Thursday, March 1, 2012

Laptop Down

If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.

― Henry Rollins

Sometimes it seems like I discovered writing thanks to computers--I wrote my first novel a month after my dad bought a new family computer, and the old desktop was moved to my bedroom. I'd always piddled with writing before then. Having access, though, hours of unlimited and uninterrupted access, seemed to unlock me.

But it also limited me. I've heard a lot of authors explaining how important it is to learn to write anywhere, anytime you get the chance, because when you're busy or on tour with a deadline, you simply have to get it done. And I always wondered about that. Because I'm not so flexible. When the inspiration is flowing, well, you can't stop me. But one of the first lessons a writer learns is not to rely on those lightbulb moments. And in general, when I'm at other locations, I'm too distracted to get into the story. Even being on another computer can be too distracting.

I'm aware this isn't good, but what's a girl to do about it? Just keep trying to stretch myself, I guess. And perhaps hope things will work themselves out when the time comes.


As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the time has most definitely come. My beloved laptop has been crashing for no discernible reason. And when I took it to the techs, they informed me that my hard drive is making "an audible ticking noise" and that it needs replacing.

And it's okay. It really is. I'm working on getting the drive replaced right now. But the interesting thing, the quite cool thing, is that only just a month ago, I didn't have any source of backup. Then there was a bit of a fiasco with work. I needed new software, but uploading the software might crash my computer, so amongst tons of stress and prayer and bustling, I bought myself an external hard drive.

Which is why things are okay now. I haven't lost a whit of data, and the very timing of things had me convinced God has got His hand in all of this, and one way or another, it's going to work out.


In the meantime.

I have discovered something very fascinating about creativity. Basically, if you have it, it's going somewhere. You can channel this creativity into certain avenues like, ahem, writing, if you make a regular point of writing and keep those muscles exercised. But if you don't channel creativity, it refuses to just sit there idle. It oozes. It finds channels and avenues of its own, trickling through them to make the cracks bigger, and bigger, until it's practically fountaining through. And, well. Try stopping it then.

These past few weeks I have written on my work computer, at my library computers, at the school computers. I have written as emails to myself during class; I have cut into lab time to write. I have written on my phone, on the backs of receipts in my car, on sticky notes, and of course, notebooks. Oh my goodness. The notebooks!

People have been giving me notebooks for years, and of course, who could get rid of a pretty notebook? Not me. I'm glad. Those notebooks saved my life this past week. I hate writing in notebooks because my hand cramps, but this time around, it hasn't stopped me. I have been compelled. If I try to put it off, I end up writing on my floor and midnight, notebook and hot tea in hand.

The most agonizing part of it all is that I can't write any of the things I'm supposed to be writing. All my WIPs are on my computer. And without knowing exactly when and where I left off, most of what I could write now would be useless. Certainly not enough material there to satisfy these huge bursts of creativity I've been having. Without my WIPs, normally, I would blog, but even my blog ideas and outlines are inaccessible.

So although I hate to say it, I must: I think the blog will be a bit lean for a while. At least until I can fix my laptop and get caught up. Sigh. I was doing so good, too.

Since I can't promise you regular blog posts for a while, I thought I'd at least offer you some samples of what has been seeping out of my crazy brain lately.

Everything about January was different; even the way we met was different. It was after last period. Most everybody had somewhere to go, a sport practice to attend or a bus to grab, and like usual, I stood out: sitting while everyone else walked, waiting while everyone else went and did. There's no point in faking what I was doing, either. Everyone could hear the sound of my mom's raised voice through the door behind us.

(Simon's Story, a novel idea I've had for a while, and am NOT supposed to be writing, given that I already have three WIPs. Ahem ahem.)

The first thing I found was a very ordinary looking "C." And I mean that exactly as it sounds. When I pushed open my front door, I heard something small go clink, and when I drew back, there was wrought-metal letter C lying on my concrete step.

(New story idea -- girl gets a mysterious message throughout the day, spelled out letter by letter. Inspired after reading Robin McKinley's "Sunshine.")

There is such a thing as ultimate power, and I was born with it. People had known it was coming for years. They could tell, because bad magic had grown stronger, and good magic grew weaker. A mixed blessing, they said. It meant ultimate power was coming, and that it would be good. If things were the other way around--bad magic failing, and good magic rising, they would have looked at each other with sad eyes, and known I was evil.

(From "She Ultimate," a notebook short story.)

It is not unusual for wars to be fought over princesses. It is slightly more unusual for wars to be fought between princesses. It is highly irregular, however, for the princesses to compete against each other, as was the case of Princess Marigold and Princess Arriana, of the kingdoms of Lucan and Obstervorn, respectively.

(From "The Princess War," another notebook short story.)

That's all from me. How about you guys. What do you do when your laptop is down? How does one cope?

Truly and always and laptopless,
-Creative A

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