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Enhance your creative writing

johnfoland says:
Whether you're writing a novel, a play, a stand-up special, or even a sitcom, you certainly know the power of using the right word at exactly the right moment in your text. RTM's functionalities lend themselves beautifully to this.

Furthermore, you can use words and expressions to enrich your writing in both directions with RTM: A locution in your list can both remind you to use it and/or inspire you to write something you otherwise wouldn't! Using an easy combination of tags, smart lists, subtasks, and notes, you can search to find the right word to use, or you can simply let a list jolt your memory and spark the flame of your next paragraph, chapter, or beyond...

The best part of this is that there is virtually no setup to use the system I'm proposing, and it won't impose on your existing task management configuration, because you will decide which parts to include and how you integrate them. It's entirely adaptable to your projects and desires. There is no need to do everything I suggest here; you can mix and match to suit your needs.

The following is an intentionally loose set of prescriptions so that you can use them with whatever writing projects you're working on without messing up your current system. Note that these ideas work well with one or multiple projects, or even as a permanent, living reference of locutions and concepts. Yeah, I didn't mention it before, but this works great for tropes, too!

1) Create a dedicated list or even multiple lists to contain your vocabulary items. These lists should be general (we'll get into specifics with our tags and smart lists), and can encapsulate either projects or groups of projects. This keeps your words and expressions separated from the rest of your system. In the case of using multiple lists, you can use the "listContains" criteria in your searches and smart lists to further narrow down what you're looking for or keep it all isolated from your other tasks.

2) Get creative with tags. You can tag adjectives, verbs, expressions, and so much more! Your tags can be used to identify moods, emotions, and other attributes of your locutions. Tags like "positive" and "negative" are excellent; tags such as "mysterious" and "provocative" are even better! Use them all! Also, don't forget the magic of the "tagContains" criteria to help you contain and isolate your new tags from your existing system.

3) Subtasks and notes are your friends. You can use them everywhere and however you wish. Do whatever feels right here; I imagine everyone will have their own take on the best way to do this. Personally, I like reserving the notes for, well, notes on certain words and phrases, sometimes putting definitions for words I'm not too familiar with or feel awkward using. The notes are also a great place to place quotes and common usage citations. Subtasks are wonderful, too. Sometimes I like to put the the root of a word as the base task and use subtasks as different iterations of it.

4) Duplicate your word/expression tasks all day long. It all depends on how you use this system, but I find it extremely useful to duplicate words I intend to reuse within my project (or even in other projects), use in different contexts, or tag differently so that I see them in other situations.

5) Use the URL field. It's handy when you want to see where you encountered a specific phrase or see it in context. Sometimes it's useful for linking to forums that discuss the expression in question. RTM doesn't display an icon on tasks that have URLs attached to them like it does with notes, so don't forget the very useful "hasURL" search criteria.

6) Go crazy with smart lists. Here's where it all gets extremely interesting. As with any good RTM system, everything comes together with the smart list. Create smart lists that bring together your projects, contexts, tones, and tropes. Make smart lists for "adverbs" that are both "positive" and "mysterious". Make smart lists that show words that you've used ("status:completed") or for words you added last year (addedBefore:"1/1/2018") . The possibilities are endless.

To conclude, I invite you to make this system your own. Depending on how you implement this system (and how you integrate it into your current system and workflow), you may want to do things differently.

Super bonus: You can use everything I've written here towards learning a second (or third, or fourth) language. The sky is the limit!

RTM is the only tool that is powerful and flexible enough to do what I've laid out here. Thank you Bob T. Monkey and the RTM team. You all rock!
Posted at 11:45am on September 17, 2018
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
I bet you'll be a Tuesday winner very soon!
Great ideas!
Posted 8 weeks ago
johnfoland says:
Thanks Raymond! That's very kind of you. I hope it can be of use.
Posted 8 weeks ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi John,

Thanks for sharing your tips! These are great.

Raymond is correct (as usual ;). You're this week's Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner, and we've added a free year of Pro to your Remember The Milk account. :)
Posted 3 weeks ago
mmoore100 says:
I have a list called Write - Ideas that I use to capture those ideas that come out of nowhere. When I'm looking for something to work on, I look at that list and move the item to Write - Work on. I'm still looking for ideas on how to handle the stages of writing (for example, Research, First Draft, Cool, Self-Edit, Peer Edit, Submit, and so on), so if you have any ideas for that, I'd love to hear them!
Posted 15 days ago
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