Peeking at Process: The Mad Writer’s Laptop Exterior

I may have mentioned this before, but I am a sucker for office supplies. I walk into an office supply store, and I feel almost giddy with the possibilities. It’s a combination of 1) looking for the perfect product that will finally fix my organizational impairments and make me the efficient, fully optimized human I always knew I could be, and 2) making sure I have enough of anything I might need in case of office supply emergency. (Oddly enough, now that I live in Hawaii, when the boats get off schedule I see empty office supply shelves far less often than empty food shelves.) Still, you don’t want to be stuck without pen and paper, tattooing story ideas on your navel using the full-length mirror.

Espresso on "Think" sticky note by Daria NepriakhinaOne thing I cannot do without is the humble Post-It. Yes, I am using the proprietary name, because not all sticky notes are created the same. Not every brand can stand up to the combination of humidity and—oh yeah, more humidity—that characterizes our lives in Puna. Sure, most sticky notes will adhere to notebooks (I do that) and folders (I do that, too), but not all of them were made to stick to my MacBook Pro (I do that A LOT) in our viscous air. My poor laptop is perpetually ringed with Post-Its. I start with the screen, then move on to the body. It’s a little embarrassing when I work somewhere outside our house and pull my fluffy laptop from my bag. (Not to beat a dead office product, but if I use the cute novelty sticky notes, my laptop has lost its fluffiness when I remove it from my bag.) When I traveled to the mainland recently, I took my laptop with me, which meant I had to confront the sticky note horde. First I photographed them in situ. Then I stuck the ones that were still relevant on a notebook page. Or two.

Judy K. Walker's laptop with sticky notesHow can one human generate so many sticky notes? By the way, they’re not static. I do remove them as issues are resolved, making way for more issues—I mean, sticky notes. (When I run out of room on the laptop, the back ledge of the desk is next.) I generate so many because my Notes to Self range from marketing issues (iBooks Promo Codes) to story notes (sorry—no sharing current ones for risk of giving something away) to technical issues (formatting cheat stickies) to authors  or stories I want to remember to check out.

For the record, there are a mere eight sticky notes on my computer as I write this post, all new. But I thought I’d share a partial list of the Notes to Self I removed from my laptop during the most recent purge. Many of them were editing-related and are evergreen, waiting for me to pin them to my bulletin board. (Which is waiting for the rain to stop long enough to put another coat of paint on the wall in front of my face.)

  • FORTUNATELY, APPARENTLY [I’d found that I was a little too fond of starting sentences with those words, and needed a reminder]
  • FQ Parking (a research note about something I’m no longer writing)
  • Nook < 2MB, 1400+ pixels; iBooks 2 mill pixel max inside [cheat sheet on the odd different size requirements for ebook covers]
  • WHEN is not immediate [a writing reminder I picked up from my developmental editor]
  • Generally spell out #s <101 [a writing reminder I picked up from my copy editor]
  • A note with a few potential character names
  • 4 SIS, 1 BTL to Mom [a reminder which paperbacks I recently mailed to my mother]
  • Nook—upload orig or one you’ve edited in Manuscript Editor—ARGH! [A reminder not to freak out wondering which file to publish because Nook always asks if I want to publish my original or edited file, even when I never edited the file]
  • Push or pull—which way do public bathroom doors go? Ch 31—think I’m right [I was; they generally swing in toward you as you’re leaving]
  • Do pigs come in litters? YES [strikethrough and answer included on the note]

There you go. Don’t say you never learn anything useful from this blog.