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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Hardware and Location

   
Author Topic: Hardware and Location
Joyce
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I am setting up my writing area in my new room. Just started reading a book called "Get Organized Get Published". The question is how shall I set up my area, physically? I am open for suggestions from you all. Seems there is more to just having a desk, computer, shelves and a portable notebook, ya' know? I'm even re-thinking my filing system on my hard drive. (Speaking of which - how often do you back up your files???) How do you handle submissions and other correspondence? And what to do with the assorted notes jotted on an assortment of papers before they make it into a computer file?
Posts: 27 | Registered: Mar 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
srhowen
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LOL I f anyone saw my office they'd roll on the floor laughing. It has an eve that slants down on one side and my desk faces that wall. In the corner. Near my desk I have a white board(for brain storming) and a cork board where all sorts and types of little notes reside. On the other side it my file cabinet on which the tower resides. Next to that is a another file cabinet which my scanner sits on top of. In the other corner is a non-computer desk. I use this to wrap boxes put together sub pakts ect--

Just behind me--in easy rolling reach--I have a book case with my reference books(whatever I am using for the current project) and my writing how to books. I also have a small lower than my desk table for cans of pop or other things that may be offensive to my keyboard.

2/3rds of the room is covered with a Turkish carpet--placed on the carpet are--a chair and camel saddle foot rest, an side table. Another small table with my stereo and tape recorder on it and a CD book case with computer programs and music CD's. No window. On the walls I put up whatever inspires me when writing the current project or any project. The dinning room is on the other side of this dividing line then the living room--all one room. So there is light form the outside just not much of it.

How do I handle files? I keep them on my hard drive arranged by project--all the little notes and brainstorms go in there--I sometimes scan the little notes ect in. As for hard copy my file drawers are the same--one cabinet for projects the other for tax stuff.

Back up--think of it this way--how much can you afford to lose? I have an external 40 gig drive that I back up to each day--once a week I back up to CD rom and once a day I back up the current project on 3.5. Excessive? I once lost a hard drive--I had two--I lost a complete mss. I was lucky I had hard copy but it meant re-keying the entire thing. SO I also make frequent--each time I do a major re-write hard copy which I store in bankers boxes with the project name and date on them.

The office area must be totally clean before I write even if the rest of the house could be cleaned with a front end loader.

How’s that for anal?

Shawn


Posts: 1019 | Registered: Apr 2000  | Report this post to a Moderator
JK
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In complete contrast, my desk is a mess. So's my computer.
My desk is covered in crap. Books (some pertaining to my writing, some not) cover it, bits of errant paper, letters, plates (which once were honoured by sandwiches) empty water bottles, deodorant, a toothbrush, innumerable pens. All of these leave a small rectangular gap that just allows my laptop to fit inside.
My laptop itself is terrible. While the desktop (Windows 3.1, horribly out of date I'm afraid) looks organised, a separate window for all writing projects, the actual hard drive is another matter. I once tried to get organised by flushing out erroneous files, so I created a 'temporary' folder for the actually useful files. I never finished, so this temporary folder is still in existence, leaving my files scattered across my laptop, not all of the useful ones in one place.
Backing-up takes place whenever I remember to do it, all onto floppy (I'd use CD-RW, but no CD drive for JK). I haven't had an experience terrible enough to force me to do anything more stringent.
The moral of this story? It doesn't matter how your desk is organised, just so long as your work doesn't suffer for it.
The question of this story? Does my work suffer?
Only time will tell...
JK

Posts: 503 | Registered: Sep 2000  | Report this post to a Moderator
Hanrod Brightstar
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I keep a copy of all my work on my hard drive, but I back up the changed files to an Iomega Zip disk at the end of each session. I then take this disk into my bedroom closet and hide it under my underpants. I figure that no burglar is gonna go searching around in my jocks!
As for my office, because I work in IT it is littered with CDs, floppy disks, hardware items and other computer stuff. I don't write anything on paper, and I have a good memory, so there aren't any post it notes, etc.
My pc is a filing cabinet. I have a separate folder for every project and every file is appropriately named with a long file name.

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Xenocide
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I suppose my desk might seem a bit "cluttered" to some, but it's about right for me. I, like srhowen, have a little shelf to my right that is right under my fold out table for my mouse, and that holds my plates of food, pop cans, etc...

My desk is not exactly in the corner, but it's positioned so that I am sitting in the corner. Normally not enough light reaches the spot for me not to need my light, even in daytime. I would rather not have this, but to move my computer would take a day at least, and there are no other desks suitable for it (and to move this desk would take about 20 pro wrestlers). I have all my research material behind me in a glass cabinet, and other little oddities in which I glance at time to time are to my lower right, right near the can ledge. The short bookcase holds my books on the top ledge, and all my CD's and diskettes on the bottom ledge (most of which I never use.) I have all my How-To magazines (no books) to my immediate left, laid out so I could easily get to them. I have a thesaurus and a quote book for rainy days, and a clock and calendar to my right on the wall.

The room, in contrast, is very bright. There are four huge windows laid into the wall which take up one side of the room, and there is a living area in which two couches are centered around a tv and fireplace for the cold, blustery winter nights. There is a piano on the opposite side of the wall I am sitting next to, for my flights of inspiration to play.

That's about it.

As for my files...well, all I can say is there better not be a power surge. I should have learned my lesson from when my computer lost every single piece of data when it's mother board became faulty, but I didn't. I have the essential things in hard copy (My current novel/idea/short story/poem/etc...) I probably should back up at least some of my files onto a diskette or something else, but I haven't gotten around to that yet.

That about sums up my writing area. But that's not how I would prefer it, it was just given to me by the hands of fate. I won't go into a long winded description of what I consider to be the perfect writing atmosphere,but I will say, for me any ways, that it's high in a secluded mountain, not to far away from society but far enough so that I'm never bothered. It would have windows everywhere, and a life size Zen Garden.

Anyway, I hope that gave you some ideas. The main necessity for me before I can sit down and write is solitude. I have to be completely and utterly alone, peace and quiet being my only partners, before I can write. When people are walking around or watching t.v it's very, very distraction, and sometimes I'll finding myself just writing down dialogue from that show on the t.v.

I'm not sure if that applies to you, but try it. You may find it does.
–=Xeno=–


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srhowen
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LOL--I thought I was the only nut who suddenly found themselves writing down what was on the TV or radio. I often wear headphones while writing---I listen to a radio station in a language I do not know or I start to type like dictation. Here I have a lot of choices--German, French, Spanish, and Italian as well as a few Arabic ones. Those are best since I don't speak a spec of any of the Middle Eastern ones.

Glad I'm not the only one in a dark corner. I often think I should have a grow light over here.

As to the idea office--I saw one in a house plan book(thinking about that first big advance you know!) It was an office with a fireplace and huge glass windows facing the mountains over a small garden with fountain and small pond. It also had a spiral staircase that led up to a library.

Shawn


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Locke
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I prefer to write in my room, it has a huge desk without a computer because when i type I don't put any feeling into it, so i have to write with a pen- and there's a huge world map on the wall which I am using for a political novel-there isn't much light, because light even in tiny amounts hurts my defective eyes. I also play around with action figures and needles and a skull model to get ideas.
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Xenocide
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The problem which afflicts my writing is the solitude part. I have a family of five people, one of which sleeps in the day and roams the house at night. I have to go to school five days a week, and during the weekend I'm either sleeping or doing homework, and when I do have the time to write I am usually not alone, and people are buzzing all over me.

In fact, this thread made me want to move my computer back into my room. I tried that for a while, but I decided to put it back because my room doesn't have a phone jack. For this I got a portable phone jack thingy, but that was only able to handle 16k bps, not very fast. But now that I am more focused on writing that seems like a favorable idea.

Going to go move it now, bye.
–=Xeno=–


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srhowen
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Noise? Hmm---well when I say no interuptions I tend to mean, phone calls--making dinner, laundry, no surfing, ect. My house has three others that are always asking me something I've learned to tune it out. I turn up the headphones and write. They now stand outside my circle of space and wait to be noticed. LOL

Shawn


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Waxwing
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Well... my new husband and I just moved into a condo. Even after three months, we still feel like we're living out of boxes. My writing desk is overwhelmed with papers that need to be filed. The computer desk and computer... well, my husband brought them into the marriage and I'm only starting to get used to having them, and I'm still getting used to the idea of being able to use them at all. Hopefully soon I'll have a writing spot.
Posts: 13 | Registered: Jan 2001  | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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