Tech Savvy Creatives

#003 – Can You Become Tech Savvy?

Can you become Tech Savvy if you didn’t grow up with smart phones and devices?

And the answer is YES!

Basically in a nutshell, if you want to learn, you will. So that’s what the show is going to be about today.

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  1. Can you become Tech Savvy?
  2. The  Big Question: Mac or PC for best Writers Laptop?
  3. Learning takes Baby Steps
  4. Timeline Software for Novels and Project Management
  5. Improve your Workflow – Remove the ‘Busy Work’

1. Can you become Tech Savvy?

Can you become Tech Savvy if you didn’t grow up with smart phones and devices?

And the answer is YES!

Basically in a nutshell, if you want to learn, you will. So that’s what the show is going to be about today.

And I have to say though, it has been hard to put this show together. It was meant to be out a couple of weeks ago and I just couldn’t, I just couldn’t. With everything going on in the midst of COVID19 and the isolation rules that we are under I have my days, some days are good, some days I’m really not good. Some days require more wine and some days I’m out exercising, I’m a solo mum with a primary school child. So we are now homeschooling, which has its own elements of stress. But now we’re getting there. It was day two today on the homeschooling journey and, m son is lucky enough that his school is quite techie themselves and they’ve pivoted quite quickly to produce an online school day for the kids. So it’s obviously not as full on as it normally is, but there’s, little videos from his teacher and saying, this is how you do something and here’s the activity and files going backwards and forwards and he’s making a video back to them.

And there’s the odd zoom call. So it’s going pretty good. But there’s a lot of questions that get asked that I normally wouldn’t have to do in a day. So that’s been interesting, but the one thing that I have learnt out of this for myself is just not to stress over the little things. If I’m not in a place where I want the house to be perfectly tidy, and I wanna give my kid a frozen pizza for dinner, we’re just going to do that? Because there’s other days where I’ll be up baking bread and making muffins and cooking, you know, a nice gourmet meal, and making my own garlic bread and, and we’re out exercising and, you know, loving life.

But you know, it swings and round-abouts. It’s, you know, you’re going through all these different levels. I’m sure you’re all going through them as well, at different stages and rinse and repeat. So, yeah, I’m going through it and today I thought, well, okay, I need to get in and get some more podcasting happening for you guys. I can’t just sort of start and then leave it. So let’s do this. Let’s do this. Okay. So Can you become Tech Savvy if you didn’t grow up with smart phones and devices? And as I said before, Yes you can! It’s all a matter of if you want to. Okay it’s, it’s easy to say, Oh, I never grew up with computers? I don’t know how to do this, but if there’s something that you want to do and your business these days, everyone needs to be online. If you’re a blogger, a writer or already an author, whether you’re traditionally published or you’re looking to go self-published, you need to understand computers and devices.

Because you need to be able to sell your product to make a living. If that’s why you’re doing it. If you’re not doing it for, to make money, then that’s great. But if you are, then you need to treat it like a business and that’s going to be not doing things old school. Okay? There’s no reason. I’m not saying you can’t, but it’s not productive. It’s not efficient. It’s not time efficient. If you, for example, if you know, back in the day we would handwrite all our assignments out and you’d have to get them neat and tidy and if you made a mistake, you have to repeat the page and that was a lot of fun because I had to go, I went to school way, way, way back.

Back in the 80s, in the mid eighties, I finished high school at that time I was a high school dropout. So I got halfway through year 12 and went ah, I live in the country, I’m going to go do something else. I had a boyfriend, we were going to get married and have babies and you know, be a country wife. And what I realized though was that wasn’t the life for me. I wanted to go traveling and exploring and my boyfriend at the time didn’t, he just wanted to stay where he was. So we had a very different lifestyle that we wanted to have for ourselves. So that imploded and I went off into the world and I learnt hospitality and nannying and started to get out and see things and travel a little bit in Australia. I realized that you know, how is that going to be my future?

I got sick of dealing with drunks and nannying is a six day a week job, for anyone who’s done that you’ll know. So I didn’t feel that that was going to be conducive to the life that I wanted for myself. So I took myself out of that environment and lifestyle and finished high school remotely then I went to uni. I wasn’t a huge mature age student, I was 21 when I decided to do this. So I had a five year break between dropping out of high school and doing this and that five years was a really different lifestyle. When I went back to uni, computers existed.

I knew how to type, you know, manual typewriter and typing to classical music, learning that in typing, cause if you are of the same age as me you will remember that. I had to learn, but I was hungry to learn. I wanted to learn. I had been out in the world. I knew what just being a bar wench and you know, running a restaurant and managing a bar can get you so far and it wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted. I didn’t want to be working nights all the time and dealing with drunks and living on that wage lifestyle. I wanted better for myself. So I chose to, I chose to go out and do it and I think it was a lot easier for me at that stage because I had partied for five years.

I had been in that lifestyle of Nightclubbing and all of that and so when I did go to uni and when I did go to finish my high school first I was in it, I just wanted to do it, I was focused, so getting in and doing the tech side of it was typing assignments and because I could type that was a big life saver. So if you don’t know how to type, I suggest you learn. Especially, if you are going to be a writer, there’s a lot of words to get down there. It will make life a lot easier. But learning the different applications and what computers could do was a real eye-opener back then and it was difficult. It, you know, I, I found it very tough but I wanted to learn. So I was reading books, you know, the idiot’s guide to Lotus 123 and various things.

So I got my degree and I became an accountant and I’ve done all the accounting jobs accounts receivable, payable, payroll, a bit of finance manager, and systems accountant and cost accountant. And so again, it was all because I wanted to learn and becoming a systems accountant from becoming an accountant because I was, back in the day learning bookkeeping on Kalamazoo paper and ledger books. So having all of that computerized, I found that so amazing and I wanted to learn more and I wanted to learn how that worked. And because I understood the accounting side of it, I understood finance, then I wanted to learn the tech side of it. I could become a systems accountant because I understood where the transaction should go in the background. So when things are automated, it has to happen some ways. I understood how all of that worked.

So fast forwarding on after 10 to 15 years, or somewhere around there of being in the accounting world I decided to switch to solely to the system side of accounting and consulting, teaching other people how to implement their applications and then teaching them how to use them and teaching them for themselves. So unpacking their business processes to then work out how things would work for them and how applications would work for them and fit together is what I was doing.

2. The Big Question: Mac or PC for best Writers Laptop?

So this is what I’m doing now for you guys is unpacking all of this and teaching you guys how to put the software, different applications together. So I guess it comes down to what do you want to do, what do you want to learn and then it can drive in the direction of what you need because there’s the big questions that you always come across isn’t there.

You hear conversations about,

“Oh you must get a Mac. That’s the best, that’s the best laptop for a writer.”

“Oh you must use Scrivener because that’s the best writing software if you want to be a good writer. Only the great ones use Scrivener.”

Then there’s a few other things along those lines. But basically its, there’s no right or wrong, it doesn’t have to be a Mac, it doesn’t have to be a PC, it’s what works for you. So for example, if you have used computers in any kind of a job, more likely than not, you would have used a windows based computer with Microsoft Office. And going from that to a Mac is a completely different operating system. So for Microsoft, you will have your controls over on the right hand side. For you guys right is over here, and you’ll have a little cross and a plus. On the Mac, it’s on the left hand side and that’s just one obvious flip.

But it’s if you’ve had, if you’ve been running with a PC for years and you hear I need a Mac to do to do this and do that, just be aware that there will be a learning curve and don’t stress about it. Okay? There’s no way to just jump in and do it. I mean you had to learn how to walk, you had to learn how to talk, you had to learn how to write and you learned how to spell. None of that happened overnight. So learning to be a writer, again, is one thing that you had to learn to do over time. So don’t expect to just open a laptop, that you just unpacked, and go, Oh, I can work everything. It’s not going to happen. So if you get in the mindset that it is all a learning curve and if you want to learn, you will.

So hopefully I can point you all in the right direction for resources or teach you myself what you need to know. And the same goes with the writing software with Scrivener. Scrivener is a really good app. I use it personally. Oh. And I’m a Mac person personally, I happen to like them, but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to. It’s not that expensive. So I think we’re talking $50US these days, for it. But it is packaged up in such a way that way the app works. It’s been written by a writer for writers and it has a menu on the left hand side and it just sorts everything and packages it up and keeps it all tidy for you. So you’ve got all your chapters. You can break it down by scenes.

You can keep character profiles, you can keep your research, you can grab bits from your website, you can put images in there for help with this writing. So it is a very good app and if you want to learn it, again, don’t expect to buy it, download it and open it and away you go. There are a lot of bells and whistles with Scrivener. You don’t need to use them all to get started writing. There are many, many courses out there and in fact, I will be having one coming up later this year covering the basics of Scrivener right through to the complexities and into compiling it to format your own ebook and out the door to publishing it. So it’s all doable to learn.

Okay? But I’m coming back to, you have to have your mindset that “Yes, I want to learn” and then you will!

3. Learning takes Baby Steps

And it’s baby steps though. You can’t just learn it all in one go. Okay. So you have to just take those steps and work your way through. Now millennials forgive me if I’ve got the age wrong, but anyone under 30 is pretty much a millennial these days and they’ve all grown up on smart phones. My son,he’s nine almost 10, and he can’t quite comprehend this thing called a dial phone. Remember those old dial phones and I had one, the green ones, those,olive green phones,back in the day. I can even still remember my phone number.

But he can’t understand. He goes well how did you find things? How did you use a map? Can’t you just ask Google? We didn’t have any of that and we didn’t even have a remote control for our TV.

And he just looked at me horrified. We had all these ads in between our shows.

“You Mean you had to watch the ads, you couldn’t just fast forward it?”

And, and so it’s, it’s a totally different world to what our, our young ones that are growing up to compared to what we did. And, you just to put it out there, I am, I’m 51, so I am of a generation that definitely did not grow up with any of these devices. So if you or anyone in over, even over 40 these days, and computers has not been your life and writing is what you want, then just take the baby steps, have a look around Have a look around my website there’s TechTools4Authors.comm, So a number 4 instead of ‘for’, and, I’ve got a lot of free stuff on there, a lot of information and tips and tricks, about different applications you can do with them, what they’re good for. Plus reviews. So just have a browse around. Also have a YouTube channel as well and just have a look and see what other people are doing.

Feel free to ask me questions. I’ve got a form on my website or at the bottom of the podcast that you’ll find on the website. And happy to help out, happy to you know, point you in directions and break it all down. So I’ve got an online course coming as well. What I want to focus on today too is that my teaching style is very much break it down to the basics. It’s what you want to understand and not expecting that you know what everything is. So let’s break it down and make it simple and work through the different steps. So there’s a little tutorial, a little video on just this bit and then one on this bit so you can jump in and out of the courses and find what you want really easily.

4. Timeline Software for Novels and Project Management

And the first one that I’m starting with is Learning Aeon Timeline. Have you heard of Aeon Timeline? It’s spelled A E O N timeline and it’s timelining software. If you’re writing your novel, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, whatever genre it is and if it’s spanning time frames or just over a few days you need to have the timeline on how things have happened, whether you present them that way in the book, in the order of how it happened with your chapters. It’s totally up to you as a writer. But having a timeline of how things have happened, putting an over-arching arc over it, linking that up to your different character profiles and then having images or attachments in there for research is an awesome way to brainstorm your story to get started. Once you have all of that, it also will sync with Scrivener and get your writing straight away.

It produces all your chapters and your scenes for you. Just all the headings, but it links up all that data that you put in. So when you say you’ve got this character and this character participants in the scene, and this one’s an observer and the tension is, you know, off the scale and this is what I think is going to happen. It gives you those prompts and it makes, and you can visually see your timeline to see how it’s all working. Now, the reason I’m bringing this up now is not to sell you the course, but Hey, that would be nice. We’re all trying to keep our heads above water and keep fed, but that’s not the reason today. The reason is that it’s all about becoming more time efficient rather than doing the ‘busy work’. So back in the day when we would hand write it out and when I first started timelining I started with post it notes and post it notes up on the, and you plot out your story, move things around until they kept falling off the wall and how long were you going to leave them there.

Then I, being a bit of an Excel guru from my accounting days, I plotted out my timeline in Excel and had all my characters and how I wanted all that to flow. Then I got to the point where I’m like, Oh, I want to change his name, so okay, you can do a find and replace and then I wanted to change up part of the story as well. So then I needed to move some of the scenes around and I wanted to change some of the details and it just became a mess of busyness. It was just a lot of busy work for the sake of, you know, making it all look pretty. And that’s when I kind of, I thought, okay, this is rubbish.

I can’t keep doing this. I’ve got my to do’s over here, my calendar over here, but my timeline here, or I need to do a timeline. I was writing with Microsoft word and it was just all getting overwhelming and I thought there’s gotta be a better way. So that’s what I started researching and working out okay, we need a workflow. This is a business. I want to be a writer professionally and I’m wanting to be an entrepreneur professionally and I want to create online courses. So I’ve got a few things in the mix because if anyone’s learning anything from history and the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 it’s that don’t put all your eggs in one basket and do have various income streams. So this is what I’m working towards. I need to manage this lifestyle and I don’t have a lot of time for busy work.

5. Improve your Workflow – Remove the ‘Busy Work’

Because as I’ve said, I’m a solo mum, I’ve got a few different little bit of projects that I’m trying to get income into my life for and I have a day job. I don’t have time to faff about with post it notes and spreadsheets and if I change my mind, do this and do that. So I was researching apps, but also ones that work together. So I’ve practiced over the years, which ones worked together and Aeon Timeline is very good for a timeline of your novel. You can also use it for project managing. And I’m currently also using it as a Content Planner for my blog. So I’m timelining out my topics that I want to talk about and I can use a story arc to theme them together each month.

I can also timeline out my online course as to how I’m going to create it and then how I’m going to launch it and market it. I can put images in the timeline that I want to use in my blog posts and I can categorize it and tag it. I can put the hashtags in and categorize it as to different types of content. So whether it’s for the community just to say hi or whether it’s an expert tip or it’s a case study or it’s a review or an affiliate link or whatever it is. I can do all of this in Aeon Timeline. I thought, okay, this is one tool I can use for many, many different things. So I’m using it as project management to organize my, my courses and launches. I’m using it to plan out my novels.

I happen to write paranormal contemporary romances this is my genre that I like to write. So I’m running a series at the moment and I’ve got one timeline that overarches all the three books that I’m planning at the moment and then detailing down each book and syncing that to Scrivener now so that I can write as and when I need to for the scenes that I want to get into. Keeping all of that together and organized as say my blog content as well. So I’ve got a different timeline for each one of those. And that’s one app that does all of that. It syncs with Scrivener and then I’ve got my writing sorted. I can export from Scrivener into various formats, the books for ebook formats. So then I can upload those and publish those, self-publish those when I choose to.

I’m also consolidating up my to do’s and calendars to get all of that software well. That will be a later episode of how that’s working together. But I do show on my blog posts to come, my writing process and my creative process to show you which apps work together? In my day job I use windows based devices and in my own personal life I prefer Mac. So I have a very good mix of both for different reasons and for different ways of working with them. So I know what apps are working well together. So basically the bottom line is “life is too short for busy work and if you want to learn, you will.”

So drop me some questions in the comments. I would love to know what you want to work on and how you’re working.

I’ve got quite a lot of content coming up, especially over the next few weeks. I’m on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and I have the two websites. I have the which is my podcast website and the website which is where I have my course and more courses will be coming. All the expert tips on the blogs and links to a lot of other resources I’ve got coming up, resources for writers, resources for bloggers, various different tools and apps that you would use because I guess when you’re looking at your business workflows, before we finish up, you have various stages of what you need to work through. So you need to work through research and taking your notes. You then need to do the writing of it and plotting it and planning it.

You then need to produce an output from that, whether it’s an eBook or PDF or a print product, you then need to market it. So you’ve got to work at how you’re going to share that on social media and around, because whether you’re going traditionally published or self published you still need to get in and do some marketing for yourself. So understanding what works, what doesn’t work, how all of this can flow together. How you can automate it more than just manually doing a post here or post there. That part of your life is all going to be about consistency. You’ve got to keep at it and be consistent. Then you have the recording of your sales.

Assuming all of this works really well for you and you start getting some income how are we going to record where it comes from?

What’s going to happen? Because various countries have got different ways of recording tax. I happen to be based in Australia and we have the GST, which is Goods and Services Tax and when I sell to other countries, they’re not going to be impacted by the GST, whereas Australia is. So there’s all these different rules and regulations about recording your sales. So having the right software to have all that happen is what you need.

So what I was saying there was basically the bottom line is if you want to learn you will, and let’s break it down. I want to help you to learn the easy way. Of course you can go on Google and you can go and search YouTube and you can find lots of bits and pieces here, there and everywhere. But it’s putting it all together and working out, okay, these apps will work together, this is what’s going to make my workflow efficient. It’s going to reduce all that busy work and wasted time because seriously, who has the time these days?

Well maybe we do at the moment because we’re all stuck at home, but when all this is over, we want to have a system that works and we want to have something that’s a bit seemless and easy because the whole idea that why we’re doing this is we want to get writing. We want to be creative, we want to produce our products, we want to put them out to the world. So we can’t just be sitting around faffing around with “I’ll just do some busy work over here and update these colors or update these notes.” You want to have all of that working.

So let’s work together. That’s what we’re going to do and as I keep saying, if you want to learn, you will.

If I could tell you a story about when I was a young accountant and I was 27 or 28 and I was working on a manufacturing site and it was a Greenfield site, which means it was brand new. It was in the process of being built. It was going to produce aluminum extrusion products and it was huge. I had to wear steel cap safety boots, a high viz vest and a hard hat. I’m walking around every day as part of my job was as a cost accountant and a finance accountant and I had to make sure that all the information coming in from all the different teams was coming in accurately. So quite often I was walking the site every day and chatting with everybody and seeing what was going on.

I was asked to train up a forklift driver to become the delivery manager with the receiving and outgoings of all of this product, that would come into this site. Now this guy, he was a lovely guy. He was so nervous the first time he had to meet me and he didn’t know computers at all. He knew fork lifts and that’s what he’d grown up as a labourer. This was probably 25, almost 25 years ago now, and he didn’t want to do it either. He didn’t want to learn. And so we sat down and I said, okay, what’s the starting point? Where are we starting at? Do you know SAP, this financial product that we were using at the time? And he just looked at me like, was this foreign lady on about? And also an age different was so, so different.

I was this young female in this manufacturing environment and he was a 50yo guy and you know, labourer and forklift driver and yada yada, yada. He rode a motorbike and all that jazz. So we had to sort of take it back and say, well, okay, look, if you do this, if you learn this, you can become a manager so you could get a promotion, you could be supervising and you could run the department the way that you wanted to. And he kind of did take a couple of days to think about it, because he didn’t have to do this. It was all optional. So then he came back to me, he goes, you know what, Kylie, I’m going to find this really hard. I don’t know what you’re talking about, but I want to learn. And that was the first step. And I have to say it wasn’t an easy step for him, but we sat down and it did take quite a few weeks and we just took baby steps and we just started right at the beginning.

We looked at the keyboard and how to open the application. And, okay, this is where your username goes, this is where you put the password. Really, really basic stuff that he never had to do before. What everything was on the screen. He had to learn how to use the mouse because literally never used a computer before. So we really took some baby steps, worked it on through.

A couple of months later he was running the department confident out and about coming in, doing the stuff, getting shifts ready and logging in all the inventory and doing stock takes. He was really confident doing a really great job. And he did, he got promoted to be the manager of that department and it was the happiest day for both of us I think when that happened, because you know, high fives to him, he wanted to learn and he did.

So it doesn’t matter when you take on this challenge, you know, okay, your kids can probably run rings around you with all their smart devices. I know mine’s getting quite close at that, getting past me. So if you want to learn, we will.

Let’s do it together.

If you’ve got any questions or things that you want to ask, go to the website, drop in a form.I’ve got a “what I need help with” form. You can also pop comments on any of the blog posts and any of the podcasts episodes on my website. So feel free to do that. I do read them all and answer everything. Just enjoy, just take a step back and go, okay, I might have an opportunity at the moment to have some time to learn something.

Let’s make it worthwhile and make it income producing at the end of it. That’d be good for all of us. That would be awesome. I certainly know that I’m looking to the future and thinking how can I future proof my life a little bit better because you know, I was taking everything for granted and cruising along going yeah, you know, I’ve got a day job, everything’s cool. And you know, so many people have lost their day jobs and it’s like, how do we feed ourselves? I don’t want to live on a government handout if I can avoid it, but you know, if, if my job goes, luckily my day job hasn’t gone yet, but if it did, I’d be screwed. Absolutely screwed. So yeah, so let’s work together and get something happening.

So enjoy. Thank you.



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Kylie Ross

Kylie Ross

I'm a Translator for the Tech Challenged and a retired accountant and financial software implementation consultant. Understanding the customer and translating their requirements into various forms of training materials has provided me with a greater understanding of how people learn best. Which is why all the content I create is provided in multiple styles – online video’s, downloadable documents, podcasts and checklists.

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