Sunday, January 3, 2010

What To Do Without a Computer

For at least four or five days I will be without access to my computer. We are having our floors refinished, and we've been told we can't walk on them. Of course, there's also the problem of odor from the finishing products. Bottom line, I won't be able to get into my office or on my computer while the refinishing is taking place.

Here's what I've decided I can do to keep tabs on my writing projects.

1. My WIP, Ghost for Dinner - I've printed out the manuscript as far as I've gotten with it. I will take this time to go over it with a highlighter and red pen. I can also add to it in pen and transcribe this later into the computer.

2. My 2nd WIP, A Writer's Primer - I've printed out this manuscript as well. It is ready for editing. As with GFD, I will take my highlighter and red pen and edit. This second is comprised of previously published writing tips, but many of them are years old. I will need to update URLs and change references to publishers no longer in business. I will also consider other topics for inclusion in the completed work.

3. My 3rd WIP, Silly Poppy - I've printed out this picture book manuscript and will work on it, using my red and blue pens and yellow highlighter.

4. I have two reference books, geared toward children's authors. I plan to spend some time reading these books. I've intended to do more research in this area for some time, but always get side-tracked.

5. I have a blank notebook and a supply of pens. While my handwriting isn't the greatest, I still know how to write. When those creative urges strike, I will be ready to jot down my thoughts. These may take the form of notes, rather than completed works, but I will be ready.

What would you do if you were without your computer for a week? Internet goes down. Your computer crashes. Life happens. Tell me your thoughts and how you would handle a similar situation.

I'm hoping I can sneak in a few minutes here and there on my husband's computer. His office is on the floor we've already finished. Mine, however, is now on the targeted floor. I will be away from my computer for a week, so if your comments are not posted right away, do know they will be when I return. See you in a week.


  1. Penny,
    This post gave me food for thought! What did we writers do before computers? What would I do if I didn't have access to a computer? I'd probably go back to writing things in longhand & getting writer's cramp...ugh! I'd might even get a typewriter or a 2nd hand word processor. Do they make these anymore? Anyway, like I said, your post gave me food for thought.

  2. Hi Deb, thanks for stopping by. I remember those days of typewriters. In fact, I'm old enough to remember the ones which weren't electric. I have one sitting on a table to remind me how far I've come from those earlier times. I fought joining the computer age, but now I feel lost without one.

  3. Hi Penny,

    Without my computer? I guess I could always write a rough first draft of my WIP on paper (I started out writing my first two books this way). I would probably spend the most of that time reading--fiction and non-fiction that would benefit me, whether it be to try to learn by example how to improve my craft, to learn more about the business side of being an author, to find out more on various writing-related subjects via trade magazines.

    Great question! Good luck with your floor.

    Ann Charles

  4. Ann, thanks for your comment and for reminding me I have a good excuse to read some of that fiction I've been wanting to read!

  5. Penny, thanks for the interesting post. Here are some of the things I'd do:
    Read poetry. I've fallen badly behind on my poetry reading over the holidays.

    Read all those books on writing I have on my bookshelf but haven't gotten to.

    Write poetry.

    Print out my current novel-in-progress along with all the emails from D. who kindly passed along to me the email she sent to her students and that I'm planning to mine for ideas on going on with my story. The outline the rest of my novel.

  6. OMG, a week without my computer? Actually it would be a good thing because I could use the time for housecleaning. I could write on my AlphaSmart or longhand, as well as catch up on the stack of books in my TBR stack. But can you imagine the amount of catch-up on emails, e-loops, and the huge list in my RSS reader when I got back online? Isn't it amazing how much we have come to depend on our computers and the internet? LOL

  7. I, too, am without my "writing" computer right now. (This is the day job computer, please don't tell my boss.) Thanks for the suggestions, they are great!!

  8. Hi Bonnie, I'll never tell :-) Glad you enjoyed my list. Day 2 without my computer, and I've barely made a dent in my pile. I'm on my husband's computer now, but he's anxious to have it back. Sigh...

  9. Jeanne, thanks for your comments. It is amazing how we've come to depend on computers and the Internet. You're also right that the emails keep coming, even when you're not there. I'm borrowing my husband's work space, to try to get through some of the email before I get back to my office.

  10. Margaret, thanks for sharing what you would do without a computer. Great list!

  11. Penny,
    I think you're going to love the week without a computer. I find that some of the best time that I have is when I'm disconnected. Recently I've rediscovered cooking, board games and crossword puzzles!

    I think it's important to keep a variety in your free time, it keeps creativity flowing.

    See you in a week!


  12. Sarah, you're right, it's amazing what one can do without the computer. It was a strain, but I made it through the week. I got some mending done, did a little crochet, reworked my latest picture book and edited my book on writing tips, all without the computer! We planned on doing a puzzle, but somehow that never happened....