See that lovely view? That's from my backyard and why I love writing outdoors. At least...I used to. This is the story of why I no longer do, and why I'm saving up to buy a little gazebo so I can go back to enjoying the outdoors.
Last year, my husband and kids got me a picnic table, painted it green, and added a lovely umbrella to it. Ahh, the hours we sat at it!! Hot, sunny days, we'd crank open the umbrella and enjoy the air. I'd work outdoors, the kids would take shade breaks...perfect.
There I sat, with my beautiful, fantastic 17 inch white laptop. Yes, I admit...when I got it, I was so in love with it. I'm still in love with it. It's perfection. However...and don't ALL stories start with a however? That spring day, I went outdoors. It wasn't windy at all, but it was sunny.
I sat my laptop up on the table, cranked open the umbrella and started working. A sudden wind squall came up. The table shook. This is a heavy, wooden picnic table. I grabbed for my laptop, fingers ready to close the screen and run inside when the umbrella snapped.
The umbrella hit me, knocking me forward, but worse, oh so much worse, it hit my laptop. The screen went too far back and snapped. The screen was still alive, it was connected, but my laptop couldn't be closed.
Like a crazy woman, I ran inside, cradling my precious baby and screaming. You see, it wasn't my own work I was working on. (I'm a book editor too) And I had a deadline...and now, no laptop.
Frantically I called, one place after another. Multiple people told me to just throw it away and buy a new one. Buy a new one? During a chip shortage? Hah! I was already using my child's laptop to browse HP's website and let me tell you...it was looking dire.
Finally, I tracked down a number. It seemed sketchy. No website...the guy answered the phone, "Yeah?" But I was desperate. Desperate.
"Please! You have to help me!" The story tumbled out, and to my amazement, the guy listened, asked questions, and then said, "Okay. I can look at it tomorrow." My flood of tears rushed out, and crazy lady started bawling on the phone. I might have offered the moon and the stars. Things are hazy at this point. There was a sigh, and he says, "Look, give me an hour. No...don't call me. I'll call you. And I'll tell you where to meet me."
Desperate folks. Desperate. So, I waited, like an insane woman by the phone for the hour. Kissed my kids goodbye and hoped I'd see them again. I drove, oddly enough, because I live in quite a tiny town, about 5 minutes away, to a tiny shopping center. There, he was.
The angel in disguise who repairs motorcycles, and computers.
"This might take a little," he said. "Sit down and stop hovering."
With an apology, and a purse full of all the cash I could find in case I had to pay an arm and a leg, I waited. The situation wasn't good. But, unlike everyone else who told me to just chuck it, he had a plan. He got the screen set so I could back up my files. He showed me how to close it, just once, he warned. It would crack the mother board if I tried to do it again. Then, he told me if HP couldn't fix it, he could help me order a new frame and replace it.
After paying him, (Really, not as much as it could have been! This lady was desperate!) I was on my way.
I also thanked Jesus that I'd bought that three year protection plan from HP. It was $90 WELL spent. Let me tell ya.
But...it took three weeks to get the computer back. I settled, yes, settled, for a plain, boring, black laptop, without an SD card slot (?!) no disc drive, but fully functional.
And yes...I bought the extra coverage.
That's what I'm typing on now. My sweet, white laptop is used for special occasions. But, recently, my black laptop (which I bought a purple cover for, to liven it up a bit) started acting funny. Only a few months old, and acting funny.
So this, is why this writer has two laptops. And next time, you'll learn why I ONLY will use OneDrive now when I work, and why I'm recommending you do too.
Picture of a young Elizabeth Blackwell
Head on over to author Donna Schlachter's website to check out my guest blog post about women in medicine, and in 1870s. Whether or not you are interested in the field of medicine, the facts pulled from the census, and the stories of a few of these women are quite fascinating.
Recently, I was asked this question. Like most anything else that requires time, effort, and relative quiet, it varies. The longer you have been writing, the faster it goes. For myself, because I've been a writer for a very long time (though I didn't start actually doing something with my writing until recently) I can get a first draft of a novel around 25,000 words in about six weeks. It could be less, if I've really thought about what I want to write and how I want the story to unfold.
Writing that first draft isn't the end though! It's not ready for you yet! After writing that first draft, I go through and reread, and add the small details that were lacking the first time. I get it as polished as I can, and send it off to beta readers. About four weeks later, it comes back, (hopefully!) filled with feedback to make my story even better.
Another four weeks later, I've gone through the feedback carefully, made changes, and started another round of edits. But...it's still not done! That's the time that cover, blurb, and another round of edits takes place! Why so many edits? Because it's so easy to misspell a word or leave something out.
After that round, I format my book, upload it, and get ready for the launch day! The writing process is actually a little nerve wracking for me. There's imposter syndrome (will anyone like it?!) along with worry (did I remember to add page numbers before I uploaded?) and of course, the marketing worry (how will people find my book?!) and while those nerves never get less, because I am not a great in your face self promoter, it is really quite, quite fun to write and publish.
The best part is when YOU enjoy the story! I'd love to know more of what YOU want to see!