Writing in Bed

I took my laptop to bed with me last night, to try to get some more writing done.  I figured I’d add maybe a couple hundred words, get just a bit ahead, and then call it a night.

I wrote for an hour, ending up with about 900 words.

Sometimes when you get started, the words flow.  NaNo or not, it’s a good idea to go with the creativity when you’ve got it.

Of course, now I’m a bit stuck and fighting for words.  Maybe a brisk lap around the building (with the added bonus of giving my dog his evening restroom opportunity) will get me at least to par for today.

When I get back I’ll call it a night.  With my laptop, of course. 🙂

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Tethered

Where do you like to write?  If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know that I like to work on my laptop in lots of different places, including outside.  Unfortunately I’ve become tethered, at least for now.

Over the past several weeks, my computer has been warning me that my battery is no longer working efficiently.  I’ve been putting off getting a new one, hoping to eke out a bit more use from the thing.  It’s gotten to the point now where I can’t rely on it.  It only lasts for a very short time before it shuts me down.

Fortunately the writing-related stuff I’m working on can be done tethered.  Most of the time, I save writing outside for short stories or novels.  Right now I’m working on query letter revisions and choosing agents for submitting said queries.  I’m also developing my NaNo novel, but that (by requirement) can’t be written down, so a laptop is unnecessary.

As much as I chafe at being attached to the wall, I can’t use it as an excuse for procrastinating on writing.

Power to the Cord!

So I feel the need to share the whole power-cord saga with you, now that the cord has arrived.

The power cord for my computer went out on Sunday, the 1st.  I had already scheduled three blogs (1st, 2nd, 3rd) for the week when it happened, but the whole thing was really frustrating and I wanted to blog about it.  So I wrote a couple of blogs by hand and was really grateful on the 2nd that I had some posts already scheduled.

When I went to one of the large, chain electronics stores and had their geeks take a look at my cord, it actually worked one of the times they plugged it in.  Unfortunately it was a fluke, and it failed again on the next try.  After two futile attempts to purchase a replacement, I went home, knowing that my battery was dead and I’d have to wait to order the new cord until I went in to work.

On the off-chance that it might work, I plugged the dead cord back in.  Guess what?  It worked.  I charged my battery and spent the rest of the week blogging and everything at my desk, laptop plugged in, hoping that the new cord would arrive before the old one gave up again.  I did not unplug the old cord.

Tonight the new cord arrived, and it seems fitting to follow the scheduled-in-advance posts about the power cord dying with a nice follow-up of the new cord arriving.

Hopefully the new cord, which has been tested and found sufficient, will continue to work for a while. 🙂

Back It Up!

Have you ever lost a document before?  This isn’t a case of forgetting where it was filed.  I’m talking about having your hard drive crash or your computer shut off and something being gone.

My most memorable experience along these lines was in college.  I had spent an hour or so writing a paper and I was almost done.  Just then, the power went out.  (This is less of a problem on a laptop, but I was desk-bound in college.)  Of course, silly me, I hadn’t been saving the thing at all while I was writing.  I got to re-create it from scratch once the power came back on.

Now there are things like auto-save that can help you out to some extent if you lose a document in the midst of writing, but the best practice is to hit that little diskette icon that means “save” early and often.  It’s also a wise idea to back up your documents.  A flash drive, an external hard drive, or even burning it onto a CD means that if you lose more than the working copy of the document (perhaps the entire computer, for example) you haven’t lost everything.

Needless to say, I backed up Life in Dreams tonight.  (Of course, I wrote a few more paragraphs after I saved it, but at least most of it is there!)  Perhaps this will encourage you to back up your work, too.

Not a big fan of writing by hand…

I am pondering my upcoming writer’s retreat trip to the woods.  (I’ll tell you that I am going, but not when I’m going, my standard response for travel.) For those who didn’t read about it when I came up with the idea, I’m going to stay in a pseudo-cabin in one of the fabulous Texas State Parks for a couple of days.  No tv, no Netflix, no internet, no dog.  The idea is that the lack of distractions will help me focus on writing.

The question I am pondering is preparation for writing.  I am definitely taking my laptop, but I do not know if I will be able to charge it at the park.  I believe there is electricity at my site, but what that looks like will be unknown until I arrive.  With the possibility of limited computer use, I may be doing a lot of writing by hand.  I’m really not a big fan of writing by hand, but if it needs to be done, it will be done.

The questions to resolve really revolve around what to print prior to my trip.  Should I take the entire manuscript to date for the new novel in a hard copy, in case I need it?  What about the research and background documents?   My mom’s philosophy is “better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it,” but it’s hard to justify printing every page of every related document when most of it will end up being a waste of paper.

Perhaps it boils down to this: review the manuscript and materials before I go, and take printed copies of the key documents I know I’ll need.  If something has to be left unfinished until I get home, that’s just how it will be.

Kickin’ It Old School

I’ve been getting ready for a trip, which means facing a lot of hard decisions.  Which shoes to take?  Should I add another pair of pants?  Do I really need two different kinds of Chex Mix for the plane?  This time the toughest decision was this: laptop or no laptop?

It’s a short trip to NYC with my sister Whitney to get a Broadway fix.  We’re going to see Memphis and American Idiot, if you were curious.  It’s our big Christmas gift from our parents (thanks Mom and Dad!) and from each other.  That said, there will probably not be much time to write and/or blog while on the trip.

Don’t worry, I’m writing several posts to schedule in advance.  You won’t even notice that I’m gone. 🙂

I struggled with the choice, discussed it with Whitney, and finally decided to forego the laptop and simply take a notebook and pen.  I’m going to be in airports and on planes (albeit accompanied part of the way by my little sis) and I don’t want to be totally without writing capabilities.  If you’ve been following this blog, you know I don’t actually create on my laptop; everything floats around in my head first.  The notebook won’t be to write things down word-for-word; instead I will make notes and record good sentences or ideas.

When my laptop and I are reunited, I will take everything I came up with on the trip and get it recorded in one place.  Here’s hoping it’s a lot of good stuff!

A Printer Called Chihuahua

I had a compact, cheap printer in college that sat on a shelf on top of my monitor.  It was perfect when I switched to a laptop; together they took up less than half of my desk.  This little printer had an attitude.  If the paper went in incorrectly it would jam.  If there was too much paper, it would pull two or three sheets nearly at once, ruining all the pages and requiring a reprint.  I ended up babysitting the thing during any large print jobs.

I called it the Chihuahua.

The printer died a few years ago, requiring a replacement.  I have recently found myself once again without a printer, and today (thanks to some gift money) I bought a new one.  Inexpensive, small, with limited capabilities, I think it is the updated version of the Chihuahua.  It’ll be interesting to see, once it’s connected and in use, if it lives up to its predecessor.

Now I have a printer.  You know what that means: time for query letters!

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