Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Writer's Journal -- What happened to a pen and paper?

Once upon a time I set a pen to paper to write. Oh, I still do that for my private journal, but these days--as I begin a new novel--I've had to spend hours making sure I have the right equipment, sorting through files, formatting.

Disaster hit when my laptop got crushed in the overhead compartment of an airplane. Yes, it had been secured within a padded bag. Yes, I have backup.

After visiting my local Office Depot and picking the tech's brain, I spent several hours online perusing reviews and sorting through features, searching out the best deal for a new laptop. Two weeks later, it arrived from China. 

Finally, I told myself, I can get back to writing. All I had to do was transfer my files.

But even with backup, transferring all my data to a new computer (with a new version of Word which is less understandable than Greek) is a time-consuming exercise. Then, of course, I need to download Anti-Virus, DropBox, Open Office, Adobe, Firefox, etc., etc. Not to mention getting sidetracked with changing the background twenty times, choosing the screensaver, customizing sounds--and let's not forget sifting through (I'm not exaggerating) 5,000 emails and adding contacts (those I haven't lost) to my address book.

Then last night, when I thought I had everything set up, a lengthy automatic update led to loss of my carefully selected Background (it went black), spurring me to call support. 

Needless to say, I haven't been writing. You may think that I've been making excuses, that--if I'd really wanted to--I would have set pen to paper. 

The truth is: I've become so used to writing on a computer that it's part of my writing process.  Also, I make so many changes as I write fiction, that trying to set something down on paper quickly becomes illegible. 

I now own: 
1) A new high-powered laptop which, in an effort to keep it whole, will never leave my condo.
2) A netbook (named Little Dell) that a writer friend gave me when my old laptop got destroyed. My friend could no longer see the typeface, but I can if I squint. Little Dell and I plan to travel.
3) An iPad. For about 5 minutes I thought this might serve my writing needs, but I quickly discovered that I'd bought it for sheer entertainment. Also good for Kindlegraph and reading PDF files. iPad will be traveling with me and little Dell. The good thing: they both fit in my purse (yeah, it's roomy) so no more overheads.

I admit it--I'm addicted to machines. And now I have no excuse to procrastinate.

Not even this blog will serve as an excuse.

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