So my writing isn’t perfect. It’s certainly not as perfect as I’d like it to be. But it is what it is. I just have to deal with that.
Recently, I’ve been feeling that I haven’t been doing much writing at all. I’ve had considerable gaps in my posting schedule this past month, something I was really trying to avoid when I started my two new jobs. I know I have good excuses for that, but I know that I had time during the month of May when I could have been writing. And it's not just the blog I've been behind on. I haven't worked on my stories for weeks, and I have a writing class just around the corner I need to be ready for. These are all things I need to do (or maybe I should say ought to do), but sometimes I like to know how much I've already done.
Measuring the actual progress I’ve been making in my writing, whether that’s learning new techniques, improving my existing skills, or producing more content, is a difficult task. The tangible evidence of my progress isn’t always consistent. Counting the number of posts I’ve written and started doesn’t really demonstrate how far I’ve come. There’s no way to really measure the number of things about writing I’ve learned either. But the sheer amount that I’ve written is something I can measure.
And I’m not talking about the number of words or lines or posts or the pounds of paper I’d have if I printed all the writing I’ve ever done—we’d be looking at a lot of paper, though. I can actually get a pretty good idea of how much time is spend writing just by looking at my computer.
I’m a computer writer. Sometimes I switch to a notebook for a while, but the vast majority of my writing is done on a computer and is saved on my laptop. As the main instrument used to record things, I do a fair amount of typing on it. Just how much I type with it, though, wasn’t clear to me until a few months ago when I started losing keys.
It started with the “e” key which started to stick like crazy. I’d be typing along blissfully and suddenly find myself with a string of “eeeeeeeeeeee…”
I figured it didn’t matter, and kept typing with it as it was. I don't like having to repair my computer. If you don't fix it, it isn't broken, right?
But then the plastic cover of the “e” key actually came off, exposing the little rubber button underneath.
Thankfully, I could stick the plastic cover back on whenever it popped off, so I could keep typing. No problem—until I ended up sticking the plastic cover back on so many times the cover wore out and wouldn’t stay on.
But there wasn’t a way to make it stay on without sending my computer in to Dell to get fixed, so I just left the cover off and kept on typing with the exposed rubber button. Again, I don't like to fix my computer. I adjusted to the change pretty quickly and stopped noticing the difference.
And then the “i” key started sticking.
Same story. The plastic cover came off, I would stick it back on until it wouldn’t stay, and then I just typed on the little rubber button.
I was kind of expecting that at some point I’d lose all my keys, and actually had the idea that I could make them into pendants and wear them on a chain or a charm bracelet. But before that happened, I wore out the little rubber button on my “e” key. And that wasn’t something I could just stick back on.
This episode taught me a lot about how the keys on a keyboard actually work. You push on the plastic key, and it pushes on the rubber button underneath, and the rubber button pushes on a sensor which tells the computer that you typed that letter, and then the appropriate letter turns up on the screen. Without the plastic cover and rubber button, I had to hit that sensor myself in order to use the letter “e”.
I didn’t think it would be a huge problem, since I’d gotten used to typing with the rubber buttons so quickly, but the sensor wouldn’t cooperate with that plan. I had to hit it really hard to get it to work, and when you consider the number of times the letter “e” is used in the English language, I was pounding on that sensor pretty often. It really slowed me down, so much that I couldn’t write well because I was constantly having to go back and add “e” into words.
And then, as if the keyboard wasn’t giving me enough problems, one of the hinges on the lid of the laptop broke. This made it impossible to close the lid without risking breaking the screen. I had to face the fact that I was going to have to put some money down to either repair or replace my laptop.
|It takes something pretty drastic to make me desperate enough to fix a computer.|
So I bought a new computer. I figured it was time for an upgrade anyway, and I wanted to get something smaller than my old one, more adaptable, and more portable. My new laptop is all of that. And, thank goodness, it arrived only about two weeks from when I ordered it, so I didn't have to spend too long using the other computers in the house.
|Old vs. new|
So there you have it, the story of my computers. If I were to come up with some kind of heavy, philosophical statement to conclude with, something for you to take away with you and chew on for the rest of the day, maybe it would be something like this:
Examine your computer. What does it say about you and your writing habits?
Any keys wearing out?