I’ve enabled myself to write almost anywhere. It started out as a need, and it turned into a plan that has taken years to develop.
The place of all places I’ve decided to write this blog post, ironically, is Starbucks. Coffee shops are the go-to spot for most aspiring creatives and number-crunching business folk alike, but what if you could create while being anywhere?
Years back when I was in college I bought a massive iMac with my student discount. For a long time the only place I could write was on that beast, sheltered in my own room with the door shut tight and not a sound to interrupt my thoughts.
What a lousy way to work.
I lived with my girlfriend and five other roommates in the heart of a college town full of hooting sorority chicks, hollering frat boys, and persistent bumping beats. My sacred grove was nothing more than a cardboard box in the middle of a non-stop Burning Man extravaganza. Something had to change.
I had to escape my room. It wasn’t working anymore, and my iBeast wasn’t moving from its cave. A laptop was the next solution. My girl had one, but it was the size of a coffee table. A dinosaur of an HP. I knew I couldn’t be lugging something like that around, so I invested in an affordable, lightweight netbook. I feared that the small keyboard would hinder my typing, but after a couple days of use I couldn’t tell the difference. In fact I’m still using it to this day, and I’m typing on it right (write) now.
So I would take my netbook to the library. Solitude found once more. Hurrah! It worked, for awhile. Then I began to view the library as an office, the study room my cubicle. I had to venture out, and I learned how to concentrate amid the hustle and bustle of coffee shops and beer joints. I was becoming a real writer now, one of those hipsters you see blogging away while sipping on a latte. Mmm.
But more issues arose. My netbook was great for typing and blogging, but at the time I was putting a novel together. I couldn’t focus on the small screen while editing, nor use it well for formatting and layout. My iBeast was ideal for the work, but I had since moved beyond my room. I was lazy and didn’t want to transfer the files between computers, especially since one is a Mac and the other PC (they still don’t get along well to this day). Emailing the files to myself worked for awhile, but they became too numerous with all the edits and I couldn’t keep track of the mass of look-a-like file names or which versions were the most recent.
And then I acquired Google Drive and used the cloud service to sync the folders on my different devices. The cloud is like a friendly mediator, or a marriage counselor. Now my two ends of the computer spectrum have at least found some common ground. I can write anywhere I want with my netbook, and put it all together nicely on my iBeast back at home.
I have several notebooks too, of course, but I’m not very good at keeping one with me at all times. I have a large sketchbook that I like to draw some of my ideas out on, and a small moleskin notebook I keep next to my bed for late night thought sessions. And when I get really desperate to jot down an idea before it flies away I bust out my old cellphone a type up a draft text which I save for later.
I’ve designed my gadget wardrobe to suit my lifestyle so that no matter where I am I have a way to grab a hold of my ideas, scribble some notes, or, on the best of days, compile blog posts and piece together stories.
I’ve enabled myself. Have you?