While I don't like to think about it, there is the possibility of a disaster. My house could catch on fire, a hurricane could hit, or my computer could show the blue screen of death. One way I prepare for the worst is by backing up my computer files.
I do different things depending on the file type:
1) Pictures - have their own hard drive which I keep in my fire proof box with important paper documents. I reupload my pictures once a month, as long as I've added to the files. (More often around Christmas, less often in the summer.) I don't put these on the cloud because there's so many. (At least 45gigs at this point.)
2) Writing - whatever I'm currently working on gets emailed to myself as it's one of the fastest ways to back up small files. It will also eventually go onto an external hard drive and on the cloud. I personally use Google Drive because I get free storage space and I'm familiar with it, though there are plenty of equally reasonable cloud options on the market. Often freshly editing pieces will get posted to my Crit Group on FB. It's a great way to share files while serving as an extra backup.
3) Games or software - I only back up my personal save files, not the base software. If I'm getting a new computer it's best to redownload those anyways. This also makes the backing up go a lot faster, though it does take some knowledge of which files do what.
What do you do to back up your files?
We’ve talked briefly before about write-ins. They are a great place to work and to make yourself write. That’s not all they are good for though. One of the best things about write-ins is the people!
For the last three years we have been meeting at Denny’s in Latham every Sunday night. Over this time a steady group of about eight to ten people has developed. That number can grow to over thirty during writing months (November, April and July). Over the past three years these people have become some of my closest friends. Four of us even started this company together.
While we of course do writing sprints of twenty minutes at a time, we also spend the twenty minutes in between writing talking. Sometimes we help someone with a writing problem, but more often than not we just talk. This has led to some, let’s say interesting, conversations, dendrophilia for example!
Spending time with such a diverse and stimulating group of people has another benefit, characters! I often use the people in this group as the basis for certain characters in novels. This gives me a great place to start from with the characters appearance, profession, and motivation. Sometimes this is subtle, a simple nod to someone I know. Occasionally I don’t even know I have done this until it is pointed out by someone else. Other times it is overt and intentional. The best example of this is our own Lizette! In fact, you will find a character named Lizette in many novels written in the 518. She requested to be someone sassy, so for me she is a waitress in the local diner.
It is always fun to come to Denny’s, no matter what kind of mood I am in. I know that I will be among friends and that I will get work done, and even get inspired. Everyone is welcome to join us at any time, and I hope you do.
Photo by Pixaby
The juiciest parts of any good read for me are the deep characters, rather than the action or plot. Giants, half giants, and (interestingly) dwarves seem to be my long-lived favorites. Fezzik, Hagrid, and Gimli offer glimpses into a reality so odd, so interesting, I wish their stories were deeper (thus my love for The Hobbit). But the best stories for me offer more than one perspective. Not only do we glimpse Frodo and his world of fireside arm chairs, but Aragorn and his genetic guilt, Samwise and his humble strength, and Gandolf and his unceasing curiosity. The more perspective we get, the more we understand about the entirety of the plot.
Any genre is able to offer this kind of multivariate development, two or more characters to bring depth and meaning to the plot. Karenina and Vrosky have equal billing, Squee and Nicholby share (not nicely, of course), Baloo and Bagheera co-host with Mowgli. Without this layering of perspective the stories are flat.
There is much of brilliance in William Carlos Williams' poem The Red Wheelbarrow; the brevity, the sparkle of such vivid imagry, even the form of his words; but less discussed is the shifting perspective.
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
(Williams, "The Red Wheelbarrow," in The Collected Earlier Poems)
Are you a visitor come to the farm? A child, desperately looking for Daddy's wheelbarrow, fearful of a lashing? The farmer, sleepy in the pre-dawn? The farmer's wife, pregnant and hauling chicken feed in the rain? When I first read this poem (or sometime thereafter, I'm not very clear when I first read it) all of these jumped into my head. A photographer, a woman working harder than she should, a frightened child, a man who trips on something left out by said frightened child. Maybe even a giant who alights upon this farm and sees nothing worthy of his compassion. Preparing to demolish everything, it sees a tasty looking wheelbarrow, glistening with pulpy rain, and breaks a tooth on it. He scurries home in pain, leaving the farm to survive another day.
People bring so much to the table of life, each with an attitude and frame of reference that adds to the color and context of a story. Sometimes all a good story needs is an added voice to make it great. Your ideas are always worthy, finding the voices that tell them best is what makes them live.
On December 31st, we ushered in another year. Many cheered with excitement and toasted to Auld Lang Syne. And under the influence of the bubbly, came the New Year’s resolutions. I’ll lose weight and get in shape. I’ll be a better person. I’ll spend less and save more. All promises, which I may say, are rarely kept beyond a few weeks.
I’ve learned a long time ago, not to make New Year’s resolutions. Promises that are so outrageous, they are laughable. I’ve accepted myself as I am, but I still have goals. Each morning, I try to improve on what I missed the day before. They are not resolutions or promises. I call them my daily ambitions. It is the human condition to strive to live better and accomplish something. Some days we reach our objectives and some days we don’t.
Last New Year’s Eve I didn’t make any resolutions and 2016 started out with a bang. In January, 518 Publishing Company, LLC was created. Short stories were accepted, and we are on schedule to publish our 1st analogy this spring.
I also published a children’s book, ‘Pink Sneakers in Space’ in 2016. Publishing a book was a personal ambition I had for years. What writer doesn’t want to see their words in print, and on a shelf in a bookstore? I have many stories started, but never felt they were polished enough. After hemming and hawing, I finally pushed the button.
I’m now writing the sequel, ‘Pink Sneakers on the Run’, but I’m stuck. I sit in front of my computer and go blank. Writer’s block? Yup. To shake things up, I decided to work on another story that has been dormant for too long, and I’m still struggling. Every day I tell myself I’m going to sit down and write. Do I do it? Barely. This is my worst flaw, procrastination.
So this year I am going to make a resolution. I’m going to write 300 words a day. I know that it may not seem like a lot, but to someone who puts things off, it’s an attainable goal.
I guess New Year’s resolutions may not be that bad after all. Of course, only if I keep my promise and write.