How to read on the go (and at the gym) 

Reading: The ultimate Escape

I am busy. We are all busy. Our lives are hectic and it  
can be extremely tough to make time to read.
But our hectic lives can also be full of tiny moments
when we are bored, stressed or just looking for an
escape.
Reading can be that escape.
When asked why they read, people gave a variety of answers. Some of my favorite reasons given were as follows:
“Reading is the ultimate escape”
“Reading allows me to enter a world completely different from my own”
Reading a good story can get you out of your head !  You can leave your own life and all the stresses and strains behind you for a while and go somewhere else. You can be entertained, amused and intrigued.
“I feel calm when I get into a book. It just lets me forget about the world around me”
“A good book is like a friend. You get to know the world and the characters”
Reading can be comforting and really helps to reduce stress levels, even if you only read for a short period of time each day.
Many studies including a recent research study by the University of Sussex has shown that reading is the best way to relax. The study findings suggest that six minutes of reading can be enough to reduce the stress levels by over two thirds.
“I feel a sense of achievement when I finish a book”
“Reading helps to relax, entertain and distract me on my commute”.

My early attempts at reading on the go….

For me these times are waiting for or sitting on buses and trains in my commute, working out at
the gym and break or lunch times at work.
I wanted to fill those times with something relaxing and entertaining so I tried fiction.
For many years I tried bringing a book with
me but that can be bulky, another heavy item
in an already over packed bag.
It can be hard to read from a book or a large
tablet when standing on a train, tram or bus,
holding on a hand rail and speeding through
the city!
It can be tougher still to focus on the page
amid all the distractions.
And I have a tendency to forget to bring my book with me.!!!
So I will often have this ‘doh’ moment when I realize that my book is at home or in my desk drawer or I left it in my bag in the locker room at the gym.
Later, I tried a tablet and although it was less bulky it was still added weight and I still tended to forget it.

But I always have my phone….

My phone is always with me. It is more than a phone. (it is a friend… nah, just kidding).
It is my contact to family and friends, my alarm clock, watch and stop watch. It is my notebook
and source of internet. It is how I play music. It is how I look up gym class times or read a
newspaper or check when the next bus is coming. It is how I play trivia (with Glitterbug trivia
apps 🙄).
Every where I go I bring my phone. 

…. Reading on my phone

So I tried reading on my phone.
It was fine. At first.
But the novelty wore off quickly.I couldn’t do it on a bus or an exercise bike for long.
Here’s what happened:
1. I started getting headaches or feeling nausea reading on a bus
2. I couldn’t keep track of the words if I was at the gym.
3. If I was tired it was a no go.
4. Every time I looked away or checked another app I lost my place!
I was always looking away because I was checking bus times, checking where the bus I was traveling on was, checking my time on the machine at the gym, etc.
Some apps were even worse and on closing them I’d lose my place entirely having to start again at the beginning!!

The solution: The ‘Snoop’ app and Story Chunks

I came up with the idea for Snoop by looking at text messages. I could read those easily and quickly without hurting my eyes, losing my place or getting annoyed.
So we at Glitterbug made a fiction app that fixes these pet peeves of any reader on the go:

The result? Snoop! 

An app where you easily navigate through 100s of stories and read
each in a text message style format that we call chunked reading.

Each piece of content is delivered as a text message style chunk
You can read each clearly, even on a bus

We keep your exact place, down to the sentence you last read,
and you can return to it easily. We do this for all our stories and
you can have tons of open stories and flick over and back
between them.
Snoop had an easy to navigate dashboard filled with story titles
displayed like book covers. You can quickly choose a story and
start reading !
Choose from a wide range of genres: 
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Thrillers
  • Drama
  • Reality
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction
  • Comedy
  • Cross genre stories

How much does it cost? 

Snoop offers free stories and does not charge a subscription fee!

Where can I get Snoop? 

Snoop is available for Android devices on Google play:

Get it on Google Play

Other useful tips

Some other useful tips for reading on the go:
1. I choose shorter stories or content pieces. Decide by your approximate journey time.
With Snoop you can enter a reading time and see work which matches that time. All of our ‘story spotlight’ pieces are organised by time.
2. I close my eyes from time to time on buses or trains and I find it helps me if I feel travel sickness.
3. I choose light or entertaining reads. We have multiple genres you can peruse through.
4. Listen to audio book version instead of you can.
This feature is being integrated into Snoop as we speak!

Our other Apps

Check out http://www.glitterbug.ie to see some more of our amazing apps!

Get Popular On Instagram Right Now

 

What is Instagram and how do I use it?

Old fashioned cameraInstagram is an app which lets you express yourself by posting content in the form of videos and images.

 Once you have downloaded the Instagram app you can quickly view photos and videos posted by other members of the community.

So, in a nutshell, Instagram lets you connect with other people and share content

Why should I care? 

 

Die thinking

Instagram is great for anyone who wants to reach out to other people and express yourself.

Moreover, it is vital for any business wishing to reach out and attract potential customers.

Instagram can be used as a free way to spread the word and engage with people who might be

interested in what you are promoting.

You can gather loyal fans and let people know about new updates to your products or services.

 


 

What are good examples of posts? 

Instagram is all about expressing yourself through images.
Your image needs to immediately pull people in and show them what you are promoting.
Here are some of our top performing posts. You can find out more by following @glitterbugtech on Instagram.
You can check out our Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/glitterbugtech/

Do you like scary stories?

Looking for an escape?Road to adventure

 


How do I post? 

Creating posts is essential to using Instagram. This is the first step to your journey as an Instagrammer.

aeroplane

 

 

 

 

You can create a post as follows:

  1.  On the app, click on the plus symbol at the bottom of the screen.
  2.  Your gallery appears, choose an image.
  3.  Click the ‘next’ button on the top right hand corner twice.
  4.  Enter your caption. You can add hashtags here if you like!
  5. Enter a location if you wish
  6. Tag other people if you wish
  7.  Click the ‘share’ button on the top right hand corner to share the image.
  8. Once you’ve shared the image, you can add hashtags to your comments if you like!

 

 

What are likes and how do I get them?

Images can be liked by other users. The more likes an image gets, the better. Images with more likes get are more likely to be seen by other people as they are more prominent.

Within any hashtag category, images with the most likes are placed at the top where users can easily view them.

So, likes are key!

You can get likes by liking other people’s posts, by applying hashtags, reaching out to followers and friends and through free services such as Gramblr.

thanks man



What are hashtags and how do I use them?

 

hashtag

Each post is automatically shared with your followers but in order to reach a wider audience, you need to add hashtags.
Hashtags are categories which you assign your post to. Users choose to view posts in their affiliated categories. So, this provides you with an excellent mechanism to reach out to the users who are looking for your product or service.
Think of hashtags as a matching service.
A hash tag is a word with a # symbol in front of it e.g #glitterbugtech.
You simply type the word including the # symbol in your caption are while adding your post.
Forgot to add hashtags?
Don’t worry, the good news is that you can add these in the comments section and it has the same effect.
You should add hashtags as soon as you post, though, as most popular categories will only show most recently posted photos for a short time, a matter of seconds in some cases.

How can I get images for posts?

Sites like unsplash offer free images which you can use legally. The trick is to find sites that give you a wide range of images that are free to use and also free for commercial use (in the case of a business).
Here are a few sites which we have used in the past:
  • https://unsplash.com/
  • https://www.pexels.com/
  • https://pixabay.com/en/

What kind of posts can I make?

Your images should depend on what you are trying to advertise.  e.g. We advertise fiction apps so we show images which we create to look like book covers or quotes with a background picture.
You don’t need to add a photo, many posts are simply black or colour backgrounds with text on top.
You can also make videos and post these.

 

How can I create posts on the web and mobile?

Websites like canva are great for creating posts. You can upload images, add shapes and text and even start with a template. There are tons of different templates specific to Instagram posts.
You can find Canva here and there is a free trial.
Textagram is a great app for your phone to create posts on the go. It is completely free and allows you to choose templates, add images and add text or different sizes and fonts.
You can find Textagram here and there is a free trial.

What is following in the Instagram universe?

You follow people in order to see their posts on your ‘home page’. You get followers and these are people who will, likewise, see your posts on their ‘home page’.

 

How do I follow people?

When you look at a post e.g. by checking all the posts in a hashtag category, you will see a ‘follow’ link at the top left side of the screen beside the person’s name. Click on this to follow someone.

You can find people by searching for them. To search for a person do the following:

  1. Click on the search link on the bottom of the screen
  2. Click on the search bar which then appears at the top of the screen.
  3. On click, four sub menu items appear. Click on ‘people’ and enter glitterbugtech. You will find us.
  4. Once you click on our profile, you will see a ‘follow’ link on the top left of the screen. Click this button to follow us!

We always follow back 🙂

How do I get more followers?

You need to get followers. Remember. these are people who will see your posts without the need for hashtags. You want as many as possible but mainly people who are interested in what you are promoting.

You can get followers by following other people and asking them to follow you in return, by asking people in your own circles or by posting interesting and eye catching content.

How do I use Instagram to get people to reach my product? 

  • Draw people in with nice images or screenshots of your product
  • Entertain people with funny posts
  • Show people inspirational quotes or interesting facts
  • Use eye catching combinations of photos and text
  • Let people immediately see your product or what it does
  • Ask questions
  • Draw people in with mystery.

You cannot directly click on an instagram post, so you can’t add links to your own site or other promotional pages. This leads the question – how do I bring users? One way we have found is to provide them with simple instructions e.g. Search for Glitterbug in Google Play.

Instagram

Who are Glitterbug and what do we do?

We are an Irish startup company focusing on software development for the mobile platform.  Why not talk to us about having an app developed or download one of our many existing products. You can find out more at our website http://www.glitterbug.ie

100 story ideas and fiction prompts for writers

100 story ideas

Want story ideas???  If you have read our blog entry about getting published (http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/09/03/top-tips-for-getting-published/) you will know the importance of starting with a good idea! This blog entry provides you with 100 story ideas.

Want to write your own story? Have you dreamed of becoming an author? Looking for story ideas? Looking for fiction prompts? Here are one hundred ideas for stories. These are all original fiction prompts and original story ideas.

100 fiction prompts for you

Get story ideas

Get story ideas

 

Story ideas!!! 

  1. You are a teenager and you have fallen in love. But you suspect your new girlfriend/boyfriend has a secret.
  2. You are a teacher and you have a favorite student. But you suspect this student is helping another student to cheat in their exams
  3. You are an artist and you have been visited by a stranger who offers you success and wealth but at a cost
be inspired

be inspired

  1. You are lost and you have no idea where you are. Your phone contacts are wiped and you only remember one number which you can text
  2. You find yourself trapped in a nightmare realm
  3. You fall in love but the only problem is that you are a ghost
Creepy chat stories

Creepy chat stories

  1. You inherit a strange doll but you feel like she is watching you
  2. You are 17 and it’s the last day of your summer holidays
  3.  You are a songwriter and you are entering a competition but the other contestants are vicious
  4. You wake up alone in a locked room with a phone and you must figure out how to escape
  5. You are a sports star who is losing your edge
  6. You develop psychic powers
  7. Your friends are superheros but you have no power
  8. You are a police officer who is terrified of your first night on the streets
  9. You are working in an office and your dream man/woman starts working there
  10. After 15 years away you must return to your home town/village/city to complete a task
fantasy and mystery stories

fantasy and mystery stories

 

Creepy Story ideas!!! 

  1. You start to suspect that your substitute teacher is a killer
  2. You get involved in an experiment
  3. You fall in love
  4. You befriend your enemy
  5. You are a spy
  6. You are an alien undercover on earth
  7. You suddenly remember your past lives
  8. You decide to investigate a recent disappearance in your neighborhood
  9. You decide to investigate a disappearance in your neighborhood which happened when you were a child
  10. You discover you can time travel after finding a gold pocket watch

 

 

time travel stories

time travel stories

Fantasy Story ideas!!! 

  1. You meet an alien
  2. You fall in love but the only problem is that you are a Wendigo
  3. You are being chased by a strange man with an alarm clock
  4. You receive an invitation to a mysterious gathering
  5. You answer an online ad which asks you to dress up as a clown
  6. You get an offer to go on a ghost hunt
  7.  You remember times when you were afraid
  8. You are a master criminal and hacker genius but you are on the verge of getting caught
  9.  You decide to be honest with everyone
  10. You must decide between going to college and staying at home with your boyfriend/girlfriend
  11. Your best friend dies in his sleep after having weird dreams. Soon you start to have nightmares too
  12. You live in a future world where emotion is banned
  13.  You live in a future world where all unhealthy food is banned
science fiction stories

science fiction stories

 

Dystopian future Story ideas!!! 

  1. You live in a future world where everyone eats unhealthy food all the time
  2. You live in a future world where you can clone yourself
  3. You are stuck in the same day
  4. You live in a future world where you can change your gender instantly
  5. You start getting dreams that come true
  6. You meet a genie who offers you three wishes
  7. You are being texted by a psychopathic killer
  8.  You are trapped with a lion who has escaped from the zoo
  9. You are being texted by a ghost
  10. You discover a website all about you with a live cam from your house and your work place
  11. You are being texted by a magician who offers you immortality
  12. You inherit a fortune

Action and adventure Story ideas!!! 

  1. You wake up in a car
  2. You wake up locked in a room
  3. You spread gossip and regret it
  4. You are approached by a demon offering a deal
  5. You are approached by a secret organisation which wants to turn you into a superhero
  6. You are approached by a secret organisation which wants to turn you into a spy
  7. You are approached by a secret organisation which wants to turn you into a cyborg
  8. You are being texted by a millionaire investor who likes your idea
  9. You are invited to a party by the person of your dreams
  10. You meet your idol
  11. You meet a vampire
  12. You have been cloned
  13. You are being pursued by a killer
  14. You are being pursued by a stalker who is in love with you
  15. You are meet a witch
  16. You are turn into a mermaid

Drama and true Story ideas!!! 

  1. Write about a time you had an argument
  2. Write about a time you lost a friend
  3. Write about a time you gained a friend
  4. Write about a time you regretted your actions
  5. Write about a time you are embarrassed about
  6. Write about a time you were afraid
  7. Write about a time you were most happy
  8. Write about a time you saved the day
  9. Write about a time you came up with an idea
  10. Write about a time you lost something
  11. Write about a time you won something
  12. Write about a time you came first

  1. Write about a time you came last
  2. Write about a time you discovered someone was lying to you
  3. Write about a time you learned a lesson
  4. Write about a time you changed your mind

Comedy Story ideas!!! 

  1. A lighthearted comedy about your family
  2. A lighthearted comedy about winning the lottery
  3. A comedy about falling in love
  4. A comedy about a misunderstanding at a bank
  5. A lighthearted comedy about being chased by a ghost
  6. A lighthearted comedy about characters in the TV trying to kill you
  7. A comedy about an app that tries to kill you
  8. A comedy about time travel
  9. A comedy about friendship
  10. A mystery about a murder in a village

Mystery Story ideas!!! 

  1. A mystery about a murderer who writes three correspondences to his victims
  2.  A mystery about a murder at a tech convention
  3.  A mystery about a murder at a murder writers convention
  4.  A mystery about a murder where each victim guilty of a crime
  5.   A mystery about a murder where you suspect the detective
  6.   A mystery about a murder at a dog show
  7.  A mystery about a murder on a fishing boat. Investigation happens over a few hours while stuck out at sea and unable.

 

Want to write a Glitterbug chat story??

So, now that you have an idea, why not write with us? It’s 100% free to write, submit and publish a story. We promote your story to our readers for free and this gains you publicity, popularity, feedback and a fan base!

Get readers. Get noticed. Write a Glitterbug chat story.

 

How to write a Glitterbug chat story??

You can download the glitterbug app from the link below.

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ie.glitterbug.gcs&hl=en

Once you open the app you will be able to read existing original fiction and write your own stories.

To use the app, follow this easy tutorial:

To write a story, simply follow this easy tutorial:

 

Why write a Glitterbug chat story??

  • It’s free
  • Get noticed
  • Get readers and build up a fanbase
  • Get published
  • Receive valuable feedback
  • Get to the top of our authors charts
  • Have fun
  • Stretch your mind and use your imagination

 

Top tips for getting published

A good idea is a great start..

You have writing talent. Your friends say that your work is worth reading. And now you have come up with The Idea. You feel it in your bones.
Characters are starting to form, becoming more real to you. A subject and a theme have come to your attention. It looks like you have a great story in you. But how do you get from this point to publication?

So many writers

Tons of books are published each year. There are hundreds of thousands of new titles published. But with so much submissions there is more competition than ever before.
So how do you increase your chances of getting your books and stories published? It is important to think smart about this and be your own best friend and best helper.

 

Getting an agent

Before you start contacting every publisher that you have ever heard of, you should first consider if the representation of a literary agent could help.
A literary agent represents the interests of the writer that she acts for. A good agent will advise you on your writing and on the market in general, she help you find the right place for your writing.
She will help to promote and sell you and your work to the appropriate publisher, fight for the best deal and, importantly, she will provide useful advice and support throughout the process.

Submitting work to publishers

If you do choose to submit directly to publishers or if have been unsuccessful in finding an agent your next option is to contact the publishers directly.
We’ve all heard of the slush pile, the pile of unsolicited manuscripts that every publisher has;
every so often we hear of an author who was plucked from this slush pile and then receives a three-book offer and a cash advance. Sounds like a dream come true.

It could be you 

And it’s true, this does happen – but it’s like a lottery. If you really want to get plucked from obscurity by this means you will have to be very tenacious or just plain lucky!
In order to improve your chances, it is vital that you research the market. Remember that publishing is a commercial business. You will have to convinced publishers will need to be that there is a potential market for any book that they decide to publish.

 

Self publishing

The internet have made self-publishing much more viable. If the traditional publishing route is not working out for you, or if you simply want to increase your chances, self publishing is worth considering.
There have been success cases where authors were rejected by publishers and agents only to achieve success in self publishing. But do not underestimate the amount of work involved.

Massive undertaking

Self-publishing is a massive undertaking!. However, one major benefit if you do go down this route, is that you will have to learn a lot about the publishing world, going past the knowledge of many writers.

A self-publisher will be in charge of:

 

Design Decisions

You need to choose how your story will look. Choice of font and font size are important. If you publishing in offline ‘physical world’ format, what weight paper?
You need to design the cover.

Editing  -for grammar,etc.

It is vital to go through your work and check for typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and logical errors.
If possible get someone else to read through your work, someone with a natural talent for editing.

Editing – for story

If possible get someone or a group to give you feedback on your story plot, character development and story tempo. Don’t be tempted to do this too early though!
Criticism at the embryonic stage can be counter productive.

Pricing

You have to decide how much your book will cost and whether you will give discounts or special offers?

Getting an ISBN

Getting an International Standard Book Numbers is important as it allows you to get your book stocked in bookshops and libraries.

Printing

For How many copies should you print? Should you do a print run or print to order? Again, this is not needed for online copies.

Promotion

How will you get the word out about your book? Who will review your book? How can you best engage the press? Will there be interviews and features in the newspapers?

 

Sales

Will you sell the book yourself or hire someone else? Can you get sales people on commission only or should you pay them a salary? Do you have any useful contacts in bookshops, etc?

Distribution

How will you store your books and where? How will you get orders? By email? By phone? How will you deliver the books?

Invoicing and accounting

You may need to set up a company or at least register as self employed for tax purposes. In what formats will you accept payments? Will you have an online shop?

Funding

How can you pay for the activities which you need? Should you work in a ‘day job’ and use this money to pay for sales people, advertising, paid-for reviews, etc? or should you work mainly on your book, investing your time instead?

 

 

Vanity Press

The line between vanity publishing and self-publishing can be a narrow one, but generally I stick to one rule: if you are pay someone else to publish your book, then it is vanity publishing.
Remember that mainstream publishers invest in the promotion of a body of work and make their profit from the sales.

They do not require an up front fee! Vanity publishers make money from upfront charges and do not guarantee any success. They have little or no incentive to sell your book.

Free publishing with Glitterbug chat stories 

 

The benefits of free self-publishing in new Media

A new option which has become available to new and emerging authors is the mobile-first fiction arena. Growing massively with readers, especially young adults, chat stories or mobile first fiction is going from strength to strength.

There are a growing number of chat story apps out there. Chat stories are fiction pieces told as a series of text messages. The messages appear on the screen one by one and the reader taps to see the next message.

This easy to read format makes reading on a mobile device much better and allows users to pick up stories and read them on the fly.

Our app, Glitterbug chat stories, allows authors to write and publish chat stories for free.

 

Writing a story with Glitterbug chat stories has many benefits:

1. We are a relatively new app so you can get in at the start and write stories which readers will notice.
2. In our first two months we have over 2000 downloads of our app. This is growing each week.
3. Writing in this format can help you to reach new readers quickly and promote your other works. We are happy for you to add a link to your other work on your author page.
4. Mobile first fiction allows you to cheaply and quickly distribute your stories to a wide audience without worrying about sales, logistics or initial costs.
5. You can reach a whole new generate of readers in a growing market.
6. Glitterbug chat stories can help to engage with readers, get feedback and ratings for your work.
7. Build up a loyal fan base and show this to publishers!!

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ie.glitterbug.gcs&hl=en

 

3 new stories added to Glitterbug Chat Stories

 

3 new stories added to Glitterbug Chat Stories

Today we updated our  Glitterbug Chat Stories app with three brand new chat stories.

1. Yesteryear

Tom starts getting texts from Fiona. His wife. His wife who died ten years before. For Fiona, it is the 9th of June 2007, the day she will die

2. Rehab

Malcolm notices something strange about the rehab facility. People are changing. Really changing. Are these healers really what they seem? What is happening to his friends?

3. Visitor

When you rent an old house, sometimes it comes complete with ghosts…

New character added to Painted World

New character will be added tonight to the Painted World interactive fiction app ….

Get it on Google Play

Introducing Arjun Petal…….

Welcome to the Shooting Stars talent agency where Arjun Petal can make anyone a star… or at the very least that’s what he tells the prospective client.

Arjun is a con man, his con is the age old vanity press scam.

It works like this. He meets a client with low self esteem and dreams of stardom in his modelling agency and he relieves them of all their surplus cash.. he gets his fees and then he makes them feel so bad about themselves that they cannot continue with his program. His fees are non-refundable.

What can go wrong? Eh? Well.. things are not going to plan for Arjun. Maybe it’s the ghost who haunts his building or Irina, his latest client, who seems to be able to see the ghost or maybe, just maybe ..

It’s something to do with Eve, the mysterious lady who shows up at his door and gets angry…

http://glitterbug.ie/paintedWorld/

Women in Technology

This is the first of a few blog posts about women in technology. Written by a female coder and co founder of Glitterbug app development, it is about what software development has to offer and about my personal experience as a woman in coding as well as the things that initially deterred me from pursuing my dream of being a software engineer.

My name is Laura Cavanagh. I have been working in technology, specifically software development and software architecture, since 2003 (which, as of now is 14 years).  I spent that time in large and small companies, working in a range of roles from coding to architectural design, to consultancy and presales and back to coding again.

I taught myself to code in C from the age of 20 and became a computer programmer at 22. I am a self taught java, android, swift and web developer. I just wanted to write a few blog entries on what it is like to be a female coder as it is a question I get asked a lot and I feel a need to express it and explain what it has been like for me.

About me:

Degree in Psychology

13 years in software development and software architecture

Worked in security applications, web development, XML parsing, marketing applications.

Co-founded  Glitterbug with Colin Vaughan in 2016.

We make apps, we are slowly but surely finding our path through the world of app development which has taken us from quiz apps to interactive fiction and chat stories and now to our eCommerce adventure in food ordering apps.

 http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/05/22/glitterbug-chat-stories/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/05/21/glitterbug-galvanize/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2017/04/17/painted-world-released/

http://glitterbug.ie/blog/2016/11/18/what-makes-glitterbug-quiz-apps-stand-out/

 

About being a female software developer

 

But this blog entry is not about Glitterbug. It is about what it is like to be a woman coder.

Just as the philosopher Thomas Nagel asked “What is it like to be a bat?“, I have been asked many times what is it really like to work as a female coder in an industry which is so male dominated, particularly in the technical part of that industry.

Well, I can’t speak for all women. We are all individuals and all so very different. But I can tell you what things have been like for me and you can draw your own conclusions.

 

The Things I love about software engineering

The thing I love most about software development is the highs and lows that I get from solving problems. I find certain aspects of the work extremely interesting. The parts I most enjoy are finding a problem, working my way through it and solving it. I suppose, with highs and lows, excitement and frustration, there comes focus and interest.

I find it hard to focus on anything boring and almost impossible to pull my attention away from anything I find interesting (I have all the symptoms of ADHD!!!). That, for me, meant that I had to do something appealed to me, something that sparked my intrigue. I am the kind of person who could be sitting there doing a puzzle for a hour while all hell broke loose around me. I get so locked into the puzzle I am solving that I don’t hear people or notice anything.

So, for someone like me, puzzles and problem solving were really attractive. What I would take away from that (if i were you) is that if you like solving puzzles, whether they be word puzzles, crosswords, jigsaws, whatever form they take, whether you are a man or a woman, then maybe you will get a kick out of software development.

 

Now, that is probably glossing over the parts that are boring. All jobs have boring parts – endless meetings full of ego boosting, listening to another non-technical project manager try to minimize the difficulty of what his or her team is doing and bully them into working longer hours, writing documentation and reviewing it and configuration things, yep, there are parts which are not to my taste.  But, my point still stands (unshaken by these negatives!) that software development involves a lot of fun and fun is simply something that isn’t present in every industry!.

Another reason why I have enjoyed software development (and this is hit and miss) is that you can, if you search for it, find workplaces that are full of awesome people. IT is the home of the quirky, if you look for it.

Now, in saying that, not every company has its group of funny, offbeat, quirky and interesting people – the sort who are intelligent but nice about it – so, if you haven’t found it in your current workplace, keep looking. Keep swimming!!

So, basically, in this blog and subsequent randomly placed blog entries, I will talk about the reasons why I do love software.

I just want to quickly mention the really practical benefits, which I will gloss over briefly – they pay you loads of money ((certainly on par with solicitors and accountants, but generally with shorter hours than either of those groups)), there are tons and tons of jobs out there once you get even a smidgen of experience (I’m living in Ireland and I’ve also worked in Melbourne, Australia and I found this true for both places)) and you can take this skill around the world with you.

 

Women and writing code

Now… as a woman coder I am often met with the misconception that there is something different about me because I write code and the implication there is that most woman cannot write code.

 

Now, we know that currently there are tons and tons more men than women (I hardly ever meet other women coders in my work) but that does not mean that woman can’t code!!! I mean, really, when you say it out loud it does seem silly, doesn’t it. But, there is it, there is this sort of hidden myth, permeating our societal consciousness that says – women cannot code well.

I just want to say that this is not based on scientific fact. I mean, there are fewer women who choose to go into coding, but logically this does not mean that women are worse at coding, that they cannot think like coders or that it is not for them. If you kind of think that, on any level, then you are making a logical error and that’s okay, we all make mistakes (just google warm reasoning and heuristics if you don’t believe me), just don’t keep thinking it, consider it logically,

So.. if we get rid of this myth, this silly, illogical myth, about women and our teeny tiny, little brains not being able to code, then the question raises its hand (like an over eager child in a classroom begging for some kind of approval).. why are women less likely to get into coding despite all the amazing gains from working in this industry (interesting work, money, easy to find work, travel with your work, choose your hours, ability to wear funny t shirts to work, etc)?

 

Things that deterred me at the start

Well… I can only tell you the things that deterred me at the start.

  1.  People told me that it was too hard for me
  2.  Men/guys kept trying to ‘help’ me by giving me the answers or finishing the code for me.
  3.  People told that me I was too old because I didn’t study IT by myself as a 10 year old!
  4.  Told not to study IT back in 1999 because there were too many people studying it
  5.  Told that I should be doing a job that is caring (as a woman)
  6.  Told that I should work to my strengths (as a woman ) and focus on communication
  7.  Told that coder women were unattractive (totally not the case, btw, we coder women are awesome).

So… I’m just going to tackle the first one for now because at the rate I’m going this is turning into a manifesto rather than a Saturday Rant.

  1.  People told me that it was too hard for me

I used to find puzzles hard. I struggled with rubix cubes. I would take ages and ages to figure out word puzzles and feel like a fool. I used to find coding hard at the start, It was mind aching, boggling and brain churning.  Generally, it turned my brain to Swiss cheese Sam Becket in Quantum leap style.

People said to me, oh, it’s way too hard for women. Yes, I have heard those words from otherwise reasonable people who do not run around shouting global warming is a myth and telling people that all fertile women should be handmaids. I mean, ordinarily reasonable, logical people.

But, these reasonable people, held this unreasonable idea. When I struggled, I remembered what they said and I thought, well.., maybe they are correct, maybe, just maybe, I do find this too hard, maybe all the guys find it easy.

Now, there were reasons for this – real, actual, logical reasons

A. It is really hard, almost everyone who codes finds it hard

B. It is harder if you do not have a background in solving puzzles, you have to think in a way that you are not used to.

C. Again, it is really just difficult. Most people find it difficult. And the more self critical you are, the most you push yourself and the more difficult you find it because you challenge yourself to do harder and harder things.

D. I was comparing how I felt on the inside (sheer despairing panic) to how other people (who might also be panicked) looked like they were coping.

But I didn’t see those logical, factual reasons. I was blind to them. Instead, I dwelt on the guys who laughed at my desire to learn to code (I am self taught, which made them laugh even more), the men and women who told that women struggled with it because we were less good at maths and logic (aghhh!!!) and the men and women who explained that it was too stressful for me and that I should try something easier (nice intention but would you really say that to a man??).

So, for a while I gave up, I sunk into despair and stopped trying. I felt like a fool for even attempting it.  But then, one day, inspired by friends of mine who said that everyone finds it difficult and that I should keep going, I tried again and again and I got through that massive wall and learned how to right fairly decent programs in C.

So, I have meandered for a while now, time to go, code to write, apps to release, etc, etc, but I just wanted to write what will be the first of many blog posts explaining what it was like for one particular individual, a self-taught coder woman living in Ireland at the start of the 21st century).

Hope you enjoyed reading this and if you are contemplating coding, whatever your gender, push past the tough parts and KEEP SWIMMING!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glitterbug Chat Stories – upcoming stories

Glitterbug Chat Stories is our new app available on Android devices. Glitterbug Chat Stories is a chat story app where stories are presented as text messages. It has been released a few days now and we have our first 10 stories (3 published in the app and the others will be added as the week progresses). We hope to keep writing and adding new stories to the app.

1. Dollhouse
Six months after her sister Sal broke off all contact, Clara goes in search of her. The last she heard, she was working as a care assistant
for an elderly woman. Seems like a good place to start looking…
2. Into the woods
Kylie is leaving her jealous, cheating husband and she’s got her eye on Troy, her old teenage crush. They decide to meet in the woods…

3. Worst date ever
Three very different friends chat about their worst dates, it turns out they have more in common than they thought!

4. Sleepwalker
Hannah suffers from somnambulism. But nothing like this has ever happened before. Tonight she wakes to the sight of a blood stained corpse,
hatchet in hand.

5. Bring her back
When Zara’s younger sister dies tragically in a car crash, her grief is inconsolable. She decides to bring her back, any way she can.

6. Death Notice
When Sai witnesses the death of a cyclist, the dying man gives him a notebook and tells him that he must choose who will die next.

7. The lodger
When Maria sublets a room in her house to hot guy, Sam, he starts to infiltrate her dreams and turn them into nightmares.

8. Buyer beware
Pilar and Justin just bought the house of their dreams but will it turn into a nightmare?

9. Just dating
Kelly can’t wait to tell Pippa about her first date with hot guy Tiago. Meanwhile, Tiago, tells another version of the events.

You can download Glitterbug Chat Stories for Android devices on Google play.

 

 

Glitterbug Chat Stories – Our writing process

Our Glitterbug Chat stories app was released a few days ago with the first three stories.  This week we are writing to create some new stories. It has been a creative week so far full of planning, thinking, writing and dreaming.

Our process is like this. Myself and my writing partner Elaine write our stories using whats app. We decide and plan an overall starting point and a general idea of what might happen. I use the word might here because, at that stage, it is all open to change.

We start writing the story together as a blast of texts, from start to end. The process takes us between an hour and three hours depending on the story. We sometimes write frantically fast because we are so caught up in the events of the tale.

We improvise the entire story based on a general outline of characters, genre and the initial setting. What we end up with is raw story in its purest form.

Colin is our editor. We write. He reviews. That is our process. Colin takes our raw story and goes through it, first correcting grammar, spellings and any other mistakes, next testing in on the Glitterbug Chat stories app, next reading through the content to ensure that it makes logical sense and that nothing is assumed or mistaken.

We then do a final review of the writing to ensure that we like the plot, the conflict levels, the  characterization and the wording.

Finally we translate our story to another 9 languages and we release it with a chosen image.

Having three people write the stories really helps us to collaborate, co-create and produce a quality story. Co-writing with my friend Elaine is a bonding experience and we both find that it spurs us on to be more daring, innovative and also more focused in our story telling. Having a great editor like Colin really aids the process as he has an eye for grammatical errors, typos and any missing or unresolved logic.

Glitterbug Chat Stories is totally improvised and we love the improvisation journey. I took part in several improvisation courses while I lived in Melbourne and this taught me a lot about the power (and fear!) of unleashing your spontaneous self.

I hope that our readers enjoy our stories. Remember that you can download Glitterbug Chat Stories on Google play and that this app is totally free to use with no in app purchases.

 

10 times you might want to read a chat story

Chat stories (like Glitterbug Chat Stories) are tales which are told via text message. This fantastic new writing medium is quickly gaining popularity.  A chat story contains mainly dialogue and it is told through a series of chat messages or text messages.

 

You can probably read a chat story anywhere but here are our top ten situations which are perfect for reading chat stories

  1. Cardio machines at the Gym – Looking for something easy to read from an exercises bike or treadmill, these short stories in easy to read text message format are perfect.
  2. Waiting for or sitting on a bus or train – You need something quick that you can read and easily slip back into your pocket or bag – reading on your phone is ideal and chat stories are a great way to read on your phone.
  3. Lunch or break time – Glitterbug chat stories are the perfect escape for that 10 minute break. You don’t have to bring anything extra with you as they are on your phone, you don’t need to download images or text from the internet as these are stored on the phone in the case of Glitterbug chat stories.
  4. Walking – I find that I can read text messages and walk without any issue, I just have to watch out for other walkers and steep declines!!
  5. Waiting on an appointment – Doctors office, school, job interview. Take your mind off it with a chat story.
  6. First to arrive – meeting a partner or friends and you get their early. Chat stories are so convenient, you can read them from your phone (rather than sit there with a book) and when your friends or partner arrive just leave the app and, with Glitterbug Chat stories app, your progress is saved.
  7. On an ad break – Watching TV and the ads come on. Grab your phone…
  8. Before sleep – for many people, reading calms you down, lets you forget about the day and help you sleep easier. Chat stories are such a simple and easy read that they are perfect for this time.
  9. At breakfast – because these stories can be easily read while eating (no pages to turn!) and as your place in the story is automatically saved, they are great for tuning into at breakfast.
  10. Having ‘me’ time – going alone to a cafe, restaurant, bar or simply sitting on a bench at lunch time and having a sandwich – chat stories fit in well with this time to yourself.

Download on Google Play