Remember when all you needed to be an author was this?
You, your trusty pen and paper, and your imagination, and away you’d go. I’m not that old, but this is how I started writing.
(Actually, I started writing stories with crayons, but we all get the point.)
Then technology advanced, and writing suddenly had a clickity-clack sound.
I adored using a typewriter almost exclusively for the sound of the keys. My mom had a quieter version than my grandma, and I would happily pound away on the keys of my grandma’s for hours. It didn’t even need to be on.
I was in high school when being an author meant you used something like this.
Oh, floppy disks, how I thought you’d always be with me. And hard disks. And zip disks. (All of which I still have shoved in the back of my closet in case, one day, I desperately need to reread some story I wrote in my youth—desperately, because I imagine finding a place that could access those files would be time consuming and expensive.)
Today, being an author for me means this:
- Big monitor so I can increase the zoom on Word documents to 200%
- Your standard PC tower with 5 USB ports
- Ergonomic keyboard
- Speakers for music to keep me sane
- An elliptical, which is crucial for quick 2-minute runs every 30 minutes, and even more important for my new form of “writing,” which is actually dictation
- Headset for dictation
- Second computer (unseen) for all my Mac needs
- Second keyboard that actually talks to a Mac
Conspicuously absent from this photo: pen and paper. It makes my muscles twitch to have to hand write anything more than lists these days—it’s just too slow. I do edit by pen and paper, and the stand you see under #6 is where all my pages sit when I enter my edits. Also not shown, my printer, which is vital to my process.
And here’s the behind-the-curtain view of my desk:
See the thing labeled “special doohickey”? That’s what allows both computers to speak to the same monitor and mouse. It’s got little click buttons on the sides, and I can lean forward from my seat and click back and forth between my Mac and PC. It works marvelously, but it means that the usual 5,000 cables in the back of my computer doubled.
Do I NEED all these things? If I were just starting out, no, but where I’m at in my career, yes. Crazy!