I’ve moved a lot, while I was in the Army and afterwards. I wrote my first novel living in ChunChon, South Korea, as an unsponsored military dependent. They would turn the power off every so often just for the heck of it, I guess. I was writing on the original Mac. 512K, no hard drive, one floppy for the writing program, another floppy for the manuscript. The largest file you could have was a long chapter, so a book was a list of chapter files.
From there I went to Ft Campbell. My first book came out in 1991, and I was living in a one-room unheated apartment above a garage. Still working on that original Mac, which frankly was the best computer I ever owned.
Then, Boulder CO where I worked in a variety of rooms, from one with a great view of the Rockies to a room in the basement with no window.
From Boulder, it was to Hilton Head, South Carolina. I had a great office facing the Intracoastal Waterway. I could see dolphins swim by. Boats. I’d take a break and walk out the deepwater dock, get in my kayak and paddle away.
Then, in the midst of grief, we moved to Whidbey Island, WA. The first year was pretty grim and dark. Well, all four years were dark. Lots of writers there. It seems it’s easier to stay inside and write when the dolphins aren’t calling.
Then, two months ago, after moving west in death, we moved east in new life as our grandson, Riley Karen Cavanaugh, was born. He’s named after the protagonist in that first novel so many years ago in 1991. We moved here to Chapel Hill, NC, with no idea where we were going to live. We drove around for days looking at rentals until we found the house we’re in now. It’s got a great built in office on the lowest level. I can see trees forever down a hillside. Once they leaf out, it will be all green. However, I will be buying a simple desk this weekend and put it in a room on the other side of the bottom floor. That will be my writing room with no internet. This office with the Internet, the printers, the shelves, the files, etc will be my business office. Because I have two jobs– writer and publisher. I really need to separate the two. I don’t believe you can write with the Internet on the same computer you’re using to write.
I get a lot of work done while traveling, but little creative writing. I can edit really well on a plane or in an airport or a hotel room.
I think the key is not the space, it’s the attitude. It’s focusing.
I write on a computer because the most important course I took in high school was typing. However, I only use six fingers for some weird reason. The rhythm of the keys is important to me. My handwriting is awful as I write curved left, which means I smear whatever I’ve already written.
I do believe in printing out a manuscript every 50 pages or so and going through it on the page with my red pen.
Oh yeah– today only, 8 February, my newest release, The Green Berets: Eternity Base, is FREE on Kindle.
I believe in being organized. And there is a sense of alignment needed for the desk, the computer screen, the keyboard etc.
I go back to the point though– it’s not about the place, it’s about the focus.
Write It Forward
PS: Hot off the presses next week will be The ShelfLess Book: The Complete Digital Author was just published. It is all we learned at Who Dares Wins Publishing that allowed us to go from selling 347 eBooks in January 2011 to 100,000 in July.
It will be available on all platforms and I’ll re-announce it here.