Category Archives: FOR WRITERS

Writers: Have You Discovered Dual Monitors?

I use two monitors when I write. I have done this for over four years. I bought a new monitor about a year ago. It’s bigger and HD. I love using two monitors. Here’s why:

With dual monitors, you can have your current work open in front of you and have an array of other  programs open on the second monitor. No more switching back and forth. I simply look to the right to see my second or third program window.

Because you can extend the desktop, when you slide your mouse to the second monitor, as soon as it leaves your main monitor, it shows up in the second. I often copy text from monitor two and paste in monitor one (my main monitor).

Actually, I’d love to have three monitors. For now, space and finances require that I remain at two.

My Array

Normally, for writing I keep Word open in my main and Chrome is takes up half of the display on monitor 2. The other half of 2 is usually either OneNote 2010 or Priority Matrix (an awesome tool for projects and for laying out a book outline or novel plotting).

If I’m doing a non-fiction post or article, it’s usually dependant on Scripture references. So Word is open in  monitor 1 and my Logos Bible program is fully open on monitor 2. Since monitor 2 display is 26 inches and monitor one is 19, I’m able to see the multiple segments of my Logos program in monitor 2. I often set the view to 115%. That really works out great for close study, especially of footnotes or cross-references.

For Writers Especially

For writers who work on non-fiction, monitor 2 can be your research display. Monitor 1 can by your main word processor.Or monitor 2 can have your outline open (assuming you use one). If I had a third monitor I’d have my Cloud Player and Calendar open on it, both of which I always have open in back on monitor 1.

For writers who are working on fiction, monitor 2 can keep track of characters or timeline. Whatever software you use to plot or keep track of characters or images can be open on monitor 2 while you keep your manuscript open on #1.

Two monitors work especially great with floating windows (which many programs make use of). You can simply float out a window and drag it into either monitor. Of course, all of this works best if you have Windows 7 or better. But it will work with XP as well.

2nd Monitor

When you purchase your second monitor, make sure that the monitor can be turned vertically as well as horizontally if you use lists. Long lists or excel sheets look great on a second or third monitor when turned vertically.

Today dual or even triple monitors are not out of reach for the pocket-book either. Some really nice, large format monitors can be purchased for below $200. So sell an article or two and do yourself a great favor.

When you buy your second monitor, make sure that you purchase an adaptor that will allow you to plug into your VGA plug on the back of your computer and give you a splitter into either 2 or 3 monitors. For 2 monitors, you don’t need any special software. I’m not sure once you get above 2 monitors. I hope to find out though.


If you’re not using two monitors yet, please do yourself a favor and make it a priority. Develop a motto. Sell your typewriter (no, on second thought . . . don’t do that yet). Whatever it takes, even making your own favorite coffee beverage instead of going to Starbucks. And save for that second monitor. You’ll be glad you did.

QUESTION: Anyone using three? If two, what’s your array look like?

[photo by me]

Writing is An Act of Faith

You know, I was sitting here wondering why I persist to type words into a OneNote 2010 page, when it struck me that writing is a true act of faith.

Who knows whether or not anyone will read them? I mean, most of us write because we want to connect with others. But honestly, my book did not sell anything like I thought it would when I dreamt of its release. For years I had ideas of what it would be like to be a published author. Not because I wanted fame or fortune. The realities are much different than movies. But because I wanted to serve and impact readers. Wow! Where was my head?


No, I believe that my first book and my blog have taught me a lot. I still want to connect, but now whether I do or not I realize that I write because I have something to say and I love saying it. I believe that God has given me a perspective that combines with a gift of encouragement, to help others to be all that they can be in Christ.

I also know how much I love a helpful book. I’m changed by the reading and applying of what I read to my life. When a good book mentors me, I’m a better man for that. I want to pass that gift along to those who read my books. I want my books to mentor, coach along the journey to Christ’s Kingdom reign.

Truly, faith is keeping at something, even when you don’t see the results you expected. It’s believing what cannot be seen but being assured that it’s the right thing to believe.


Before I completed and published my first book, I had breakfast with Gordon MacDonald at Friendlies. I wanted him to mentor me as a writer. He asked me to tell him my story. I talked. He listened graciously. I realized even while I was talking that I wasn’t communicating my passion for writing. Instead, I was telling him something else. It was as though God was allowing him to see something in me that needed addressing.

After breakfast, he recommended that I read a book. “This is not a Christian book I’m recommending, but it will be helpful for you to read it,” he said.

The title was In the Shadow of Fame: A Memoir by the Daughter of Erik H. Erikson by Susan Erikson Bloland, the daughter of famed child psychologist, Erik Erickson. As a sidenote, I’m just finishing a memoir of a woman who separated from her husband for a year and met Joan Erickson while walking along the beach. They became close friends. That book is entitled A Year by the Sea: Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman, by Joan Anderson.


In retrospect, I realized that my reasons for publishing were mixed. Shortly after I read Bloland’s book, I completed my book. I sought the Lord to purify my motives. Then I released the book at Amazon,, and for Kindle and Nook. Sales were mainly to family, friends, and fellow pastors. Of course my church family and fellow associational leaders encouraged me as well. But that was about it. For the first year, I continued to write. But then I stopped.


I went into a depression which, I later found out, was a “dark night of the soul.” I withdrew from people and things I usually enjoyed. I felt exhausted all the time. Because I was a busy pastor and associational leader as well, I began to question my calling.

Everything lost is taste and savor. Fortunately for me, I had praying friends and ministry partners. Some wise counsel helped me recognize God at work, not the enemy. He was taking everything but Him. Funny, because I thought I had given him everything already–many times. But He sees deeper than we ever could.


I’m on the other side of all that now. It took two and a half more years to slowly let go of everything but Him. It was truly a spiritual winter. But the great thing about tracking through the winter with the Lord is that spring is the next season to follow. Spring is a time for sowing and planting, digging around and preparation.


Now I’m settled in a great peace, waiting only on Him. I am also searching out a coach on the road ahead of me in spiritual formation, while at the same time coaching those whom God has sent my way. But I’m no longer an expert–Dr. Alves. I’m merely a witness, testifying to whatever the Lord shows or entrusts to me.

And . . . I’m writing again. Writing by faith. My one prayer is that the Lord will use the process of writing by faith in my life first . . . And if He so chooses, in the lives of those who may be drawn by His Spirit to read.

QUESTION: Have you ever experienced what I’m talking about?

A Personal Thank-You Note to “David’s Place” Subscribers

My Kindle with “David’s Place” contents. Yes, that’s Marcy writing in the background. You can visit her at “” She’s a GREAT soul and writer.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I’m so grateful for each of you who have “Followed” or signed up for email notifications.

I truly appreciate you and value your time. I want to do the very best work I can for you. I’m hoping to find a way to make my forthcoming (2nd) book available to you for free as soon as I can figure out how to do it. I need to find out from someone who has done it successfully. I’d hate to offer something and then mess it up and not get it to the right people. Plus I don’t know how to send a copy (and in this day and age, who would give out their address? I wouldn’t. Not even for a free book. But I know there’s a way. And I hope someone who reads this can point me there. Thanks in advance :-))

Where was I?

For those of you who, like me, enjoy a cup of coffee or tea in the morning, along with your newspaper or favorite blog posts delivered direct to your Kindle, I thought you might like to know that “David’s Place” is available for your Kindle. My posts appear on my Kindle the morning I publish them (I normally write 2-3 posts per week and publish them at 4:30AM EST). 

If you follow this link, or click on the thumbnail of the blog in this post, they will take you to the product page at where you can get a FREE 14-day trial subscription.

If you decide to stay, then the subscription is just .99/month to Yes, they take credit cards. You can unsubscribe easily at any time. Of course, I’m hoping you’ll never unsubscribe (Marcy and I have to eat you know. 🙂 And organic food–which Marcy needs to battle the cancer–is getting very expensive. Our Social Security cost of living increase does not take into consideration natural ways of combating cancer).

As a matter of fact, please share this post or the subscription link with some friends, we’d be really blessed and grateful. As a brother in Christ, I’m not asking for a handout, just a hand-up.

OneNote for Your Journals

A reader wrote last week and asked me if I use OneNote 2010 for journaling or jotting down writing ideas. He is planning to leave a set of journals for his daughter and wondered how I did my journals.

Here’s my response …………………………..

Thanks for writing.

Everyone has his or her own way of doing things like this. I think as long as you’re asking, it means you’re open. And as long as you’re open, you’ll learn and you’ll be able to find a way that best suits you.

I like to record and date my journals. I keep several: A Reading Journal; A Travel Journal; A Spiritual Journal; and a Writing Notebook. Any one of these can be password protected if you need that kind of security. I mainly use PW protection only on my list of passwords. That way only my wife and I can access our passwords.

As far as your question about printing the journals, every once in awhile, I print a journal and make punch holes in the pages. Then I mount them in a 1.5 inch white 3-ring binder. A different binder for every 5 years. My spiritual journals are the largest, so I put them in a 2″ binder. Then I place them in my bookshelves.

But primarily I use and access them in OneNote itself. Use OneNote as your electronic index to the printed notebooks. That way if you need to see the larger context, you can simply find a topic or keyword in OneNote, then go to your printed edition and open to it. The less paper I use though, the better I like it. I enjoy the speed with which I can retrieve an idea that would otherwise be lost in the pages of my ink journals.

I still enjoy taking a book journal and pen with me when I’m in a park or on the beach, but I’m always thinking about how this will be accessed once I get back home and enter it into OneNote. I also like to scan things into one note or send photos to myself that I can print to OneNote.

EVERYTHING I need to retrieve or search is in OneNote. I never have to wonder where to find a special quote, because all of my Kindle highlights and notes have been saved to OneNote. I’m retaining a lot more of my reading that way. I can enter any keyword that I can remember from the quote or from my editing keywording of that quote when I chopped out some of the junk. I can recall that so-and-so said something about Joy. Control +E . . . BANG! I’m on it. Copy. Paste into Word. Move on.

Hope this is helpful. Hey, maybe I should post this answer to your question for others who have journals and are thinking about moving them to OneNote. Or beginning a journal on OneNote. What do you think?

He wrote back: “You should. Great answer and great process.”

Realm of Fay ” 4 Haikus”

The Haiku art form is beautiful; it can even be stunning. The Haikus at Five Reflections so inspired me that I decided to post a link to my attempt at “Four Haikus” at my Litblog–Realm of Fay.

FYI – David Fay is my birth name. I use it for my poetry, fiction, literary essays, etc.

Please visit Five Reflections too. When we find something worth mentioning, isn’t it great to pass that along?


This blog, David’s Place and my Litblog, Realm of Fay are both available for your Kindle.

Simply click on either title, it’ll take you to Amazon and a 15-day FREE trial. You might want to check out my wife’s blog Marcy’s Walk. Her blog is available on Kindle too at Marcy’s Walk on Kindle.

Thanks for reading.

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