Writing Software

Confucius quote via besotted blog

You really don’t need any special software to write, a pen and paper will do just fine. Michelle and I are finding in getting ready for Nanowrimo and doing our practice runs to see if we can actually hit the daily 1667 word mark (so far no dice) that long form writing can get disorganized very quickly.  We are currently using a shared Google Drive folder, the new ‘document’ feature is very much like Word so it’s not like you have to re-learn any new software (a plus), and the other plus is that we both can access the drive on line and in real time. The downside is that it is a virtual blob of all of our thoughts and the documents are rapidly piling up into what could only best be described as total chaos. We decided to look into software, not wanting to invest too much, but if something seemed a fair price then maybe. We not only discovered fair we discovered to our great delight generous! We compiled some resources (mostly Mac since that seems to be harder to find than a pc compatible software and that’s what we use).


This was the first software we looked into because it was developed specifically for Mac’s (but is now available in a PC version too). We looked through the tutorials and it seems very straightforward for us to learn. It also looks thoroughly organized and we can organize the way that best suits our style and if our style changes midway through this project we can re-organize a totally different way down the line. It’s very affordable at only $45 USD, but here’s the generous bit–the Scrivner developers Literature and Latte offer Nanowrimo a free trial for the entire month of November and extend it until December 7th for good measure, if at the end of November you reach your 50k word win/goal they offer the software at 50% off!  We’ve read nothing but good things about this software and this is the one we are leaning most towards. Nanowrimo 2015 offer.


Their motto is ‘Write anything. Anywhere.’  It’s an app for Ipad and IOS systems (your Iphone)  it is lauded for its minimalist design. Ulysses is free for anyone writing during Nanowrimo 2015! This app is not just for aspiring novelist either, journalist love it as do bloggers! Free extended trial here.


I love that you can download the desktop, Ipad and Iphone version and sync!  It always seem that you get a brilliant idea when you are no where near a computer, but your phone? Well, that thing is usually glued to you right? Storyist has a free trial and is also offering a 50% off to all that meet the 50k word goal at the end of November

Lastly a little extra help…


Grammar is my Kryptonite, a bigger person might never put words out in the world if their grammar was as poor as mine, but my desire to write eclipses my fear of looking like a dolt. For you dear friends I brave the grammar police daily, hold my breath and hit ‘publish’ with aplomb. Luckily there’s a new tool to help those that feel baffled in the face of punctuation and it’s called Grammarly. It’s a subscription based tool where you can upload your writing and get your grammar checked, yes, I do need this.

If you have been on the fence with writing software maybe these free trials might offer more incentive to give them a go. Again, totally not necessary to write, but as we are quickly finding out, could be super help for more long form writing (which both Michelle and I don’t have any experience with). If you have tried any writing software that you love please let us know, we would love to share the resources! Here’s to happy writing for this November challenge!

Tools of the trade | Immersion Blender

tools of the trade besotted blogI know, seemingly odd way to start a Monday right? An immersion blender? When I first started the ‘tools of the trade’ section on the site I had visions of asking many different creatives about their ‘secret-have to have’ tools, because whenever I found out about one that would work in my life I knew I wanted to share. This here immersion blender was one of those awesome ‘tools of the trade’ secrets from a professional chef friend who swore by it for soup puree’s. I kept meaning to write about it but it never felt like a good fit, or I’d see something shiny and forget. Last night when I made a batch of the silkiest  hummus this side of the Mississippi I knew that enough was enough, I had to share. [Read more…]

Foto Rx-One Click Wonders + Screencast resources

We hope you all had a wonderful weekend, we certainly did! It’s such a rush to launch something that you worked so hard on and we are learning so much in the process. One of the things we knew we had to learn was how to do a screencast. Both Michelle and I kind of groan at the sound of our voices (although I personally think Michelle’s is rather lovely).  I do think it’s a common irk for a lot of people, so we had to overcome that obstacle, but since we would do pretty much anything for you we decided to dive right in!

There wasn’t a lot of information in a straightforward way on how to actually do the screencast but we did find a helpful Skillshare class. We originally used Quicktime to record our video’s (it’s a screenrecording application that comes free with Mac’s). We have since downloaded Screenflow, but be forewarned if you are working with multiple individuals on a project like we are, the price is only good for one license, meaning only the person that bought it and downloaded it can use it on their computer. We did learn a great tip in our class and that is to use your Iphone headphones that comes with the Iphone as your mic. I had a little trouble with mine (there’s a strange sucking noise in my video recordings) but Michelle’s sounds super clear and so pro! We also learned that you can edit and create videos in Photoshop, this is a revelation to me (our promo video is basically a layered Photoshop file!). Being able to edit videos in Photoshop is amazing, because you’ll be able to apply your actions to your video, how’s that for spiffy?

Above is our latest screencast Michelle recorded to demonstrate our Foto Rx Photoshop actions ‘One Click Wonders’. I do feel being able to see her work with the actions and the effect they have on the image as she goes has so much more impact than still images. Once you see the actions in action, we hope it gets you excited to try them out so you can see just how easy (and fast) it is to use them!

If you have any questions please let us know!


Photoshop CC + Lightroom photographers bundle

Skillshare Screencast Class



Iphone headphones w/mic alternative (if you don’t have access to your Iphone headphones)

FotoRx | First Aid Kit Photoshop actions



Light Boxes via Besotted Blog

It’s been awhile since we did a ‘Tools of the trade’ post where we introduced you to some of the more unique tools in our creative arsenal. I have been doing a lot a of lettering per one of 365 projects, I have also just finished watching a slew of lettering videos Bryn at Paperfinger recently launched a 3 part series, Molly Jacques has one I highly recommend (she has an easy/breezy teaching style), and Melissa Esplin was one of the pioneers in the class movement and I would be remiss  if I didn’t give her a mention! One of the tools that kept coming up for the lettering artists was the light box for seeing guidelines under your cardstocks. A lightbox could come in handy for a a myriad of creative projects (if you needed to re-trace anything) so I think if it makes sense for the kind of projects you work on then it should be added the arsenal.  I have one that is a lot older and compared to the newer versions is just a bulky mess. The new ones are sleek, super light, portable and relatively affordable (it seems my monstrosity was a fortune). Are you using a lightbox in any of your projects now? If so do you think it’s a valuable investment? I really want to add the Daylight Wafer Light Box to my studio. If you have a unique tool you use in your creative endeavors send us an email so we can feature it future installments, we love being introduced to new tools!

daylight wafer light box | artograph LED light lightpad series

P.S. I have been asked about supplies I use for lettering via Instagram, for convenience I thought I would just add this little post script with the link to some of my favorite supplies for beginners-here they are!


home printer favorites via besotted blog

Printing at home or in your studio has one clear advantage over using a service: control. If you are unhappy with a print, you can make adjustments and reprint it on the spot. Familiarity with your equipment is helpful too. For instance, I know these Epsons print a bit darker than my monitor so I prepare for it in Photoshop by creating a duplicate layer & screening it at 25% opacity. This makes the image too light on screen, but it prints perfectly.

My Epson Artisan 800 is a dinosaur – maybe 6 years old, and even with a broken paper tray, it still prints, and scans like a champ (I don’t make many copies, and never use the fax feature). I have prints from when this printer was new that look as good as the day they were made (the inks are fade resistant up to 98 years!). Super thick card stock doesn’t really work, but I’ve had good luck with heavyweight matte papers. It’s possible this has been corrected in the newer version of this printer, but I can’t speak to that from direct experience. Epson recently replaced the Artisan series with the Expression series, which come in at the same bargain price I paid for my Artisan 6 years ago ($130.00).

Home printer review besotted blog ii

The Epson Stylus Photo R3000, made it’s way into my studio when it became apparent that photography was going to eclipse my love for graphic design by roughly a mile and a half. It feels like such a treat to print the 13” x 19” size. My images with black backgrounds (printed on smooth matte paper), remind me of velvet (but not in an Elvis on black velvet sort of way). Tristan wanted to know where I had them printed, and was floored when I told her I printed them myself! The archival inks are fade resistant up to 118 years for color, and 300 years for black, just be sure to use archival paper to secure those results. For peace of mind, I always add another layer of protection with a couple of coats of Hahnemuhle Protective Spray to keep prints looking new for as long as possible.

For any new home printer purchase, you’ll want to check your monitor calibration. I won’t get into detail, since it’s one of those things where cost and time investment can vary widely depending on your needs. I did find this friendly tutorial for calibrating a mac that some of you may find helpful. The other thing you’ll want to be aware of is the ICC color profile information for your printer. ICC color profiles will help Photoshop and your new printer speak the same color language. Here is a video from Epson explaining which settings to use in the Photoshop print area for the R3000. Tip: Make mini test prints to conserve ink and paper: full size is for when you get all of the workflow kinks worked out!

If you have a home printer that you use for photos and love, let us know! I’ve had Epson printers for so long, I’m not very familiar with the other options.

//Resources //

The Finer : Epson Stylus Photo R3000

Priced around $750.00 but right now there’s a $200 mail-in rebate & free shipping w/ Amazon Prime.

The Find : Epson Expression Premium XP-820 ($129.99)

Screen Calibration Equipment:

ColorMunki (this is the entry level version) Spyder4elite

Photoshop + Lightroom Creative Cloud bundle now only $9.99 a month!

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.


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