Someone I know once likened computers to children. They do what they're told, most of the time. They demand your attention when you have better things to do. And you can never truly relax your guard with them. Did I mention that he's divorced now?
In December I decided that waiting 15 minutes - for my PC to boot up, open Word and grant me the privilege of reading my own emails - every morning before commencing the business of writing was not a great start to the day. Take into account the lock-ups, inexplicable errors and slowcoach close down and that all adds up to a fair chunk of unproductive time.
As an occasional Mac laptop user, the obvious choice was either a base unit (not possible with my iBook) or a new - for which, read: reconditioned - Mac. The apple store website has some good deals if you can catch them. It's still early days now, organising the transferred files and discovering that a huge chunk of my emails didn't survive the perilous memory stick journey.
Trawling through the address book that didn't import properly, it's interesting to note just how many old contacts are still there. Many relate to previous projects, publisher and magazine pitches and the occasional networking contact that faded away. It all made me think about the projects that never got off the ground for one reason or another yet still occupy disk space - and headspace. Sadly, there's no purge button on organic memory but it's both useful and therapeutic to do a little data housecleaning every once in a while. If nothing else, you face up to all the stories, articles, plays and plans that never saw daylight.
It's a familiar theme for writers - what is it that we do and what is it that we don't do. The answers can be surprisingly fluid but unless we check in with ourselves ever once in a while, we can waste a lot of planning time, writing time and thinking time on endeavours have have neither our full commitment nor a probable chance of success. And the upside of that is that we focus on the writing that does. I'm thinking of calling it Ocham's Pen.