Where is Your Ideal Place to Write? Your Big Distractions?

One thing that I’ve noticed about writing, is that I sometimes need a particular place to write to get in the “zone.” On a good day, if I’m writing for about 8 hours, I can average 2,500 words per hour. Unfortunately, there are a few, physical distractions which either slow me down or suck my attention span away from writing and decrease my productivity. Television and other people (aka residual noise from neighbor kids, etc.) are two of those “physical” distractions.

Even if I’ve watched a movie a 1,000 times or can quote every line of Firefly, sometimes I’ll get sucked into my favorite parts of the show and whoosh! a half an hour goes by and I lost my train of thought. Other people can be distracting when a) I’m not expecting a screaming kid to come flying past our window or b) someone is super excited and they “have to just tell me that one thing.” (Okay, yeah I’m guilty of that.)

I’ve found that the first thing I need to do when setting aside or picking a space for me to write in, is to have a somewhat “closed” environment. An “open” environment is way too distracting for me because of all that residual noise, interruptions, or tendency to interrupt other people when an idea hits me. A “closed” environment like a desk in a small office that we’re beginning to create upstairs, putting on headphones, finding a quiet coffee shop, etc. definitely helps me increase my productivity and sends a signal to my writer’s brain that “Hey, writer! This is the time to sit down, shut up and write!”

So the first step in achieving my NaNoWriMo goal this year will be to set aside spaces for me to write. As I mentioned earlier, we’re creating an office (aka creative space) upstairs that somehow has to coincide with the Halloween party we’re having. There are a few places in town that I enjoy writing at depending upon whether or not I “need” wi-fi service, but the internet can be its own distraction. More on that tomorrow.

What about you? Where do you enjoy writing and what are your big distractions?

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

Miss Remington for Remington Typewriter The past couple of weeks I have the opportunity to revisit my personal goals that range from learning the open source graphics program GIMP.org to getting back in shape and finishing Argentum.

Like a lot of people I know, fall is the season to reorganize before the big winter. From last-minute “around the house” projects to ensuring the house is prepped for the cold (to avoid those skyrocketing heating bills) there is lots and lots to be done.

In the middle of figuring out where I am on my “to do” list and my goals, I realized that in order to reach a goal — you have to be prepared to meet that goal by getting your proverbial house in order. The biggest barrier to completing any project for me is not time — but how that time is used. Many of my friends and I have been talking about finding that balance between work and play which is really challenging if you’re creative. Sometimes, you just can’t stop working on a project or other times — you just can’t stop having fun. We realized that a work-life balance is not an ideal, but something we can make a reality provided we clear out our closets and sweep our basements of all those pesky little tasks that have been piling up for months.

Over the course of October, in addition to my other blog posts I’d like to get a little more personal and share with you how I’m getting organized for National Novel Writing Month — the finish line (of course) would be a complete first draft of the first book in my Violet War series, Argentum.

I hope that you’ll join me in October, preparing your outlines and your schedule for NaNoWriMo in November. Let’s get to work!

Want to Change the World? Well, Maybe you Can!

Google is celebrating its 10th anniversary by sponsoring a contest, but not just any old contest. Dubbed “10th to the 100th,” Google will fund big ideas that will either help lots of people or change the world.

Change the World with Google

I have to say — I LOVE THIS IDEA on several, different levels. From a marketing perspective? It sends a message that says “Google is the good guy.” And I believe them. Google. The anti-corporation corporation.

Deadline for submissions is October 20th, 2008. If you don’t have an idea right away, don’t worry! Google has a list of questions and criteria to help get your creativity (and your ingenuity) going.

Submit Your Idea to Change the World to Google

Then, after you think up how you can help do something wonderful for the world — how about going out of your way to do something nice for an acquaintance or a total stranger? Per Google’s reasoning behind the project, “In other words, helping helps everybody, helper and helped alike.”

Have a fantastic day!

How the Publishing Industry is Evolving

This article entitled “Have We Reached the End of Book Publishing? spells out what I’ve suspected for so long and heard from some of my fellow writers — that the very nature of the way major publishers do business does not bode well for aspiring writers. Large, million-dollar advances taken on new authors spell doom for literary writers, who find their advances shrink every time a publisher makes a “new” discovery. The argument of whether or not e-book readers will kill book sales continues to resurface, and the very nature of how corporations function take their toll on editors’ morale.

The book business as we know it will not be living happily ever after. With sales stagnating, CEO heads rolling, big-name authors playing musical chairs, and Amazon looming as the new boogeyman, publishing might have to look for its future outside the corporate world.

There is no doubt in my mind that the publishing industry is fractured. Read More…

Update on Network Neutrality – ISPs Rolling Out Caps for Internet Usage

One of the issues that I’ve been following fairly closely, is the concept of network neutrality. What is it? Wikipedia defines it as:

Network neutrality (equivalently net neutrality, Internet neutrality or simply NN) is a principle that is applied to residential broadband networks, and potentially to all networks. A neutral broadband network is one that is free of restrictions on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, on the modes of communication allowed, which does not restrict content, sites or platforms, and where communication is not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams. –SOURCE: Wikipedia entry for Network Neutrality

While there have been laws introduced to make network neutrality “official,” to date it’s just been a business concept. Highly contested, many big-names have come out in favor of net neutrality including Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft. Recently, though, many telecom companies are testing the waters a little more fervently these days by putting caps on downloads. For example, Comcast will Cap Data Transfers at 250 GB October 1st and, as this YouTube! vlogger reported: TimeWarner is Experimenting with Capping Internet Usage in Texas. (About 2 minutes in.) Here’s a link to an article about Time Warner metering internet usage in Texas. Additionally, small ISP provider Frontier is toying with a 5 GB download cap.

What does this mean? It means that the concept of network neutrality is alive and well not only in Congress, but in our everyday lives affecting how we access the internet for email, gaming, blogging, banking, etc.

I hope that you will take time to read up on both sides of the issue, and whether you’re for or against it — realize that network neutrality is a topic that isn’t going away any time soon.

Save the Internet – a website that is for legalizing Network Neutrality

Hands Off the Internet – a website that is against legalizing Network Neutrality

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Monica Valentinelli > 2008 > September

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