My Writing Setup

The great thing about writing is you don't need anything fancy; just grab your writing method of choice and start slamming words down on page. Some people have tried handwriting and I can see the appeal. It's just that with me personally my handwriting never progressed past 'second grade near unreadable mess,' plus I hate having to have to write a thing down and then have to type it down later for the sake of editing. This means I am very much a computer sort of person.
The downside of computers is how easy it is to go 'Oh hey I got an email notification', or 'let's see what's on reddit I might get an idea or three off r/wtf', or the ever popular 'I'm going to spend some time in minecraft to clear my head.' Then suddenly I'm missing a couple hours of time and nothing useful has gotten done and I'm suddenly needing to do more immediately productive things to keeping the house running.
On the one hand the internet is a great place for resources ranging from how to format a thing so lulu, createspace, or whoever won't somehow make it unreadable. If traditional publishing is your thing though there's advice for writing cover letters, publishers both great and small, as well as resources, guides, and that rare and treasured bit of feedback that occasionally will roll in.
On the other to get to all the helpful material you have to work past the temptation to just goof off and do whatever. It's hard, and it's not something I can say with any honesty I've got a handle on. Mostly it consists of reminding yourself you have a project you want to get done with sometime before Whenever. If you have friends or family that can remind you of this then that would be very helpful as well, but the more self reliant you can be the better since, unfortunately, relying on other people tends to be a set up for disappointment. Like with finding feedback this doesn't mean they are bad people, simply less dedicated to the obsession of getting your story told than you are.
What do I use to write and what do I write on? Google gave me a chromebook at the tail end of 2010. After chromebooks started going on sale I flashed the bios on it so it could run Ubuntu. Why? Unfortunately while Google Docs is quite nice to have and I do recommend having it as a backup option, or if you plan on splitting your book up by chapter, for longer works the machine I have simply isn't responsive enough and things bog down to unpleasant levels.
Still the keyboard works well, libre office does good for what I want in way of formatting, and gimp let me get a cover created even though my artistic talent decided to wave bye bye to me decades ago. All this from a computer that is considered very under-powered by modern standards. I would like better, but for writing it does just fine.
I had wanted to get an alphasmart as part of my writing setup because it looks like the perfect machine for task oriented doing things; months of battery life, connect to your computer of choice via usb, hit send, and it 'types' out what's in memory. No drivers no fuss no muss, and unfortunately no-longer being sold. The company that makes them is still around, but when schools are springing money for students to have ipads even dropping your price down to a fraction of that isn't going to grab attention when it's little better than a souped up keyboard and never mind if it'll do the job for cheaper you'll be seen as behind the times. Anyway while on the surface of it a gizmo that forces you to get on task would be ideal, I know me, so chances are high it was simply gadget lust going on.
My setup is easy to achieve; no fancy gadgets you couldn't pick up at walmart or amazon. It's really just me, usually music, and a chair to curl up in while I let the word's happen. Usually they're a bit out of order with a scene here, and another there, and I have to try corralling them into something that makes sense.
If you don't write that way don't worry. It takes all sorts of people and all kinds of methods to make a story with no 'one true path' that you must follow or you're going to fail. This can be annoying when you're like me trying to find a good way to do things and get what feels like answers that don't actually answer anything. It is what it is though and as much as I've hated that sort of 'advice that doesn't feel like advice' that's pretty much what I've ended up following and finding the most success in.


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