D4D

If brains were dynamite, you might just have enough to blow your nose.

Archive for the category “Writing”

Writing Tools

At the moment, I’m waiting for some new tech stuff to arrive, that will (hopefully) enable me to do more writing while I’m out and about.

All my current easily-portable tech is either too big (laptop-sized) or has a shitty on-screen keyboard, which is OK for small amounts of typing (email etc.) but bloody hateful when it comes to writing larger amounts of text.

Weirdly, two are keyboard/typing alternatives, and the other is a new device that I’m pretty excited about, and hopeful for.

The first of the keyboards is the WayBlade – what looks like a really nice keyboard, and I’d like to finally get my hands on it. However, as I ordered it three fucking years ago, I’m not holding my breath for it to finally arrive.

The second one is a typing device, rather than a keyboard. It’s the Tap, a wearable device that appears to use chording as a typing method. It’ll take a bit of learning, but I had a device back in the 80s (the Microwriter AgendA) that also used a chording keyboard, so it shouldn’t be too unfamiliar.

Both of those will be useful to have (assuming they actually arrive) regardless – well, it’d be nice to have one or the other, but knowing my luck, both will turn up within a couple of days of each other. But whichever one works best will stay, and be useful with the phone at least.

The final device though is a bit different.  Way back when I wrote about writing tools before, I waxed lyrical about the old Psion devices, the 3a/mx, the Revo and the Siena, that were tiny devices with brilliant keyboards – and how it was surprising that there weren’t any similar things around currently.

And now, there’s a new device coming, the Gemini. They’ve obviously worked from the same kind of viewpoint I had, including partnering with the people who designed the Psion devices. They look really promising, and I hope it’ll be as good as it appears to be.

So hopefully, going on the evidence of preview reviews and so on, the Gemini might just turn out to be a decent replacement for most of the stuff I currently use the phone for. It’ll be interesting to find out, anyway.

 

2017/18 – What’s Next? The Coming Year

As is traditional round these D4D parts, I lay out my hopes and/or plans for the coming year on my birthday. Like New Year’s Resolutions (and as likely to be completed, it seems) but on a different arbitrary date. Because why not? It’s as good a day as any.

That list for last year (2016/17) wasn’t massively successful, mainly due to my inability to get out less, so I’m hoping to be slightly more realistic this year…

So, the plan for the coming year is…

  1. Keep rebuilding the finances, adding to savings and so on.
    By the end of this year, I’ll have completed the whole bankruptcy process, and it should be off my credit history. (As I understand it. Some people have said it only comes off at six years from the end of the bankruptcy period, which’d make it September 2019. We’ll see)
  2. Exercise more, lose weight, improve health
    Another ongoing process, carried over from 2016/17
  3. Complete September’s walking marathon
    This imploded epically in 2017, so it’s another carry-over.  And this year I’ll do some more training, and not destroy my feet four weeks before it…
  4. Write more
    Actually complete some stuff, and see what to do with it from there.
    I’ve also got some tech answers to this, giving me more time and space for writing (I hope)
  5. Do less
    I’ve written about this before, but I am *really* bad at doing nothing. Lazy days do my head in, and I end up feeling stupidly guilty about “wasting” a day.  But conversely, I’m acknowledging that I do need downtime for other things. So I need this as a reminder.
  6. Business ideas
    Look at completing some of the business ideas and plans, and see what I can do with them from there.

And for now, that’s it.  I’m hoping it’ll be a bit more successful than last year’s list!

I Don’t Understand

As part of the whole “write more here” ethos, I’m introducing a new occasional topic, which is quite simply “Things I Don’t Understand About People“.  Not the snappiest of titles, but it’ll do for now.

Of course, most of them can probably be explained away as “Because people are generally horrifically shit“, but I’ll try to do a bit better than that.

It may be a short-lived theme/topic, or it might be something that keeps me going for a while. There’s certainly a few bouncing around in my head already, so we’ll see how it goes.

Getting Scheduled

Over the first dollop of this year, I’ve been trying to write more here, as it’s all become a bit intermittent.  It’s been kind-of successful, but it’s still not great. I’ve found it too easy to lose several days at a time, and once it’s broken, it’s harder to get back into.

I’ve also got some other writing ideas going on (as briefly mentioned in other posts quite recently) which are also slipping, so I feel like I need a bit of a plan.

Gordon this week wrote about something similar, and about aiming to have more of a schedule for writing, which is something I’m going to try out for a while.

So, starting today, the plan will be to have new stuff here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday. It might not be much, and it might be rubbish – but it’ll (hopefully) be on schedule.  Even if it ends up that I have a day where I braindump three posts for the week and schedule them, I’ll be OK with that, to be honest.

Of course, it may not be written on those days – I may write things and then just schedule them in. But having at least a set of target days seems like a good plan.

Outlining

At the moment, I’ve got several writing plans/projects in my head, but two that are really standing out, and that I want to work on.  And already that’s a fair dollop of progress.

For now though, I’m trying something a bit different – I don’t yet know if it’ll work out, but so far it appears to be doing OK.

Basically, rather than just writing and seeing how things develop, I’m taking some time first to outline it all, so I know what the plan is, where characters will go, and how everything interacts. It’s also interesting, from the perspective of figuring out more about how my brain processes these things.

The only thing that concerns me currently about this process is that I know how I am, that once I’ve written something down or otherwise got it out of my head I’ll forget all about the details, and there’ll be something else to grab my attention instead. Oooh, shiny.

So it may be that doing these outlines is as far as I go on these ideas. Or it may be that the outlines gel everything together so that I know what I’m doing, and then just want to get it done.

And only time will tell which of those options will happen.  Which is kind of cool, and kind of frustrating…

Slight Demoralisation

Over the last couple of weeks, one of the satellite TV channels has been repeating one of my all-time favourite series, “The Closer“, and I’ve been recording and re-watching them. In some episodes it shows its age (it first went out in 2005) with the technology, phones etc., but that’s pretty much to be expected now.

Right from the start I liked it, each episode contained all the clues and ideas needed to solve the crimes, which raised it above an awful lot of the procedural dramas around. It was intelligent in a number of ways, but there was also a focus on personalities, clashes, and idiosyncracies.

I was well into it anyway, and then the last three episodes of the first season hooked me completely.  I won’t go into the details, but the final episode of Season One has the best apology ever seen on TV, and it still makes me laugh, even knowing it was coming.

However, it also has a bit of a downside.  The writing is so sharp, the characterisation so good (in my opinion, naturally) that I watch it – and a couple of other things, particularly “The West Wing” – and just find myself thinking that I’ll never be able to write like that.

I’m going to damn well try, don’t get me wrong, but yeah, it still makes me a bit demoralised about the whole thing. Fun and games.

A Paucity of Postings

Despite the best of intentions, this week’s been quiet here on D4D™.

Mainly, it’s because I’ve been absolutely snowed under with work, including beating the living hell out of databases – and cursing the clowns that wrote Microsoft Access, which is what I’ve been taking data out of and putting into something decent. One of these days I’d like to meet the people who created it, and ask just what the fuck was going through their minds when they made certain decisions.

Along the way, there’s been a whole bundle of other stuff, insomnia and the like, and well, it’s just January.

I have a hard time with January, for some reason. It’s part of the reason I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions, because I know I’m never good with the start of the year.  The thing is, I don’t really know why it’s such a tough one for me.

I’ve got my suspicions – and primarily it’s about preparation.

I know I get affected by autumn and winter, as the nights draw in and so on, and I can fight it for a long time. Then there’s the standard dislike of the Festering Season, which I’m ready for and can keep on fighting.  But now we’re through all that, the days are getting longer, and we’re through the whole Christmas period.

This is where (I suspect) my problems kick in – the days are still short, even if they’re lengthening. It’s just not doing so quickly enough. This week in particularly has been pretty much solidly grey and overcast, with little to no sunlight coming through. And I’m just tired, with no real energy for continuing to fight the whole Seasonal thing.

It leaves me flat, tired and uninspired. It shouldn’t, in all sense, but regardless, it does.

So yeah, this week’s been more about downtime, about being tired and grey, and not really in the mood for doing much. I’ve got a fair amount of stuff in the coming week as well, which will help. But this week’s been a flat and down one. Such is life, and all that rot.

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