Writing (and a cheeseburger) in Paradise

To justify the Jimmy Buffet reference, here’s the cheeseburger I had the other night.

Thanks, Maui Brewing Company! To paraphrase Mr. Samuel L. Jackson, “Mmmm! This WAS a tasty burger!”

And here I am, writing.

It turns out that Hawaii is not a cure for RBF, sadly….

Both of these things happened in Paradise.

Some writers are insistent about doing their work in their preferred environments–their home offices or libraries–but I’ve always been able to write just about anywhere I can plunk down with my computer for a while. I actually like having a bit of hubbub around me, and when I write at home I don’t like it to be too quiet: I’ll almost always have music going, and nowadays there is the wonderful world of soundscape videos on YouTube where you can actually pick some ambient sound to play in the background while you do stuff.

Of course, for ambient writing noise you can’t really beat the cries of sea birds, the lapping of the waves, and the voices of happy people on Hawaiian holiday.

I didn’t bring my laptop on this vacation because I just didn’t want to be that encumbered, which means a forced two-week break from drafting Forgotten Stars V: Spacecapades (not the actual title). I draft the new novels in Scrivener, and the laptop is the only device I have that can run Scrivener (until they come up with an Android version, that is), so for now, that book is out. I suppose I could write new material for that book in Google Docs and import it after the fact, but the formatting would be all screwed up and I don’t have the book in Google Docs to begin with. Plus, it’s my experience that at the lengths of book I tend to write, Google Docs tends to bog down.

So, what am I working on? I’m making a pass through an older manuscript that I haven’t looked at in a while: the supernatural thriller about a haunted kayaking expedition, that I had once dubbed Deliverance, eh? (Deliverance being an obvious reference to a canoe trip gone bad, and the eh? because the story takes place in Canada.) As part of my “Release a book every year” plan for as long as I can manage to pull that level of production off, this one’s set to be my 2022 release.

This book is definitely on the short side, for me: it tips the scales at roughly 85,000 words. Even so I can tell that this length makes Google Docs a bit sluggish. But the good part is that I don’t need my laptop for this! Using Google Docs for shorter work is a big reason why, last time I was in the market for a new tablet, I bought one with a Bluetooth keyboard:

Obligatory “pie in the face” wallpaper!

It is a challenge scaling one’s position to a smaller keyboard, and at times I miss the keypad, and I have to remind myself that mouse functionality isn’t there. As always, overalls are the best uniform for writing.

(Those are older pics, by the way.)

I’m enjoying using this tablet a great deal! It’s a Samsung Galaxy Tab A, which I bought about a year and a half ago. Samsung devices do have their quirks, but I like the ecosystem and the easy connectivity of devices, and I love the cameras on their phones, so a Samsung fan I remain. (In fact, my next laptop will likely be a Samsung too! This after what will likely have been fifteen years as a Dell user.) Typing with the Blluetooth keyboard is a breeze, and blogging-on-the-go is very easy. I do have the WordPress app installed, but I prefer to use the actual site in my browser; a while back WordPress updated to a new content-management system that uses something called “blocks”, and I find it generally confusing to use so I’ve got a plug-in installed on the main WordPress site that lets me use the old interface. I can use the app, and I do on occasion, but I prefer this way of doing things.

Oddly, when I was still on Byzantium’s Shores, I had to use the Blogger site in the browser too, as opposed to the Blogger app, for a completely different reason: for whatever rationale the engineers chose, the Blogger app will only render in portrait mode, which makes blogging on the app while using the keyboard (and therefore landscape orientation) nearly impossible. This is likely under the assumption that the Blogger app would be used more on phones than tablets, but even so! Bluetooth keyboards are not that uncommon a tool, and and design choice that makes use more difficult is a bad choice indeed. I believe there are workarounds–maybe third-party apps that force reorientation–but I don’t want or need more stuff cluttering up my gizmos just so I can do the work I want to do. Of course, it’s not even an issue anymore since I’ve left Blogger behind, but still!

I know that the tech gods really want to get to a point where full-sized laptops are a thing of the past, but I wonder if they’re not slowly giving up on that dream and are instead blurring the line more and more between old-school laptop and tablet, with touchscreens that fold all the way around and the like. I’ll probably get to experience that myself with my next laptop (which will likely come sometime next year), but for now I don’t mind having multiple devices for different tasks. This tablet suits me nicely for smaller needs, and also for travel. And who knows? Now that I’m being bitten by the travel bug….

And as always, one doesn’t even need a nifty electronic device to get some work done! I may not be directly drafting Forgotten Stars V while on this trip, but I am getting some plotting done the old-fashioned way:

Pen and paper will never die!

Oh, and the actual title of Deliverance, eh? is–tentatively–The Jaws of Cerberus. The more you know!

And now, I wrap this up because as I write this I have to catch a bus to make a boat ride. It’s a tough life, I tell you!

I’m not saying this is my ideal writing set-up, but it is, as the kids say, “In the conversation”.


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2 Responses to Writing (and a cheeseburger) in Paradise

  1. I DESPISE the WordPress block editor with all my heart and soul and might.
    If ever I were forced to use it, my blogging would become far briefer.

    When I need a new laptop, I’ll probably email you, because I just spent an hour and a half connecting my phone and laptop to my new HP printer. It uses Bluetooth. I had no idea.

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