My Computer: aka my anti-writing, writing device

For the first few years after I started writing, part of my creative process was that I had to write down my rough drafts long hand and then I would type them, revising as I went. Now, this method has two benefits. First, you can work on your rough draft wherever you are (well, as long as you bring your notebook along, too). Second, I didn’t put as much pressure on myself about the words I was writing because I knew I could change them, make them better, as I typed.

Cool, huh? Well, I came to realize (mind you after I went around thinking this was just the “kind of writer I was”) that my decision to write this way was due mainly to my newness as a writer. (*note* I don’t mean to make you feel bad AT ALLย  if the whole long-hand-first thing is your way of writing. I know a lot of amazing writers who do this still after years and years. I just found that I was doing it for the wrong reasons.) I found I was clinging to this way of writing because I didn’t trust what I typed, first draft, to be good enough to warrant being in digital form. I liked the freedom to write down stupid stuff (oh boy was some of it stupid) and not worry that it was going to be what I had to use. Another reason I realized this was a problem was because I had this weird thing about changing after typing. I had a super difficult time making major changes to things that I had typed, where as my long hand stuff was expected to change.

So, as I’ve grown as a writer, as I’ve gained more confidence, I have also made the change from writing my first draft to typing it. To help me along this journey, I decided to purchase a tool. A computer. Yes! (Um,that makes me sound weird. I did have a computer previously. Don’t think I’m some un-plugged mountain person. It was just old and had little battery-life left.) A small netbook seemed like the BEST THING EVER. It’s small, so I can take it anywhere! Just like a notebook. It has awesome battery life! It was made for writers! Done. Bought. Happy.

However, sometimes I feel like it does more to detain me from writing than actually assisting me, as I had hoped. And after owning it for a few years, here are a few of my favorite features:

  1. Most of the time, just being ON seems like too much work for its tiny computer-brain. It almost seems to roll its eyes, sigh, and say, “Really? What more do you want?”
  2. When I have ideas, I’m ready to write, and I’m excited… it freezes.
  3. The little “not responding” circle thing is on much more than it’s not.
  4. When I click on something and it shows no signs AT ALL that it’s received the cue. Which then means that I click more times. Five minutes later, 11 programs open at once.
  5. Oh, and I LOVE when I’m typing and it takes two seconds for the words to actually show up on the screen. =)

Seriously, though. It’s not too bad, but sometimes it makes me crazy. Writing is hard enough! We need something that will create the best environment for thinking and getting work done.

But my stupid-computer-frustrations aside, I do love the place I’m getting to as a writer. I feel like I’ve definitely gotten over that block of not trusting what I write. And more importantly, I’ve gotten over thinking I can’t change what I type (thank goodness). As writers, it’s so important that we find that balance of trusting ourselves while still knowing when to revise, edit, or throw out.

And who knows. Someday maybe I’ll have the money to upgrade to something a little more helpful.

Anyone want to buy me a Macbook for Christmas? =)



4 thoughts on “My Computer: aka my anti-writing, writing device

  1. Gary Snodgrass says:

    Great Post. I always make sure every program possible is turned off before I start writing. Especially the online applications like email, Web, Facebook., etc. Besides wanting to avoid the distraction. I don’t want any hesitation between my touching the key and it showing up on the screen, I hate typing a paragraph and looking up to see that the computer has frozen. I can never get the writing back as good as it would have been the first time.

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