Writing in Public, Too: Workspaces (12/8)
Today was "day with kids" day. We went out to the Lego Discovery Center and spent the morning there. We built race cars and ran them down the track - I made one with a cool angular body. If you've ever used Legos, you probably know that angles aren't the easiest thing in the world to make! I set it up with a pair of wheels close together in the front, and two wide set single wheels in the back. Something like a cross between a drag racer and a big wheels tricycle.
Meanwhile, D (child #2) was making...DRAGONS!
Yeah, we had a good time. But by a bit after noon, the kids were getting hungry, and the food at the Lego space is...eh. So we jetted out to Chuck E. Cheese for pizza and more playtime. The kids ran themselves out of energy, and we headed out right around 4:30.
A fun day. :)
I'm often too tired to get a lot of writing done in the evening after these days out, but I managed some tonight. First, I made a yummy dinner, which was eaten while watching Game of Thrones (into season two, now). Then I watched a couple of videos. I started one of Dean Wesley Smith's writing courses this month, and there's about half a dozen short videos to watch per week. So I did two of those tonight.
Then finally on to some writing. I got a single thousand word sprint in, before deciding to call it for the night. I've been following ONE character stream - basically, episode five is following three related but not-interlocking story-lines. I'm following one from start to...well, I thought to finish, but what I have found is that it's going to take more words than I was planning to give it for this episode. Which means this section might not wrap up as soon as I'd planned. So I'll pop over to the other sections, too. It might be that my outline for episode five becomes the outline for five AND six.
I wanted to talk a little about workspace here. One thing I forgot to mention about Sunday was that I got my workspace a little better in order. My big 21.5" monitor is back on my desk (OK, it's not THAT big, but that size is plenty big enough for my writing and cover art). It's a bright LED Dell screen, and I've used it for years. But since switching over to the MacBook, I've been writing on a laptop. Portable, and a GREAT machine. But not what I was used to.
Now the MBA sits in a TwelveSouth stand, like a little upright tower. It's ready to go walkabout when I need it to, but it also serves as a GREAT tower station. I have a mouse plugged in, my bluetooth keyboard, and of course the nice Dell screen.
Workspace is important. You want a screen which is bright enough to see well without squinting, but not so bright that it causes eye fatigue. Ideally, the screen ought to be angled slightly upward, so that you are looking ever so slightly down at the words as you put them on the screen (assuming you are touch typing, and not watching your fingers).
You want a keyboard which is comfortable to type on for long periods of time, and which is at a good elevation for you. One problem with my workspace is that the keyboard is a few inches higher than it should be for maximum comfort. I'm planning to get a keyboard tray, which I'll mount to my desk so that I can have my keyboard at a more comfortable height for typing.
Oh yes, I'm back to work using my blue desk again. If you've been reading the blog for a LONG time, you'll remember it: the blue desk was one I owned when I was a kid. It broke when I was around first grade, and my mother took it to the dump. Someone must have grabbed the desk, and seen it was salvageable (the backing had broken lose). They took it and fixed it. Fast forward and a couple DECADES later, I found the desk at a recycle store in Burlington, Vermont. Same desk. Same circular rust stain on the top. Same messy kid marks on the bare wood of the drawers. Same doodles. Needless to say, I bought the desk as soon as I saw it.
But it's not really ideal for writing on, because of the height. A keyboard tray will fix that. I'm looking forward to getting one, because that will make it into a really dynamite workspace.
Chair also matters a lot. I spent a good deal of time working on finding the right chair. I finally chose one with excellent lumbar support (mesh back) and really solid locking devices, so that I set set it to rock back if I want, but can set it to not rock at all while I am writing.
If you're going to be writing a lot, day after day, then having a good place to do so is important. That means good ergonomics - good keyboard height, good chair, good monitor, etc. It also means a good "feel" - something that makes the space your own, something that makes it special. That's my blue desk, for me.
What do you do to make your workspace awesome?
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