Friday, July 25, 2008

The reverse side also has a reverse side.

(Which is a Japanese proverb found here.)

I've taken up the habit of using a stopwatch (previously employed for math fact sprints) to keep track of my actual writing time, vs. my writing time as reduced by the amount of dithering and frittering I do in between. You might assume this is because I feel I'm not spending enough time on writing; actually, I want a way to prove to myself that I have been working, and really working, not just pretending to work. I have a tendency to feel guilty for every spare moment during the day when I'm doing something other than writing, even when I know darn well that I've met all my goals for the day. I need evidence to wave under my own nose and get myself to back down and chill out. The writing is getting done. I have no need to ride myself so hard every single day. (And yet I insist on feeling a twinge of guilt even as I type those words.) It's all about balance--yes, I want to write and I want to work on getting better and maybe build a career at it. But I also want and need the time to be a mother and to deal with day to day stuff that has no relation to writing. I suppose this is all one of those pitfalls to working from home--the difficulty in separating work work at home from home work at home. Or just from plain old home.

I have recently begun longing for a desktop computer again, after many years of parking with a laptop in the living room. My LCD screen is going bad on this one, so I'm considering hooking it up to a spare monitor and turning it into my faux desktop until such time as I can really justify the actual purchase of a new computer. We could afford a new computer; justifying it is a whole other mind struggle. We could also afford a house cleaning company every week, but I can't justify spending the money when I'm capable of doing it myself, whether I really want to or not. I've pretty much decided to go this route, although I have yet to decide on a final location for a desk of my own. I long for privacy and quiet not just when everyone else is elsewhere and leaving the living room to me, but whenever I choose. I long for actual desk space and wall space where I can spread out my notes and doodles and tack sticky notes wherever I like--and leave them there for as long as I like. Balancing stuff on the arms of a chair and shuffling stacks off the floor and having to pick up and move everything each time I walk away for more than ten minutes is getting old.

The reason for getting a laptop to begin with remains, though--it's very hard for me to go off alone into a non-central location and still be available when the toilet clogs or the jam hits the floor or the hubby wants to chat about his day during commercial breaks. And I need to do those things, too. And while I can't manage to write when there's a lot of commotion in the living area of the house, it is kind of nice to be able to play games and surf the 'net while keeping company with the people watching TV or reading.

Hmm. A test drive may be in order, I suppose. Perhaps the next few weeks will see me camping out in various potential desk homes throughout the house, in search of the ideal solution.

Yeah, I know. But I can dream, right?


Grizz said...

You might have hit on a possible solution already and just not realized it.

You mentioned hooking up a spare monitor to your laptop and using it as a faux desktop for the time being. Well, why not take that theme and run with it?

I would suggest finding yourself a nice cozy desk home and outfitting it like a real desk with the laptop you have now - monitor, keyboard, mouse, post-it notes, and so forth.

When the time comes, instead of purchasing a desktop computer, just replace your laptop! When you're at the desk, you can leave it hooked up just like a desktop computer, and if needed you can easily disconnect it for living room/kitchen/road trips.


Lori Erickson said...

Actually, that is on my list of possibilities. But I've found that laptops are generally more expensive than comparable desktops(especially if you want to run games on them) and more difficult to repair or upgrade. I've also found that I have trouble running for an extended period of time on battery power, so moving around tends to translate to lugging around. Which essentially means I'm just being really lazy, I know. >.>

Still, it's on my list of possible solutions and will be part of the whole test run deal.