Cut Out the Distractions

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The hardest part of writing for me is to cut distractions out of both my workspace and my mind itself. Last Saturday, when I decided I was properly inspired and ready to write, it quickly became clear to me that my desk was simply too messy, so I cleaned instead. Then I blogged. Then I played WoW.

The screenshot above is of an epic poem I’m working on in Scrivener, a fantastic word processing program that I need to write a review for ASAP. One of the neat features of Scrivener is the ability to shift into full screen mode and cut out all the distractions in the background. I turned down the opacity so you can see what I’ve got in the background there, and it’s easy to see how I might have trouble focusing if I didn’t normally keep the rest of the screen blacked out: iTunes, Adium (instant messaging), iPhoto, etc.

My brain needs a bit of distraction to produce, to be honest, but it depends on what I’m working on. If it’s a research paper or an essay, I have to have music in the background. This distracts the creative portion of my brain, allowing me to think more linearly and logically and just bulldoze through the words I need to get on the page. But if I’m writing a creative piece or a poem, I have to have silence or I can’t hear myself think, narrate, or compose.

I like to have the window next to my desk open (or rather, the blinds open) so I can glance outside while working; having something to occupy my eyes sometimes helps my brain meander on its own, when staring at a blank page or desk would cause me to look inwards too much and stall.

There’s a fine line between having too many distractions and having just enough (and just the right ones) to keep myself going. What distractions help or hinder your work?

Why I bought an Apple Macbook

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Looking back, I’m not sure why I was so anti-Mac once upon a time.

Oh wait, yes I am. Because they were expensive, not as functional, and didn’t bring enough to the table to justify the investment.

Enter the new Macbook

When I saw the video detailing the changes and updates in the body and design of the new Macbook, I salivated. The way they put the laptop together was very cool, and between hardware changes and the standard integration of OS X, it looked like it ran very well indeed. “If only it was around $1200 instead of $1800,” I said. “Then maybe I could justify such an extravagant piece of machinery.”

Then I looked at the page on Apple’s site and discovered that the base Book was sitting at $1299. That was almost reasonable, I thought, and I began considering it more seriously. I’ve been thinking about getting a new laptop for around two years now, and my old lappy was originally purchased in late 2003 or early 2004. It weighs around 6.8 pounds and currently gets around 30 minutes of battery life, so you might consider it more of a desktop replacement than a true mobile computer. I didn’t use it much anymore because it just wasn’t that useful for my purposes.

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