A Writing Wonk

I haven’t talked as much about how I write as I used to. Part of it was the annoying tendency of a lot of bloggers to blog about writing and doing damned little writing. Well, kids, I’ve been going to school for four years now. On the other side of that, I’m starting a business. I don’t have time to sit around and pontificate about something I’m putting off doing. As a matter of fact, this post was written on a Sunday morning after I got a thousand words in on Holland Bay. But now’s as good a time as any to take stock of how I write and what has been working best for me.

  • I still need to write with music going. I have multiple PC’s, Palladia on my cable box, and a venerable early generation iPod. So usually, I can have tunes blaring while I write. I do know some who find music to be a distraction and wonder how some of us can write with “all that noise.” Mind you, to them, even Mozart is noise when they’re writing. I, however, have undiagnosed ADHD and a severe caffeine addiction. (Don’t look at me like that! I can quit anytime I’m deprived of coffee and Coke Zero!)  As such, I actually need controlled distractions. If there’s someplace my attention can go to because it will inevitably wander, it’s easier to bring it back to the task at hand. Gone are the days when I can sit for hours and let the prose roll off my fingertips. Of course, some of this may be a function of life changes. I have a family now, whereas in my previous marriage, I pretty much could be left to my own devices. I’m going to school, and that work demands a lot of my time. I am also trying to improve my programming skills. So with a lot on your plate, you get distracted. It is unavoidable. Music provides a sonic wall between me and the rest of the world. That said, I still have an annoying tendency to get up and air guitar to the Foo Fighters and Alice in Chains.
  • While I love writing in the morning, I’ve found writing at lunchtime is quite productive. I take an hour for lunch, so after running across the street for a soda, putting lunch in the microwave, and booting the laptop, I’m actually down to forty minutes, less if I go out to lunch. A time crunch really focuses your efforts. Wish I could do that with my accounting homework.
  • I prefer writing on my cheap Dell laptop, the 1545 that I’ve complained about here before. I can sit in the living room or take it out on the back deck (in warm weather). If I’m in my office, I’ll use my HP tower, but the Mac will be up running iTunes, usually on Shuffle. If I’m in the living room, I usually have something DVR’d off Palladia going. The nice thing about Palladia is that you don’t actually have to watch it. It’s music. (That did not prevent me from undressing Shirley Manson with my eyes during a recent Garbage concert. Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters has a similar affect on Nita.)
  • Why, some of you ask, don’t you like to write on your iMac? It’s an iMac and totally superior to your crappy Windows devices. Simple. The USB slots are in the back. And I hate the way OS X manages files. Granted, it’s a vast improvement over that godawful system the original Macintosh operating system used, but there is no reason Mac, which really is a superior OS to Windows, can’t do the courtesy of deleting temporary files when it’s done. Windows does this automatically. If you never change the default setting to show hidden files, you never even know that there’s a temp file to begin with. Close Word (or Excel or PowerPoint) and that temp file goes away. I don’t object to .trashes showing up on my thumb drive while I work. I do object to it staying there after I close the file I was working on.
  • I sometimes have to give myself permission not to write everyday. I have a busy life, and until you people start paying me more to do this, I need to focus on my day job, getting a better job, and starting a business. It’s not that I don’t love you, but I’d like to retire someday. So that means some days I have to pick between writing prose and writing code. You all have day jobs. You know what I mean. That said, I’m still happy to write, or I wouldn’t even bother with this blog.
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