Using AI to help you combat writer’s block.

We’ve had a wee bit of reprieve from winter, but I know it’s short-lived. Why can’t Mother Nature just pick a season and stick with it?

I have to admit, I was skeptical about using AI to help with my writing.

I tend to be one of those people who is afraid to try anything new for fear of losing the old way of doing things. When it comes to AI, that’s not the case.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

AI is designed to help write blog posts, product descriptions, outlines, emails, and so on. It should not (in my opinion) be used to completely write everything. The human element should still remain a constant factor in any piece of writing to some degree.

Initially I was skeptical, but after using both Jasper.AI and WordHero I have come to my own conclusions.

Jasper.AI – This is the first one I tried, and after some time spent on it I realized AI isn’t all that scary.

The more information you can provide, the better the content it produces will be. I also found the more I use it, the better it gets at providing me with content that’s relevant to what i want to say.

That’s not to say it just picks something out of a hat when I type in keywords or titles, but it’s as if it is figuring me out.

I also like the fact it gives more than one output (3 on the basic subscription; 10 in Boss Mode) at a time. It makes it easier to compare the results. I did notice there is some repetition depending on the topic. As I said before, the more keywords and information you can provide, the better.

I have used it to write the content for my Birchbark Publishing email list, and am pleased with the results. I typed in a phrase/sentence with a few keywords, and it generated 5 (the number I asked for) complete articles. In order to include the information I wanted, I pulled sentences and paragraphs from the different outputs to make it my own. Personal experiences and thoughts were also added in.

I do have to say it is a bit pricey: $59.00/month US for Boss Mode (which includes 50,000 credits). With the exchange rate that does convert into over $80.00 (on average) Canadian. I am considering going back to the basic package, which is $29.00/month US. I will lose a couple of the features, but I generally do not use the 50,000 credits I pay for each month. (And the unused credits don’t carry forward to the next month.) The referral credits, however, do carry forward and you have access to them as long as you’re a paying subscriber.

If you refer a monthly subscriber, you do earn 30% of their subscription fee each month, which is nice. You do have to be approved to be an affiliate, and you need a LinkedIn account. (It would not let me skip this when I was filling out the form.) You can earn 10,000 credits for each person you refer, even if you’re not an approved affiliate.

Another feature is it will write in almost any tone of voice you wish. I usually ask for friendly, casual, funny, or witty outputs. It’s amazing what the difference is with just changing the tone (and leaving the keywords/phrase the same).

WordHero – I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, and an ad for WordHero popped up. I decided I had nothing to lose and got the lifetime pro membership ($269.00 US), which translates into much less money per month than Jasper.ai. (Note: the lifetime deal is only available for a short time.)

They also have a subscription plan available, which translates into more money over the course of a year, but still more economical than Jasper. (They also pay 30% to affiliates, no matter the plan.)

I got a little accustomed to having more than output generated at a time for me, which WordHero doesn’t do. Mind you, it doesn’t take much to make a slight change for a different output.

I haven’t tried all of the features of it yet, but I do have to say it’s comparable to Jasper. At time of writing, WordHero is $49.00/month for unlimited usage (although they do have a Fair use Policy in effect), and $348.00/year if paid for annually.

I have found that with using AI I have been able to come up with more ideas for blog posts (I have a running list in my notebook). Plus, by using just the outlines generated I find my own words flow much easier. Sometimes a person just gets stuck, and keying in a few words to AI is all it takes to get unstuck.

One final note: AI is not meant to replace writers. Humans are still needed to edit the outputs, and add the emotion and feeling. As advanced as computers are, my thought is they will never replace the human element entirely. (And no, I did not use AI to write any of this post. I did use it to write this post on my Birchbark Publishing site though.)

Have you used AI? If so, what do you like/dislike about it? If not, is it something you’re considering trying? Let me know in the comments below.

Getting Started with Your First Book

Alas, the flooring is all done!

I still have to install the transition strips, but that’s a project for another day. It will be done by the weekend however, along with my spare room being painted. That room now sits completely empty, except for the paint can in the middle of it.

My thought was to put everything back and paint in a month or three, but my boyfriend convinced me now is the perfect time. I have to admit he’s not wrong. And it will be nice to have one more thing checked off the list.

My office was the last room to be done, and I have to say this is much nicer than the carpet that was in here. Moving my chair is now effortless. In fact, I have to be careful because it rolls too easily. I somehow foresee myself forgetting, and rolling back into the bookshelf when I push myself away from the desk.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

If someone had told me a year ago that I would be installing vinyl planking I would have told them they were nuts. Even when I picked out the colours I didn’t see myself doing any of the installation; yet here I am with some new experiences under my belt.

Granted I didn’t do the entire house alone, but I did enough to know it’s not something I’d want to be doing full time. Kudos to the professional flooring installers; they are definitely worth the money they charge. (I had the linoleum in my bathrooms installed by a local flooring company. That was NOT something I was willing to tackle.)

Don’t be afraid to take on new challenges. Or try new things. If it works out that’s great! If it doesn’t, then at least you can say you tried.

Writing a Book

The same goes for writing. If you want to be a published author, you first have to write your book. It is scary in the beginning, and all the self-doubt can be paralyzing.

But don’t listen to the negative thoughts in your head. Or for that matter, to the naysayers in your circle. Do what makes you happy, and if that involves writing a book, then go for it.

It doesn’t matter if you write fiction or nonfiction. The goal is to get your story/knowledge out there. Take a few minutes and do some brainstorming. Write out your ideas, or use a mind map to get your ideas out. The latter is a great tool to use if you’re more visual.

The Process

Once you have some topics/story ideas, work on your outline. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll concentrate on nonfiction in this post. Although I also write fiction, I take a different approach to it than I do my non-fiction.

If you’re having trouble with your outline, consider turning it into a series 10 questions your audience wants answered. Each question is a chapter and every subtopic is a supporting question. For example, your might have an outline that looks like this:

Chapter One: What Is Calligraphy?

  • Where Did Calligraphy Originate?
  • Why Do People Use Calligraphy Today?
  • What Can I Do with My Finished Calligraphy Work?

Chapter Two: What Supplies Do I Need?

  • How Do I Know If I Picked the Right Pen?
  • Do I Need to Use Specialty Paper?
  • Which Ink Should I Buy?

You can use as many questions as needed in each chapter to share your information. Some chapters may need several questions to cover all of the points you want to share while others may only need three or four questions. Don’t get hung up on how many questions you have right now.

When you’re finished with your outline it’s time to flesh it out. Answer the questions as thoroughly as you can, without boring the reader. Keep your tone friendly, and it doesn’t hurt to add a little humour in as well.

Once you’ve finished your first draft, it’s time to polish it. This is where your editing comes in. Sometimes it helps to take a step away from it for a few days or so, and look at it with fresh eyes. You’ll find sentences you want to reword, or you may omit entire paragraphs.

It’s all part of the process, but is a necessity if you want to create a book others will want to read and learn from.

For a more detailed look at writing nonfiction, you can pick up my 12 Module Course here. If you have any problems with the download please contact me. It’s a small price to pay for a course that can be the beginning of a regular stream of passive income for you.

The hardest part to anything new is getting started. Once you take the first step (even if it’s a baby one) the rest will fall into place.

What’s something you’ve done that scared you to death at first? Let me know in the comments below.

Moving forward in life and venturing into new territory.

Winter has arrived here in Alberta. I’m not ready for it, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. It’s here and I can either embrace it or complain. (Chances are I’ll do the latter more.)

The home renos are coming along nicely; only two more rooms to do the flooring in. My office is going to be the last one because it is the smallest and has the least amount of things to be moved. I’m thankful for the built-in bookshelves; no need to empty and move them.

At the end of this month the arborist is coming in and taking out several trees that have lived beyond their years. I presumed them to be healthy but when the leaves fell I realized just how unsafe they are. I don’t like to have trees cut down, but when they become a hazard it’s time. I will end up with some nice firewood at the end of it all though, which is nice.

Plus I’ll be able to plant some fruit trees in their place come spring; which I’m looking forward to. I know they’ll do well in that spot because they’ll have all the sunshine they want, yet be protected from the west winds by an existing hedge.

Now that life has settled for me, I am able to pursue something I have wanted to for a long time. It’s going to take time and work but I’m so excited about it!

For those of you who are authors or information product creators, you know how hard it is to get your work seen. And it’s even harder to earn a living from it. (For those of you who are earning a full-time income from your work, kudos to you!)

At the end of October I bit the bullet and started my own publishing company, Birchbark Publishing. Right now I’m concentrating on ebooks and information products, with the intent to expand to other digital formats (audio and video). Digital is faster to distribute, easier to fix errors, and can be read on any device (as they’ll be in PDF).

For those with an artisitic flair, I’m also accepting submissions for colouring books. The beauty of PDF is these can be printed by the buyer and coloured in the traditional way, or opened with a note-taking app and coloured digitally. Portability at its finest.

Fiction or nonfiction. Novels or short stories. Kids books too.

I know there’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m going to do my best to not have any screwups.

You can read my latest blog post on my publishing site here, and let me know what you think.

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