Monday, November 23, 2009

Somewhere in the vicinity of 1200

That's how many words I got in before work today. The Alphasmart Neo and I went to the coffee house, where I picked a table where I could sit with my back to the wall to lessen the feeling that people were reading over my shoulder, plunked down a square of anti-slip foam (it makes the Neo quieter and less apt to walk away), took the Neo out of its slipcase, and proceeded to blast away as though I *wasn't* self-conscious as all get out. Now if I can just do the same at least once more tonight at home, I'll be well on my way toward getting caught up again.

I know, I know, I'm welching on the Brigade (which is probably unwise). But it's easier to produce lots of words on the Neo, especially when I get away from the house and all access to the eeeevil Internets. The downside is that I'll almost certainly need to pare that 1200 down to about 800 (exaggerating slightly for effect). I guess that, in the end, is the real difference between writing methods: it all comes down to what's required in the editing. My longhand writing tends to be very sparse, without a ton of description, but with much character chatter. Neo writing has lots of description and can get a little repetitive: I can't see more than seven (currently) lines at a time, which means I may forget I already just said that in a slightly different way. And typewritten work has some of the benefits and downsides of both: sometimes it'll end up being just the bones, sometimes I go over the top just for the joy of typing, and often the sentences are a little convoluted because I start writing them without quite knowing where I'm going to go and don't have a way to fix as I go like I do on the Neo. I haven't made up my mind which method is easiest to edit all the way.

I will say this: another benefit/downside to the Neo is that it's dull as dishwater. It does one thing--writing--and does it in a way that makes it disappear as you use it. There are no lovely tactile sensations, so machine smells, no colored inks to play with. There is nothing (except, I suppose, the word count feature) to fiddle with or procrastinate over. In the last week of NaNo and in the throes of burnout, this is a good thing.

Oh, and if you're ever in the region of Mudbay Coffee Roasters in Olympia, may I recommend the honey apple bran muffin? I know, I know, you're thinking, "Bran muffin? Bran muffin??" Just trust me on this. It is teh awesome.


mpclemens said...

I for one enjoy a good bran muffin.

I don't think anyone will fault you for your AlphaSmart ways. As you say, it's pretty much going to either force you to write or sit there looking like an idiot, and knowing your fragile mental state about public acts of creation, I'm glad it's lurching you towards writing.

Little Flower Petals said...

Fear is a great motivator. Now don't you wish *you* had fear?'re the guy that writes 3000 words on a slow day. ;-)

The bran muffins there are really moist with bits of appley goodness, *and* they have a marvelous sticky honey-walnut topping that's the best part.

They don't make 'em, but they come from a local bakery. Their pastries do, too--I'm often there when the guy from the bakery brings 'em by, fresh from the oven. No prepacked frozen stuff for them. And they have very, very good drip coffee.

I are a fan.

Little Flower Petals said...

Oh, and one nice thing about the Alphasmart, I gotta say, is that once I get into writing on it (which *can* take a little initial effort), there's a sort of Neo trance-like state that kicks in, for better or worse. I realized after I left the coffee house this morning that I couldn't even remember what music was playing. Generally they play stuff I like and I'm very aware of it, even while reading and writing. The Neo quietly absorbs all brainwaves, allowing no distractions. It is a little green vortex of thought.

Duffy Moon said...

When you talk about your illicit alphasmart rendezvous, I keep hearing "Me and Mrs. Jones" in my head.

(We got a thing going on...)

Good for you, though, for making it over one of your socio-psychic hurdles. I'm still wimpering in the locker room.

Little Flower Petals said...

Today was actually harder than yesterday--more people, plus there's one barista who's a bit of an over-achiever--goes through checking the tables for wobbles, that sort of thing. I realllly appreciate this--nothing worse than a wobbly table when you're trying to write--but when anyone is moving around, I feel like they might possibly read over my shoulder.

As if that would be the end of the world.

Still got in 1400 words in about an hour, though. Heaven help me when I have to untangle them, but they're there.

Mike Speegle said...

I am full of pride, LFP. Now take that last step and bring out the ol' typer.

Ugh...I do understand the discomfort of people what peep over shoulders. Which is why I always take a table on the periphery.