People are wondering how The Great Stay Away From the Internet Plan of 2011 is working, and I say, well, jeez, I’ve only been doing it for three days now, give me a break — but that said, it’s doing fine. Good progress is being made on the current work, and I’m being reminded generally that I do tend to write pretty quickly, so I’m making my intended quota in a reasonable amount of time each day. Early days yet, as noted. But so far, so good.
For the current batch of writing I’m also choosing to use the Cr-48 for creative writing, for two reasons. One, when I applied for one, I said that I would write a novel on it, by way of seeing how a “Web OS” experience had an impact on the writing experience. So in that respect I’m doing what I said I would do. Two, although technically the Cr-48 is constantly connected to the Internet, in a practical sense when I have Google Docs up on full screen there’s nothing else going on but what I’m writing. So all the distractions I have pretty much melt away and I focus on getting my work done. And then when I’ve hit my quota for the day I close up the Cr-48, turn on the big monitor, put the desktop keyboard back in position and check up on how the Internet could have possibly survived without me.
I’ve also found that so far writing the novel via Google Docs hasn’t been a problem. The major change I’ve made is to make each chapter its own document rather than to have one very large document, both to save me from having to do a lot of scrolling and because that way it’s easy to pop up an earlier chapter if I want to refer to something in it. Google Docs automatically saves what I’m doing every couple of minutes or so, so it’s nice not to have to worry about that (I have my Word program set to save every five minutes or so, but sometimes you can write a lot in five minutes that you don’t want to lose). Google Docs is still a fairly limited word processor, but generally speaking for writing novels I don’t use a whole lot of complex functionality. When Doc finally put in a ruler that allowed indenting it became full featured enough for my novel-writing purposes. I still back up what I’ve written every day offline — Google could explode, you know — but from a practical point of view, writing this way is pretty functional.
The one other reason for me to be writing on the Cr-48 is simply to shake myself out of the idea that my longer-length writing needs to be done on the desktop computer, with the big fancy-schmancy screen, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big fancy-schmancy screen; it’s my lovely 24-inch baby, and I really do have use for it. But its more to the point that I spend a substantial amount of my time traveling and being on the move — I’m going to be averaging a week of travel out of each month of this year — and that travel time is lost productivity time if I’m only doing my creative writing at my desk at home.
I understand this point I’m making is well-nigh incomprehensible to those writers used to writing on their laptops wherever they may be (including the dreaded coffee shops), but, you know. Everyone has a routine that works for them. The problem is when you start working for the routine. This is me working to make sure I’m focused on the writing, not the where I’m writing (and in front of what screen, and in which chair I’m sitting).
In short, I’m doing all sorts of things to shake myself up and keep myself writing. It’s working right at the moment. Let’s see if it keeps working moving forward.