Monday, May 11, 2015

A new tactic: Dedicated writing computer

I had heard for years that a great thing for a writer was a computer totally dedicated to writing.  Take a computer, strip off anything remotely distracting, and poof!  Your writing production would improve before you knew it.

I resisted this advice.  I had one laptop which I did all kinds of things besides writing on.  I couldn't just strip everything off it - it was also my travel computer and I needed it for Internet and other things.  My desktop computer is a gaming computer and there was no way I was converting that.

But I kept hearing, "get a cheap computer and convert it."

After hearing this advice yet again two weeks ago in an online workshop I'm taking I decided to bite the bullet.  My two conditions: it had to be very cheap, and I had to be able to pay for it using money from my business - no taking money from household funds.

Well, I cheated a little.  I have a line of credit associated with my business account.  I tapped a portion of that to use towards the purchase of a laptop I found locally for under $250.  It was new and it did have the drawback of having Windows 8.1 on it, but it would suit my purposes.

I also bought a cheap copy of Microsoft Office and an inexpensive case.  Total expenditures came to just under $400.  (This did not include anti-virus software I was forced to put on the thing even though it would rarely if ever go online.  Let's hear it for unexpected expenses)

After downloading the few things that needed downloading, I disabled the wifi and made sure it would be a pain to turn back on.  I checked to make sure there were no games on it.  I didn't even put my music on it, though I occasionally like to listen to music while I write.  I figured that's what my iPod is for.

So I've had it about 10 days.  What do I have to say about it?

Well, I don't know if it's the only factor, but I've written every day since then (except the day I got it - I spent that time setting it up).  Granted, sometimes it's only been a few hundred words, but this week clocked out to be my best in terms of word count in a while.

And my brain is starting to figure out that when we fire up THAT computer, it's to play with words.  Not to surf the net, go on Facebook, or play Minecraft.  That's our writing time.

So I think so far it's been a rousing success.  I'm looking forward to all the words I'm going to write on it.

If you're easily distracted, think about getting a computer just for writing.  It's helping me - it might help you too.

In the meantime, happy writing (or, if you aren't a writer, happy reading!).

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spinning plates...

Older readers of this blog might remember seeing at one point of time or another a guy spinning a bunch of plates on top of poles.  He'll get a few going, then has to run back to the first plates and keep them spinning before they wobble and fall down.  The poor man keeps running back and forth to keep all the plates spinning so none of them fall and break.

That's what I feel like these days.

I want to write new fiction.  I have a project I want to get into shape to get to a copy editor.  I have at least 2 projects that I want to self-publish that need to be formatted first.

My house is a wreck.  I have people who need me for various things and responsibilities that need to be filled.  My list of "Shoulds" is a mile long.

Plus I am somehow supposed to "promote" myself.  I haven't quite figured out how to do that yet and how much is too much (I don't want readers of this blog to hate me for constantly flooding them with "buy my stuff!  buy my stuff!").

No wonder I'm tired!

Anyone have any advice on how to keep the plates spinning?

Monday, February 23, 2015

A great day for up and coming writers...



This will be a fantastic time for people wanting to improve their writing and advance their career.  I wish I could be there but I will be out of town.  Check it out!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Friday, December 12, 2014

Falling down and getting up again...

I posted about falling down and getting up back in 2011, but something happened last weekend that brought that thought back to mind.

Aubrey is an adorable 10-month-old girl whose parents attend my congregation.  It was my turn to man the nursery we run during services, so I was in the conference room we use for that purpose when Aubrey's dad brought her back because she was making a lot of noise during the sermon.

He put her down on the floor and I watched as she began to toddle around the room.  She has just started walking, so her movement involves a lot of falling on the floor.

I noticed that falling down never bothered her.  Sometimes she'd find a way to get right back up; sometimes she stayed on the floor for a couple of minutes.  But she didn't cry or fuss, in fact she was quite cheery the whole time.  And she took joy in her newfound ability to walk, and her delight was catching.

It made me think about this year, and how often I feel I've "fallen" when it comes to the writing.  I didn't write as much as I wanted to this year, and recent attempts at a new schedule were less than stellar.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure what went wrong except that I didn't give the writing the priority it needs or deserves.

But I want to be like Aubrey, and get back up when I fall down.  I don't want falling down to discourage me and just sit there and cry.  I want to get back on my feet and keep going.  And I want to take joy in the journey I've set for myself as an author.

So here I am, planning to get up again.  And if I fall, I will do so again.  And again.  Falling down is not failing.  Failing is not getting up afterwards.

So here's to getting up for the umpteenth time.  Let's see how long I can walk this go round.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Saw the new "Star Wars" trailer...

I am a Star Wars fan from way back when, meaning the very first film back in 1977.  I even kind of like the prequels though I grew to hate Jar-Jar Binks.  (I seem to have a lot of company in that)

So I was very interested in the trailer for the new movie, The Force Awakens.  I just viewed it again on my computer for the second time.  Haven't seen it on the big screen yet, though I bet it will look fantastic when I do.

And, so far, it looks...promising.

I'm not going to do a scene by scene blow here.  I admit I'm a geek, just not THAT big of one.  But it appears that we have some cool stuff to look forward to.  Stormtroopers?  Check.  Interesting-looking new lightsaber?  Check.  Millennium Falcon doing impressive maneuvers?  Check.  No Jar-Jar Binks?  So far, so good.

There was also no sign of Luke, Leia, or Han (though we might have gotten a glimpse of Han and Leia's daughter and who was piloting the Falcon, anyway?) but we know they're going to show up sooner or later.

The upshot is I'm looking forward to this next installment of Star Wars.  If that makes me a hopeless fangirl, all I have to say is "May the Force be with you!!"

Monday, November 24, 2014

Whoops...

Yes, I know yesterday was Sunday.  Yes, I know I should have posted something for "Free Fiction Sunday" yesterday.

Truth of the matter is that I wasn't home very much from 8:45 AM to about 7:30 PM yesterday.  Just long enough to pick up things and/or people.  And I haven't gotten the sense that readers are all that interested in my last few short stories.

For now, I plan on working on getting this blog a little more together.  Which means posting more often.  Hopefully that means more of you will read and maybe even comment on what I say.  That would be nice.

In the meantime, I'm going to post this and think about going back to bed and getting some sleep.  Just letting you know I haven't forgotten about the blog - or you.

Thanks!