(I wonder if the title should say workperson? Internal editor is in overdrive today.)
I haven’t had much to say about procrastination lately because, well, I haven’t been doing it. I’ve been doing actual writing writing. Writing writing being the kind of writing where you work on the piece you want to finish rather than trying out a short story or a different novel or an old novel in order to avoid facing the horrible mess you made a few months ago. Does everyone do this or is it just me?
After reworking my outline into something that sounded coherent and story-like I set myself a daily word count and a goal for the end of the month. This worked for about a week and a half before my steam dropped off, then I didn’t write for two weeks, then it picked up again at the beginning of October. I’d like to blame the sicky bug I had followed by a sinus infection (I really don’t want to think too hard about if they are related or not, bleugh) but other writers manage to write when they are sick so it’s no excuse really.
All seemed to be going well in October. I wrote every evening and on the days when I was off work I wrote in the daytime too during naptime. Then Thursday last week, disaster struck. I was buoyed up with enthusiasm after a good writing session the night before and I wanted to carry it on.
I attempted to write whilst my little alarm clock was awake in short ten minutes bursts while she was occupied by a toy or a book (she loves books as much as I do). In between said bursts I closed my laptop and tucked it down the side of the sofa for safe-keeping as she loves nothing more than pressing buttons. Cute but also a nightmare when she hits the power button over and over…
Naptime rolled around after a good walk in the surprising October sunshine and I settled in with tea and chocolate for a good stint. I wrote for a while and then when I tried to save it, it froze. I’m pretty patient with my laptop, I know it will carry on if you give it a while and it’s all good. I drank my tea, watched a bit of YouTube, read a little of James Oswald’s Written in Bones – highly recommended if you like crime and/or supernatural – and glanced at my laptop to see twenty minutes had gone by (oops) and my screen hadn’t changed a bit (crap).
I hard-powered it down trusting in Microsoft Word to do its recovery thing and prayed the last autosave wasn’t too long ago. It wasn’t. I lost about two hundred words. I rewrote them as best as I could remember and saved again. It saved and I carried on. More paranoid about losing said words I continued to save more often than normal and again the screen froze up.
Annoyed I repeated the cycle several times until I decided that enough with the writing. Just restart and let the laptop sort itself out.
It didn’t boot.
Now I rate(d) my Toshiba laptop very highly. It had a nice keyboard. A traditional one more like the keyboard you get with a desktop (I believe the technical term is chiclet) rather than the type that the newer laptops come with. The downside of owning a Toshiba is that the bootup doesn’t behave like other computers. I discovered this after a good thirty minutes of trawling through forums on my mobile phone when I tried to troubleshoot how to start in safe mode. I’m not even convinced that Windows 10 has a safe mode anymore. Shrug.
Naptime over I decided to let my husband have a go when he got back from work. He couldn’t figure it out either but he did at least manage to get into a menu that allowed you to repair start-up errors, reset Windows and some other technical BIOS related options that are beyond me. Nothing seemed to work so I tried to use my bluetooth keyboard and phone in the meantime but I felt really disheartened by the whole thing a soon gave up and went to bed.
Friday I ended up not writing which depressed me even more as I had been doing so well, so Saturday I got up with the determination to fix my laptop. I decided that the repeated cycle of hard powering down my laptop because it was stuck on boot up meant I had corrupted the registry files and I needed to reinstall Windows. I wasn’t too worried about it. All my writing was backed up to Dropbox and my photos to Google so it would be easy to get my laptop back to the way it was. Just reinstall some programmes maybe. I did it. Go me.
And it came on. I reinstalled Dropbox and automatically my files started to download onto my Laptop again. This did take all day, mind. The laptop felt really slow and clunky. I was patient and waited for it to finish whatever it needed to before I shut it down the proper way. After the in-laws left I switched it back on again and just got the boot screen followed by the dreaded Repairing errors or checking disc message – I can’t remember which now.
That’s when my husband realised that it probably wasn’t a problem with Windows but a problem with the harddrive. He thinks that when I tucked my laptop down the side of the sofa I covered all the fans and caused it to overheat.
So… the moral of this long waffling tale is make sure you take good care of your tools. Especially if you use a laptop. They’re a great tool for writers but when they break it can cause major headaches and heartache over those lost words and time.
A few little tips just incase you don’t know them already:
- Keep those fans aerated. Not just the one on the side but the ones on the bottom too.
- Don’t use a pillow or a quilt to lean on while writing, a hard surface is much better.
- use a cloud service to back up your files. Flash drives are good too if you can’t always access the Internet but they have a life expectancy and eventually will corrupt your files no matter how good you take care of it.
On the plus side I’m now back to using my mini-lappy (Asus netbook) which has Linux Mint installed on it and LibreOffice and I’ve managed to get back into the flow of writing again. I don’t know how the formatting will translate to CreateSpace for when I want to buy a printed copy of my book (just for me, I’m not thinking of self publishing … yet) but that’s a problem for future me.
Happy writing all! Also fingers crossed your technology behaves itself!