Tag Archives: Geany

Coffee Shop Writing: Week 1 Summary

I’ll let Mr. Miller summarize his own efforts; not because I don’t know what he wrote all week, but because I can’t bring myself to admit that he wrote more than I did.

Monday

I started a new short(?) story tentatively titled “The Long December” and discovered that immortality is simply a matter of who’s in charge. Word count: 299

Tuesday

I continued “The Long December” after a late arrival at the coffee shop. Word count: 285.

Wednesday

Faced with the uncomfortable fact that “The Long December” was turning into a parable, I wrote a blog entry: Coffee Shop Writing: Day 3. Three days into this experiment and the meta-writing has already begun. Word count: 650ish.

Thursday

Kate: Advanced Text Editor
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Zombie Day. Due to issues with Puppy Linux, I abandoned it in favor of Kubuntu, which I didn’t *quite* manage to get configured Wednesday night. Goodbye (for now) Geany, hello Kate! I didn’t get any writing done at all today; I need more than four hours of sleep before I can write. If I can’t get more than four hours of sleep, I need four hours to wake up so I can write. Later in the day I wrote another blog entry, Tomorrow is Arbor Day. Celebrate with The Secret Lair. It’s about 375 words, but I didn’t write it in the coffee shop, so it doesn’t count. Word count: 0.

Friday

Instead of sitting down to write, I distracted Chris ((To be fair, he had a 200+ word head start by the time I arrived, thanks to a writing prompt at Plotstorming.com.)) by talking about Kubuntu’s apparent lack of an e-mail client, ((The default client is Kmail, which is—according to the Adept Package Manager—installed, but which nobody thought to provide a link to. Is this what I get for downloading a release candidate? EDIT: Kmail is the e-mail component of Kontact, which has a handy shortcut on the Kubuntu taskbar, but which I mistook for an address book. This is because I am an idiot.)) the audio quality issues we’re having with episodes of The Secret Lair, and pretty much anything that wasn’t writing. It worked. I should be ashamed of myself.

Then I decided to fire up Kate and write this summary. I announced that I was writing just as Chris was packing up his things and heading back to his home office. “What are you writing?” he asked.

I told him.

“Good God!,” he exclaimed. “I’ve never met anyone who could write so much about doing so little!”

So true. Word count: 401. ((Total for the week: about 1,600.))

Coffee Shop Writing: Day 3

Treo 650 Palm-powered smartphone
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One of the tricky things about blogging for me is that I almost always compose blog entries in WordPress’ editor. This means that I have to have an Internet connection in order to write. Only one time in recent memory have I begun writing a blog entry offline: my love letter to giant crocodilians was born on my Treo 650 while I was in a restaurant waiting to meet Laura and Kyle for dinner after work one day. Writing on the Treo isn’t anything approaching fun. Granted, it has a “full” keyboard, which I prefer when sending text messages, but anything beyond the 140-character bursts of text that comprise SMS messages is a bit of a chore.

I used to carry a small notepad and pen in my back pocket, intending to write blog entries (and story ideas and anything else I needed to capture when I was away from a computer) longhand and then transcribe them to WordPress at my leisure. It was a great theory, and if you can’t see where this is going you haven’t been listening to me whine about not being able to write long enough.

This week, Chris Miller and I began meeting at a local coffee shop for an hour before work to write. I started working on a short story that had been rattling around in my head for all of fifteen minutes before I sat down at the coffee shop; Chris wrote a blog entry. I couldn’t get on the coffee shop’s wi-fi network until this morning, when I finally realized that I needed a WEP key. Now I have access to the dread Internets and all of the distractions they bring; I could, were I so inclined, fire up WordPress and bang out a blog entry—writing is writing. ((It feels like a cop out to be meta-blogging on this, the third day of coffee shop writing, but the fiction I’m writing has turned into a parable, for crying out loud, and all of a sudden I need to have a moral for the story; I, who can never see the end of a story when I begin writing it, need to be able to wrap the whole thing up and say this is the lesson we’ve learned, children. Yikes.))

Geany - A GTK2 Text Editor
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Instead, I’m writing this in Geany, the Puppy Linux equivalent to Microsoft’s Notepad. It’s an experiment of sorts: focus on the content and worry about the formatting later. Because when I write in WordPress, I’m constantly previewing the entries to see how they flow on the page (especially if I’m including any kind of graphic) instead of just writing until I feel like I’m done and then going back to tweak and nudge things or, in other words, edit. It’s bad enough that I constantly edit the content while I’m writing (something I’ve never really been able to completely abandon, despite four years of NaNoWriMo), but when I’m in a WYSIWYG editor I constantly mess with the formatting, as well. I just have a hard time dealing with the concept of a draft; everything has to be as finished as I can possibly make it before I move on to the next page, paragraph, sentence or word.

Writing doesn’t work that way in the real world, and I’m very well aware of that. Of course, there’s a big difference between recognizing your weakness and overcoming it. But this is the first step in a new experiment: content first, formatting last. I’ll finish writing this draft in Geany, then copy and paste it into what passes for a Write Post interface in WordPress these days ((Bitter much?)) and make any edits before posting. Or maybe I’ll just delete the whole damn whiny, introspective, woe-is-me mess and move on and no one (except Chris, who knows I’m meta-blogging right now) will be any the wiser.