Order Out of Chaos

So the end of the month is sneaking closer and I am still working away. As I mentioned at the start of the month, I planned on writing 2K of new fiction every working day this year as well as revising work for publication. I also mentioned that I was having trouble settling down into a routine. (New babies and lack of sleep tend to have that effect!) Of late, I have been plagued by the flu and persecuted by the Machine God as well. However, in spite of all this, I have started to get the feeling that my goals for this year are at least possible. I am settling down into a new method of working, which is just as well, because I need to.

I begin each day by revising what I wrote the work day before. (Obviously this means that on Monday I revise what I wrote on Friday.) Sometimes I re-read the whole work from the beginning if I feel the need to get my hooks back into it. I have set Scrivener so that it discounts negative word counts– i.e. this means that it ignores any cuts I make (and there are many!) but adds the new words to the total. I let these count towards my 2000 word goal. It’s a cheap trick but sometimes cheap tricks are what you need to motivate you. Having built up some momentum on the revision, I launch myself into the goal of writing 2K proper. Once that is done, I move on to editing the work that needs it. At the moment this is usually a different project. I try to have a gap between the different elements of my work schedule. Doing one thing, taking a break and then starting on the next project works for me. It seems important that my mind gets a clear signal about such things. I need spaces and routines for this stuff. It used to be a case of doing things at a certain time of the day. With illness and the baby, this is difficult so I am falling back to having procedures and priorities instead.

There’s been a lot of disruption this month which has made this all the more important. My MacBook Pro, which has been my major work machine for a couple of years now, packed in. It’s been ailing for months with a dodgy trackpad and a tendency to freeze but now it was not even booting. I surprised myself by replacing it with a MacBook Air. I genuinely thought I was going to make the switch to PC this time but I changed my mind at the last moment for a number of reasons. The first is that I have a number of diaries and research projects in Mac only formats and it would be a lot of work to export them and import them into different software. All of this takes time and that was in short supply. ( A clear demonstration of the benefits of platform lock-in for vendors there.)  With the Air all I had to do was start the machine and migrate my files across from my Time Machine backup. So far, it seems to have worked a treat. The second reason was even more simple. The Lenovo dealership is a long way from where I live and there are two Apple dealerships within a short walk of my house. Tired and with the flu, it was just easier to go this route.

There were other reasons, the most important being familiarity. Buying a new work computer is a big purchase for me and I was driving myself mad trying to find one that filled my requirements. I had a couple in mind, both Thinkpads, but I was not entirely sure they would do what I needed. I know I am happy using the keyboard on the Mac (an important thing because of RSI) and I was happy with its performance. Scrivener on OSX still reigns supreme among writing programs for me, although the Windows version is really very good. There’s not a lot to say about the new MacBook. It is very much like the old one, only lighter and more powerful, and that’s about the only thing I can say about it. In any case, I plumped for the familiar and the habitual. It saved me time and thought and let me get back to work.

On the subject of which, it’s time for me to go and write something…

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Comments

  1. I’ve gotten four notifications today about the new blog post. Looks like the blog system is making up for its old failures!

    • Thanks for letting me know, AJ. Are the notifications coming from WordPress or from something else like Facebook? This looks like it needs to be sorted. If it’s from WordPress, my suspicion would be you are being notified every time I notice a mistake and make a minor correction. It is also possible this is some sort of side effect of migrating computers. Ah, the joys of being your own tech support :)!

  2. Gary Gibson says:

    Hang on – you can do *what* with the Scrivener word count? How!?

    • It’s in the options in the Project Targets tracker widget thing, mate. Just don’t check Allow Negatives and it won’t subtract any cuts you make from your daily word count target. It just adds the words you add.

  3. Michael Mooney says:

    Glad you’re sticking with apple – have to say that this MBA is the nicest laptop I’ve ever had.

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