Thursday, October 8, 2009

How My Netbook Changed The Way I Write

When I first started writing, back in high school (during the pen-and-spiral-notebook days), I tried to keep the fact that I wrote a secret, at least from my family. I was pretty sure my older brother, at least, would have made fun of me. My younger brother knew I wrote, but he was always cooler about such things. On the other hand, I was pretty sure my mom wouldn't have understood at all. She'd want to know why I was wasting time on things like writing when I could be doing things like cleaning or yardwork.

So most of my writing in those days (and on into college, since I lived in my parents' house until I got married) took place either during free periods at school (and sometimes, I blush to admit, during the less-interesting of my classes), or late in the evening, between the hours of 10:00 pm and 2:00 am. I'd usually curl up in my bed or my beanbag chair with my notebook and scribble away until I just couldn't stay awake any longer.

Once I got married, I struggled through years of writing on various desktop, portable, and laptop computers. I found it easier to write on a computer -- once I stopped feeling silly about it -- but it was never as handy as that spiral notebook that I could carry with me and curl up with anywhere. The laptops made it better, but it still wasn't quite the same.

Then this past January, my Beloved Husband and I decided to treat ourselves to netbooks for Christmas. Mine didn't actually arrive until February (there was a problem with the first one they sent), but when it did, it was love at first touch. I'd worried that I'd find the 3/4 size keyboard difficult to use, but that turned out to be a non-issue -- after about two hours, my fingers adjusted, and I can now type just as fast on the netbook as on any other keyboard.

In many ways, I feel like I've returned to my spiral notebook days. The netbook is small and light enough that I can carry it with me almost anywhere -- and I do! Which means that any time there are a few free minutes, I can write: first thing in the morning; at lunchtime, at work; while waiting for the take-out pizza; curled up in bed at night.

I've listened to a lot of writers speak about how to find the time to write, and one thing I hear over and over again is that if you wait for a free three-hour block of time before you even consider writing anything, you'll almost never get any writing done. But if you take advantage of the little bits of time you can create here and there, the next thing you know, you've got a novel on your hands. I'll talk more about how I manage those little snippets of time later, but I think my netbook is helping me to find them, at least!

Oh, and the one big disadvantage of a netbook? When I whip it out in a crowded room, I inevitably have to spend a few minutes responding to all the cries of, "Oh, what a cute little computer!" The fact that it's pink probably contributes to the really is cute!


Andrea said...

Those netbooks sound great. I have an Alphasmart Neo that I'm still happy with, but the netbook might be something to consider in the future.