Using Vellum As A Writing Tool👈😍

Photo by Sergey Zolkin on Unsplash

Vellum is a software designed and intended for book formatting: you can preview what your book looks like on several devices (and print interiors), and you can export your book to any standard ebook format and many standard print pdf interior files. It’s pretty awesome.

I’ve been using it as a writing tool, not just as a publishing tool, because I’m weird. Actually, I just got frustrated with Scrivener’s wonky device-syncing, and I’ve never liked using google docs (or anything similar such as MS Word or Pages or whatever).

Since I know I’ll have to put my book into Vellum eventually anyway, and my first-choice editor likes to read on her iPad and write handwritten comments with her apple pencil (actually, I like to do this when I’m editing my own work or others’ too…), I’ve adapted to writing directly into Vellum.

Sidenote: For editing, I export a pdf from Vellum, which I or my editor can import into Notability and then scribble on to our heart’s content. Once the comments are done, we can export the Notability note as a pdf complete with scribbles. I love this because you can circle something without having to write “you misspelled this word” or you can put a question mark next to a place where you’re confused. Non-verbal reactions for the win.

My greatest frustration when I first started using Vellum as a writing tool was the lack of color-coding for chapters that need work, are done, etc.

Enter Emojis!

How do you access emojis on a Macbook?

There’s a magical keyboard thingy. Go to your mac settings (aka System Preferences, you know the grey gear) and click on keyboard.

System Preferences: Keyboard

Make sure there’s a checkmark next to the “show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar.”

Check “Show Keyboard and Emoji Viewers in Menu Bar”
Check “Show Keyboard and Emoji Viewers in Menu Bar”
Check “Show Keyboard and Emoji Viewers in Menu Bar”

Now you should see a little US flag (if your keyboard language is set to US English, otherwise look for your flag) up on the right of the menu bar next to your wifi and bluetooth indicators. Click on the flag, and you get a drop-down menu with your keyboard options (I have IPA and Greek because I use symbols a lot for weird words or math equations, you may have other things). You’ll find an option for “Show Emoji & Symbols” which gives you pretty much all the emojis you could need for your writing delights.

Click “Show Emoji & Symbols”

I use the green checkbox ✅ for scenes that I’ve decided are done (or done for now…), the yellow warning symbol ⚠️ for scenes that need some work, and the red double exclamation ‼️ for scenes that need to exist but don’t yet or are total trainwrecks. It helps me to have a small visual cue as to where I need to focus my creative energy.

Of course, since I found the emojis, now my characters can use them if they’re texting each other, because it shows up in color or black and white depending on the format/device I export to.

She/Her. Chatelaine. Writer. Dreamer. Bioengineer. Designer. #ActuallyAutistic

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