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a blog about writing, pie & magic

From Writing to Publishing: How I Use Scrivener

Scrivener is one of my favorite writing tools, but it can be overwhelming because it has so many features. I made a video to share how I use it.

I love to set and track my word count writing goals in Scrivener. It’s also easy to organize and rearrange chapters and scenes. That’s very handy for a disorganized writer like me.

Please share in the comments – what’s your favorite writing program?

Happy New Year! Creating New Goals

New Year with New Goals!

It’s that magical and dangerous time of year when I plan all my goals with the enthusiasm and ambition of a forgetful fish. I believe I can write a thousand books all while filming deeply engaging YouTube videos. Oh, and don’t forget raising my son.

I love the new year and all the possibilities it brings. I love imagining where I’ll be in a year. But it’s also a time when I overcommit and set myself up for failure.

In many ways, this year is no different. I have a lot of plans. Except I have a very important tool.

Finding the Right Motivation

Let me back up. I started doing Duolingo over the summer. Duolingo is a language-learning app. It’s really fun, and I highly recommend it. I’m learning Greek because it’s been on my list of places to visit for ages. One day I’ll get there. When I do, I’ll be able to say, “The coffee is pink,” in Greek. (I don’t know why that phrase keeps coming up in lessons. Maybe Greece is full of pink coffee? I hope to find out one day.)

I’ve done Duolingo for the last 148 days straight. I wish I could say that I’m super self-motivated, but that’s not why. The app sends me daily reminders to keep my streak going. That’s all I need to inspire me to do a lesson or two. I don’t want to break my streak. There’s something satisfying about watching the little counter on the app flip from 147 to 148 days. It shows I accomplished something. Even if that something was a five-minute Greek lesson.

So this year I’m channeling that motivation. I’m taking that desire to have a long streak and applying it to my writing. I made an elaborate spreadsheet. It could be argued that creating an elaborate spreadsheet took away precious writing time. But I’d argue that it will be an important tool for me this year.

Creating the Spreadsheet 

I took all of my big goal projects for the year and gave them word count targets. I’ll admit, I started a couple of these projects last year. For the most part, they’re new projects.

I want to blog regularly here as well as post on Medium. I want to up my YouTube game. YouTube is a constant goal that I struggle with. I film videos and then talk myself out of posting them. It’s easy to overthink and convince myself that what I created doesn’t make sense or that people will hate it. Someone will probably hate it, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t share it.

I made a tab for each month on the spreadsheet and put the projects across the top and the days along the side. I grayed out all the weekends. I want to take time off every now and then, even though I may write here and there on weekends.

I made monthly word count goals for each target and the spreadsheet calculates what percentage of each goal I’ve accomplished. I love the way it breaks down projects to give me clear targets.

Keeping an Open Mind

Every month I’ll reevaluate this system to see if it’s still working. I want to make sure the goals are still possible and the spreadsheet is still motivational instead of demoralizing. For now, I’m excited to see what the year holds and how many words I can write.

What are your goals this year? How do you track them? Please share in the comments below!

I Started Writing on Medium!

Last year I had a baby. While he may not be the best for my writing productivity, he is great for inspiration.

I’m lucky that I have the cutest kid in the world. Never mind that he’s a superhuman who doesn’t sleep or that he tries to free solo baby gates. Parenting is an adventure that I (mostly) love.

Every week I meet with my writing group. By the way, if you’re a writer, I highly recommend finding a weekly writing group. It’s a great way to anchor your week and motivate your writing.

On Monday afternoons, just hours before the group meets, I find myself sitting at the computer or pulling up a Google Doc on my phone and thinking, “Quick, I have to write something!”

Lately, I’ve been writing about my latest adventures with a baby or revelations about parenthood.

I’m trying to share my writing more often, which involves working through some fear of judgment and rejection. I’ve toyed with the idea of posting things on Medium for a while. Medium is a platform where anyone can post about any topic. It’s kind of like YouTube for writing. 

I finally took the leap and shared some of my parenting pieces.

I wish this blog post could be titled, “How I Made $100,000 on Medium,” but alas, I can’t make that claim (yet). So far, I’ve made less than a dollar…But I’m still really proud that I jumped in. I’ll keep writing and sharing. Hopefully one day I can post my roadmap to great success on Medium. Until then, I’ll enjoy the rollercoaster ride of parenthood.

The Third and Final Book in The Magic Pie Shop Series!

I published the third and final book in The Magic Pie Shop series!

A Slice of Summer Lovin’ Magic took a long time to write. Too long. I got in my head, and life got in the way. But in the end, I love the story.

It may be winter right now in Minnesota, but it’s warm and sunny in Hocus Hills.


A magical recipe for summer love…or disaster…

In the small, magical town of Hocus Hills, Susanna Daniels finally found a place that feels like home.

But dwindling tourism threatens the local businesses, including the pie shop where she works with her Aunt Erma. Luckily the biggest event of the season, the Fairy Light Festival is right around the corner, sparking hope among the residents. Instead of a wave of customers, Susie faces an overbearing Fairy Godmother, a critical travel writer, and her boyfriend’s father seems to dislike her before getting to know her.

To make matters worse, the whole town loses magic just before the big event. Can Susie save the town and her beloved pie shop before it is too late?


The second book in the series, A Slice of Christmas Magic, is set during the holidays. If you’re looking for a more festively appropriate book, it’s only $0.99 on Kindle right now.

I loved writing about The Magic Pie Shop. I ate a lot of pie in the name of research. Now I’m really excited about my next project where my main character is a parking lot striper. It’s a job I’ve done for the last 20 years. I’ve still managed to work in some pie so I have a very valid excuse to keep eating delicious desserts!

What’s everyone reading and writing these days? Please share in the comments down below!

YouTube Videos and New Projects

What a year!

My baby is mobile now, and wow, can he move! I don’t think I fully appreciated how peaceful life was when he was stationary. But it’s been a fun adventure.

I’m working on some new projects, including picture books and a middle grade novel. I’ve taken a couple classes from an amazing teacher, Lisa M. Bolt Simons. I highly recommend taking a class with her if you’re interested in writing for kids. You can check out an upcoming one here. It’s through the Loft Literary Center. It meets on Zoom, so you don’t have to be in Minnesota to take it!

If you have any topics you want to see me cover in future videos or blog posts, please comment down below!

Also, if you’re a writer with young kids in your life – how do you get any writing done?

Hi! I’m Andrea.

I’m a writer, developmental editor, and parking lot striper. I love to write about magic, pie, and dogs. My books – A Slice of Magic, A Slice of Christmas Magic and A Slice of Summer Lovin’ Magic are lighthearted magical romances. Keep an eye on this page or for more updates.

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