Writing on the Computer

I have been on the hunt for my college laptop the past two weeks. I'm not a gamer so I didn't need fancy graphics. I don't store music on my computer so I don't need loads of storage. What I needed was a laptop that worked with what Carroll wanted and could withstand me hitting the backspace key repetitively in anger.

What I found was that Best Buy (one of the only places I trusted) covered the ITS requirements quite easily. They said they only had two computers that didn't qualify. That helped but, also didn't.

Apparently, it's weird for someone to just want a computer for writing.

So I poked around, did some research and decided it didn't really matter as long as I felt comfortable with it.

Which, I suppose, is like all things with writing. Do it so that it makes you comfortable. If that means a Mac, so be it. If it means, for me, an HP, oh well.

What type of computer do you use for your writing? Do you love it? Hate it? Let me know.

Seven days without...

Having my other half and getting re-addicted to E.R. can be fun, but also a strain on the writing relationship.

I do the majority of my writing on the family computer (some on iPod or on paper) since that's where my flashdrive is with my Master Files and my Excel Spreadsheet for my 2010 progress. The family computer, I might add, is downstairs, basically away from everything else except the junk room (the unfinished part of the basement). So that makes writing a pretty solitary activity.

It's been so nice having my sister home that I thought I would take a dy or two break from writing. That day or two stretched into a week. I still journaled at least one hundred words a night, as I always do, but I stayed away from heavy writing.

Today, I returned. My mind is refreshed. The plot bunnies have been silenced but that, actually, is wonderful. Now I can focus on one thing and not worry about having my attention diverted by the other muses.

This week break also allowed me to realize that I write because I love it. And when I'm forcing words (sorry JulNo) I'm not enjoying it. This should be an interesting experience in college, but I'm ready to get used to it. See, when I was not writing, I was thinking, "I should be writing." It was like an itch I couldn't scratch. Now, I'm back at it.

Albeit, slower this time. I will still try for my goal of 890 words a day, however, if I don't achieve that, I won't beat myself up.

Try a break sometime - you might find yourself more productive afterwards.

New Idea

Fairly soon, I will be embarking on a new journey (no, not college) that I only have an inkling of where I am going.

I have a new novel idea. There isn't much too it right now. Here's what I have so far.

When the Day Met the Night

Main Female Character: Eliana
Main Male Character: Artemis, "Artie"

The two main characters are complete opposites. Artemis is named after the Greek goddess of the hunt/moon and Eliana's name means "daughter of the sun." So yes, slightly obvious, but nevertheless, fun.

I'm not exactly sure where this is going plot wise. I do know, there will be a very much "opposites attract" for Artie but not so much for Eliana. She's a bit of a flirt in my mind.

The idea of the story is slightly based on the song, When the Day Met the Night by Panic at the Disco.

Anyway, I shall let you all know when I have more!

posted under | 1 Comments

The Million Words

They say the first million words are practice.

For some participating in WriYe, and crazy enough to try it, those million words will come in a year. If you want to write a million words in one year that's... 2,740 words a day, every day. I have friends that could easily accomplish this.

However, not everyone is that prolific. For some, those million words of fiction (or creative nonfiction) may take years. David Hendrickson, a very successful published author, suggests it will probably take ten years.

Ten years.

That's a lot of time. That's a lot of commitment.

Last year I wrote 290,000 words. This year I am going for 325,000 words. Let's say you are more conservative. You go for 150,000 words a year - a reasonable goal. That takes down your million words to 6 and 2/3rds years.

But does it matter how long it takes to get there?

And who decided one million words was a good indicator of the quality of your writing?


Writing is about making yourself (and those pesky voices) happy. It's about fulfilling your goal to write something meaningful. Maybe some write for publication, but they don't have the right idea.

Writing, sure, can always be improved. Anyone going to a workshop, creative writing class or in an MFA knows this: your writing can always be improved. That does not mean that if I go out and write one million words next year and don't focus on anything in my writing, I will magically get better.

Writing for the sheer fact of getting your million words is stupid, honestly. You should write for you. If you want to improve, then do so. If you like your writing where you can't decide between 'gray' and 'grey' in a manuscript, fine. It's your writing.

Do with it what you like. And toss that million word goal out the window.

posted under | 1 Comments

Getting to Know You

I've always liked filling out character sheets, up until a point. Then, I realized how tedious they are. And yet, I am realizing how important they are.

My roommate and I have been Facebook chatting and emailing, finding out all the weird things about each other. This is way beyond what we look like and what our favorite colors are. We're telling each other our quirks (afraid of the sound of flushing toilets, thinking pickles are cucumbers soaked in evil to name a few [both are mine]), our fears (not being challenged) and weird things like our high school mascot and class size.

All of this is helping me get a better picture of Sarah. It's very random what questions come up. We've had questions from do you like jigsaw puzzles to what would you see in the Mirror of Erised. (Thank you J.K. Rowling for uniting the world!)

So next time you need to do a character sheet, don't think of it as tedious work. Think of it as a conversation between you and your character, letting it take off in whatever way you want, as long as you get some answers.

Lack of college in YA Lit

Sometimes I love reading YA Lit as a teenager because they get it right. And sometimes they don't...

One thing I have never gotten a proper feeling for in a YA book is the mixed emotions about college. I mean, there have been undertones of college in one of my favorites - Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen - but never as the main theme.

Here's what I know about going to college, as a senior who graduated this Spring. Some of these are generalizations but many are experienced by myself, my friends and family.

1) You will cry at sappy family commercials. The one about a mom sending her daughter Jiffy peanut butter gets me every time.

2) You are so excited to be moving on and yet you want to stay at your house forever.

3) You are terrified that the class work will be too hard and that maybe, you chose the wrong major.

4) Conversely, you're afraid you'll never find the right major.

5) You are sad to be leaving your friends from high school, ready for new ones.

6) You hope your roommmate isn't from hell - especially those that have always had a bedroom to themselves.

7) You don't want to grow up, can't wait to.

Here's a little glismp at what's going on in my life right now as an example:

I found out my housing and roommate assignment yesterday. My roommate, from Minnesota, sounds amazing. However, I'm also terrified that our Facebook chats will be better than our interactions in person. She has a boyfriend coming with her to college. I'm terrified that I'm going to be a third wheel. Some of my fears are irrational, some aren't.

I am so ready to major in creative writing and history but I'm afraid I might be taking on too much. What if my passion, writing, isn't good enough for college? What if I'm not challenged? This is a huge one for me and history. I have never been challenged academically history wise during high school. History Day, yes, challenged me, but that was extracurricular.

I love my family more than anything in the world. But I've never spent more than a week apart from one of them. I'm afraid I'll be so homesick I won't want to continue with college...

I could go on forever.

The point is that I want YA authors to ask the teenagers around them - especially the graduated seniors. Ask them about college - what they're feeling. Part of the appeal, for me, in YA lit is that it's an escape, but also a learning experience.

I want to see a character struggle through this transition and come out on the right side of it - or even the wrong side. I want to see the anticipation and fear for college.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home