Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Spoiled Writer

I never thought I would admit to being a spoiled writer. I have learned to write just about anywhere, with or without a computer, with and without distractions. As long as I had a story to work with, I could focus and write something in my down time.

Due to circumstances beyond my control, my laptop is basically out of commission for a bit. It has a virus that my anti-virus can find but not fix. I’ve tried another program, and it didn’t fix the problem, either. I’m going to have to take it to a computer shop and let them clean it up. However, that must wait until I have the money to take it in.

Thankfully, my documents are safe. I backed up my story files onto a flash drive.

I am also lucky enough to live in a house where there are spare computers. I have been loaned a laptop for the time being. I installed the writing program that I use while the rest of the world struggles with Microsoft Word.

Technically, I have the ability now to open up the story I have been editing since March and continue fixing it. Though I have done that from time to time, I haven’t on a regular basis since my own computer basically went kaput.

I am thankful to have access to a computer. I am thankful to be able to write. But I can’t deny that my main complaint these days is “I want my own computer.” I basically have access to the same information on this loaned computer, but my spoiled inner writer keeps whining whenever I think about editing. “This would be easier on your own computer.”

I never thought I’d be whining because the keyboard was different. But the one I’m using is slightly different, and it drives me nuts at different times. That shouldn’t keep me from making progress on my story, but it is.

I have learned from this experience that I don’t back up my work enough. I will be more careful about that in the future.

Has anyone else been surprised by the simple things you have to have in order to write effectively?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Using The Right Word

We all have those moments where our brains fail us. We know what we would like to say, but the proper word doesn’t come to mind. Writers have different ways of dealing with this, including taking a break, finding something that sounds right in order to move on, asking for others’ opinions, and also looking it up.

I would like to say right now that is one of the best sites for a writer. If you’re ever trying to figure out if you’re using a word correctly, go to this website. Type in the word, and it will give you the definition. Much easier than flipping through a huge book for the same information.

This site also gives you synonyms of the word you type in. Another neat feature that I only recently discovered was that it gives you the time frame of the word’s origin – helpful when you’re writing a historical piece.

Why am I telling you about the amazing online dictionary? I’ve been heading back to the site over the past two months, familiarizing myself with various words. I’ve found myself visiting over and over not because I use words that I’m unsure of, but because my brain simply cannot sort out some similar words.

Affect/effect and insure/ensure are some words that always trip me up. Whatever word I choose, I usually mean the opposite one. And it doesn’t matter how many times I look up the words, I still lose track of which one is the verb and which one is the noun.

If the online dictionary is keeping track of my visits and what words I’m looking up, whoever looks at the records will likely think I’m an idiot. “Looking up ensure again? Really? Didn’t she do that two days ago? It’s a verb, sweetie. Stop checking.”

Surely I’m not the only writer who has a brain freeze when it comes to certain words. Which ones are you always double-checking? Which words make you feel like an idiot when you have to look them up for the dozenth time? Or am I the only writer who can’t keep some simple stuff straight?