With all of the changes that are happening in the world as we dive headfirst in to 2017 I’ve started to inventory my needs as a writer. My name for this project is the MVW or Minimum Viable Writer. This is a play on the idea of a “minimum viable product” that is popular in the culture of tech startups. It’s an idea rooted in the concept of doing as little as needed to launch a product or service.
While I’ve seen quite a bit of coverage of the Dakota Access pipeline project, none of the reports provided any specifics about the pipeline. So I decided to satisfy my curiosity with a little research. After sifting through the multitudes of non-substantive news articles and even more thinkpieces, I eventually landed on some primary materials. Along the way I also found out the alternatives that were considered and discarded. What became clear is that this pipeline and others like it are needed as long as crude oil production continues.
It seems that my visit to the typewriter shop really did make me think about adding one to my workflow. I spent a few weeks stalking various auctions on eBay, and when I saw a vintage Olivetti Lettera 22 pop up, I decided to pounce. This is one of the best ones that I’ve seen. It’s condition can only be summed up as “hardly used.” One thing in the eBay pictures convinced me it was in superb shape was that it still had the original dust cover.
This is the third and final lightfastness test of the Lukas Aquarelle watercolor paints (original post, first update, second update). The reason for ending the test is twofold, the test strip was in the way of a window I wanted to start opening, and after ten full months of Arizona sun the verdict is in. I first hung the test strip in January 2016 in a south facing window. Expecting the paint to be faded out before the first 100℉ (38℃) day.
In Chapter 7 of my book Stop Typing & Start writing, I discuss how to get handwritten text into a digital format. After the actual writing, this can be the next most crucial step because your words aren’t going anywhere until they’re digital. That’s just the internet-connected world we live in now. So until there’s an OCR program that can read my handwriting, the transcription has to be done by either typing or dictation.
Now you know the reason why I’ve been mostly radio silent for the last month or so. I’ve been working on this little thing called a book! Buy or read now on Amazon. Stop Typing & Start Writing: Analog Productivity for Digital Writers is my attempt to slow down our frantic online “content production” pace and bring a touch of civility back to the art of writing. When I first picked up a pen to write fiction it was because everything else wasn’t working.
Somewhat near my house is a used typewriter sales and repair shop. Mesa Typewriter Exchange is a longstanding local business. This past Friday was the first time I ever stopped in. To say that there was a few typewriters on the display would be an understatement. The customer area in front of the counter is overrun with typewriters of every description and vintage. It was reasonably well organized, but it’s also clear he’s quickly running out of room.
I’ve been neglecting this blog lately and I sincerly apologzie to my loyal readers. But I haven’t beem slacking off. Quite the opposite. The short version is that I’ve been doing most of my writing in longhand and staying away from the keyboard. This also means I haven’t had much to share. Mostly it’s just been me and the cat fighting over desk space (she’s pushy and likes to play with my pens).
If you’re a regular reader of this site you know I post a lot about process—the mechanics of getting things done. One recurring theme is the elimination of distractions and focus techniques. My latest adventure in productivity is flipping over the digital table ((╯°□°）╯︵ ┻━┻) and going back to a true basic: pen & paper. I’ve used a keyboard for so long I forgot about using a pen to write anything longer than a list or short notes.
Screens are designed to hold attention. More accurately, I’d have to say what’s shown on screens is engineered to hold attention. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s a TV or phone. The irony is that these same screens don’t hold our attention in the same way when work needs to happen. Working from home adds another layer of distraction to the mix. But overall, I’ve managed to control physical interruptions much better than screen/internet based ones.