe. Suddenly, I feel the ground trembling. I hear hoofs hitting the ground. Very close by a heard of antelope are running past me. I freeze. Damn, I’m in the open and I don’t even have a knife with me. This happened more than ten years ago now, but I can describe that moment in detail. In fact, I can still taste the salty sweat as it was dripping down my forehead, which felt sticky and dirty.

In that moment, I felt my full attention pull into me. I was acutely aware: I am alive. Probably the adrenaline as my mind sensed I may find myself in danger. I never was. But that moment is forever stuck in High Definition, in my mind.

mindfulness

Most moments pass by in dull monotonous beats. We do so many things out of habit. Even the lane I choose to drive while on my way to work is as much part of my routine as the fact that I drink coffee before I switch on my workstation P.C. I remember to say, “Good Morning.” More of a habit than anything else. And sometimes I find myself woken from the autopilot wondering, what was I just doing? This is what’s it’s like when you are not feeling the moment. When you are not being mindful. Your entire day, month, year – can fly by in a haze and you wonder where did the time go.

Feeling the moment, being mindful, being aware is hard when you don’t have a shot of adrenaline. I’ve gotten much better, due to a regular meditation practice. But there are moments I can’t bear the dullness of it all. I’d rather not be in the moment. So I choose to let the autopilot fly, while I’m out dreaming of a different life.

Not the precious moments I have with my children or husband. I cherish those little smiles and hugs. They anchor me to life. And intentionally, I try to be fully present then. Sometimes I fail, when I’m thinking too much or trying to do too many things at once.

All we ever have is the present of this moment. The past is gone, the future is not guaranteed.
There is only now. This moment. Here’s Pitbull & Christina Aguileria reminding us to feel this moment.

This post links to a month’s long daily blogging challenge, during November. See who else has signed up to be a Little Pepper HERE. It’s called NANO POBLANO/ NaBloPoMo.

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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