Thursday, 30 May 2013

Best tool I ever bought for my writing, a mouse.

Makes a lot of sense, right? The best thing I ever bought for my writing was not a book, or a keyboard, or a pen, or anything like that, it was a mouse. A Razer Naga Hex (in green to be precise).
Here is what it looks like:

Does it make sense yet why this is the best thing ever? Of course, it fits nicely in my hand, the buttons are responsive and I can change the DPI of it. Sure, those are good things to have when you play videogames and that is why I originally bought it. My boyfriend bought me a copy of Diablo III and you can't play that on a touchpad (I know because I tried on the trial, I can play about anything on my touchpad but not DIII).

So, what is Razer and what is special about this mouse? Razer is a company that makes gaming products, they are one of the best brands to buy from when you're a gamer. They make keyboards, mice, headsets and even laptops.
The Naga Hex is the little brother of the Naga, which is their mouse with the most buttons on the side, 12 to be precise. Which, to me, is overkill. Until I saw this one, it had just released and I immediately took it with me. Originally for Diablo III and other videogames, I barely ever use the macro buttons on the side for that though.

Those 6 buttons on the side (and the two in the middle on the top) are macro buttons. You can attach certain actions to them. In gaming most people usually put attacks and other things to them so that they need to use less buttons on the keyboard.
But that is not where I found it to be the most useful for, I was so used to gaming on a laptop with touchpad that I had gotten used to things on that, I found it to be the most useful for my writing.

Yes, a gaming mouse is the most useful thing I ever got for my writing.
Not for the initial writing of my works but for editing and later formatting.

When I get my work back from my editor I need to accept her changes, or decline them, and there are notes and other things going on. The first time I did this I used right click and then "accept change" for each and every thing. That is two clicks, if you didn't miss click the change you want to accept. It's annoying because sometimes it's only punctuation and it just takes a lot of clicking and tires out your hands and wrists.
I can accept or decline changes in a matter of seconds, with a lot less clicks and a lot easier. I have put 4 macros on the side of the mouse.
1: accept change (and jumps to the next change immediately)
2: decline change (and jumps to the next change immediately)
3: decline note, so I can delete them after I've read them
5: undo
I know I don't use 4 and 6, but that doesn't matter, I disabled those buttons so that they can't do anything weird when I miss click.
I can now accept changes at a high speed, I can read along as I change everything. A lot of the changes my editor makes are punctuation or tense changes and I can almost blindly accept them (of course I first read what she changed). I can accept each change with just 1 click. So I'm halving my own work, plus I no longer need to search for changes as the macro will jump to the next change immediately. Sure, the buttons are simply macros, and I could use the keyboard combination that it does simply by hand. Though that still means I need to do quite a couple of clicks, as they are all 2 key combinations. Ctrl + Num 9 is the combination for "accept change" that I put into the program. That is still 2 different sides of the keyboard. With this mouse I need just 1 button.
It lessens the strain on my hands as I only need to click with my thumb while I can relax the rest of my hand and arm.

The second thing I use it for is during formatting. If you've seen my formatting guide for the kindle you know that I swear by nuking all your formatting and re-formatting everything afterwards. This is what I use it for too. I have macro buttons for italics, bold, header 1 and a few other small options. It makes everything so much quicker. Select, click the button and move on. This has brought back 3 rounds of making changes back to just 1.

These two things have made my writing life so much easier and quicker. Sure I still need to write and do all these things but what used to take hours now takes maybe half or 1/3 of the time it used to and with a lot less hand cramps.

Another thing I really liked it for was during writing my dissertation. I had quick buttons for header 1 and 2 and also to add footnotes and things like that. Formatting literally at the click of a button. I didn't need to look away from where I was writing, I just clicked my mouse, typed what I needed and moved on. No disruption of thought stream.

Of course, not everyone can buy a mouse like this. But check out how macros work, set your own quick buttons for things. These few changes can make your life so much easier. 1 click is better than 2 and 1 button is better than 2.

What quick tips or special things do you use to make your life easier when it comes to writing and editing?

Write on!


Monday, 13 May 2013

Elle Casey's Spring give away! 190 books to choose from and 1500+ copies to win!

There are some really really cool books in this giveaway! Check out the books and maybe sign up for a couple of them!

you can go to the giveaway page here:

And here are all the covers of the books that are part of the giveaway!