Last week I was about to write a nice blog about editing but then the unthinkable happened…my computer crashed. Crash is a nice way to put it. It was more like my three-year-old spilled milk on the couch and it leaked under my computer (without me realizing it), then seeped through the bottom of the computer and into every electronic nook and cranny inside. Yeah. It’s totally broken. When we discussed the situation my husband said, “Well, you need a computer. You are a writer, it’s kind of an important part of your job.”
Ah, I love it when he says romantic things like that. Seriously, I loved it. And he’s right. Just like a carpenter needs his tool box full of tools or a photographer her camera–I need a computer to complete so many aspects of my job. The one good thing about loss, even temporary loss, is that it tends to teach you to appreciate things more. And I do appreciate my computer now. I do, I really, really do.
Without a computer I:
Missed a deadline. Well, it wasn’t really a deadline but it was a request from my editor that I had to put off until I could find a working computer. Though she was super understanding, it was still pretty embarrassing. And when I DID find a computer to use, I couldn’t attach the file she needed so I had to type it into the body of the email. I’m still cringing thinking about how many errors were in that transcription. *shudder*
Couldn’t blog. I know you all missed me. It’s not that I think you all can’t live a week without a blog post but I had just finished a massive edit of FRAGMENTS and I wanted to share what I’d learned from it. It’s a rare experience for me to just KNOW what I’m going to blog about so I was sad to miss that opportunity (errrr- or postpone it to my next post)
Couldn’t connect. This was hard. I did have my phone so I could check social media and emails but a cell phone screen is just not my medium. I can never seem to type the words correctly the first time and auto correct always makes me say something silly or vulgar instead. Maybe it’s because I’m from the generation BEFORE the texting generation but I’m not very good at the pecking at a screen thing. Also, I have a wonderful group of online supporters that I was suddenly cut off from. I consider them my coworkers and it was lonely working in an empty office.
Was a horrible critique partner. I have three CP’s that I’m currently working with. They have wonderful projects that I enjoy reading and discussing with them but without a computer I had no way to do either! I feel horrible guilt over the lack of help I’ve given these fine individuals in the past few weeks (ok- I was also AWOL while I edited). Writers help writers. It’s what we do. I love it and I’m so eager to get back to this rewarding process. I had a writer friend send me this blog about why writers don’t compete (Seth’s Blog). It’s a good read!
Struggled with research. When I was a kid my parents bought us the World….well the World Book Encyclopedia. They had a red faux leather binding with gold lettering and my parents even went fancy and got the ones with gold leaf on the edges of the pages. They were beautiful and looked pretty impressive on our family room bookshelf. It was great to have these resource books in our home for school projects or just plain curiosity. But it wasn’t just us kids that enjoyed those books. I’d often find my dad sitting in a random corner of the house quietly reading from one of the scarlet volumes. As a result my dad is a great source of knowledge even outside his scientific expertise. I think I’ve inherited this thirst for random knowledge. Thankfully, during my youth, the internet was invented. Then SEARCH ENGINES were invented. I’m no longer limited to the finite information inside of the World Book. I can type in just about anything and, with a little bit of fact checking, learn about almost anything my brain is hungering to know more about. Okay- enough back story. Lately many of my searches have been writing/story related. I don’t limit my research to the internet but it is for sure the first place I turn. I’ve really missed having that instant answer to my research questions (and random stupid questions I still google).
Couldn’t write. It’s not that I was blocked, it was that I didn’t have a place to put my “brain vomit” (as I like to call first drafts). I know, I KNOW– pen to paper never hurt anyone and I do love just scrawling out ideas in a notebook but that is not the place for the first draft of Chapter 17. Maybe some people can write in a notebook and then type it all into the computer but I always feel like when the time to input the handwritten material into the computer, I’m basically writing it all over again. Between double thinking word choice and phrases, I also question basic grammar and punctuation. It basically kills my creative process. I handwrite ideas anytime I get them. I handwrite poetry (yes, I write poetry…poorly…but I write it). I handwrite LISTS for everything…so many lists. But, for some reason, my brain doesn’t like me to handwrite fiction. After spending a chunk of time editing and then this time with out a computer…I’m having some major writing withdrawals. I’m so ready to get up and typing again!
Now that the computer is here I have so many things on my “to do” list but I’m sincerely excited about nearly every single one of them. Writing this blog post was one of the items that I can gleefully check off now. So, pat your computer, say thank you to Al Gore (for inventing the internet-duh) and don’t wait for absence to make your heart grow fonder. Take it from me: You are fond. Very very fond.