Yesterday I had an appointment in New York City, so I took the bus in, with my new little netbook tossed in my purse. I know. What did I need with another computer, and why should I spend the money? Well, even though I’ve only had the mini for a few months, the added flexibility enabled me to finish Separation of Faith much sooner that I’d planned.
A common concern of writers who are juggling families, “real” jobs, and other commitments is finding the time to focus on our writing. And that frustration began to accelerate when I was working on about the last 25% of the book. The time I was spending riding buses and trains, or waiting in doctors’ offices, or waiting anywhere was ridiculous. (Try an experiment and make a conscious effort sometime, for a day or two, to add up your unused but usable time. You’ll see what I mean.) My normal pattern was to bring a book or magazine to fill that anticipated down time. But what would happen, I wondered, if I could be working on my own book instead, during those basically wasted minutes?
And then I saw a netbook being advertised. Long story short, I got the mini and suddenly finished the book. That’s what happened. The mini is so small and lightweight (a whole lot more so than a laptop) that I just popped it into my purse whenever I was heading out for a commuting/waiting day or when, in particular, I was heading off to that life-altering Writer’s Digest conference in September (see Blog Launch Post on November 4).
The battery on my netbook lasts for three hours, although there are some models that can offer as long as nine. But three hours is plenty of time for most of my circumstances. At first, I didn’t think I’d be able to accomplish much writing in 15- or 30-minute segments. But I was wrong. And those little segments really added up to an unexpected productivity breakthrough that would not have been achieved without the mini.
Budgets are tight, so this might not be an option for you. But prices are coming down, and the benefits are huge. If you can, at least look into the idea, especially if you’re at the point where you’re thinking that you’re never going to finish your book. My mini is a Dell, but I understand that Acer has terrific options, and there are many others as well. Check out this site for comparisons, as a start: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/category/category_tlc.asp?CatId=2814.
The mini could never be my main computer, but the little thing has become a great pal when I’m out and about.
Plan Update with Mini
Yesterday, during my wait time, I used the mini to begin the reduction edit of The Truth About Cinnamon (which I brought along on my flash drive). The goal of cutting 100 pages is huge, so I’ll need to use every spare minute I can find to meet the publishing targets (early 2nd quarter 2010) for both Cinnamon and the new novel, Separation of Faith.
I’m not sure which cliche is more appropriate here: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way, ” or “She’s a little off in the head.”
The Discovery of Red Room
Because I’m such a late-comer to the whole realm of social media, I’m probably the last writer in America to learn about Red Room (www.redroom.com). But I’m on board now, and I’m putting the link to my Red Room site in this post (www.redroom.com/member/cherilaser) as well as on this blog’s front page. I’ve registered as a member and also as an author (with Cinnamon), but only the member part was showing up the last time I checked. They probably need some time to authenticate the ISBN number, and me as the real author.
But the lesson I learned this morning is that any writer who is or isn’t published, and/or any reader who’s looking to connect with any author, is really missing something if they don’t check out Red Room.
- I’ve been maintaining a data base of every person identified as a reader of Cinnamon–some who’ve bought their books directly from me and others who’ve written to me after finishing the story. But I have a pile of names that need to be added to that data base. Then I’ll do both an email and a snailmail mailing (a lot of email addresses are blank) to the whole list, letting everyone know what’s happening with the upcoming 2nd edition of Cinnamon and the status of the new novel.
- The first eight chapters of the original Cinnamon aren’t ready yet for the free serialization. So I need to work on finishing that formatting. I’d like to begin offering the free downloads by December 1.
- Three of my beta readers for Separation of Faith have finished the manuscript, and early comments are coming in. This process is very scary because there’s always the chance that someone will tell you to go do something else with your life. But, just like the need to secure professional editing, the need for beta readers who will tell you the truth is critical. Consequently, as a result of the input received thus far, I’ll need to tweak a few things, but nothing major … yet. So, the target of getting the manuscript to the publisher before mid-December appears to still be realistic.
Other than that, and the fact that on Friday, the 20th I’m moving to a new place (about 10 miles from where I am now), there isn’t much going on around here. Guess I’d better get busy. 🙂 Hope everyone is having a wonderful week!