Frozen Pipes, Book Promotion and Scrivener


After bragging about hanging laundry on the clothesline in January, I have now received my February comeuppance. We are in the deep freeze (-8C overnight is way too cold for the temperate rain forest). Going into day two of frozen pipes and no running water – gotta say – that’s pretty darn high on my list of least favourite cabin conditions.

I just came in from a walk in the cold, crisp air. While I enjoyed the bright blue sky and the sunshine sparkling off the lake, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. Then I realized that the backdrop of sound I’ve come to take for granted – rumbling, roaring streams tumbling down the slopes – was missing. None of that white noise today. All is frozen and silent.

Back in the cabin, I rattle between obsessively checking my sales/ranking on Amazon, fretting over how much self-promotion is too much self-promotion and heating water from buckets for any number of chores. All the while, there is a part of me anxious to immerse myself in the next writing adventure.

The current work-in-progress is definitely on the go with what I call the back writing taking up a couple of blissful hours each day. I’m trying out a free trial version of the Scrivener software and I love it! I’m not sure I would stay in this program through the actual first draft writing (but maybe – every day I discover another great feature) but it sure works like a house-a-fire for the back writing. What has hooked me is the program’s capability to let me see everything I’ve done – character sketches, settings, notes, storylines, events, and peak moments – all via these wonderful  little computer-screen cork boards filled with post-it notes.

Scrivener is all pretty and sleek but it can’t replace my ‘real’ bulletin board, which has taken up permanent residence in my work space. I need to see this visual reminder every time I walk through the room. I love adding little bits and pieces to it. My ‘real’ bulletin board is tactile, messy, clunky and oh so adorable.

Here’s a concrete example – I printed out my title in fancy script and then went in search of some backing for this slip of paper. I found a beautiful card we received in the mail from the Green Party, thanking us for our support. I cut up this card and strategically pasted my title over the beautiful forest scene. With scissors and glue stick in hand, my imagination loosens in a way that working at the keyboard can never accomplish. Ideas flow, connections are made, characters speak to me.

If you haven’t experienced Scrivener, I say give it a whirl. Having the free trial version for thirty days allows plenty of time to play around and decide whether this tool is for you. At the same time, consider a real bulletin board and get yourself some post-it-notes, scissors and glue.


Okay, time for that blatant plug. The Kindle version of The Light Never Lies is up on Amazon just waiting to be purchased and enjoyed. Go for it!

23 comments on “Frozen Pipes, Book Promotion and Scrivener

  1. neenslewy says:

    Although I do not envy frozen pipes and minus temperatures – we have nothing but rain for what seems like forever, many places are flooded, rivers have burst there banks and the South West of the Island is suffering a real coastal bashing! We have had hurricane conditions forecast for this weekend, which is not something we are used to or prepared for.
    The photo drew me to this post – seems so lovely and idyllic (obviously not for you trying to survive) but as a still image. I love cabins.
    Scrivener is highly rated *still to try it myself, if you participate in NaNoWriMo or any of the Spring/Summer camps you can get a discount price to buy this package. Am going to do a free trial soon myself. Writers’ swear by it.
    Love your board too!

  2. I always learn from you. Thank you for your continuing generosity to those of us a few steps behind the process! Love your bulletin board, by the way. That works for me, too!

    • Thanks, Susan. Nothing like an old-fashioned bulletin board. Hope all is well, weather-wise in your area of the world. And by the way – how is recovery going with the wrist mash-up?

  3. jackiemallon says:

    Have never heard of this Scrivener paraphernalia but I’m curious. What a cute little writing cabin (I know, I know…sorry!)

    • The place is overly cute, for sure. And one does adjust to lack of running water after a few days. I had heard a lot of people rave about Scrivener before I gave it a trial try. It is quite the program.

  4. I agree, there is nothing better than the real bulletin board. Oh Francis, if I could have the view in your photo, I’d live with frozen pipes and no running water, at least for a week…stunning!

    • I hear you, Jill. At least this time around we have power! Last year I was stuck here for two days, on my own, when the temperature plummeted to -9 with no higher temp. during the day. Of course the domestic water lines froze solid, then the micro-hydro turbine pipe froze. I couldn’t get the back-up gas generator going and I couldn’t unhook the wood stove (our main heat supplier) from the pipes that connect the coil inside to the hot-water tank. Hot water cannot continually circulate into the tank because with no water to flow in there is a question that the temperature pressure release valve would even work. Not being able to manage that disconnect meant I couldn’t run the stove safely. EEEKKK. I got up close and personal with the cold and the dark. Don’t think I’ve ever been happier to see Bruce coming down the driveway! All suffering is so relative – right?

  5. Jeff Nguyen says:

    Second the vote for Scrivener. It’s a great tool for organizing thoughts, ideas, plot lines. Now I just need to get around to writing an actual book…

    • Glad to hear from someone whose using it and liking it 🙂 I actually wished I’d had this type of software when writing academic papers, dissertation etc. It would have been a lifesaver.

  6. jackie says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I keep hearing about this tool but forget to try it out.

  7. brucethomasw says:

    A couple more days of this deep freeze and hoping by Monday the milder weather that is coming will get the water flowing again Francis. Then we you can enjoy again, the joy and wonder of running water. And a nice long bath 🙂 with Love, B.

  8. Love your view – perhaps not the frozen pipes though! I haven’t tried Scrivener yet and must say your bulletin board looks far more appealing. One of these days I do intend to give it a whirl though. Good luck with the Amazon rankings x

    • Thanks, Gemma. Not sure yet if Scrivener will turn out to be a fad for me and then I’ll just revert to comfortable old Word. We’ll see, but nothing will replace my bulletin board.

  9. P. C. Zick says:

    Congrats on the publication of new book – look forward to reading. I’m going to check out Scriveners. Thanks for reminder.

  10. Gwen Stephens says:

    I’m a huge fan of Scrivener too, but I’m oh-so-envious of your clunky, hands-on board. Someday, when the house can accommodate it, I’ll have one like it. Sorry to hear winter’s unrelenting icy grasp has reached you on the coast. Even though it’s pretty (I hate when people say that – try living in it for 4 solid months), frozen pipes are no fun. Glad you can be productive, despite the inconvenience.

    • I won’t ever let anything one the computer replace that hands-on quality of a real bulletin board, post-it-notes, cutting out and pasting with real scissors and glue. I think these activities trigger creative areas of the brain. Day 5 of frozen pipes but we may see an end to it today. The temperature has come up and the rain is here in driving force – which creates problems of its own. Never a dull moment, for sure. We sojourn on – what else can we do. And as Bruce is wont to remind me, it isn’t just the hinterland dwellers that have problems. Look at the chaos that ensues when a city has extended snowfall, or rain, or freezing weather. Problems happen everywhere. So true.

  11. I agree. Although I couldn’t imagine writing a story longhand nowadays, I still relish the hands-on, physicality of working with visual stimuli that brings about inspiration like no other.

    Hey, whaddya know…we’re still human! 😉

    • Hazy – after reading what happened to you on PC Zick’s blog, I checked my span folder and there, bold as could be, were four comments from you. As PC said, no idea why this is happening but I unspammed them. We are certainly human but there is something about this technology that has a mind of its own, for sure.

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