>Day 7: Even more behind, but a NEW COMPUTER

>Well, I didn’t catch up today like I’d planned. But I have a good excuse; I know own a new computer. NOt only a new computer, but a whole new operating system!

That’s right, I’ve purchased a new iMac. And it is wonderful on a scale I can’t quite describe. It’s taking a lot of getting used to, though, so it’s delayed my writing. I’ve installed scrivener, although I plan to run a virtual machine so I can continue with liquid story binder, scrivener’s giving a free trial, so I’ll see which I like better.
I’ve done so much running around today between setting up the new computer, church, and doing laundry that I’ve run out of hours in the day. But now I’m feeling motivated, so I want to write, write, write!
Only problem is, I’m not sure where to go. I’ve got my girls in a hotel room, where Elisande will get a little more acclimated with the human world, but after that? Just how DO you go from the Atlantic to the Capitol Building?
I’m inclined to have her fortuitously discover a congressman in the park. But that would be a bit too easy. I dunno. I need to do something.

>Writing by Hand

>I’m getting close to the climax of the novel, and the end of the journal I’m writing in, and I’m wanting to start entering it into Liquid Story Binder, but I’m so, so committed to finishing this in handwritten form, first.

You see, when I first started writing, I didn’t have a computer, or even a typewriter. So I wrote by hand; even though my handwriting is atrocious (so utterly, utterly atrocious, as you can see in the picture) it was what I had.

When I started using a computer, my handwritten tendencies fell by the wayside, and I noticed that my prose actually sounded worse. I type SO fast that my fingers get ahead of my head, whereas with the handwritten work, it forced me to take the time to write it out, so my head stays well ahead of my fingers.
So went and bought a lovely little blank journal, and started writing by hand again. It’s worked.
It’s also easier to write distraction-free, since I can’t surf the internet with a notebook. I lay down in bed, every night before I go to sleep, and write. Sometimes just a paragraph or two, sometimes, a few pages that keep me up until I finish the scene. Always something.

Here’s my lovely little journal. Red isn’t one of my favorite colors, ordinarily, but I really love the design of this one. I added the little brown ribbon as a sort of “handle”, and also use it to distinguish mine from my husbands that he accidentally purchased independently in the exact same cover.
I scribble away, and feel so very writerly. The best part about it is that it fits in my purse, so I can take it with me wherever I go. I could write on the iPod touch, sure, but it would be tedious, and iPod would always be attempting to correct my spelling. Shapewriter’s fun, but too difficult to use for any length of time. And I MUST have a Pilot Precise pen.I prefer V5, but ended up accidentally buying V7. Lines are thicker, but it still looks good, so I can use them.
So I need to finish out this novel, and one day, when I’m published and famous, this will be something I can show off at conferences as how I got my start. Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to hock it on ebay for a few thousands bucks, eh?

>Unemployment means more writing time, right?

>So I got laid off from my sweet, awesome job. This sucks for the finances, but you know something? This means LOTS of writing time. I’ve been carrying my little red notebook around, scribbling, and I’ve written probably around 20k in the past couple of weeks. I’m rather happy with that. At the very least, I write for an hour or two before bed. Today, I’ve spent most of the day with the notebook in my lap, writing a paragraph here and there between distractions (It’s very hard to write with a toddler and a preschooler around.)

I’ve really begun honing my writing process. I do better without the distractions of computers and the internet when I’m getting my initial ideas down; so a little leather-bound notebook is the way to go for me. It just… feels right. It’s how I learned to write, it’s how I’ve always done it. The only thing that sucks is it makes my arthritis act up. To the universe: I know it seemed like a funny idea to give arthritis to a teenager, but that was WAY uncool. If it hurts this much now that I’m in my thirties, it’s gonna suck when I’m all old and stuff.
My mother showed me a book one of her customers had handed her. It made me hurt for the author; it was clearly self published, too. A no-name publishing house, based locally. What makes me sad about these things is they sell themselves short; I scanned through the book, and her writing wasn’t that bad. It could have stood a little professional editing, but overall, it seemed readable. She suffered from the terminal “said” disease (you know, the inability to use the word “said” in dialogue.) and there were some rambling bits. I was impressed with the quality.
It’s never a good sign, though, when the author is giving away the books in convenience stores.
What bothered me more than anything wasn’t the fact that this author published her own book, it’s that she created her own “publishing company” that advertises its services to other authors, and that she didn’t bother to get a professional to design her website. She didn’t even get a separate URL for her publishing company… it’s just her own name. “authorname.com”, you know.
Here’s something I’ll tell anyone: If you’re not a professional web designer? Don’t do it yourself, and don’t hire a friend who doesn’t do it for a living. As with any business, using a professional makes all of the difference. As a web designer myself, I can promise… no you can’t do it on your own. It’s not something just anyone can do, and do well. There are elements of design that will show your lack of expertise. Do yourself a favor, and pay someone else. The investment will be worth it!
That reminds me… I REALLY need to start working on mine! After all, I’m officially a degreed web designer now… as of June!
Anyway, now that I’ve rambled on enough, I’ll wrap it up, and I’ll keep you updated on my progress. Heck… I think I’ll break out the camera and take some pictures of my notebook for you.

>I’m jumping ship… Sorry Firefox, Chrome, here I come!

>Google Chrome – Get a fast new browser. For PC, Mac, and Linux

You know, I tried Google Chrome right when it came out, primarily because I’m a HUGE Google fan, and will jump right on the bandwagon with just about any product they make, because they’re Just That Awesome. I’m a major Google Borgite.
But I couldn’t make the switch to Chrome, because while it was awesome, fast, and googlicious, it lacked one key feature: Adblock. I have gotten used to browsing ad-free, and I wanted to keep it that way.
So I sacrificed, and made do with Firefox’s slowness because I needed to be Ad Free.
But now… NOW, Google Chrome has extensions! Extensions including AdThwart, which uses the same filters as Adblock does for Firefox!
Firefox, I love you, you were my first non-IE browser, and I will always have fond memories.
But you use over 100k of my existing memory, and that’s simply unacceptable. Slowdowns, freezes, and random click and gray out the screen and load problems have reached critical mass. You take too long to load, and too long to shut down.
So I’m leaving you for Chrome. Oh, I’ll probably still come see you from time to time as I moderate Freecycle groups, but I’m afraid that we’ll have to just be friends. It’s not you, it’s me.
Okay, it’s you. But I do still love you. Promise.

>Squeaky new OS, and writing progress

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A couple of days ago, I installed Windows 7 on my laptop. See, when I bought this thing, it had Vista on it, and I hated it. Oh, I could see the potential, but it’s such a resource hog that doing anything was a big pain. Before I wiped it, it actually took ten minutes to shut down. We won’t talk about how long it took to boot up.

Well, I found a deal online, where students with a .edu email address can get a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Professional for $30. For $30? Why the heck not. The reviews from friends who have used it have been good, so I decided to take the plunge.

Oh. Em. Gee.

It’s what Vista SHOULD have been. It’s fast, responsive, and shiny.  It does cool things, and my laptop is running the way its specs say it should.

It put me a little bit behind on my word count, setting everything up, but overall, I’ve installed a LOT of operating systems (some multiple times) and this was by far the smoothest, fasted install and setup yet. I’m very impressed, and for the first time, I’m going to give Micro$oft props for not blowing yet another OS.

On the NaNo front, last night I broke 40k.  My aim is 50k by the weekend, and to continue beyond as far as I possibly can. I’m getting into the meat of a new story, and things are really starting to roll.

I’m also competing with Snark.Gallant; we’re running neck and neck, and I’m hoping to overtake him tonight. 😉 Of course, he hasn’t updated for the night, so the bastard has likely added a few more thousand. A worthy opponent indeed.

Signs I might be a computer addict

I just bought a $50 mouse. No, seriously.  In all fairness, it claims to give 15 months worth of battery time, so I should make up the difference in battery usage.

You see, my old laptop mouse has taken a beating.  I’ve used it a great deal, and it gets knocked off the table a lot, so the right mouse button doesn’t work well, and the left is starting to fail. It’s also getting less responsive. So, the time came to buy a new one.

First, I bought a belkin from Target. Public Service Announcement: Do not buy belkin products. That mouse won’t work without a mousepad, which is useless for a laptop! If It can’t work on my couch cushion, I don’t need it.

So I splurged on a Logitech M505 in a very nice shade of red. Not only is it stylish, it’s Logitech, and you just plain can’t go wrong with Logitech stuff.

So far, I like it. It’s fast, responsive, and doesn’t care if I’m  using it on my jeans leg or the table.

We’ll see in 15 months if it lives up to its packaging about the battery life.

As for NaNo, let’s see.

I  haven’t written much in the past few days. I think the problem  has been that my husband has been home all week, thanks to my injured foot/ankle. That does not make for a creatively-inclined writing environment. In fact, he’s been here ALL. The. TIME.  It’s mental interference.  So, I’m taking today off for schoolwork and such, and this week I’m going to hit the writing hardcore and catch up to my word count deficit.

>Liquid Story Binder: Going on sale November 1!

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My favorite Novel writing software, Liquid Story Binder, is going on sale on November 1st for NaNoWriMo! If you’ve been around long, you know I love this software. It’s unbelievably powerful, and includes so many features that it’s dizzying… the best thing is, there’s no one way to use it. You can use as much, or as little, as you like! I highly recommend this software. I’ve used it for the past two years running, and love it so much that even though I have a legitimate free copy given through giveawayoftheday a couple years ago, I’m planning on purchasing a full license this month through this sale. I love the program *that much* – this is not my recommendation as a NaNoWriMo staffer, but as a writer who has searched for a program that does what I want it.

I haven’t learned to use all of it, but it’s shareware, so you can use it free for 30 non-consecutive days, with ALL features intact, before you have to purchase a license to keep it working. The developer of the software really *listens* to his users, through his discussion group, and makes changes based on the feedback he receives, and is single-handedly the most responsive tech guy I’ve ever seen.

Excellent customer service, unique, matchless product… and a discount. What’s not to love?