Posted in Cool Tools, Writing Prompts

Emotional Pain Words

Howdy y’all! As Nanowrimo creeps ever closer, what are you doing to stretch those writerly brain muscles? I happened to be in a therapy session when my super awesome therapy lady showed me the following list. The purpose is to help people express what they’re feeling or what they’re afraid of, but we both agreed that it would also be a great list for writers working on character feelings! The followed material was not compiled by me but the photocopy had no attribution. Hope this helps a stumped writer get somewhere new!

fave pencil point right
All my fault
Always wrong
fave pencil point left
Blamedfave pencil point rightCan’t do anything right
Can’t trust anyone
Conspired against
Cut offfave pencil point leftDeceived
Desires were rejected
Didn’t belong
Didn’t measure up
Dominatedfave pencil point rightEmbarrassed
Exposedfave pencil point leftFailure
Frustratedfave pencil point rightGood for nothing
Guiltyfave pencil point leftHated
Hate myself
Hystericalfave pencil point rightImpure
Insensitive to my needs
Invalidatedfave pencil point leftLeft out
Lied to
Lostfave pencil point rightMade fun of
Molestedfave pencil point leftNeglected
No good
Not being affirmed
Not cared for
Not cherished
Not deserving to live
Not listened to
Not measure up
Not valuedfave pencil point rightOpinions not valued
Out of control
Overwhelmedfave pencil point leftPathetic
Pressure to perform
Publicly shamedfave pencil point rightRejected
Ruinedfave pencil point leftSad
Suicidalfave pencil point rightTaken advantage of
Torn apart
Trashfave pencil point leftUgly
Unable to communicate
Uncared for
Unfairly judged
Unfairly treated
Usedfave pencil point rightViolated
Vulnerablefave pencil point leftWasted
Woundedfave pencil point right

Posted in Cool Tools, Reviews

A Journal for All Seasons PT I

Online journaling resources. Since there’s already plenty of information out there for the top contenders, I did not review the most well-known sites: tumblr, live journal, penzu. I wanted to take a look at what else was out there, and how a journal site might be of particular use to writers looking to access their work anywhere they are. To test post length, I pasted material from Project Gutenberg’s “Snow-White and Rose-Red.”

journalateReviewing: Journalate
Look: Clean, sparse, attractive; white and blue with some red and black on the journal entry page
Layout: Options along the top right
Cost: Free
Upgrade: Premium bells and whistles for $27/yr
How to start: All you have to do is enter an email and invent a password, then start writing. Possibly the fastest/easiest sign-up. 
Site boasts “no software install, update from any device” and also touts its privacy and encryption. You can send an entry to a friend. Ostensibly you could use this function and email entries to yourself in order to back up your files.
The main selling point of Journalate seems to be (and the main aspect that sets it apart from other journal options) is that you can pay for the upgrade and be able to import data from your other social media locations: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. This allows you-the-user to recreate a fuller journal representation of what you were doing, saying, and thinking during those days. You can also add images and YouTube videos to your journal entries. If you’re willing to pay for the service, this may be the best option for you.
Cons: If you’re not looking to pay, this one is likely not going to be your first choice, since all the special stuff requires payment. 
Jobe’s writerly notes:
 I did not experience any entry length limitations.

journeycloudReviewing: Journey Cloud
Look: White with blue accents
Layout: Intuitive, easy design
Cost: Free
Upgrade: Cloud Membership rate is $29.99/yr, but a pop-up advertises “Starting at USD 2.49/mo,” possibly for just a particular feature?
How to start: If you have a gmail user, just log-in and grant Journey Cloud access to your Google Drive as it relates to the entries you create and store with this app. You’ll automatically be redircted to the entry creation and editing page.
it can link with your gmail log-in. Super simple and easy.
Cons: if you don’t have a gmail account, it looks like you have to make one. Also, I type with line breaks between paragraphs, a formatting preference that Journey Cloud negated in my saved posts, both when writing in the entry field and pasting from a different text editor.
Jobe’s writerly notes: No line breaks does not work for me. (If there’s a way to fix this, someone please let me know.)

onlinejournalReviewing: Online Journal
Look: White and blue with red accents; simple, attractive fonts
Layout: Really just a front page with selling points and links at the bottom for brainstorming how to use a journal and/or what kind of journal to make
Cost: Free
Upgrade: n/a
How to start: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter your email to subscribe. You’ll receive an email. 
You can use this one from any device. You can also share an entry or make an entry public (but the default setting is always private).
 You can’t start writing immediately. You have to wait to receive your confirmation email.
Jobe’s writerly notes: No limitations on entry length or number of entries.

computer-phone-book-menReviewing: JRNL
Look: Customizable
Layout: menus across the top
Do you want a printed book of your online journal entries? If so, you’re in luck. (Is this retro chic?) A 100pg b&w print costs $19.95 and options go up from there.
Upgrade: It looks like the online journal is completely free since the printing is their main revenue source.
How to start: Click “create my free account” then from your confirmation email “activate.”
Pros: This was the first one that had a more interesting color scheme, soft blurry colors that felt soothing and not distracting. You can edit the date and time. You can title the entry. Looking through the options, you can change the wallpaper, too. The profile you can choose to fill out is extensive. You can select entries and elect to have them printed. You can utilize tags. It appears you can create separate journals, perhaps for different topics or intentions.
Cons: When I clicked “save entry” at the bottom, nothing happened. I tried several times. When I tried a very short entry it saved, and it could then be edited or deleted as normal. When I tried the long entry again, it again would not save. I deleted paragraph at a time until it allowed a save: my word counter indicated that 840 words is apparently a rough estimate of your max entry length using this one.
Jobe’s writerly notes: Word count limitations does not work for me.

screen480x480Reviewing: Goodnight Journal
Look: white with accents of orange and green
Layout: menus on the top right, entry previews like a blog
free (donations optional)
Upgrade: n/a
How to start: Register and activate via link in email.
Pros: This one auto-saves as you’re typing (much like gmail) which is nice. It’s also linked to your google user. You can elect for your entries to be private or public, default is private. You can fill out a profile and you can download backups. For people who like reading journals, you can “surf” user entries marked public.
Cons: If you don’t have a gmail user it could be inconvenient to have to make one.
Jobe’s writerly notes: I did not experience any entry length limitations.

Image result for diaroReviewing: Diaro
Look: white, blue, dark gray / white & blue / customizable!
Layout: Instead of a “save” at the bottom right, be aware of the “done” checkmark at the top left.
Cost: free
Upgrade: Diaro Pro costs a one-time fee of $4.99, thereby enabling linking and sync-ing to Dropbox as well as going ad-free (but I didn’t notice any ads) and allows you to add pictures to your entries.
How to start: you can invent a log-in or opt to link to your Gmail account for sign-in.
A new entry provides you with your character count, word count, and an option to elect a current mood. The full word count of the entry I’m using for testing is 2,634 and I did not experience any limitations. Once it’s saved there’s a preview list similar to the look of Gmail. As mentioned in “look,” this app has customizable color features. So mine is yellow, because yay! You can also export/import and link to Dropbox. There are charts to track entries per day, words per day, moods, and more.
Cons: If you want a journal that uses a pop-up to ask for your location so you can track your local weather report as part of your entry, this is the app for you. It struck me as a bit odd, but I guess it’s not much different from mood tracking, so, hey. Something for everyone. (You can turn this feature off, so it’s not an actual con.)
Jobe’s writerly notes: Interestingly, the finished product journal entries appear on “lined paper,” unlike most of the other apps.

Image result for dabble meReviewing: Dabble.Me
Look: blue and white
Upgrade: $3/mo for Dabble Me Pro
How to start: When I tried to write a first post, I received this message, “Subscribe to PRO to unlock the ability to add new entries via the web.” So I think it is meant to be used primarily as an app on a phone or tablet. When I checked my email I found that this journal uses the reply function in your email to post entries that way.
Pros: Interestingly this is the only journal I’ve seen that advertises (in the pro version) being able to add songs to journal entries (via spotify). There is also a search bar function. You’ll get a confirmation email when you post so I guess saving these confirmation emails would be a method of having the content archived (maybe this is their way of ‘backing up’ files). Persistent email reminders to add an entry, if you like that.
Cons: When I pasted my Project Gutenberg text into my email, it had all the formatting and line breaks and paragraph indents of the original text. In Dabble Me there was no formatting retained and everything rushed together in one huge block of text. Also, I don’t really get the point of typing in my email. If I wanted to do that, wouldn’t I just do that, say in Drafts, without the need for a journal program?
Jobe’s writerly notes: No line breaks, no paragraph breaks, no thanks.

logoReviewing: Monkkee
Look: white with orange and dark gray
Layout: simple, intuitive design; search bar on the right, dates on the left
Cost: free
Upgrade: N/A. This site appears completely free (no ‘pro’ version) but offers an option to donate (in Euros).
How to start: registration has to be confirmed via email like many of the others
pencilPros: There is a search bar function. There is basic formatting similar to WordPress, it autosaves, and tags are usable. The preview of the completed journal entry has no formatting but the full entry does. Buttons for writing a new entry, deleting, and printing, plus a sidebar for a calendar search. English is one of four language options, making it the only international app I’ve reviewed here. This journal also makes use of tags. The preview has no formatting but the actual entry does. There is pocket_knifeno save button, it just auto-saves. Headers of various sizes are an option to use.
Monkkee makes a huge big deal of the fact that they have NO way to retrieve your password if you lose or forget it and in that case your content will be lost and gone forever.
Jobe’s writerly notes: I love the line drawing look. This app is clean, simple, easy. Possibly a contender for favorite.

Life Journal - A beautiful, secure, full featured journal/diary app (compatible with Day One)Reviewing: Life Journal by Beautiful Life Apps
Look: too busy!
Layout: too much going on!
Cost: $24.99 (sign-up for the newsletter to get 10% off)
Upgrade: three additional add-on products each with their own accompanying costs
How to start: I could not find any way to try the product without purchasing, so I moved on. Personally I feel like there are so many free and low cost products out there, you can’t just expect people to pay without at least offerring a free trial.
Pros:  It boasts compatibility with another journal app, Day One. 
Cons: It touts itself as having a gorgeous interface, but honestly to me it looks too busy and feels too crowded with icons.
Jobe’s writerly notes: N/A.

1Reviewing: Day One
Look: white and blue with attractive fonts
Layout: simple, attractive
Cost: free
Upgrade: appears to be a cross-platform app with at least three versions–Day One Classic, Day One 2.0, and Day One Premium. Day One Premium requires a $34.99/yr subscription but the app is currently offering a discounted rate of $24.99/yr.
How to start:
you can create a user (email confirmation/activation) but you can’t download and use it on a PC, only on iOS, Mac, or Android.
2Pros: This app has been around since 2009, so it’s had time to gain momentum and popularity–and it has won awards, like App of the Year. Everything defaults to a private setting, but you can select what to share and who to share it with. 
 No good if you primarily want to type on your not-a-Mac computer.
Jobe’s writerly notes: since I don’t own a Mac computer and I don’t prefer to type on my phone (my typing speed is 2x-3x slower) this one is not the ideal one for me.

Honorable mentions for, which was suggested by several sources but had a “we are buggy come back later” message when I tried to visit the site; and ohlife, another one I found mentioned several times in my initial research but was discontinued in 2014 (RIP). Thanks for reading, and I hope you found out something helpful in our pursuit of the perfect online journal!


Posted in Cool Tools, Writing Prompts

Jobe-Bot Writer-Prompt-ery Fun Times

There was an auto-generate app that showed up on Facebook called “What Would I Say.” It used an algorithym and sifted through all the words you’ve ever used on Facebook (paying particluar attention to phrases, so that the results would make a kind of sense) and spat out with the click of a button what Bot-You would post as a status. This kind of word game tickles me pink so I of course abused this power ad naseum and everyone friended to me got an earful (eyeful). Today when it showed back up in my feed (“Memories” from 2017, 2016, and 2015)  I thought some of this might make decent idea generation and/or writing prompt material. So if you get a laugh out of the below, great. If you get a story starter or a fun idea and write with it, even better. And if you’re weird like me and love this kind of thing too, here’s the link. Play, my lovelies, play!

Jobe (and Jobe-Bot)

  • If anyone is in bloom already!
  • See also, a mask and coat full of rats.
  • Hate has been.
  • When your kitchen smells the best for miles!
  • Me too, I’m going to be present and accountable today.
  • Natural colors where ARE THOSE OPTIONS
  • Yay my friends gave you two swords instead of just saying it’s a thing.
  • Even if you don’t see why this is a no.
  • Calling all angels, upcoming Women’s Day without a stop to all of it?
  • In dire need to read this.
  • You know red, valentine, etc? Nerds warm my heart.
  • She is so nervous poor darlings.
  • And then they were just sitting there with our story.
  • In the separate sections I believe me.
  • Thanksgiving visit to my hair.
  • I’m supposed to be visiting in the wrong thing where I love you all.
  • Lip bite is code for awesome.
  • I’m supposed to tag 5 ladies to do.
  • Can you believe how many episodes you’ve watched in Jack’s life?
  • 2009 Chevy Malibu with a poly group and the rainbow.
  • ROFL Sounds like a cute lil Malk but she tastes bad.
  • You definitely made a Ta Da.
  • Mowin’ the lawn like a top yellow but they go until you’re 50 or 60. You bleed a day off because you want a custom me doll versions of us.
  • I bet your kitchen smells the best I could do.
  • Mowin’ the garage into a bedroom.
  • Lip bite is nice to me.
  • Happy Six years, I dreamt Jasper and Izzy were superintelligent, capable of the twentyfirst century.
  • When I dream I’m going to that upcoming novel from Chase Night? Honestly, I got everybody here.
  • Jack and Arkansas can be damned annoying.
  • Hers is forest with love I got married. 1 year ago we signed a lease with rage, and petting my baby!
  • And I was a lesbian.
  • Pros, cons, and the ink blots washed out.
  • Tell me if you’re willing to be a dick?
  • Just my brain wandering about, the episode 21 really got 4+ dudes to sleep.
Posted in Cool Tools, Fitness Challenge, Writing Challenge

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (first half)

AW_bookimageThe Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron has lived on my shelf for a while now, and I’ve promised myself for some time that I’d get to it. It’s kind of like a workbook with a program to follow, made up of 12 chapters for 12 weeks. Cameron must be doing something really right, because 2016 was the book’s 25 year anniversary, and it is still selling strong. And Goodreads calls it “the seminal work” on creativity.

The two keystones of the program are the Pages and the Date. Cameron’s original vision for morning pages was three pages hand-written, first thing in the morning. You can write anything, with no structure and no limits—you writing one morning could be complaining about a coworker, the next morning it could be your grocery list, the next an idea that just popped into your head. It isn’t mean to be Your Art, just a way to clear your mind. 750 Words stretches the definition a little, calling them daily pages, and that works better for me since I run in the morning and write in the evening. (If more than one of your habits recommends itself as your “first thing,” well, you can’t exactly have everything tie for first.) I do enjoy hand-writing, but I love the organization of doing everything on the computer. (Maybe it’s a generational thing.)

The other major component of the program is your Artist’s Date, which you do SOLO, just you and your inner artist. It can be an adventurous drive or a quiet walk, a visit to a store or a park or a museum; it can be anything you want that sparks your soul, but no one else is allowed to accompany. Of course, simple as it is, people (read: I) still have trouble. There are weekly writing exercises to help you stretch your wings and there are weekly Check-Ins to gauge and monitor where you’re at with it. The Check-In questions go something like this: 1. How many days this week did you do your pages? 2. Did you do your artist date? 3. Good stuff? 4. Bad stuff?

Here’s a quick run-down of how I’ve done with the first half of the book.

Date Range Week Notes Run 3 pts 750 Write Date
Monday Jan 29 – Sunday Feb 4 Week 0 Gave myself a freebie week to ease into it 5 of 7 x x 4 of 7 (n/a)
Monday Feb 5 – Sunday Feb 11 Week 1 got sick 2 of 7 x x 2 of 7 Yes
Monday Feb 12 – Sunday Feb 18 Week 2 got new running shoes, started using 750 Words 5 of 7 x 7 of 7 7 of 7 No
Monday Feb 19 – Sunday Feb 25 Week 3 emotional writing 4 of 7 x 7 of 7 7 of 7 No
Monday Feb 26 – Sunday Mar 4 Week 4 Mar 1 started Blue & You Fitness Challenge 6 of 7 4 of 4 7 of 7 7 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 5 – Sunday Mar 11 Week 5 I had a birthday! 6 of 7 7 of 7 6 of 7 7 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 12 – Sunday Mar 18 Week 6 broke my writing streak bc I stayed out too late w friends 5 of 7 7 of 7 5 of 7 6 of 7 Yes
Monday Mar 19 – Sunday Mar 25 Week 0 fell off the habit, got discouraged, started up again 5 of 7 7 of 7 6 of 7 6 of 7 (n/a)



Posted in Cool Tools, Fitness Challenge, Writing Challenge

Fitness & Writing Challenges

Hello and welcome to March. Is the weather where you are as gorgeous as it is here? Yesterday I was able to wear a sleeveless dress (joy!) without leggings (wasn’t even cold!) and I even threw on some colorful jewelry. The Spring comes, and with it the season of looking and feeling our most alive as everything around us is waking up. Yay! (Yes, I know, I’m not very subtle when it comes to season-favoritism.)

March 1 marked not one but two special occasions for me: the beginning of the Blue and You Fitness Challenge (which sadly you can only participate in if your workplace offers Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance) and the beginning of the monthly Writing Challenge on 750 Words, which anyone can join and happens every month! I was pretty excited to see both Welcome emails in my inbox (and when I used arrows to block stuff out only to then discover that MS Paint does, in fact, have HEARTS.)

gmail view

So, Fitness. What do you do for exercise? I enjoy swimming but find going to the pool something of a big fat hassle, so I don’t often manage it. Likewise I like the dog park but don’t take the doggo nearly as often as I should. For good ole dependable daily exercise, I use my trusty treadmill, set up in front of the tv. 3mph for 45mins means 2.25miles “run” (jogged? run very slowly?) while I bliss out to an episode of whatever I happen to be watching. Currently, The Magicians. Since I’m a really big nerd when it comes to visual encouragement, I made (found hi-res images and added the quote) and collected (google image searches) a bunch of little thingies.

But I would be remiss in my bloggess duties if I didn’t also goob all about the writing challenge. I started using the site 2/12 so I was too late to join up for February but using it has already upped my average writing sessions from 4ish per week to 7 per week, because I get a little x in my little green box in my little strand of green boxes if I continue to write every single day! And I am a total sucker for pressing the food bar. On the site you get stuff like this:


While in your email you get stuff like this:



badgesI’m pretty into it. (You don’t actually get that pencil graphic, I stole that from a Facebook ad.) Are you excited yet? Because you can also earn badges like these (over there, on the side, no, the other side… grr, you know what I mean). Of course if you don’t know about the indelible connection between writing and birds, you’re in for a treat, because Anne Lamott is the bomb. (Do people still say that? The bomb? Well anyway she’s really cool.) I have no idea if the connection to Lamott is what Buster and Kelli were thinking about when they started the site up years ago, but it’s undeniably part of the ongoing literary consciousness now. In conclusion, go out there and kick this week’s (and month’s) ass. That is all.

Posted in Cool Tools, What Makes You Happy?

My Planner Isn’t a Bullet Journal. (It’s Actually a Sticker Book.)

E99C2305-00D7-45BD-89B4-3D802320474CThis is my Happy Planner. For those who care, it’s the middle size available. I chose the Happy Planner over other cool options because the pages are colorful. I got it at Michael’s on sale (you can catch the sales at the ends and beginnings of each year) and I bought extra cover sets on ebay. This is my current favorite cover, and it says, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” I feel like I do that, or try to do that, for those around me. I wear the brightest colored clothing and hair colors I can find (and I wish other people would too). But maybe I just like it best because it’s got bright yellow on it, and yellow’s my favorite. In any case, you can catch a glimpse of my work desk and the Adventure Time skirt I got on etsy. I buy a lot of stuff on etsy. When you open the cover, you can see all the stickers I’ve placed inside, taped in sheets to the laminated pages.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And that gets us to the back cover. The stickers in my planner take up about 1/3 of the heft of the book. I mostly buy them from all over etsy, but in case you’re dying to know, I’ve included what I hope is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this post.3525FFD0-95DC-4582-89C9-2A3E579F78BF Some of the sticker types I use are filler: rainbows, rainbow hearts, rainbow stars, pink hearts, yellow stars, yellow smiley faces, So So Happy encouragement stickers. They don’t really stand for anything, I just like the way they look, and they take up space and make everything more “filled out” looking. But for the bulk of my stickers, each one represents an action, a mood, something I want to regularly track. So rather than “make a plan” for the day or the week or the month, I actually use my planner as a visually recorded account of what I did/accomplished, and how I was feeling. Since I don’t want stickers for every action I take (poops, for example, which some people wish to track, but I do not) I try to focus my sticker collection on habits I want to encourage myself to keep doing / do more of: exercise, writing, reading, chores. I also want to track things like my period, if I was sick, my mood (I have cry-faces and happy faces and angry faces, etc.) and YES, I do actually write down upcoming appointments and To Do lists as well. Just not maybe to the extent that (actual) planning people do.

Some of my month spreads end up looking gorgeous and amazing. For Nanowrimo, for example, I used extra special stickers to track my daily word counts on rainbow typewriters. So my November month-view ended up extra gorgeous and hyper-focused. Winning! (On the sidebar, Doug’s homework word count, impressive!)

Glorious November spread

Another month that ended up looking gorgeous and amazing was my February spread, thanks to my awesome and amazing friend Karen, who bought a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker pack for me at Target. I held nothing back, as you can see. (Those little green guys are recyle days and paydays.)

Fabulous February spread

And then there’s the weekly view, which is the bread and butter of this industry. I love the way the Happy Planner breaks the week into seven days and the days into thirds. I use them for 1) before work 2) at work 3) after work. There’s a weekly sidebar on the left that I use for To Do’s. And different planner companies will give you the option, or not, to start your week on Sunday or Monday. Some people want the work week sandwiched by the weekend on either side, like bookends. I’m not about that life. The reason the weekend is beautiful is because it’s two days together, and hopefully, two days off together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I hope you enjoyed my sticker book, I mean “planner.” It must be a planner, right? It has the word right there in the name… So some of the stickers featured here I bought at the Container Store (these and these). But most of the stickers featured here were made by etsy artists:

Happy Cutie Studio UK
Planner Frenzy New Hampshire
Anna’s Planner Bubble Poland
Planner Studio California
iArtisans Canada
Plan Gorgeously California
Tiny Little Tulip Arkansas
Brianna Nicole Designz Wisconsin
Keena Prints Philippines
Domino 626 Virginia
Once More With Love Canada
S. G. Stationery Arizona
Hello Stickers Georgia
Ashwood Arts Texas