Low Sugar and Low Cholesterol Recipes

My husband and I have low sugar and low cholesterol dietary needs respectively. We attempt to create tasty meals which meet both of our needs.

Below is my list of recipes that we enjoy together and are on a (pretty) regular rotation. I’ve put this together after rigorous testing, searching, blood, sweat aaaand yes, tears. Cooking is not my forte.

NOTE: This is what works for my family. I AM NOT a healthcare professional (obviously) so make sure you’re doing whatever your doctor recommends!

Low Sugar/Low Cholesterol Recipes (I’ll be adding to this as we find stuff we like)

  • Chicken breast

Defrost 3 chicken breasts in the refrigerator.

Heat a pan with about 4 tbls of olive oil to medium heat.

Place chicken breasts in the pan. Season with salt and pepper. If the pan doesn’t sizzle when chicken is added, wait until the oil is heated.

Cook chicken about 5 minutes on each side or until mostly cooked through. Leave to rest on a plate before serving/cutting.

TIP: I love to precook these and cut up to serve over salads, send in lunches with veggies, and serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. I’ve even put them in serving size baggies in the freezer!

 

 

 

 

  • Lentil and Ground Beef Spaghetti Sauce with Veggie Noodles:

Rinse lentils

Cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water and 1 beef bullion cube. Stir periodically. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30-45 mins or until tender and the water is absorbed. Add more water if you need to cook them more. (You can cook these separately and eat as a side dish if you want.)

Cook 1 pound of ground beef (we use 80/20) in a separate pan. Add the lentils.

Add two 24oz jars of spaghetti sauce and simmer and stir for about 10 mins.

While simmering the sauce, boil water and add veggie noodles. We like these: Ronzoni Garden Delight

Drain noodles. Serve with sauce.

TIP: I usually make a huge batch and then freeze sauce in serving portions. Using lentils not only reduces the cholesterol content, but it stretches the more expensive ingredient, beef.

  • Cucumber Salad – (it’s Tzatziki sauce with larger slices of cucumber.)

 

  • Cured Salmon (My husband used vodka instead of smoke flavoring.)

 

  • Whole Wheat Pancakes – This is a great resource HERE for easy pancakes

 

  • Boiled Eggs (I don’t eat the yolk because it has all the cholesterol. I eat the white part.)

 

  • Whole Wheat Bagels with Cream Cheese

  • Brown Rice (I use olive oil instead of coconut oil and I add either beef or chicken bouillon) In the picture I used the same pan I cooked the chicken in. Saves time. Adds flavor!

 

Do you have any favorite recipes?

How to write about places you’ve never been to – Guest Post by Stuart White

Tales from the Falkland Islands…and writing research tips!

I am proud to present a guest post by my friend and mentor, Stuart White. Please read his impressive biography HERE.

Real Research: Writing about faraway places, part 2

A guest post by Stuart White

RESEARCH – AND HOW TO DO IT IF YOU CAN’T GET TO THE PLACE.

By Stuart White

Author – Stuart White

Last week I stressed the importance of trying to visit a place where your story is set.

And I could almost hear the cries of, “OK for you buddy, but I’ve got twelve bucks to last me the week and two kids to feed. I can hardly make rent, let alone get on a plane to Paris.”

And you’ve got a valid point. But I think I did say ‘If you can get there.’

So this week I’m going to give you some tips of how to get the feel and smell and sense of a place, despite the fact you haven’t got the moolah to get there.

But first to tie up the loose threads of last post, when I described my trip to South America and the Falklands Islands to do research on my script ‘Death at Sea.’

Another aspect of that ‘research’ was a practical one. Death at Sea has a show reel – a sort of five-minute filmed teaser outlining what the project is. At the moment it consists of some old newsreel film of the conflicts and still pictures of the ships and the protagonists.

So it was suggested it might be an idea to get some current footage of the area in which our story took place and scenes are set – like shots of Montevideo, where British and German spies recruited locals in a deadly cloak and dagger game to uncover secrets about the other nation’s fleets.

Like the Falklands, showing the harbor from which the British fleet fired its first shots, then the actual waters the battle took place.

Likewise off Coronel, south of Valparaiso and the port itself where several scenes are set – including a banquet at which the German admiral was honored.

So with video camera and tripod in hand, I filmed like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice…out at dawn doing sunrises…then sunsets…the ship pitching and swaying, spray shooting over the bows…and the stormy seas in which brave men died.

When that goes to the director he hopes to cut it into the original show reel, including some voice-over commentaries from yours truly.

But now back to research and how to make yours effective without you jet-setting around the world.

 In 2003 I wrote a novel called The Valhalla Secret (since become an optioned screenplay) which is set in the final days of Berlin in 1945 as Soviet troops capture the German capital.

I had been to Berlin and walked its streets and had three or four excellent books on the subject to aid my research. But I wasn’t born when the Nazis were defeated, so short of a time machine I was stuck as for the real atmosphere of the period.

What I needed was someone who’d been there then; a living witness. And by good fate and chance, I found one in my condo block in Los Angeles.

The German-born woman’s name was Ursula and she’d been fourteen years old in 1945. She agreed to talk to me.

Her eyes were haunted as she recounted the shelling; women hit by shrapnel as they stood in line to get water from a stand-pipe. The hunger and her mother desperately carving meat from a just-killed horse.

The ‘hurra-hurra’ cries of the Russian front-line soldiers, and the screams of women being raped in their homes. Ursula’s account wasn’t unique, my books contained such accounts, but hearing her account made it real for me, and I believe contributed to the later scenes I wrote.

So…your novel is set in Paris, or Venice, or New York. First off try to find someone who is from there, has lived there or visited a lot. Then just talk to them about the place.

Ask them about smells? What does Paris smell like in the spring or fall? Do the drains still whiff pungently? (They used to when I first went there).

Is there the pungent aroma of Gauloises and Gitanes cigarettes? Does the Metro still have a lingering scent of steel and blast furnace as it did, or have the new luxurious cushioned carriages eliminated that?

What do Parisians eat for breakfast – croissants? (More likely a chunk of bread without butter – and strong, bitter coffee).

Do French women still say “Ooh-la-la…” and do French men struggling with English say, “It ees, ‘ow you say, ze…”

The former is – incredibly  – true, they do. The latter is a cliché to be avoided like the plague (forgive the satire).

What newspaper would a Parisian sit reading in a café – Le Monde the cerebral world-respected journal? In my view he’s more likely to read Le Figaro. (As in New York you’d more likely see someone reading the Daily News than the New York Times).

See what I’m getting at? Try to get outside the kind of tourist brochure cliché of Paris and the French people (or any city) and inside the reality.

Do French people always say “Bonjour’ and “Bonsoir” on greeting you? Yes, they do. It’s almost compulsory. And you’re supposed to say it too. Don’t, and they’ll say you are ‘mal eleve.’ Badly brought up.

I’m not going to go on about what I think the real Paris is, but you can find it out from people who’ve lived there or visited.

And from movies; watch French movies, older ones if your story is set some while ago, and modern ones if it’s set there now. Get a feel for the rhythm of Parisian (or French) life.

Let the images soak in until you’re absorbing the culture the mode of living. Do Frenchmen still wear berets? Well, only the older ones. Do all French people smoke? It’s not as bad as Tokyo or Eastern Europe and smoking is banned in all public places, but smoking is ubiquitous in public spaces, especially in Paris.

As for Paris, so to for Venice, or New York, or Cleveland – or indeed any town or location you can’t visit. And if your novel is set in a time that no-one can possibly be alive now, then read first-hand accounts, even old travel books. It’s astonishing what information you can turn up.

Do anything and everything you can to make that place – and time – come alive.

Another incredible source of information on past places and times are reproductions of newspapers of that period. They are quite commonplace now and yield masses of information about prices (from the advertisements) and the minutiae of daily life.

French WW2 magazine

I have sets of French newspapers from World War Two which were invaluable in writing a script called, ‘To The Very Gates’ about a woman arrested in Vichy France in 1942 and sent to Auschwitz.

French newspapers WW2

Look for the little, apparently inconsequential things. I was once researching the life of King George the Third, the man who ‘lost America’, That is, the American Revolution happened on his watch.

Everyone knows that George suffered periods of insanity (caused by a condition called porphyria) and films have been made of it like, “The Madness of King George.”

But reading a book on the American Revolution I came across a little known fact about King George that I one day hope to use.

He wasn’t terribly eclectically educated, but when caught out on something he didn’t know, he would bluff and affect to think it strange.

Some American colonists were describing a new agricultural development to him. The King not having the faintest idea what they were talking about, but not wishing – as he saw it – to show his ignorance, stroked his chin, pulled a puzzled face, and said, “Well that’s very strange. Very strange indeed.”

The colonists were baffled and embarrassed as well they might be. And I swear that one day that line is going into something I write.

So from Gitanes to George, from Berlin to regal bafflement, there’s always something you can add to your script by off-the-grid research.

Good hunting!

 

Banana Bread Recipe

I make this banana bread about twice a month. Both my picky eater boys love this recipe! It’s a safe food for both of them and I’ve added some healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, flax seed and oatmeal to the mix.

I make mini muffins, but the recipe can be easily adapted for loaves of banana bread. However, my kids ONLY eat the mini muffin versions.

 

It does make a pretty loaf though:

TIP: Freeze your over-ripe bananas in a freezer bag and add to it until you have enough to make banana bread. Takes about 4-5 good sized bananas.

BANANA BREAD MUFFINS

By Scout Semmes

Onethousandwordstohome.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ CUPS SUGAR

½ CUP BUTTER – softened to room temperature

2 EGGS

1 ½ CUPS MASHED BANANAS – overripe are best

1 ½ CUPS MILK

1 TEASPOON VANILLA

3/4 CUP OF VEGETABLE OIL

1 ½ CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1/2 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR

½ CUP PLAIN QUICK OATMEAL

1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA

1 TEASPOON SALT

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:

⅓ cup Flax Seeds

2 TBLS Brewer’s Yeast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of muffin and/or loaf pans (or use baking cups for muffins)
  2. Mash bananas in a medium bowl with a potato masher or your electric mixer.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix sugar and butter with a spoon until well incorporated and smooth. Or use your electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs to butter and sugar. Mix until eggs are well blended to create a creamy texture.
  5. Add bananas, milk, oil and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. (add optional ingredients if desired at this point) Mixture will have a “batter-like” consistency.

Divide batter evenly among greased pans and/or muffin cups. Fill greased pans with batter: ¾ full for loaf pan and ¾ full for muffin cups.

Bake 45 minutes – one hour for loaf, 25 minutes for muffins, and 19-22 mins for mini muffins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 mins. Remove carefully from pans to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 loaves OR about 5 dozen mini muffins

To freeze muffins:

Wait until completely cool. Remove muffins from cupcake pans to a sheet tray. Place muffins on sheet tray without allowing them to touch. If you need more room put aluminum foil on top of the first layer and put the rest on top of the aluminum foil. Freeze for 30 minutes or until flash frozen. Remove to marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To freeze loaves:

Wait until completely cool. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place in marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To defrost mini muffins:

Remove 3 muffins from bag and put on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 10 seconds. Let stand if too hot.

Or

Defrost in refrigerator until soft

Download the recipe PDF here:

Banana Bread Muffins

Real Research: Writing about faraway places – Guest Post by Stuart White

 

Tales from the Falkland Islands…and writing research tips!

I am proud to present a guest post by my friend and mentor, Stuart White. Please read his impressive biography HERE.

Real Research: Writing about faraway places

A guest post by Stuart White

I’ve been up since dawn and I’m peering across a grim, rain-swept bay to a small mist-shrouded harbor as a ship’s tiny tender battles against the buffeting gale towards the shore.

And not for the first time in my travelling-writing life I wonder,

“What the hell am I doing here?”

“Here” in this case happens to be the Falkland Islands, 8,000 miles from my home in England.

It’s off the tip of South America and there’s nothing south of it except Antarctica.

And the answer – or excuse perhaps – is, I’m doing research on a film script whose locations all lie in South America, the South Atlantic or the Pacific west of that continent.

And my trip is all the more strange perhaps since I actually wrote the script two years ago!

It’s about two now mostly ignored World War One sea battles a hundred years ago involving the British Royal Navy and the German Imperial Navy that were pivotal to the eventual Allied – including American – victory.

It’s also a dramatic story of intense personal and international rivalry involving figures like Churchill and the German Kaiser.

This trip will take me from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to Montevideo,

 

Montevideo

Anchor from the German pocket battleship Graf Spee in Montevideo. The Graf Spee was scuttled in the River Plate just off Montevideo in 1939 after being badly damaged by British ships. It’s relevant to my research because the ship was named AFTER (or for, depending on usage) Admiral Graf von Spee who is the subject of my film script – an Admiral in the First World war. (photo property of Stuart White)

 

Uruguay; the Falkland Islands; round Cape Horn,

 

Cape Horn

Cape Horn (island) where one goes ’round the Cape’…the very tip of South America. (photo property of Stuart White)

up the Magellan Strait…then the Chilean fjords

Chilean fjords

Chilean Fjords – photo property of Stuart White

ending at the large port of Valparaiso and the country’s capital, Santiago.

 

South American Street Scenes

photo property of Stuart White

photo property of Stuart White

It started like this: I was commissioned to write a script called Death at Sea for a Hollywood production company, and duly did. The project is in development right now.

So far the script has had rave reviews. But….I know there’ll be re-writes, there always are. And something nagged at me. I am never comfortable setting one of my books or scripts in a location I’ve never visited.

I’m lucky in that respect as during my career, especially as a journalist and foreign correspondent, I’ve visited more than eighty- five countries, lived in three, including the United States for a total of more than eleven years. (And I’ve visited forty-four of America’s states, too).

I’d even been to four countries in South America. But…I was writing about Montevideo and I’d never been; about the Falkland Islands and…I’d never been. Valparaiso, Chile. Ditto.

So when I happened upon a ship that was visiting all those places on a 15 night voyage I knew I had to take that trip, so that when I eventually come to do the re-write I’ll be better informed.

“How so,” I hear you cry? “Come on Stuart, get with the times dude. With Google anyone can find anything about anywhere; statistics, history, maps, satellite photographs.  It’s child’s play. No need to leave your desk.”

Well yes, but in my view also – no.  Statistics and dry facts don’t tell you everything. You can’t hear them or see them – not really – and you can’t smell and feel them.

Statistics and dry facts don’t tell you everything.

I’ve read novels and scripts set in places such as Paris, New York, London and I just know the writer has never set foot there. They don’t have the sense of it, the smell of it, and the feel of it.

Absolutely nothing gives you the true sense of a place like going there…then it becomes real, and your book or script leaps from the possibly banal and clichéd (and frequently inaccurate) to one with verite.

I wanted to go to the Falklands because our script centers around two battles. In December 1914 a British fleet sank four German warships and drowned 1,800 German sailors about 40 miles off its coastline.  Six weeks earlier a German fleet had sunk two British ships and killed 1,500 men off Coronel in Chile.

I wanted to see exactly where those men died, witness the cruel sea as they did.  

I needed to feel the juddering, pitching of a ship beneath me as it battled high seas and howling gales, and try to imagine the terror of being sunk there!

And later in my voyage I had the thrilling – if eerie – opportunity of knowing the exact moment I was sailing over the precise locations where the battles had taken place; and where fathoms below me, the wrecked ships and the hundred year old remains of those brave men lay.

To me that is research. It sends a shiver down my spine now as it did at the exact moment I passed over the locations, to think that what I had written about had one day been cruel reality for these men.

When I come to the inevitable re-write, that will inform and inspire my work as nothing else can.

Next time: Precisely what I did in the Falklands and later locations in terms of actual research; and what the producers had me do also to help with the project.

And how if you can’t afford the time or expense of visiting a location, the best way of putting spice, and smell and feel and atmosphere into your research.

 

Five Recipes Reviewed: January 2017

I made a few meals this week. Most were tried and true deliciousness!

(Edited to add in Feburary of 2018: As of today, my family doesn’t like or eat anything from this list with the sole exception of the Whole Wheat Banana Bread. We had these recipes a few times, got tired of them really quickly, and never wanted them again. After a few tries, they were neither very tasty nor in keeping with our diets.) Read More

Choosing my word for 2017

Choosing my word for 2017: Author

I wanted to choose a word for the year to help keep focus for my goals. I got wise and had a discussion with my super-awesome-husband. We chatted a bit about my mini weekly goals and my goals for the year. Together, we chose the best possible word for me: Author.
This word is, and has been, at the root of my goals for years.
From NaNoWriMo 2015, to this past year I kept at my writing projects even with a baby in tow and an energetic 4-year-old. This year, I want to put this word at the forefront for focusing myself on my three weekly goals.
My end goal for my books is to self-publish to Kindle e-Books.
From now on, I will set every weekly mini-goal with this word in mind.
It think it’s very fitting that I choose a word in January, because that’s my birth month! I’ll be doing a little celebrating next week. I LOVE cookie cake. It’s one of my weaknesses…I plan on indulging.

Meals:

Best recipe of the week:

Chicken breast: I made 8 chicken breast meals.
I kept it super simple this week for food. It’s been a rough week.

For the chicken breasts, I found this video. It’s super helpful for a cooking novice like myself!
It’s a simple “recipe” or technique as he calls it. I have made chicken breasts this way all week long. My husband says that, in our almost 6 years of marriage, this is his favorite way that I have prepared chicken breasts!

Worst recipe of the week:

I tried his recipe for “brats” or bratwurst. I did not care for it at all. I guess I just didn’t care for that type of sausage. It was so bad that we tasted it and then threw it out. Some might judge me for being wasteful, but the taste was horrible. I was not going to eat it.
Anyone who does like this sausage please forgive me! (And kindly send me a better recipe.)

Writing my novel:

I’ve been delving deeper into my villain’s character, exploring his motivation for why he’s opposing my main character. I’m also exploring my female protagonist’s emotional depth. She experiences a lot of guilt and I want to show her past and the reasons why she feels this way. Interestingly, I haven’t done much with my main character and I’m almost 25k words in. What do you think that says about my story?

Cleaning:

I’ve been cleaning the kitchen plus one room for the second week straight. I did not expect it to make such a huge difference! It helps me keep concentration when I sit down to write.

I’ve been really feeling the space in my head with the clean rooms. It’s like I can breathe more easily! I love how having a clean home makes me feel. It’s so much more effort than I anticipated even with just two rooms, but it is so worth it for me.

To keep me motivated, I’ve been listening to A Slob Comes Clean. I just discovered this podcast and it’s wonderful!

Comment below and tell me about your week!

Meal Prepping Challenge: Week One

EIGHT MEALS: WEEK ONE

One of my goals is to meal prep 8 individual meals per week. This is to make more time for writing by spending less time in the kitchen.
Meal Prepping is going great so far. It’s helping me and my family to eat better without stressing over cooking every night.
  • Prepping Individual Meals
I love prepping Crockpot freezer meals and freezer cooking in general. But lately I’ve also been loving prep for individual healthy meals!
In the videos we watched they had similar meal prep containers, but I got super cheap ones from Kroger. They were $1.99 for 4.

Our meal prep containers:

Prepping individually packaged, from-scratch meals makes it so easy to eat a healthy meal even when pressed for time or when trying to juggle small kids. I can just grab a meal out of the fridge (or even freezer) with very little prep, if any. Also, this works great for making sure my husband has lunches to bring to work that are:

1. Appetizing
2. Healthy
@fitcouplecooks YouTube videos are so easy and so good for individual meals. We’ve done a few and so far: delicious. I’ve made variations on their meals in the last couple weeks:

I’ll confess a little secret. I’ve stepped out of our comfort zone with two ingredients.

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa

I’m embracing new and healthier options! I didn’t even know how to cook it these correctly before this past week.

 Thankfully, @fitcouplecooks provided perfect, delicious instructions for quinoa and brown rice!
  • More @fitcouplecooks goodness…

My husband made their delicious healthy chicken nuggets! This was an A+ winner recipe. I don’t have a pic…because we ate it all!

I’d recommend @fitcouplecooks recipes available on YouTube. They have easy to follow videos and inspired me to build my own meal prep meals!

Here’s a look at what I’ve done this week for my 8 meals!

  • Black bean brown rice burgers – 2 meals (frozen for later)

I made a huge pot of black beans from scratch the other night, so I’ve been trying to find ways to use them.
Note: making beans from scratch is a great way to use your crockpot! Also, making them from scratch is a good way to make beans that don’t have added salt, like you would find in canned beans.
I found a great black bean burger recipe. I’ve made some failed black bean burgers, but this one is even husband-approved! (I omitted the onions.)
  • salad with black beans and quinoa – 4 meals

I added salsa, taco sauce and cheese and heated in the microwave. Delish!

Confession: I did not follow the recipe exactly…
Here are the ingredients I used (“to taste”) for the ground beef:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Taco Bell mild sauce
Taco seasoning
Salt
(Cooked) Black Beans
And after cooking, I topped with:
salsa
olives
lettuce
We ate this with organic, low-salt corn chips.
The Nachos fed us each dinner plus at least 4 more meals in leftovers!
I’m over my quota for meals this week; which means more time for writing, less time cooking.
Apparently, I don’t have to sacrifice healthy meals to make time for writing. Meal prep for individual meals has bought me time all week!
Do you meal prep, freezer cook or crockpot freezer cook? Let me know how you save time in the kitchen!

Still loving Scrivener and trying to stay sane

I’m still using Scrivener every day, and I gotta say, I love the little bugger. It’s so convenient.

  1. I can work on my computer *if* I get a chance to sit down at my computer during the day.
  2. If (more like WHEN) I get sidetracked, I can have my book in my pocket. Even if I don’t get a chance to do any hard-core writing, I can still go back and at least review my outline to keep the story and characters fresh in my mind. For me, that’s so important. Even if I don’t get a chance to sit down and do any writing for a week because I’m so burned out, I at least don’t lose the story. It’s so hard for me to come back from that because I feel like I have to start over when that happens. Jeff Goins explains the importance of writing every day on his podcast here.

For all you breastfeeding mommas out there…this little app, Scrivener for iOS, is a godsend. It syncs with the computer and the computer syncs with my phone. Brilliant.
Yes, for me there are a few little kinks. I’ve gotten some weird “conflicts” registered on my phone and computer. This happens if I don’t sync immediately after I’m done writing and then I switch to the other device to continue writing. It takes a little getting used to, but I’m loving it. Moral of that story is to sync immediately upon finishing writing on whatever device so that it syncs to the Dropbox. From Dropbox, everything syncs and it’s all good.

Today, I got another THOUSAND words done. I didn’t think I’d have the energy. It was a long day, but a good day with my kids. I love to be a SAHM and I’m writing at night now. It’s kinda killing me because I’m up so much at night nursing the baby, but I feel better after writing. If I don’t write, I might feel less tired because I sleep instead, but I feel more FULFILLED when I write.

I know there is a balance and a breaking point. If I write and don’t  sleep, sleep deprivation will catch up to me. I pushed that yesterday. I pushed myself too hard after staying up all night with the baby. My husband gets the brunt of my bad mood when I do this. Thankfully, he’s a very patient man and very supportive of my goal to finish my book. Don’t get jealous ladies, but he cleaned the house, did laundry and the dishes for me. Because he knew I was tired and stressed.

I’m tired because I’m nursing my 9-month-old all night. I’m stressed because I’ve been fighting to find affordable health insurance for my youngest son. I know there are many families with the same or worse challenges, but I’m bummed with this. So far my search has been fruitless, frustrating and depressing. But I always feel better knowing that, at the end of the day I can go write on my book for an hour or so. If I ever make money from this book, the proceeds will likely go towards funding my youngest child’s health insurance premiums. It’s more of an incentive to finish right now than anything else.

To the end of writing-to-keep-me-sane, I highly recommend using Scrivener in iPhone app and computer program form. It’s helping me knock those words out even on difficult days like my last few days have been.

I’m finishing this post while nursing my son back to sleep. He’s so sweet.

Everyone, keep writing especially if you’re doing NaNoWriMo. The world needs your stories!

Write Your Novel on a Smartphone

Write Your Novel on a Smartphone: 5 Useful Apps

Write Your Novel on a Smartphone

Write Your Novel on a Smartphone

You cook your own simple meals and iron your own shirts. You know, like normal people. You clean your bathrooms and do your own dishes. You don’t have the money to “outsource” your everyday chores to make time to write.

You certainly don’t have a ghost writer. The only person who will get your writing done is…you.

When I sit down to write, I remember the literal laundry list of dirty clothes and folded laundry. The sticky floors, the dirty dishes, the overflowing trash is all calling my name. It’s hard for me to be tied to a chair in front of the computer for 30 minutes when I know I have to get lunches packed for the next day.

Does this sound familiar?

Sure it’s hard. It’s a fight every day for mommas to carve out time to pee much less to write for thirty minutes. I do sometimes write on my phone WHILE I’m peeing. As long as the baby is in his playpen and not crying (he cries because I’ve put him down for literally a minute.) He’s been very attached lately. He’s an eight-month-old so I can’t really blame the poor little guy.

Lately, the best time to get a little revision or hurried writing in is while I’m breastfeeding. If have more energy than the bare minimum that allows me to scroll aimlessly through Facebook in order to keep my eyes open, I will whip open one of a few apps. Here are a few that I find useful to get some writing in while I have a few minutes during my day.

Scrivener

The app that I use most often lately is Scrivener. The app has only recently become available at the time of this blog post. It’s awesome. Well worth the money I spent. It syncs with my computer via Dropbox.

Google Drive/Google Docs

Google Drive allows me to basically brain-dump ideas for books, articles and blog posts. I have designated folders for blog ideas and creative writing for books.

Notes

Notes occasionally serves me well as a quick spot to write down a story idea. Mostly I use it for grocery lists and copy/paste recipes from Facebook.

WordPress

WordPress is an excellent way to post pictures from your phone onto your blog without having to upload them to your computer. It’s also nice to do some last minute revision.

Evernote

I used this for a while. It didn’t do anything for me. But you can check it out for yourself via the link above. It’s supposed to be like a notecard and file folder all-in-one.

Also helpful are some pointers from Michael Hyatt on strategic iPhone use.

I hope you find these useful and get some writing done, especially if you plan on doing NaNoWriMo this year. Every extra word counts!

 

Why I use a smartphone to write my novel


I’m a mom to two small children. I understand the struggle to find time to write.

Most writing advice includes many references to “just do it” involving the phrase, “get your butt in a chair” or “sit down and do it.” This advice is all well and good, but if you DO NOT EVER SIT DOWN because you’re a mom, this advice doesn’t work for you. In fact, this advice can become downright discouraging. If you can never sit down, this post is for you, mommas!

Sitting down at the traditional “writer’s desk” to get a significant daily word count is next to impossible for me at this stage of my life. Especially since #secondbaby, my 8-month old, is still #breastfeeding. He’s up eating every two hours. #nanowrimo is almost upon us and this year, if you want to participate, I say go for it! Go for it even if you have no time to “get your butt in a chair and write.” Here’s how I did it!

I’m so busy. I still want to pursue my passion for writing and become an author despite limited time. Over the last year as I experimented with time savers I realized I needed something that would allow me to multitask. That something is a smartphone.

Over the last year, and especially the last 8 months, writing on my smartphone has helped me stay on track with my novel by enabling me to write every day, even if it’ only a few words here and there.

I am a SAHM/WAHM so I stay busy with my two kids and housework. But I found that I can use a few ten minute to thirty minute time slots throughout my day. Breastfeeding is a great example of time that can be used to multi-task. I also can write while my boys are playing quietly together (this is rare). Or, and let’s get real here, during bathroom breaks. Just remember, when you’re determined and crunching time, you gotta take time where you find it. Just sayin’…

Over the past year I’ve used my smartphone to write. Even hunched over a baby nuzzled to my breast, bleary-eyed at 3am, I can still text words into my smartphone. That’s mostly how I made it through #nanowrimo2015 (aside from my husband’s heroic efforts to buy me time. @knightsbayne ) It works.

I tried using a laptop computer while breastfeeding but the “clack, clack” of keys as I typed one-handed woke up the baby.

While I looked for ways to get extra word count for #nanowrimo before the baby was born, I used Google Docs for iPhone to write. Now, since I find myself using my smartphone more and more for novel writing, I’ve explored several apps. There’s a lot out there. I will cover what apps I found most useful in my next post. The app I use now for novel writing is Scrivener by Literature and Latte. This is a link to a FREE TRIAL. I DO NOT get any money for sharing this. It’s just a great program.

I’m a mommy and I’m a writer. Mommy-writers, especially of small children, need all the help they can get to achieve their goals. I know I do. While I have far from mastered writing or time management, I hope to help in my small way by sharing my experience, even if only to provide encouragement. Writing can get done even when you have no time to “get your butt in a chair.” You just have to think outside of the “box” where the traditional writer’s space is concerned. Maybe even if your writer’s “chair” is a “white throne.”