An Organisation Helping Support #Writers and #Authors: Please Pass On

bfblogoEvery day, one in three authors will prepare to work, just to discover that they have run out of coffee. Medically, this leads to a short-term, debilitative state known as cafea ademptus. Long term, it creates a serious cultural vacuum in literature. Beans for Books is a non-profit initiative, which aims to stop this loss by providing community awareness, prevention strategies and research into eliminating cafea ademptus.

The effects of cafea ademptus aren’t limited to physical impairment, it also causes distress and is responsible for great losses to the International literary community. For example, it is a little known fact that Mahatma Gandhi, despite the encouragement of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, never got to write his thriller, “Dark Nights in Natal.” Historians have linked this loss to a voluntary lack of coffee consumption. [Ref] We have to ask ourselves how many other great treasures have been lost, as a result of coffee deprivation.

Know the Symptoms of Cafea Ademptus:

  • Weakness in the extremities.
  • Ability to sit steadily and upright in a chair.
  • Nausea
  • Confusion and an inability to concentrate, or focus.
  • Dizziness
  • Chewing on empty coffee packets, chewing on used spoons, or licking the inside of used cups.
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless or depressed.
  • Reduced productivity and decreased in goal seeking behaviour.
  • Aggression or argumentative behaviour; sometimes leading to theft, violence and the abandonment of all morals to obtain a ‘hit.’
  • Loitering around coffee retailers, or being known by name, by their employees. This is especially serious, if Starbucks employees spell clients names correctly on cups.
  • Excessive need for sleep or other sedentary activity.

Cafea ademptus can become worse around peak periods of coffee use, such as days after public holidays or weekends, when suppliers have been closed for business; during November (which in many literary circles is related to NaNoWriMo phenomena), and April (A-Z Challenge); or late at night when deadlines are approaching.

Warning Signs of the Approach of Cafea Ademptus:

  • The level of coffee in the bag, or tin, is less than one third of the package weight.
  • Rationing coffee in a panic, as supplies are getting low.
  • Fighting over how many cups other members of the household or office, have consumed.

Medical authorities and sociologists have presented a number of draft strategies for bringing the problem under control. While these still require formal study, the suggestions for avoiding cafea ademptus involve simple tasks such as buying double quantities; socially focussed solutions such as being aware when friends are about to hit peak periods and checking their supplies; and in providing counsellors who can tailor organisational strategies to individual needs, to ensure all coffee related needs are met in a timely manner. Door to door rescue services are also being considered.

At this time, the only cure is a measured, regular coffee intake. No substitutions or medications have been able to replicate the effects of coffee, though chocolate has been tried with some hopeful outcomes. More research needs to be undertaken.

You can help cover the costs of research.

Donate by calling 1700-GIVE-A-BEAN to stop literary loss today.


The factual information in this post is provided by idiotsRus, as part of a non-profit initiative to take the woe out of Mondays.

Warning: if you try and ring that number to donate, your telco will probably laugh at you. Or you will donate to, I have no idea who. Don’t do it.

Disclaimer: I think Ghandi was awesome. No harm or offence was intended. He did meet with writers and adopt a severe diet for spiritual purity. Oh and Cafea Ademptus is Latin for coffee deprive. (Loosely)

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

All images used in this post (except the logo), are sourced from and are suitable for non-commercial use.

Free #NaNoWriMo Motivational Badges for Your Blog

Everyone uses the NaNoWriMo badge, which is great, but if you’d like something additional to give yourself a motivational boost, you are welcome to use these. They are for social media, web sites and blogs and can be shared, adapted, whatever you’d like.

Click on them to get the full size copy, or right click on the image to save to your computer.

Good luck Nano’s! We’re all cheering you on.





This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

NaNoWriMo, Should You or Shouldn’t You? A Balanced View

My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those plot points which are mapped out. I just can't get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!
My current planning for my next novel. I need time to put in all those blank plot points which are mapped out. I just can’t get this, work and health commitments all in sync and completed in a month!

Each November, my blog visit stats drop as everyone focusses on their plans for National Novel Writing Month. Then later in the month, the visits pop up again as the dream of winning NaNo is abandoned or hijacked my real life. So should you sign up? I won’t be. I tried it a few years ago and stressed right out. I need more flexibility. Some of us need a push to get into gear, some of us need creative time and space. I am the latter.

Last year I wrote a post on how to assess whether or not initiatives such as NaNoWriMo are suitable for you, individually, or not. If you want an alternative to NaNoWriMo, try the links below. They are far, far less stressful and will suit those of you who don’t fit the “full steam ahead, hell or high water” mould.

Don’t forget that October is OctPoWriMo, October Poetry Writing Month: Write 31 poems in 31 days.



ROW80Logocopy~ A Round of Words in 80 Days: There are 4 rounds of 80 days a year. Rounds start in January, April, July and October, but you can participate in as many as you wish. ROW80 is the challenge that champions the marriage of writing and real life where you post your own goals, check-in twice a week and can change your goals as needed. Join at any time.

~ Creative Every Day: This is a low pressure, all-inclusive, year-long adventure for bloggers. You can join at any time.

~ #writemotivation by K.T. Hanna.  This initiative runs periodically through the year. You need to sign up, make a realistic list of blogging goals for the month, check-in once a week and visit your team mates to encourage them.


November also has these two challenges:

LeNoWriCha: a “rank-and-reward system is to provide an escape from the “success/failure” paradigm that seems to evolve from NaNo.” Started by David Shelverman Grimes and accessible through here:

WNFINNOVWrite Non-Fiction in November: “Challenges nonfiction writers to spend the month of November writing and completing a work of nonfiction. It also discusses nonfiction writing and publishing and provide a way for nonfiction writers to comment on their writing experiences during November each year. This is not a contest!”



Surviving Blogging and Writing Challenges: Wise Choices


The aim of this blog is to equip, encourage and empower writers. I pass on as many resources as I can, including writing and blogging challenges which appear sound.

We have NaNoWriMo, OctPoWriMo, NaPoWriMo, JuNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Wego Health Bloggers Challenge, the A-Z Blogging Challenge, Story A Day, Script Frenzy, NaPoBloMo, ROW80, NaNoEdMo, Story of my Life Blogathon, Word Count Blogathon, Creative Every Day, #writemotivation, Blog Blitz, Write Non-Fiction in November, more Wego Blogging initiatives, commercial authors such as Jeff Goins have their own… and each time I look at Twitter there are more!

There is something for everyone and that’s not a bad thing… however… exhaustion and creative burnout beckons: the time requirements are absolutely deadly on some of those challenges. When considering getting involved in these challenges, don’t follow the crowd. Please ask yourself:

  • blog post ideasWhat are my time, family and energy constraints?
  • Is it flexible enough to encompass the goals I need to work on.
  • Is the “encouragement” given in this challenge cracking the whip too hard, making me feel pressured or guilty?
  • Is the stated time period without rest days? (This is deadly to your mental and physical health: ask any counsellor, psychologist or balanced life coach.)
  • Will this take me away from my work in progress which is my top priority?
  • Will this actually increase my skill as a writer? Am I just ticking a box that I blogged?
  • Will this make me feel good or bad at the end, as I aced it or failed miserably?
  • Can I take the inspiration and do my own version, at my own pace?
  • Are the social requirements too much or too tempting as a distraction?
  • Will the time it takes to read other’s posts and check-in be too much time away from what I actually need to be doing?
  • If you are not feeling motivated to write, are you using this challenge as a crutch to get motivated? If so, don’t use the challenge as a magical remedy to put you on track. It won’t. Especially if your issue is lack of confidence, time shortages or exhaustion.
  • Am I relying on other’s around me in challenges for affirmation, rather than working on my own self-esteem as a writer?

Sometimes when we feel exhausted as writers, it is because we simply need a break to re-charge our batteries. Like any body part, your mind needs rest. If you over-use any muscle in your body, it will become strained, painful and you won’t be able to work. If you are simply over it, maybe the best remedy is time-out before you burn out. Don’t get to the point where you go months without writing again.


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Cate’s prior written permission. That includes usage in forms such as print, audio and digital imaging including pdf, jpg, png etc. A fee may be requested for re-using her work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Cate is the attributed Author.

NaNoWriMo: Planning and Tracking Tools


I was involved in NaNoWriMo last year. These are some of the most useful tools people were looking for in the lead up to the big month. I hope you find them useful.

If you’d like inspiration on novel planning, here are two excellent Youtube videos from writer, Johanna Harness. I loved the second one, but both are inspirational and full of useful ideas. Please visit her at:

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

Twitter Tag Use and Tweet Scheduling for Writers: Accidental Misuse is Too Easy

When I was first learning to use Twitter, I found a master list of 140 hashtags for writers: it was a goldmine! In it were tags such as #mywana, #nanowrimo, #row80 and #writemotivation. In my ignorance I thought that those were simply tags you freely placed on posts, so they would grab the attention of readers in those areas. I messed up. These are community tags which should not have been used that way. I should have researched each of these tags properly before use. I had placed myself at risk of being reported for spam and being liberally blocked.

I received this wake-up call when I found this post on Twitter this week.


If a tag belongs to a community, you do not use it for promotion. If you do, you are spamming. That is against Twitter rules. It is also deeply offensive to that writing Community.

I have just spent a crazy amount of time going through my scheduled posts removing all offending tags. On thinking and reading further, I realised that there were other Twitter spam areas I was bordering on:

  • Putting out a majority of posts that had urls in them and weren’t person to person contact.
  • Excessive retweeting: which I do as I pass on resources for writers, that is what I am all about. However, that is also what the spammers do and can be seen as suspicious.
  • Bulk unfollowing of people. I had unfollowed several hundred the other day who weren’t following me, just to keep my stream manageable. If you do that too often, you call negative attention to yourself. Again, it’s a “fishing” spammer technique.

Twitter is serious about this. I went looking for tweet schedule services during the weekend, so I could better organise my feed by covering all time zones. (Being in Australia has some disadvantages). This is what I found:

future tweets

Other nasties I am seeing coming up in my new “followers” are people setting up multiple Twitter accounts and posting the same posts to them all. I see the spammers do this a lot and have recently seen writers do it, in the names of their book characters. I try and check all new followers to eliminate these accounts. You can be reported for spam.

I personally believe automation should have limits. I find it downright rude when I receive a direct message from someone I have just followed saying “thanks for the follow, we followed you through auto-followback” or whatever they use. I know I am now part of their numbers game. They have never visited my profile and they don’t know I exist.

Let’s get back to what this is all about: making connections with real people.

For a list of safe hathtags for all authors, please visit this post:

 Here is a direct link to the Twitter rules relating to what I am sharing with you. Please make sure you don’t fall foul of them by mistake.

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.

App Heaven for Writers: iPhone, iPad and Android

All these apps are for iPhone, but many can be bought for iPad and Android. As apps are added to the iTunes store all the time, you may like to do a search to see what’s new. Nothing here is over $10AU.

Click on the image to visit the Android Community Web Site. This is where this little cutie came from.

I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable. I hate having to say all that! Any apps that looked totally awful haven’t been listed.

P.S. Part two, which will be idea generating apps, writer’s block smashers and writing prompts will be coming out at the end of this week. There are too many apps to list in one post and by no means, have I found them all! Have fun!


Getting Organised and Equipped to Write

Aspire Goals

“Aspire Goals is more than just a goal setting application. It has been said that the process of achieving your goals is 80% mental and only 20% activity. Yet most of the apps relating to goal setting focus on the 20% and ignore the most important component – the mental side of things. Aspire Goals focuses on the 80%. It looks not only at what your goals are, but also the reasons why you want to achieve them. Then it takes the next step and looks at what can be done mentally to increase your chances of achieving your goals. And one of those things is visualization.”

The Author Organizer

* track details about each book you are writing
* track details about each chapter you are writing
* records all dates on your iPhone calendar
* email notes for each chapter”

If you want an personal or writing organizer, do a search for that word under “lifestyle” or “business.” There are hundreds of time management and sticky notes apps. Some are great, some are basic. Try the free versions, if they have one, to see what suits you best. One app I do like for pulling together odd bits of information, e.g. ideas for stories or blog posts, is Idea Store by Spore Tools Ltd.

Bento by FileMaker, Inc

This is the database I use on my Mac and my iPad. You can also get an iPhone version. It syncs easily between my Mac and iPad by Wifi. It is so easy to use. You don’t need to understand anything technical about databases to use it. I use it to track my articles and blog entries and where they’ve been used. It also comes with great templates to get your started.

How to Write a Winning Business Plan

Your writing is a business and if you are selling books or articles in any form, you need a business plan. “This guide will help you prepare a realistic plan that will document your vision, goals and strategy. No business should be started or maintained without a plan.”

Proofreader by Operandi Limited

“ProofReader is the on-going project to create a visual guide to markup and copy correction marks.”

Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This is an essential tool. Available for iPhone, iPad, Android and in free or premium editions, which aren’t expensive.

Roget’s II The New Thesaurus, Third Edition by Enfour Inc.

“Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus combines the most useful features of a thesaurus and a dictionary; each entry contains a short definition as well as a comprehensive list of synonyms for the headword. This up-to-date database also features extensive, and useful, cross-references.”

Word Study & English Grammar By blufish LLC

Word Study & English Grammar includes:
-Importance of the Subject
– Nouns, Adjectives, Articles, Verbs, Pronouns, Adverbs, Prepositions, Conjunctions, Interjections
-The Sentence and The Paragraph
-Common Errors and Rules
-English Grammar

Word Count Log By Tony Jansen

“Word Count Log is a simple productivity tool for writers. It is essentially a logbook for recording the word count on your writing projects.”

NaNo Saga

If you participate in NaNoWriMo (November) “NaNo Saga is the fastest, most convenient way to compare your progress with your buddies’ during NaNoWriMo – the National Novel Writing Month.” This one is free.

My Writing By 21×20 Media, Inc.

This app comes from “With some many venues online for writers, it’s hard to keep track of where your works are showcased. Our “My Writing” app solves the problem by giving you a simple place to store the title and URL of your writings, giving you one tap access to each.”

Writing Tips By Rich Lowenberg

“Writing Tips is a fantastic resource for both budding and seasoned writers. Written by bestselling author Alice Kuipers, the application provides inspiration, tips, and more than three hundred exercises to suit any available time frame. Regular use of this app will improve the quality and confidence of your writing, and help you have more fun in the process.”


The number of times I have seen bad formatting or spelling errors in an app description worries me. I know the developers are not necessarily the writers, but don’t they proofread? I haven’t tried this app, I don’t know how good it is. There is a free version so you can see if it suits you. This blurb appears exactly as it is on site. I emailed them about their editing and the owner is contacting the developer to fix the problems! “BookMidwife app is for people who are sure they are ready to start their planning. In an easy and accessible format, authors can capture all the important information about their Plan, Notes and Progress. You will get a list of the KEY THINGS TO CONSIDER in your BOOK PLANNING. You will get help making a PROJECT TIMELINE with all of the KEY MILESTONES so you do everything in the right order and don’t forget anyting important.”

Word Processors and Book Writing Apps

Image from Scrivener Site

There is a rumour that Scrivener is coming out as an App and will sync with your PC or Mac. Please let that be so. Keep checking!


This is the only iPad/iPhone app that doesn’t leave me screaming with frustration. You can move the cursor within words to make changes as it has more keys than the other keyboards. It is designed to be uncluttered so all you focus on is your writing, then you just email the document through to yourself. Plus on the iPad it’s big and thus, less frustrating. Cheap, simple has excellent ratings.

Quickoffice® Pro

If you use Microsoft Word files, this is the app I use. There are probably many others out there. Available for Android, iPad, iPhone & Symbian “Create, Edit, Access & Share Microsoft® Office files with the most connected office suite for on iPhone & iPod Touch. Includes fixes for iOS 5. NEW – PPT® Editor, Huddle & SugarSync access.”

Pages by Apple

If you are a Mac addict and use Apple’s Pages, this very cheap but adequate version is essential. “Pages is the most beautiful word processor you’ve ever seen on a mobile device. This powerful app has been exclusively designed for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Create, edit, and view documents wherever you are. Pages works with iCloud, so your documents stay up to date on all your iOS devices — automatically”

WriteRoom By Hog Bay Software

This is more distraction free software, but doesn’t seem to have the keyboard flexibility of iAWriter. But it does have: “Word Count, Extended Keyboard Row, Search for Files, Custom Line Height, Screen Brightness, TextExpander Support, Automatic & Manual Sync, iTunes Document Sharing, Clean Fullscreen Mode, Print & Email, Startup Passcode, Link Detection, Draggable Scroller, Autocorrect On/Off, Document & Folder Sorting.”

I Write A Book By DraganCats

The reason I’ve included this is, I haven’t seen many apps where you can have multiple books being written at once. Many apps are one book only. Other than that, it’s basic and distraction free.

Manuscript By Black Mana Studios

Being a Scrivener user, I like having index cards where you can store the odd ideas and facts you need to put somewhere easy to get to. This gives you index cards. “Manuscript is a writing application that lets you outline, research, edit and export anywhere between a short story and an entire book – right on your iPhone! Manuscript is not limited to writing stories – you can use it for note-taking, project management, storyboard and much more.
• Create a manuscript from scratch or import from Dropbox.
• Outline your manuscript using multiple levels: Pitch – One sentence tagline.
Synopsis – A more elaborate description of the plot or article, covering major developments. Index cards – Serves as a repository for ideas, character development, reminders and more.
• On top of Pitch and Synopsis, each chapter can be outlined individually. You can create empty chapters, outline them, and then pour content into them in any order you like.
• Use Wikipedia, dictionary and thesaurus from within the app.
• Backup your work-in-progress or export your finished manuscript to Dropbox as an RTF, TXT or HTML file that can be read by both Mac and PC.”

My Writing Spot By PT Software Solutions

Another writing app with decent features. “My Writing Spot is also handy for keeping track of To-Do lists and notes. Struck with an idea while you’re away from your computer? Capture it in My Writing Spot! Since you can have as many documents as you’d like, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.”

Writers App By Thomas Sillmann

I like the use of predefined attributes. This could be handy for getting ideas together and getting details straight! Again though, their description editing is poor, but it’s how you use the app that matters. “You’re writing a new novel? You want to capture your ideas and thoughts organized, and from any location at any time? You want a comprehensive sticky note that provides templates by which you can define specific characteristics and attributes of the characters and places? That’s exactly what the Writers App was developed for. It’s no app for writing a novel, but to hold your ideas and thoughts and to structure your story.

The Writers App allows you to:
– Create and organize stories
– Write a synopsis, premise, plot and notes for your story
– Create chapters, characters and places
– Edit the predefined attributes such as age, personality and occupation of the character or appearance and environment of places.”

For Scriptwriters, but Useful Across Genres

Writer Aid By Redwind Software

“Writer Aid” is a first of a kind iPhone app developed to aid scriptwriters overcome the difficulties associated with crafting new and original material in an increasingly competitive market. Great descriptions can punch your story, article, or script off the page. This library of characters, Script Tips and Comment section enables writers to make notes, develop characters and co-write on the iPhone, iPad or iPod. The database works by categorizing the information according to gender, age, genre and variety. Alternatively just browse the descriptions that come Recommended from Hollywoods established writers. “Writer Aid” will help you craft new and inventive characters using the past as an index.”

ScriptWrite By Filter Apps, LLC

“Write an entire screenplay or a quick scene on the go, all with one easy interface. The ScriptWrite Toolbar gives you everything you need, right where you need it, without cluttering your creative space. It’s perfect for seasoned screenwriters, or those new to the craft!

ScriptWrite Features:
– Universal for both iPhone and iPad (also iPod touch)
– Change the name of and duplicate your scripts
– Write Mode and Read Mode in portrait or landscape
– ScriptWrite Toolbar for easy, simple access to script elements
– Ability to change elements after they have been written
– Scene database that provides ‘go-to’ and ‘rearranging’ of scenes
– Character database that provides auto-fill upon import as well as add/delete character names for each script
– Character name auto-suggest
– Smart auto-advancement from element to element as you write
– Smart scrolling so that large scripts do not hang up the app as you are writing/reading
– Settings page that will auto-fill your Title Page
– Quick Start menu provides icon descriptions
– Links to our video tutorials and homepage
– Import and Export files for Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 (.txt), Final Draft 8 (.fdx), and Celtx (.txt) [Not all features of Movie Magic Screenwriter 6 and Final Draft 8 are supported]
– Import and Export via Email, iTunes and Dropbox
– Export scripts in .pdf format (Includes Title Page)
– Print scripts using AirPrint
– Works with External Keyboard on iPad, including Tab Key support for element advancement.
– Superior Customer Service”

Just a reminder: I have not tried most of these apps, so it’s buyer beware and I am not responsible for the quality of your experience, or any problems you may have with your devices after installation and use; no I am not getting paid to promote any of these and I don’t expect to etc. If the software vendor, Apple or Android are not kind, then I am very sorry, but I am unable to help you and I am not liable.

This blog post by Cate Russell-Cole is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. You are free to share and adapt it.