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!).