Liz Writes… with software

Have I ever talked about the program I use to work out my novels?

It’s called yWriter, and it’s an open-source program created by novelist Simon Haynes, who decided that one simple text document wasn’t enough for the stories he was concocting. He wanted a place to organize scenes, character information, worldbuilding activities… He wanted to be able to jump easily from scene to scene, and do it without creating bespoke documents for each chapter. He wasn’t finding what he wanted in the current software market (especially since apps like this often are a vehicle for a lot of marketing garbo that no one wants). And so he made it! (The full story behind the app can be found here.)

A screenshot of my yWriter setup for the novel.
It’s blurry on purpose because spoilers.

I’ve been using yWriter for probably close to… fourteen years… now, and it’s still got everything I need. (Of course, you could make the argument that all you ~~really~~ need is your brain, pencil, and paper. Blah, blah, blah, yes, we know.) It got me through undergrad, saw several drafts of my graduate school thesis, and has been a constant companion through the tumultuous times. I like having a place to keep my thoughts about plot progression, vague notes about character motivations, and even tidbits about appearance that you add as you write but can’t remember later — you can add a note in the character profile that you gave them one gold hoop earring, or that they only wear green on the first day of every season, or that they have a tiny scar on the middle toe of their left foot.

It’s a great way to organize information. And so when I realized recently that I wanted a new laptop, of course the first question was: Can I put yWriter on it?

A laptop, mug full of tea that says "I do what I want," a Nintendo Switch, and a crochet hook laid out on a table
The mug says it all: I do what I want.

Well, I’m happy to say that my brand new Chromebook … will eventually run yWriter. Simon is working on an Android version, which I will immediately load once he is finished. (And I can be patient! He’s a busy guy!) In the meantime, I’m… going to learn Linux. And run it on my Chromebook using Linux, I guess. (The screenshot above was taken from a Linux-terminal-loaded app!!)

After the tumult of COVID, and divorce, and just a lot of stuff going on at work, I hope I’m ready to get back to writing fiction again. Talking and thinking about yWriter and my novel feels like a step in the right direction.


Lord of the Book: Return of the Novel

… et cetera. You get it.

I’m working on the novel again.

I know these posts aren’t really interesting from a reading perspective. Maybe they’re interesting from a process perspective, but lately, my process has just been… well… not writing. Mostly, these posts are for me, because maybe if I tell my small corner of the internet that I want to finish my novel, I will finish my novel.

This thing is 75,000 words long, I haven’t entirely written myself into a hole, and I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel… So I should just finish it, right? Right.

I haven’t finished a book since graduate school. I would like to get back to the first, truest love of my life: fantasy literature. In fact, I think my mental health depends on it. And if we want to follow the romantic relationship metaphor, this particular book has always been “the one who got away” — because I’ve picked it up and put it down so many times now. This time will be the one that sticks.

I am going to try to use my new Chromebook this weekend to hammer out a couple thousand words and see what’s up. Today I am planning. Tomorrow I will write.

Cora believes in me. She doesn’t look like it, but she does.

Announcement: JoD4HAP Issue 4

Big news, everyone!

The Call for Submissions for the fourth issue of the Journal of Dungeoneering for Hip and Attractive Professionals is now live!

Keywords: Early science fantasy space goth.

(I promise I have not died, and I will be back soon to talk more about some of the projects I’ve been working on. For now: Enjoy the fruits of my recent bullshittery.)

Obtaining sparkly dice is important for early-science-fantasy-space-goth-type campaigns.

Literally 2 Cents! Episode 2 now LIVE

In this episode, we talked about a conceptually infuriating (for me) app owned by Amazon that has you play games and take quizzes to find the next streaming media for you to watch. Does “the algorithm” work? Why is finding something to watch akin to work, now?

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to "Capitalist Realism" Literally 2 Cents About Content!

Liz and Alex dive deep into Mark Fisher's seminal 2009 surprise best seller, "Capitalist Realism." Topics explored include how society individualizes mental illness, why there's this widespread conception of "gritty" content as somehow "realer" than non-gritty equivalents, and how our ironic distance from capitalism allows us to participate in it—even when we know it's bad.Liz’s website: Get full access to This Too Too Solid Flesh at
  1. The Complete Beginner’s Guide to "Capitalist Realism"
  2. SEO Cope And Change—And StarCraft!
  3. The Top 10 Things We Wish We Didn't Know About Content Mills
  4. The Knife Alien File: A Content Bonanza
  5. 002b: Content algorithms: We’re the tools and Google is the operator

Liz Makes Stuff: Podcast edition!

That’s right, folks, I’m back on my bullshit.

My friend Alex and I are starting a podcast. It’s called: Literally Two Cents About Content!, a podcast about what it’s like to make as little as two cents per word at a content mill.

He and I met when we worked for the same content mill — a truly grueling job that had us churning out 4,000 words of #content per day. (That’s a 12-page research paper per DAY, just to put that in perspective.)

Our goal for the show is to put a critical eye on the concept of “content” (something he is already doing very well in his substack newsletter, by the way) and why the capitalist machine demands so much productivity and “creativity” out of content producers.

TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, this blog even — why do we feel the need to produce content for a vague “audience” to consume? Why does Google’s algorithm prioritize certain types of content over others? Is Google’s algorithm even doing anything anymore? What does “SEO” even mean? What kind of moderation do we need in this public sphere, and can we ever achieve it in the same world where Elon Musk can purchase Twitter by farting into the wind??

Okay maybe not so much that last phrase, especially with the latest news about that whole debacle, but you get the idea.

I’m excited to share this with you and excited to have these conversations with my friend. Now, off to make some notes and read the Communist Manifesto (for real this time, instead of like when I pretended to read it in college).

Check out our first episode now!

And that’s not all: A semi-rant about burnout

I feel very busy.

Cora is also very busy.

I’ve been feeling veeeery overwhelmed by… everything. It feels like there is something hiding just outside of my periphery that I’m forgetting about. It feels like an anvil has been placed on my sternum (ever so slowly, ever so gently, almost imperceptibly until it was too late).

It feels like I’m letting people down, but I don’t know why. I feel like I’m not living up to what others are expecting of me, even though I am doing my absolute best to keep my head above water. I had to take a break from streaming to focus on other projects and life in general.

I was talking to Soph of Uncultured Palate this week, and expressing these ideas, and we concluded that this is what burnout feels like. And I know this has been the case for a while. I get bursts of happiness and productivity, sometimes for weeks or months at a time. And then it’s like a boulder slams into me and my momentum is shattered.

I’m chalking it up to, you know, *gestures broadly at the state of the world* all of the everything. But it’s also, you know, *gestures less broadly at self* just a me thing. I’ve been doing a lot, and haven’t really given myself a chance to breathe for a bit. It’s not something I’m good at, resting.

After my conversation with Soph, I decided to start planning a vacation for sometime in September or the end of August. I need some time to do nothing except play video games, do some writing, and work on crochet projects. I would like to spend some time in the woods.

Wish me luck and send good vibes.

(Also, characteristically, big announcement coming on Monday. Hang out here and click the “Subscribe” button to get the news live!) (Side note to the side note: I wonder why I’m so burned out? Couldn’t be because I am always doing a million projects.)

Important Update: Pridecraft Stream

Hey folks! If you are following along at the Cool Gamer Retirement Home site and are pumped about the Pridecraft event happening this month, I have big news!

My stream has been moved BACK to 6/21/2022 at 6 p.m. EST. Stop in at my Twitch channel to watch me try (and probably fail!) to play Minecraft.

From the earlier post:

We’re raising money for The Trevor Project through Tiltify, and there will be some cool incentives for you to check out. Our goal is $622! The kickoff is TONIGHT at 6 p.m. at RedriaPlays’ house.

Check out everyone else’s streams too:

CGRH Presents: Pridecraft

A Minecraft collab benefitting The Trevor Project


katryam, tuesday 6/14 7 pm
island_grandpa 6/15 8:15 pm
toastybaguette13 6/16 9pm
redriaplays 6/17 6pm
sekhmetlives 6/18 2pm
ladyofchaosj 6/19 5pm
shayisplaying 6/20 4pm
yeaoomerang 6/20 9pm
luvlitchi 6/21 2pm
nahtagain 6/21 8pm

don't miss the kickoff and finale!
Monday, 6/13 at 6pm and Friday, 7/1 at 8pm on RedriaPlays' channel!

All times in EST

See the incentives and our campaign here!

And I’ll say it again for the people in the back:

We say gay in this retirement home.

Liz Cultivates: Spring 2022 UPDATE

Well, all my seedlings died.

But that’s okay. Because Lowe’s sells adolescent plants!

A grocery cart full of potted veggie plants
(Oops, All Plants)

Next year, I will make more of an effort to protect my little babies against the elements. I think a lot of things kind of conspired against me this year. First of all, the soil I used wasn’t very . . . thirsty, for lack of a better word. I planted all my seeds in those little jiffy planters (the kind you can just plant in the ground along with your seedlings because they’re also made out of organic material) and then went to water them the first time, the water just kinda sloughed off the top. It didn’t saturate the growing mix. So I added more water. At that point, it just felt like the seeds were swimming around in water and there was only a little bit of soil.

And then there’s the problem that I have run in to for the last few years: I don’t really have a place to put seeds at home, so I seed them outside and keep them in the closest thing to a climate-controlled environment I have: the house that my partner is fixing up. There’s a furnace in the house, but he keeps it at 50F. That may be too cold for these plants.

Here are my to-dos for next year:

  • Invest in a greenhouse-type structure
  • Get better starter soil
  • Work on irrigation in the garden itself

But honestly, for the most part, I am in love with what my garden looks like right now. I went to the hardware store and bought a few tomatoes, a few peppers, a bean, a squash, and some spinach. Here’s what the garden looked like a week or so ago:

There are a couple spots in the middle right where I am going to put some more lettuce, as well, and maybe another green bean. I also have a strawberry!

One small red-green strawberry in a jumble of strawberry leaves.
A tiny bebby.

Gardening is always a journey, and I’m learning more every year. It’s always so exciting to see what grows out of this little plot. And this year, I even had boarders!

A little bunny poking out of a hole in the yard

It felt wonderful that four little baby bunnies shared their space with me for a short time as I was getting everything in the ground.

Can’t wait to eat peppers and squash and beans!