The Prima Donna in Me

I logged in to the public library’s computer today to get some words in. I’ve never tried that before… I’ve brought my laptop with me, or written by hand, but never used their computer. For the most part, it went smoothly.

Just not ideal.

Colorado Springs has a wonderful library system. I can check out a book from any branch, and return it to any branch. This is particularly useful because our favorite Library, 21C, is on the other side of town, but it’s often easier to drop off books at Ruth Holley, which is in the same mall as the laundromat I like. 21C also has a variety of work spaces for the community, from cubicles with tables or desks to computer labs to cubicles with individual computers (those are most in demand.)

Today Bunny had a two-hour delay, and I decided to stay up north and run a few errands then go to the library to work before picking her up, instead of making the drive north twice.

Instead of 21C, I went to the small library closest to Bunny’s school. Instead of work spaces or a lab, they had one row of computers off in a corner for the teenagers, and another row smack in the middle of the main traffic area for everyone else.

I take Thufir Hawat’s advice to heart. I do not like to work with my back to a door or other open area. At 21C I like the cubicles with little tables because I can put the back of my chair against the cubicle wall and face out of the cubicle. I was disappointed when they installed desks against the walls of some cubicles… I had to leave my back exposed.

Today, work had to be done. I pushed aside my discomfort and logged in, even though there were people walking behind me and anyone could easily see everything I was working on. It wasn’t NSFW (although there will eventually be a few sex scenes) but that’s not the point. It was mine. It wasn’t there for public consumption.

I survived writing for about an hour and a half and at least a thousand words added to my NaNoNovel before I had to go pick up Bunny. I survived the woman diagonal from me rummaging through the pencil jar between us, and the elderly gentlemen who loudly teased her about “Playing with them computers” while I worked.

I understand that a writer should be able to work through all kinds of distractions and under all kinds of imperfect conditions. But yes… there is a prima donna in me who wants the perfect set-up to write. When we were living in my parents’ old house back in Vermont (the exile years) I had a pretty nice place. We used the master bedroom as a workroom, with laundry-sorting, sewing, spare bunks for the girls, and my writing desk. I had a nook with my back to the wall, facing the television. I had a tall shelf to my right and a smaller shelf behind me to my left, with plenty of room for tsotchkes and other odd bits. I had printouts and a tall wall poster with the chronology of Kingdom Come. It wasn’t perfect, but it was comfortable and I was very productive there.

When we moved into this tiny apartment I put my writing desk near the entrance to the kitchen. That worked for almost a year before I gave up on it, and resigned myself to keeping my laptop on a shelf next to the couch (it’s actually love seat…it only fits two people) where I had less room but I was more comfortable.

There really is a correlation between productivity and having a workspace conducive to the task at hand. Yes, I’d love to have the perfect office someday…actually, a selection of spaces within my home where I can log on and work on my WIP depending on my needs and those of my family. Maybe I want to work in my formal office, away from all distractions. Maybe I need to use an alcove off the family room where I can be close to the kids, laundry, and the kitchen while I carve out some writing time.

That would be perfect. And maybe a treehouse or she-shed for when I feel extra creative…

Not yet. I can’t be a prima donna right now. We don’t have the resources. But I will still write, even if I only get a few hundred words in each hour-sprint instead of my usual of over a thousand.

My ROW80 goals this round are simply to win NaNoWriMo. I’m behind in my word count, but I’m okay.

And a question to my fellow ROWers and other visitors…

Have you ever used your Dropbox from a public computer, like one at the library? I thought there was a way to simply log in, work, save to the Dropbox as usual then go on with life, being able to continue working later from my home computer. I have found that I can use a tablet (awkward) or even my phone (almost impossible, but it technically works) to access my Dropbox files, and I can move between those and my laptop as needed. But I almost always use my laptop.

I was able to log in to my Dropbox at the library, and retrieve my WIP. But I couldn’t save my work, which fortunately I found out the first time I tried to save, after just a few hundred words. In the end, I had to save a copy to the desktop then email that file to myself. The computer automatically deleted the desktop file when I logged off, which is fine.

It would have been easier to have my WIP on a thumbdrive. But what’s the purpose of having my Dropbox then? Yeah, I like the cloud storage…especially when I need to change laptops at a less-than-ideal time. But it should be simpler…or maybe I’m doing something wrong. I’d like to hear from other users!


About AmyBeth Inverness

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice.
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