Writing without power or internet
We’re in the midst of another massive storm here in the UK and my internet connection keeps blowing out – on the phone and on the broadband. Fortunately, I can still do a lot of work when this happens, I just can’t submit it or collect any new stuff.
On Monday, for example, while we were out, a new editing job came in that needs to be back by the end of Friday this week. The first thing I did, as soon as I could, was grab the file, save it and print off the hard copy I like to work on first. Then I usually let the client know that I have done this.
Tuesday this week was when I did this, but 40 pages before the end, my printer toner ran out. Duh! So I hopped on over to Amazon and ordered 2 new cartridges for same-day delivery. As soon as they arrived, I finished the printing job.
I didn’t let the printer running out stop me working, though. I still have to get this thing back by the end of the week, and so I started the hard-copy edit straight away. In longhand.
Last night the storm arrived. We have had and can still apparently expect winds of up to 56 miles per hour. Yes, we’ve had it worse than that, much worse. But that was when we lived in a really sheltered valley surrounded by hills and trees. Now, we’re on a very exposed corner – hence, I think, it being a bungalow.
The winds were so strong last night that we had to go and get the chickens out of the coop and put them in the safety of the brick-built outside toilet, which is attached to the garage. I’m glad we did this because the wind was coming right through the chicken run as though it were a wind tunnel. And this morning 2 great big wheelie bins had been blown over there (we use one of them to store the chicken food and straw in – it’s very heavy).
The chickens weren’t overly happy at being disturbed from their sleep, but it would have been much quieter in the outhouse for them, and more stable.
Then we had to go and strap down the greenhouse. During the last storm here, when the wind dropped, we had to go around the corn field we live next to collecting panels that had blown out of the greenhouse. We’re still one panel short, so who knows where that one ended up! So late last night we strapped and weighted it down and pushed lots of heavy things up against the sides.
So far, the greenhouse is still standing and we still have all remaining panels intact.
When I let the chickens out this morning, one of them made a beeline for the chicken coop, but it’s still very windy and she didn’t stay in there for very long. The other one very carefully picked her way to the greenhouse and installed herself in a corner. So I assume it’s fairly sheltered in there this morning.
Both chickens are now currently sheltering in the greenhouse.
Normally, when I write a blog post, I write it online and live. However, because of the storm, the internet is still dropping out. And because I’m in the middle of a hard-copy edit, the desktop computer hasn’t been turned on. It’s too much of a distraction when I’m up against a tight deadline.
I have a notebook/switch computer that is so portable it comes on holiday with us. It even comes camping. And it has a very good battery life. It doesn’t have a lot of memory, so it doesn’t have MS Office on it in any way, shape or form. Instead, it has OpenOffice, and all files are saved to a memory stick – I have Scrivener on here too so that I can still work on a novel when I’m not in the office.
I’m trying to build in some regular daily writing practice to exercise the writing muscle while I do this big editing job – and apparently there are more of these jobs on the way – and this morning, I’m composing the blog post on OpenOffice on the notebook so I can copy and paste it over once the internet is more stable.
Once I’ve done this hopefully new daily blog post, I’ll crack on with the editing for the rest of the day. I can do that in the comfort of the living room while the storm rages around us.
This week, another thing I’ve started to do is work on Catch the Rainbow of an evening after work. I’m not doing a mad amount, because we’re also trying to binge-watch and refresh our memories of the entire series of Game of Thrones before the final series starts in April.
This latest draft is in longhand, in a lovely, pretty, touchy-feely notebook from my favourite stationers Paperchase. It’s roughly A5 in size and has a spiral-bound spine.
Because I’m right-handed, I can only comfortably write on the facing (or right-hand) page of the book without my hand coming up against the spiral binding. So I’m just writing on the facing page to the end, then I’ll turn the book around and write on the other facing page coming back, so the left-hand page when you look at it will be written upside down.
Anyway, I digress – sorry! The point is, even if I have no internet, or power, I can still work on this novel – and this one will be the final longhand draft. I’m polishing it as I go, as much of it is already written and this is the final version. Once it’s typed up again, I’ll just do a proofread while the beta readers are giving feedback on the whole story. (They were getting it bit-by-bit before but that wasn’t really working.)
I’m very happy with the way Catch the Rainbow is coming along this time. On Monday evening I wrote 1,084 words, and yesterday evening I wrote 795 words.
But the point is, even without internet, even without power, even without working at a proper computer, I can still do some kind of work. I just need to do more of it now.