The Life of a Writer


Excuse me while I shift in my chair for a second—there.

Been writing nearly non-stop for about two weeks now. That’s a good thing. My business has been snappy in what’s typically a down time of year. Post-Thanksgiving sees companies going into a pre-Christmas hibernation that sets in and doesn’t dry up and blow away until mid-January. This year is proving to be different, praise God. Tiny Tim will live another year. God bless us, everyone!

In truth, writing professionally shares many touch points with a Dickens novel. I could belabor those points, but as no one reads Dickens outside of college classes (and then only the Cliffs Notes versions), there’s no sense in boring you to tears.

So I sit in my office and type. One of these days I’m going to need to learn to be a touch typist. I think even Mavis Beacon gave up on me, but that’s what happens when the typing classes in your high school were considered basic classes and would’ve screwed up your quality point average (a weighted GPA) if you took them. Technology changes and suddenly you’re a relic.

Back in those days, I used to type on a Smith-Corona typewriter by hunt and peck. I later went into computer sales and was there when the Mac came out. I used to horde one of the Mac Test Drive units and found my inner writer hunting and pecking on that spring-loaded 128K Mac keyboard. I eventually bought a Fat Mac, then converted it to a Mac Plus. I used that computer for almost ten years. Later, bought a Mac Centris 610. Of course, I eventually worked for Apple and bought a state-of-the-art PowerMac 9600/233 which turned ten this year. My satellite Internet company (grrr…) promised Mac connectivity, but right before they released their new hardware, Microsoft gave ’em a few bucks and told ’em the string attached was exclusive Windows operation. As I had no other broadband options, I ended up buying a Dell. Trust me, I’d much prefer a Mac. One of these days I might actually be able to afford to buy a new Mac and replace my satellite Internet hardware (now that Microsoft has moved on and the latest satellite hardware is platform-independent—of course).

I’m way beyond hunt and peck now, in fact, my typing speed is above the median, but I’d still like to boost my wpm rate into the 70s, if possible.

Been doing a veritable ton of editing. I think I’ve memorized every section of the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th Ed., a reference I find nearly impossible to use because its index stinks. I know the answer to my editing dilemma lurks amid the pages, but I just can’t find it. From what I hear from other writers, that’s a universal complaint. As a book, the CMS has seen better days. In digital format, though, all nicely hyperlinked and term/example searchable, it may be worthwhile. Again, such is the nature of time and technology that the old orange CMS mare made of genuine paper just ain’t what she used to be.

But then our language just ain’t what it used to be, either. A fellow writer sent me this appalling, lowest common denominator piece of tripe, and all I can say is, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Gotta run. Several projects due early next week. Sorry for the rambling. You deserve better. Have a great weekend.

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