31 July 2010

Since I started this blog, my interest in writing has increased. I just haven't increased my actual writing yet! Doh! I did however make it out to Borders today to look up any books on writing. I walked out with two small books, at a hefty price I might add. What I didn't want was a technical book on writing or a school-type book. No, what I was looking for was a book about the topic from actual writers; the people who write for a living novels or non-fiction type of stuff. I wanted a book to help me free myself in writing and getting started. I guess I want to write what I see and feel. I was looking for a book to help me with that. Something to help clear out the obstacles and the preconceived notions that hinder a writer.

I found a book called "Writing Down The Bones, Freeing the Writer Within" by Natalie Goldberg.

I started reading after I got home this afternoon. I am several chapters into it already and it is quite good. It's along the lines of what I thought I was looking for. The author takes a no nonsense approach and is telling the reader to simply write. Don't bother with punctuation or editing or controlling your thoughts as they go from mind to paper. When I read that, it reminded me of a class I had in high school and a particular assignment we had one day. I don't recall all the details of what the instructor said, but the idea was to write for maybe 30 or 60 minutes anything that came into your mind, be free, be uninhibited with your writing. So I took that literally and did just that. I don't remember what I wrote about specifically (and I wish I could have that paper with me today) but I do recollect that there was a lot of randomness to it, jumbled thoughts and ideas and such.

After the instructor collected everyone's papers and reviewed them he came back the next class singing my praises for following his instructions. Apparently I was the only one who took him at his word. He said there were others who wrote good and decently, but they kept to a theme or controlled their thoughts while writing them. I was the one who was uninhibited, free and without guide. I had just written down whatever came into my mind. I am certain it was full of grammatical errors, misspellings and run-on sentences.

I was quite happy with myself for just writing like that and then even more pleased when I got an 'A' and lot's of praise from the instructor for my assignment. I guess it's too bad that I hadn't continued on with writing after that because I am now only trying to get into the practice and hobby of it.

The other book I purchased is "If You Want To Write, A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit" by Brenda Ueland. I flipped through it and read a few pages throughout and it piqued my interest enough to get it. I think it falls into the same category as the first book I mentioned.

I have recently given up a favorite hobby of mine only because it is an expensive hobby and at times controversial. I love firearms and target shooting. But they are so expensive and ammunition is getting more and more expensive all the time that I cannot afford to shoot much anymore. Therefore I decided to give it up and I've sold all my rifles, save one, and had one pistol destroyed by my local Sheriff's Department. This pistol was a cheap $100 special brand new. To fire it, I had to hold the magazine upward and pushing forward for it to be seated correctly to allow the next round to be fed into the chamber after firing. I felt that it was a safety hazard and was reluctant to sell it to someone for fear of them getting hurt while using it. So like I said, shooting is an expensive hobby and I just don't want to play anymore.

That leads me to my new hobby that I want to take up: writing. Writing is much cheaper than shooting! All I need is a pen and paper, or a computer which I already have. However, I am thinking of getting a MacBook Air, that ultra thin and light laptop that Apple makes and use it just for writing or blogging. Obviously, I can do that from my iMac or my MacBook Pro. But I want something a little more comfortable to use. The iMac is my desktop computer and I have to sit a my desk to use it. It's not overly comfortable to sit at for long periods of time. I spend a good part of my day sitting at a desk or standing in front of computer servers and then I am at the gym later on. So when I get home I am pooped and would rather relax in my recliner or on the couch. So I want a laptop to use while on the chair or couch. I already have a laptop, the MacBook Pro. It's a great laptop, but it is a bit bulky and heavy to curl up with. Plus, it tends to get quite hot when sitting on your lap. I have a real nice aluminum laptop cooler I use with it to draw the heat away from it and keep the heat off of me. But that adds more weight and awkwardness to it, thus making it uncomfortable to curl up with it.

When Apple first released the MacBook Air a few years ago, I liked it, but thought I had no use for it. I felt it would be a great laptop for a journalist or writer or someone always on the move. I still feel that way and now I hope to be that writer who can make good use of the MacBook Air. I read a discussion forum on Apple's website tonight about the MacBook Air and it's use for writers and the remarks folks made were mostly positive which is encouraging to me.

Now all I have to do is come up with the $1600 for one! They're not cheap by any means, but with Apple, you usually get what you pay for: quality and elegance. I spent just over $3,000 for my iMac about 18 months ago and I haven't been disappointed. It just works and that is what I want from a computer. I spent too much time on Windows based PC's fixing things. Sometimes it was problems that came up from seemingly nowhere, and other times they were caused by me tinkering with things making them do what they weren't meant to do. But with this iMac, I don't tinker anymore, nor do I care to, and it doesn't present me with problems at all. It's been a great machine so far and a good workhorse.

I look forward to getting a MacBook Air, as I am experienced and happy with Apple's products. But I look forward to doing more writing and not so much as to make a living at it (at least not right now) but as a hobby and something to occupy my "me time" and give me some fulfillment. I also enjoy reading a lot and will be happy to do both from now on.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.