The Cold, Dark Writer’s Attic

Being without a computer for close to two weeks, and also not having TV is, in this day and age, somewhat like living in the (probably) mythical writer’s attic. I’m not a P to P socializer, so the internet is the largest part of my world, and my word processer is my quill pen.  The most crushing blow when my computer went down was that I was just about to validate my NaNo word count.  There were also nights of troubled sleep and depressed days until I knew that the problem wasn’t my hard drive and that I wouldn’t lose everything in my life that was important to me. But I coped, thanks to a backlog of unread books, some waiting to be reread, and my faithful Alphasmart.

Trying to continue writing a novel on a device that shows only six lines of text is frustrating, to say the least, so there wasn’t a lot of continuity in what I churned out over that two weeks, but I did make some progress. Lots of notes, fragments of dialog, a few new scenes and, most wonderful of all, finding a way to end two novels satisfactorily.

I had put aside Boundaries for NaNo, but my mind was still chewing over an ending that I just couldn’t get right. Without the distraction of the internet, my mind turned in on itself and did the job. I was having the same problem with The Warden, and that period of isolation and inner focus also produced a stronger ending than I’d originally planned (and the appearance of an unexpected new character) .

I didn’t write nearly as much as I would have if I’d been able to coast on the last few days of NaNo energy, but I did write.  Would I want to do it that way again? Definitely not, but I’ll think seriously about going on a strict internet diet when the words just aren’t coming the way they should.

It looks as if I’ll get my purple bar.  There’s a validation process for people who missed out, so now I’m waiting for one of the moderators to do the count on the text I sent her last night.

4 thoughts on “The Cold, Dark Writer’s Attic

  1. Good luck with getting your purple bar. You should be recognized for the achievement. 😀

    I actually prefer to do things on paper first, even though I add in more detail on the computer as I type it out. Putting it on paper, being able to cross it out (but still see it in case I need to use it or reference what I was trying to say), manually manipulating the words–that’s when I feel “writerly.” It’s also when my attention isn’t divided between comments on my blogs and my writing. I even write posts on paper at lunch sometimes.

    Welcome back!

  2. I’ve pretty much given up writing by hand, except for brief notes, when the computer isn’t handy. Too hard to read back, and I hate having to transcribe.

    This year was a harder NaNo all round, with a much more complex novel than I wrote last year. I would have hit 60k or so by the end if the computer hadn’t crashed. But last year, I was about 10k ahead at both validation day and the last day.

    At least I can get back to work now.

  3. Welcome back! If you’re waiting on your purple bar that means you got everything back, right? Thinking you might have lost everything must have been terrifying. I think it is fabulous that you made your NaNo goal.
    Which reminds me, I haven’t done a back up to cd in a long time. I’d better get to that asap.

  4. It *was* terrifying, believe me. Never again. I just ordered an external USB hard drive so I can back up my entire computer, and made plain text copies of all my stories to put on a CD. I have stuff saved on a couple of thumb drives, but they’re too small to save very much. I’m also going to be looking into Dropbox, though I’m not sure I’d totally trust a web app more than I trust anything else. But the code word is “multiple backups”.

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