I used to be able to write anywhere, given even the smallest bits of time. Doctor offices, on line at the DMV, lunch breaks, meetings when someone boring was talking, mornings, evenings, afternoons, full and partial eclipses, zombie apocalypses — you name it.
But oh, how things have changed!
Over the weekend, my laptop monitor went kaplooey. After much weeping and wailing, I took it to the shop, and the Apple folks now have it for the next 4-10 days.
(I will now skip past the twitching, beating my chest, shaking my fists at the universe, and general rocking back and forth in the fetal position portions of the story. But I assure you, it was far worse than that.)
Chris, saint that he is, is lending me his computers while mine is in the shop. A glorious 27″ iMac and a serviceable old 13″ MacBook. I am incredibly lucky that he has such computers, and that he’s happy to lend them to me, and yet…
They aren’t my computer.
Gone is that person who could write anywhere, on anything. I have fallen prey to routine and comfort. To familiarity. In short, I have developed more writing crutches than I ever thought possible.
Things I apparently had to load on to Chris’s computers before I could start breathing normally and even consider using them:
1. Scrivener 2.0.
Word? Google docs? Are you crazy??? I am now so attached to Scrivener that I feel like a parasite. A novel doesn’t even look like a novel unless I see it in the familiar Scrivener panes, unless I have all my resource files and drafts and outlines and inspiration photos happily located in the same Scrivener file, just a click away.
Using Safari or Firefox actually makes me twitch. (What do you mean I can’t type my search terms directly into the address bar. Is this the STONE AGE?!?)
3. LastPass extension for Chrome.
It remembers my passwords so I don’t have to. All six billion and three of them. Without it, I can only stare at my browser and remember the heady days when I could use it to pay my bills, manage my finances, and communicate with my friends.
4. Nambu Twitter client.
Can’t use Tweetdeck. Or Twitter.com. Or even Tweetie that you can now get from the Mac App Store. I must have Nambu, and it must be configured the way I want it.
Without Quicksilver, I continue to try to launch programs with keyboard shortcuts, and just stare balefully at the screen when nothing happens.
6. And then, of course, I must have the right wallpapers on my desktop. The dock must be hidden, and there should be minimal (if any) icons marring the beauty of the desktop. I must write from a sofa, not a chair, making the beautiful 27″ iMac a pretty fallback, but not comfortable in the slightest. (Yes, you all weep for me, I’m sure.)
What am I surprised not to need? ITunes. Apparently I can work with or without music, a surprising discovery. I can also get by with music from the stereo or an iPod, or any other source. In a jam, the TV turned to a boring station can provide the requisite background hum.
I also miss Photoshop and CorelDraw, and World of Warcraft — although I find their lack frustrating, but not a huge barricade like the items listed above. Heck, maybe it’s not so bad that my “must-have” list is only 6 or 7 items long.
So tell me — do you have any writing crutches, or can you do it anywhere, any time?
I kind of miss the old me… but not as much as my miss my laptop.