What I’ve been up to

This is going to sound stupid, but I kind of hate my deer header. (The banner at the top of the page that I change every month? It’s a picture of two deer that I spotted the other day.) While I LOVE seeing animals in my yard, it doesn’t have quite the same magic on a blog. (Unfortunately.) I honestly think it’s making me want to blog less, as well as to redesign my entire site. Ridiculous, but true.

Also, I’ve been writing. A lot. (Well, a lot for me.) For now I’ve set aside the Dragon and started using a Bluetooth keyboard (regular, not ergonomic), and just being able to adjust the height of my keyboard and monitor separately has been HUGE in reducing typing strain. Then I invested (a whole $3) in a mesh lumbar support thingie that clips on to my mediocre IKEA desk chair. As long as I force myself remember to sit properly, my back doesn’t hurt either.

Most importantly, I’ve been killing the internet. As in, using Freedom for Mac to work in 2-hour blocks every morning and afternoon. That, combined with Scrivener’s full-screen mode, has been a huge boon to my productivity. (Boon, hehe. I love that word.)

So anyway. Major productivity combined with some travel (Houston this weekend, Rochester next weekend) has me feeling a bit distanced (in a good way) from the web. I wrote a cheeky little breakup letter to the Internet, but I’m not really breaking up with it, so I saved the letter and wrote this post instead.

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  1. don’t break up with us!!

    i think the deer are cute. i really like that you change the header every month.

  2. Major productivity is always good – and, I’ve found, a most helpful cycle. Something about getting wrapped up in writing just pushes you to get even more wrapped up, you know? :)

  3. :) So proud of you…productivity, well, now I need to break up with the internet. I haven’t managed much writing this week, again, and I know I’ll start to panic when Monday rolls around. busy weekend too. Have a great time at home! xx

  4. Les

    I hate blogging when I hate my layout so I totally feel you there lol. I finally downloaded Scrivener for windows… we will see how that goes.

  5. The internet is quite seductive. I don’t think I have it in me for a total break-up, but I do understand the desire to limit it.

    I’m glad to hear that you’re writing has been so productive!

  6. It always amazes me that anybody can get any writing done on an Internet-capable computer. People are more disciplined than I am, I guess.

    For me, a pad of non-internet-capable paper and a good pen are the ticket.

  7. Mandy-
    Never! And thanks. :) That’s one thing about the redesign that I’m not sure about… The look I have in mind wouldn’t have a rotating header, but that’s something I look forward to too. So I guess I have to keep mentally redesigning until I get it right.

    So true! The high of productivity makes you want to be more productive — which is a good thing. Unfortunately, the disappointment/stress of not being productive usually makes me too disappointed/stressed to get working. It’s a hard mental trap to break.

    Hehe, you always say that, and then Tuesday always rolls around and we get more of our lovely Jack. ;) I need to send y’all a new chapter today too…

    DO THE TUTORIAL. I was completely overwhelmed and frustrated and annoyed the first time I tried Scrivener. Then I did the tutorial and I was like, OH, that’s how this baby works.

    Yeah, I don’t think I’m breaking up with the internet, but I think I’ve been taking reasonable steps back. That’s why I didn’t post the letter, even though it was kind of cute/funny. I didn’t want people to make a big deal of it.

    Hehe. Paper and pen are great sometimes. At other times, they’re just too slow. I usually mix it up, though. When I’m stuck on the computer, paper & pen help break me out.

  8. “I wrote a cheeky little breakup letter to the Internet, but I’m not really breaking up with it, so I saved the letter and wrote this post instead.”
    Haha thank you for sparing us that ;)

    But yeah, I don’t have internet at my mom’s and I kind of enjoy having to use it in blocks (when I go to the library or my aunt’s place). Are you traveling with the extra keyboard too?

  9. md

    a break up letter to the internet?! that’s funny. i cannot imagine such a thing -the internet, especially all the blogs i read, are my anchors right now, they keep me from drifting away and actually encourage me to do more writing, stay inspired, etc. breaking up with facebook though, that i get :P

    kudos to your writing and productivity though!

  10. Aisha-
    No, I left the keyboard at home b/c I was afraid of damaging it. So far I’m doing okay… (Probably b/c I’m writing less, although I’m proud to say I AM still writing! That doesn’t always happen when you’re traveling) But I might try to bring it next time.

    I know what you mean — blogs really CAN be encouraging (and the people are awesome). But yeah, FB, Twitter, and email are dangerous addictions too.

  11. Hey hey hey wait – you told me when I blogged about Scrivener that you didn’t like it because it was too complicated, that you preferred the simplicity of Word. And congrats on disappearing into writerland! (so to speak) Good for you. I wish I were writing four hours a day. (SO wish that). And I like your deer header. I think they’re comical, just staring at us like, “What? So we’re deer, and we’re on a writing blog. What’s the big deal?” I also read a marketing book that said FORGET about the design of your site and just focus on content because EVERYONE gets sick of their design because they stare at it all the time.

  12. “I also read a marketing book that said FORGET about the design of your site and just focus on content because EVERYONE gets sick of their design because they stare at it all the time.”

    Meghan, I think you’re onto something. Here’s an exanple:

    Don’t know if you’re familiar with Tavi Gevinson, but she’s a top fashion blogger. She’s front row at the fashion shows, there have been articles about her in major magazines, she gives speeches to industry pros about how to reach the younger market (she’s 16). She gets more hits than most of us could imagine.

    Her blog is pretty plain vanilla, nothing fancy. Her content is visually interesting (it is a fashion blog, after all), but the design of her site is pretty much out of the box.

  13. Meghan-
    Yeah, I just started using Scrivener again about 20 days ago, and this time I tried the tutorial, and now I love it. Lol. Sorry!

    Hee, about the deers. That is more or less what they’re saying… (Still, I’d like to redesign to showcase my writing a bit more. Namely, 20SW. And, you know, future bestselling books. :P)

    Funny you mention Style Rookie, b/c my friend’s Master’s thesis (in advertising) had a lot to do with Tavi and some other young fashion bloggers. I agree: blogging is more about content than anything else. But as a design-lover, I can’t help wanting to look snazzy too!

  14. I been spending less time on the internet and writing more, too. I’m in love with my WIP right now. It calls to me often. :) My most productive times? Waiting in the car for my kids during piano/dance/fencing or wherever it is I’ve driven them!

  15. I have been debating for awhile now whether or not to “breakup” with the Internet. For 2 weeks after I moved I didn’t have internet and in that time I went to bed earlier, woke up earlier, got to work earlier, cleaned my apartment more, took more photographs and basically was just 10x more productive. Lately I’ve considered making a list of pros and cons with the internet and decided that in the future, whenever I purchase an actual house (and leave NYC) I will only have the internet hooked up to one desktop computer. I feel like I need to break away from it, especially when the weather is warm and sunny, and be a human again.

  16. Margot-
    That’s not a bad idea, actually. (Just having one desktop with internet.) I don’t know if Andy would go for it, since he loves his precious iPad… :P But it makes a lot of sense.

    I think new generations need to have productivity training, where you’re taught how to mentally/emotionally disconnect from the web.

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