Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My New Workstation

Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books for teens in lots of weird genres like, fantasy (Blood of Kings trilogy), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). Find Jill on FacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

So far I've started out the new year with a great To Do list and a sweet phone call with my agent, who helped me get some focus on that To Do list. But there was one other thing I've done to start out 2014 in a strong way.

I updated my treadmill desk.

I don't know if I told you all, but I have a lot of pain in my shoulders and hands from typing all day. A few years back I set up a bunch of things to help me get up out of my chair and move around. See this post for all the things I did. But it wasn't long before I was ignoring those things. I tried hard not to ignore the treadmill, but the thing is . . . it was a pain. I'd have everything open on my desktop computer. My story, Google, the online thesaurus, my book guide, the map from my book, etc. And I'd have to save and shut it all down, pull out my flash drive, then pull it all up again on my laptop. No, it really wasn't that difficult, but it was a pain. And that meant that I didn't do it. I just kept sitting at that desk and ignoring the treadmill desk I'd spent so much time making!

But this year I had an idea. And I put it into action. Here's what I did. I bought a second monitor---a little bigger that the first. I bought a wall mount for it. I bought a wireless keyboard. And I bought a twenty-five-foot montior cord and a VGA splitter cable. My husband mounted the monitor on the wall for me. I hooked everything up. And it worked. My desktop computer now has two screens, and one is mounted on the wall over my treadmill. Now I can walk and work and I don't have to close down my files to do it.

I'm so happy!

As the years have gone by and you continue writing on a regular basis, what things have you changed about your workstation? What works great? What needs an adjustment? Be proactive about it. If you can get your workstation to be a location that helps you be productive, that is ideal.

And don't forget to get up out of that chair, take breaks, and stretch. You don't want to end up like me someday with lots of pain. Take care of yourself!

It's a mess, but it works!

Oh, and I almost forgot! Outcasts released yesterday, and in case you didn't see my posts about it, Omar created a comic book to give you all for free. Visit this link to see it.


31 comments:

  1. Heehee! I like that Tron poster on the wall. :D

    My workstation varies...it's very portable, because all I need is a notebook and a pen. Occasionally I type on my computer, but it always hurts my eyes after awhile. So generally I prefer to write by hand. This means I can carry my work with me everywhere...on a road trip, to the doctor's office, to a friend's house. I don't necessarily always do much with it at those times, but hey, I have it by my side in case inspiration strikes. :) I work best alone, though, so most of my writing is done either at my desk, on my bedroom floor, or, on cold days, curled up with a thousand blankets on the underside of the bunk bed. I tend to be most productive at a desk, though...

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    1. That's cool, Kelsey! I like writing in notebooks too, but I don't do it very often. But every year at back-to-school time, I buy, like, 20 notebooks at .10 cents each. I just like to have them in case I need one. :-)

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  2. That's funny 'cause I just got a new desk for writing last month for my birthday. So far I like a lot, but most of the time I end up using it for school.

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    1. Nice, Samuel! New desks always excite me. Homework never excites me...

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  3. What an awesome idea! It's great to be able to stay moving while writing, I am sure.

    I was wondering, have you possibly done a post before on using a fictional place in an otherwise realistic book? If I wrote a story on an Island the doesn't exist, but the rest of the story was entirely realistic, would that clash? Should I write it in a place that exits, or can I create my own world and still have the book not be considered fantasy?

    Thanks!

    Rebecca

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    1. My world is set in the early 1800's, but there is no magic. I don't consider it fantasy. There ought to be a separate genre for realistic fantasy.

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    2. Lots of books write stories in fictional places. Comic books do it all the time (Metropolis, Smalleville, Gotham City). Or think of Springfield in the Simpsons. It never says what state it's in. Or Stephen King's Castle Rock, Maine.

      So, yes, you can make up a city or an island for you book, but have it take place on earth. I don't think we've written a post about it. But it would be less work than researching a real place and less work than inventing a fantasy land too.

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    3. Michaella, I might call that genre alternate history.

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    4. Thanks Jill and Michaella! I appreciate it. And I feel better about the book I've already half written on a fictional Island. Wouldn't want to have to fix that. ;)

      Rebecca

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  4. My 'normal' workstation at this point is my bed, sadly, since I often end up writing a page or two right before I go to sleep. When I actually write before then, I typically do it at my desk, which used to be my dad's desk. I always have to clear it off, though, to make space for my notebook.

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    1. My desk is always, always a huge mess. Even when it's neat, it's still a mess. I think I'm hopeless there.

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  5. Congratulations on the book release!
    ~Sarah Faulkner

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  6. Ooh, I love this! My doctor actually has a treadmill desk, and she'll be walking on it during your consultation. :) Have you tried the writing software that you speak into? I know a lot of writers use that...Or using some sort of dough or a ball or something to kneed and squeeze every now and then while your writing might be helpful.
    Thanks for the post, and congratulations on the release!!

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    1. I bought Dragon Speaking Naturally, but I haven't been using it. I'd like to. It's just faster not to at this point, though I think that once I trained myself, it would be faster to use the software. Also, I can't use the Dragon on my treadmill. Too much noise.

      I like the idea of a squeeze ball. I'm always biting my fingernails! Or eating junk...

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  7. Wow, that looks great! :) I'm so sorry to hear that you have such problems in your hands. :( My hands get to aching when I'm writing - which normally means, "Break time!" :) It's like they get all stiff, along with the achy.

    I have a writing area down in our basement (which is really nice), but it's too cold down there for me to work there right now. So, my second resort is my chair - fondly called, "The Writer's Chair" - at the table. :) A good substitute. :) I have so many "writing room" ideas, but they'll have to wait till I have my own home. ;)

    Congratulations on your book release!!! :)

    -Patience

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    1. Thanks, Patience! Ooh, when you have your own house, you can call it The Writing House! That would be amazing.

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    2. Thanks, Mrs. Williamson! That's a great idea! I just may do that. :) In the novel I'm writing, the main character is a writer, and their place is named, "Inspiring Hall". :)

      -Patience

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  8. Cool idea, and congrats with Outcasts!

    I'm still working wherever I happen to be at the time. Usually the computer, at a table in the dining room. But sometimes I do use my yard-sale electric typewriter, or my notebook and pen. When I did NaNo for the first time back in November, I wrote by hand in the morning then typed it into the computer and finished up for the day sometime in the afternoon. That seemed to work well.

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    1. You have a typewriter!?! So cool. I want one. They sound so awesome and nostalgic. Well, to me, anyway. LOL

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    2. TYPEWRITER??? I've wanted one FOREVER. That's so cool!!

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    3. I've DREAMED of a typewriter for years now!!! Is it one of the old fashioned kind?

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  9. That is so cool, Jill! I want to do it.... I just kind of need a treadmill and a computer... aw. I own neither. :P I'm so sorry to hear you have pain in your arms. I have a bad pain in my shoulder, it doesn't hurt when I type, but it does hurt if I try to use it on/with anything heavy/high. :P

    Congrats on your book release!!! :D

    TW Wright
    ravensandwriting.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, TW. Sorry you have pain in your shoulder! :-( Did you hurt yourself somehow?

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    2. I think I did while moving heavy tubs--but I don't know. We plan on getting a X-ray or MRI sometime while we're in America. *shrugs* I hate being the odd one out in soccer. :P

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  10. Love your set up Jill. Mine's changed a little over the past year, especially since I had terrible tendonitis. So now I have a new chair so I can sit at the right height (shorty over here), a desk by the window so I've got plenty of light for handwriting, new whiteboards for plotting and planning, and a tablet stand so I can look at things on my tablet (for research of course...) while I have my computer open too. Thinking of getting an ergonomic keyboard too for my poor hands. As for moving around, I do that for procrastination! That and my morning run of around 5k. Trying to get into good habits.

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  11. I'd looove to do that! I really struggle to SIT STILL and do all my writing. So walking AND writing would be awesome. ;) I'll have to put a treadmill on my wish-list...hehe. My writing space is my bed. I sold my desk for a bookshelf. It had to be done. I'm in love with my new bookshelf.

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  12. My writing space? Hmm...my family office. I should really use my bedroom but that's where the laptop is.

    -Sam
    http://youngwriterscafe.wordpress.com/

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  13. That's awesome! Unfortunately I don't have a specific workspace (at least that I use often) because I am always so busy and traveling. For example right now I am sitting in the Student Lounge of a Speech and Debate Tournament. I managed to get a hundred or so words in before several of my speeches and debates. Although I do have a desk at home (poor thing must feel so abandoned) which has my typewriter on it.

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  14. That is such a cool idea!!! Never thought about combining the treadmill with writing. Maybe when I have my own house after college I'll copy you. ;)
    My writing space is a desk my mom modified from IKEA. It has those cubby-like spaces all around it FILLED with YA fiction. I keep my concept notebook, pens, and paper all close at hand, a TARDIS lamp my aunt made for me, and a magnet board. Center of attention, of course, is my laptop. I'm now using a nice speaker I got for Christmas to play iTunes Radio while I write--brings inspiration. The whole space is cramped and messy, but it works!

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