Writing in the cloud(s)

No bones about it.  The iPad changed the way I do everything.  No, Apple isn’t sponsoring me, but if the opportunity was there, you’re damn right i would be proud to have them as a sponsor.  The iPad not only changed the way I write, and changed the way I blog.  It changed the way i experience everything online as well as at home.

I’ve talked numerous times about the portability of the device and writing from wherever I choose, because of the iPad.  When my previous employer informed us that our contract was up and that we had to work for three to four months knowing our job was done in order to get a measly severance package, I took advantage of that situation as anyone would.  I wrote a novel.  Now, sure, I wrote lots of other places, but I did write on the job from time to time.  Can’t do that at the new job, that is for certain.

It was a change writing on the go.  I wanted to make sure I had everything backed up just in case something ever went wrong.  When I purchased my iPad in May, it was no different than writing on my old IBM workpad Z50 some ten years ago.

The IBM thinkpad was a hard drive-less Windows CE machine.  It was a keyboard with a screen.  I wrote on this this thing for years.  It was an outdated device, but it served my purpose.  It was small and lightweight.  I grew to truly enjoy the small keyboard on it.  My fingers were lightning on that tiny keyboard.  It was less than a laptop and light years ahead of mobile technology at that point.

What this device afforded me to do was write in no formatting whatsoever.  It was basic text writing.  I would then take the writing home, sync it to my computer and then drop the file into Final Draft and let the thing auto format the script I was working on.

As I became more fluent with how the thing work, I would plug a landline phone cable into the back, dial up and send the text to myself in the form of an email.  little did I know then that I was writing in the cloud.

I kept with that habit as time went on.  As I began writing the Seven Isaacs and the file was growing larger and larger, I knew that it was going to be a nightmare if I had ever lost any of that material.  I NEEDED to make sure I never lost my hard work.  At the end of every mobile venture of writing, i would save it, then send myself a .doc to back it up, just to make sure I NEVER lost a single word.   Using gmail I could constantly back my work up in the form of an email to myself.  The files were saved in my sent box and subsequently in my inbox.  It wasn’t a terrible system.

And here I am today.  I am 9000 words into my second novel.  No, it is not a sequel to the first.  Since my work routine now is far more hectic and doesn’t afford me the time to write, I have taken to a new routine.  I write for thirty minutes when I wake up in the morning, from bed.  I know, a couple days ago I said take ten minutes and write.  I started there, but the past two days, it turned into thirty without even trying.  From there, I get out of bed, take a long overdue bladder break, and then sit myself down at the dining room table with the iPad.  I leave the phone upstairs and tune out anything else going on in my house, ie, THE DOG.  Then, I pound away on the “keys” until the well of creativity runs dry.

The beauty of this new process is that the magic of the Apple iPad that I had experienced on my first novel has updated itself to the new iOS 5 operating system and totally rendered my previous routine extinct.  Now, while I write and save, it INSTANTLY backs the file up to the cloud servers.  iCloud.  At first, I didn’t see the use for it, but it is fast and it is convenient and it is utterly and completely unobtrusive.

This is what the screen of an iPad looks like after writing 5000 words in one sitting.

Six months ago, I was on the cutting edge of writing with technology.  Now look at me.  That process is extinct.  I don’t even have to move the files to dropbox.  It’s all done by itself.  So, yes.  it is a shameless plug.  Apple is making my life as a writer much much simpler, safe, convenient and most of all secure.  I can have faith that no matter what, my work is backed up.

Until Skynet takes over and the internet is shut down.

With that being said, I would like to touch on something close to the same topic, but in a different, more philosophical vein.

I am writing a novel based on an unsold script of mine.  To me, the process is fascinating.  Each morning this week I have strapped myself in for a ride where I know the destination, but somehow on this train EVERY single stop is different from the ones I previously knew.  It’s obvious to me now.  it’s all so very clear that this is what I am meant to be doing.  I am a far better novelist than a screenwriter.  I have discovered how to write people once and for all.  I took me ten years and I am just now scratching the surface of what it takes to write humans.

The Seven Isaacs taught me how to write humans and not characters on a blank page.  The characters are real and have genuine thoughts and feelings.  I am so happy that those discoveries have carried over into writing the new novel.  I didn’t know that I had developed that skill.  I have said it SO many times before that The Seven Isaacs just came to me as the words spilled through my fingers.  I was tapped into the universal consciousness of creativity and was the mere conduit for those words.

That has happened to me two days in a row while working on “The Samurai and the Mountain”  I know where that ride is taking me, but it’s an adventure every single time I plop my ass in the chair and let the fingers walk.  Sometimes the words are on the screen before I can fully process what is there.

That is true writing in the cloud.  Once we can tap into that creative consciousness of the universe, those ideas are already backed up.  We just need to train ourselves to sit down, do the work and let the words fall out.

Just make sure you save a copy!  HAHA!  Because, just as lightning never strikes twice, as any writer who has lost work and had to retype it knows… it’s never as good as it was the first time you called it into being.

The Seven Isaacs is open to a sequel, but that story isn’t ready for me yet.  The inkling of the idea is there, but right now, I go where the creative cloud takes me.  I know the second book in that series will be The Isaacs Five, which is a fascinating title if you have read The Seven Isaacs.  The title alone is filled with depth and mystery.  It has a double meaning and the story is going to be as interesting and as deep as the first.  But, I’m not in the right place to write it just yet.  Right now I have to deal with Shohei and Noboru as they tackle the men trying to make a mountain fall.

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