13 Nov

Virtual Room of One’s Own

I often see tweets from an outstanding local writer on how slow she is–her average daily output being about 300 words. I suspect that those are 300 carefully chosen words resulting in fairly polished text, not 300 words blurted onto a page (or e-mail or blog, etc.). But even 300 words ill chosen are better than nothing, especially if we write them when we really don’t want to be writing. (There’s a nice guest post on Jeff Vandemeer’s blog about this.)

It helps me that my tools for personal writing (either offline or online) are very different from my workaday computer tools (the MS Office Suite, a fancy text editor, and CMS and web dev tools). When I open PageFour or my intentionally simple blog env (or my little red spiral bound notebook), I know why I’m there, I’m not distracted by the tools or thinking about other projects for which I use them and should probably check up or work on. If I’m not connected to the blog, I intentionally go offline.

Cory Doctorow has written that he drafts everything in a text editor to minimize computer-related distractions. I can’t do that easily–only because my thinking is still shaped by some visual presentation and sense of organization of the parts. But it’s worthwhile to have that separation–the virtual desk or “room of one’s own.”

2 thoughts on “Virtual Room of One’s Own

  1. My blog entries, such as they are, are written using a simple text editor, mostly because I hate the teenytiny keyhole that WordPress gives you to start in. Even the WP regular editor window is too small to see the flow of the text. So I open a regular editor to full screen, pound away on my six lines of content, and copy/paste them into WP.

    As for regular writing, it’s been so long since I’ve done any of that that I forgot where I put my quill sharpener.

  2. The WP editor has a full screen mode, and you can also grab the lower corner and drag it down. If you haven’t loaded the tinyMCE or JMCE editor plugin yet, I recommend either–gives you more tool options. When copying and pasting from another editor–even a text editor, I recommend pasting into the HTML tab, then shifting into the Visual tab to make layout corrections–avoids any extra tags that can even show up from a text editor paste into the Visual tab.

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