One of its biggest gifts to me personally was the grammar/spell checker. It’s been a time saver for me. It helped me find my obvious mistakes faster, leaving more time for the tricky ones. I don’t have to tell anyone who can reed this blog that functionality never improved anyone’s grammar, spelling or writing discipline. Heck, I bet there are still a couple of mistakes in this paragraph alone.
The real slicer for me has been the endless distraction of the Internet. I can take a quick “break” from writing that turns into hours of surfing. More insidious, I’ll start honest-to-God research for my story, blink, and I’m playing a web browser zombie game. … where I’m the zombie.
“The hardest step is always the first,” is what skydivers say.
First I had to admit that I had a problem at first. Like most addicts, I shifted blame to something else. Back then, I blamed work. Since I spent ninety percent of my work week on a computer every day, it must have been blocking my writing chi by the time I got home.
That never stopped me from gaming, writing long posts on forums and the like, but somehow it blocked up the “real” reason that I spent money on a computer in the first place.
I finally found a workaround.
I wrote long hand. For a while it was fun. I would pick up a journal with a certain look and feel to get me in the mood for a story. I still have the wonderful, rough moleskin that’s earmarked for my supernatural Western. That was a good first step, that evolved in my learning that I could literally write anywhere if I put my passion and heart into a project. Eventually, any composition or notebook would work for me. I just need a place for the first draft to flow without red squiggly lines or a backspace key to tempt me.
The flip side to that was I had to type all this stuff into the computer. Booooooring! Sadly, though, longhand+typing was still faster than trying to type it alone. Rewriting seemed to be something that I can focus on a bit more.
But lately, I've been wanting to up my game in the speed department , so I aimed at getting me to back to writing solely from the keyboard.
Sheer willpower didn't do the trick, unfortunately.
I don’t mind have a whole handwritten page that’s crossed out like someone left it in a crib with a crayon and a baby coked out on sugar cereal. But if I have a whole worthless typed page, I've got to go find that later on a laptop with a screen that’s only going to show me a third of page at a time. (When is someone going to invent a cheap Legtop computer? Right side is preferred.)
Overall, though I have to admit, I am pleased with my first month of using the distraction free program. I squeezed out two extra pages and didn't have to commit anything to paper.
But today I discovered that I can still use ALT-TAB to shut the window.