Thursday, September 24, 2015

Technical Difficulties: Do Not Standby, by Kell Andrews

There's never a good time for technical difficulties to crop up. One of those not-good times is when drafting a new novel.

This doesn't happen that often for me. I am not the most prolific writer, generally requiring the most perfect circumstances to feed my muse, which of course, rarely happens. So when I finally got on a creative roll  and my Macbook starting spontaneous deleting passages and opening new windows, I despaired.

I know what's wrong with my Macbook because I've had it fixed before -- a swollen battery putting pressure on the trackpad, causing phantom cursor movements. But this computer is past its expiration, and I don't want to pay to fix it again, and I don't yet have the funds set aside for a new Macbook.

So what do I do? Trust me, I've tried everything, and this is what works (sort-of).

Plan A. Bang Macbook. 

This is effective some of the time, the impact nudging the battery back in place. Plus I feel better after I knock something around.

Plan B. Massage the back of the Macbook. 

I think this also puts the battery back in place, but it might just put the Macbook in a better mood -- the Good Cop to Plan A's Bad Cop.

Plan C. Drafting on my Kindle Fire with a Bluetooth keyboard. 

A Kindle Fire is really an Android tablet, and this one is poetically appropriate -- ashes to ashes, Kindle to Kindle. Most books end up there eventually.

So far a combo of these strategies is working. I write on the Kindle, and transfer my working sessions into Scrivener on my Macbook, when it's working OK through my efforts at Plan A and B.

At first I used OfficeSuite for Android. Then I lost a whole morning's work due to lack of backup function in OfficeSuite and my own poor work habits. In addition to not being prolific, I'm also not very resilient. So I tried to recover the document, and when I couldn't, I could either move forward or not, so I rewrote it. My document did not recover, but I did.

Now I'm using an Evernote app for Android, which backs up itself and makes it easy to transfer scenes between Kindle and Macbook. It's actually not bad -- I am not as distracted by other things when I'm using my Kindle. My focus is better. And I'm halfway done with drafting -- 37,000 words.

The halfway part is where it gets easy, right? Right??? Like rolling down a hill (tell me I'm right, please).

But if it doesn't, I have gotten myself to the place where the perfect circumstances for writing don't matter. I could use my Bluetooth keyboard and write on Evernote on my iPhone if I had to. I could write with a pen and notebook. I could write in a box with a fox on a train in the rain, preferably while rolling down a hill.

What's your worse technical failure? Does technology matter to you when writing, or are you platform agnostic?


  1. I can tell you what worked for a printer! I loaded it in the car, took it to Office Depot. Told the repair person that it wouldn't behave. The man said that they don't repair printers so I'd have to throw it out and get a new one. I loaded it back in the car, took it home and plugged it back in. That printer understood that it was on its way to the dump and now prints out anything I ask it to. :)

    1. Threats work as well as actual violence? I'll try this next time.

  2. This is hysterical! Good luck with your endeavors.

  3. Oh, dear, what a trial! My entire hard drive got fried last fall while on writing retreat. Good thing I had a pen and notebook! And I hadn't backed up in months. Lesson learned. I now have Carbonite and so glad. I just need Word and love a big flat screen (technical difficulty there = cat knocking it off my desk. Crack. $200 gone. Dang cat is still here.)

    My biggest complaint is not having a battery on my laptop that lasts more than a couple of hours. Yearning for a 24-hour battery to hide away in the woods for a whole day and write in a glen! I hope you have no more troubles there :)

  4. My issue came when I upgraded to Windows 10. Having difficulty with my trackpad and often find while I'm typing my curser jumps up several lines and continues to type in the middle of another line. Thanks to you I now know I can buy a blue-tooth enabled keyboard. Thank you


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!