6 Things I Learned From Not Writing* For A Week

“Away From Keyboard” for those of you who either aren’t gamers or aren’t good at acronyms.

Aaaand we’re back. Did you miss me?

The last week has been fun, but the time for computer tinkering is past.** Now it is time for writing.

This last six days was an enforced vacation for me. I could write, but most of my software was burned to the ground, and the documents along with it. Almost all were recoverable, so no need to freak the hell out on that front. But still: a week in which I couldn’t work as I’m used to. Here’s what I learned:

1) I really have to write. You ever see one of those horrifying medical shows where someone has a giant thing that has to be periodically drained lest it kill them? I’m pretty sure that’s my imagination. If I can’t siphon off whatever unspeakable fluid lives in there, things get…weird.

Like my dreams. Mine are normally pretty bizarre; this week was beyond strange. The most normal one was where I was auditioning to be Batman and realized that I’d make a better Punisher.** The others…let’s just say ‘weird’ and leave it at that.

By the end of the week, I was so fed up with doing technical computer tasks that I started at least making notes old school: composition book again. I still have to transcribe everything I wrote there into the computer, and I have no idea if it’s decent. But it scratched the itch.

2) I know way more about computers than I thought. Weird, because I’ve never taken a single course in computer science. I’ve mostly just…you know, picked up stuff here and there. Which turned out to be hella useful, because I had to run a variant of an operating system from an external drive in order to start fixing things.

Knowing how to fix the thing that you use all day every day is a valuable skill. If I learned it from forums and articles, so can you.

3) You can never have too many backups. I had offsite backups, but had neglected my onsite external hard drive. As I now try to recover a terabyte of data from a remote server in Texas, you can bet I won’t be doing that again. More on backing up next week.

4) The standing desk fucking works. Because I was tinkering instead of writing, I’ve been working sitting down. Not something I usually do. And now I remember why.

This week was a cacophony of twinges, aches, and random muscle twitches. I scared the crap out of my yoga teacher because I flipped completely over doing headstand; my shoulder muscles were cranky and misaligned because of a week hunching over the laptop and external hard drive.

Lesson learned: keep the standing desk.

5) I’m really glad I have an iPod classic that holds all my digital music. Because you know what would have been worse than spending a week tinkering with my faulty device? Doing that without music. Like a fucking caveman.

6) No matter what, no matter where, I will always find a way to write. Broken computer? I can work around that. Hand cramps from pen usage? Whatever. Forbidden paper by the warden of my futuristic prison cell? Fuck you, I’ll write on the goddamn walls.

There is no version of me that doesn’t write. Right now, I’m writing this in Google Docs. I’ve heard some mixed reviews about Docs for writers–stuff on privacy, file control, terms of service, and problems with long files mostly–but I’m using this as a time to test drive. I sync everything offline to a hard drive (not the fucked up one) and back it up online. And it doesn’t need another piece of software to run, a very important qualification to me right now.

If it wasn’t Docs, it would be the note function on my phone. Or a composition book. Or something else, because, man, I just have to.

So, ever had catastrophic computer failure? Or another enforced vacation? What did you learn?

*More like ‘not writing the way I’m used to’. I tinkered and made notes, but didn’t get the 15,000 words I usually produce a week out.

**Well, not really. The files haven’t even been fully restored yet.  But I’ve at least got a shell that I can work from on this computer again.

***I also realized I was in the wrong comic universe.


One thought on “6 Things I Learned From Not Writing* For A Week

  1. My greatest fear is that my external hard drive will crash. I swear I will slit my wrists. But we just bought a personal server, and everything is backed up there. Praying to the tech lords that what happened to you never happens to me. 🙂 And what’s a vacation? That’s a funny word…

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