Southern Scotch

Southern Scotch

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shopping for a Second Draft

Image result for second draft images

So, after two months' work, I'd succeed in writing and typing a 49,000-word first draft of my work in progress. Now, my first drafts are miserable things, so bad they can't be shown. But in the old days, before computers, I'd type draft after draft without tears because there was no other way. By the third draft, I'd begin to see potential and feel charged. By the fourth draft, generally, I'd have a reader's copy half-covered with white-out and corrector tape.

Times have changed, of course. But I still have the need for a hard copy of the second draft. I need to see it...divide it into stacks so that I can monitor the pacing...highlight it and mark it up,...see neat pages of typed gibberish transformed into scribbles on scribbles and color-coded markings.

So, today I went shopping. Since I'll often be working before and after work, an hour here and an hour there, I really had to strategize. Here were the weapons I set out to buy:

1) Side-opening storage clipboard, capable of holding 10-15 pages, my goal being to revise 3-5 pp daily.


There's a pen/pencil storage section and the plastic construction is sturdy enough to slip the thing into my back pack.

2) Sharpie, 3-line-width highlighters: one width for deleting lines, another for working in a tighter space, and the tip for writing coded notes. I can see at a glance which section needs research, which concerns a certain character, etc.
Sharpie Blade Highlighters, Chisel Tip, Assorted, 4/Pack

3) A 4-pack of reporters notebooks. Ideal for notes or transcribed research that I can clip onto particular pages, to be added when I type.





4) More of my favorite mechanical pencils:

Pentel Twist-Erase® III Automatic Pencils .5 mm, Black Barrel, Each


I know, I know. Most folks would be far more excited with a bagful of electronic toys and gadgets. But I began to rock today on the second draft with my little bagful of tricks.

By June I'll learn what other toys will be required for draft 3!




Monday, April 20, 2015

I've Got a Crush on My New Mouse: Part 1

Last week, sick to the crash and burn point of frayed or tangled mouse cords, I bought a good-quality optical mouse.



Image result for logitech - m325 wireless optical mouse

And within a couple of minutes I knew I'd made a sound investment.
--Convenience: the micro receiver remains lodged in my laptop's USB port. Or it can be stored beside the battery in back.
--Sturdiness: nothing flimsy about the mouse. Solidly built--compared to discount plug-ins that broke whenever dropped...or looked at the wrong way.
--Quality: remember the old ad jingle: 'A little dab'll do you'? Well, a single click with this will pull up any link. Writing and editing functions are also much simpler and quicker: highlighting, cut and pasting, scrolling, navigation...No double or triple clicks required, no stubborn refusals to scroll on TweetDeck..
--Speed: by my count, my online working time has been cut in almost half. From 2 hours each morning to 1, with followups later each day.

My mind has been running with this all week long. Where else have I paid too much for saving a couple of dollars? Where else I have stopped way short of exploring superior options?


Image result for cheapness images

I worked, for example, for too many years at a low-level job. You all know the kind I mean--the sort that leads to signs like this:


Image result for job from hell images

I had no end of excuses. The job gave me time for my writing.,..At my age I couldn't find anything else...I'd done the job so long it had become my 'expertise'...Etc.

But with a shift of perspective and a healthy shot of gall, I set out to whip my excuses. And within 2 weeks, I had a better paying job in a better part of town--and a dreamy schedule that allows me time to write.

This week I'll conduct a thorough inner search, on the hunt for other areas where my vision's fallen short...or where I've settled for less.

And Babycakes, the optical mouse, will get to conduct the review in Part 2.


Image result for performance review



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Beat the Clock or Beat the Bank



With a new job beginning on 4/13, I face a new challenge--one requiring some entirely different strategies.

The last six years, spent working third-shift in Charlotte and then part-time in Seattle for a major retail chain--offered, if you will, a sort of reverse challenge. I had plenty of time to write, working 7 nights on and seven off, then just 20 hours a week--but I was only scraping by while working a second job in Charlotte. So the old game was Beat the Bank.




Tough, but in Seattle I could easily write, spend time on social media and work out on five times a week while just getting by.

But the loss of the job that I hated compelled me to get into gear. Within two weeks I'd found a full-time job at a much better salary. I am grateful. I bless my stars. And I look forward to working days, not second or third shift. But the game of Beat the Clock begins on Monday, 4/13.

Severe adjustments must be made if nothing is to go. Basic schedule:
8-5 with one day off during the week, plus Sunday. 
Saturday: 9-1. 


That's a respectable schedule. But one of two choices will have to be made. On my weekday shifts, I can get up at 4:30 a.m. and:
1) Hit the gym from 5:00-6:00 a.m., leaving time to shower and bus to work. Write after work.
2) Reach a cafe near the workplace by 5:15-5:30 a.m. latest, for a two-hour writing session. Hit the gym after work, then tea and social media.

I believe I'll  start with #3 and see how it goes.

Either way, on nights before work days I'll need to get plenty of sleep.