Sometimes I think I’m the only person on the planet without a BlackBerry. I must be the only person who doesn’t sit in restaurants or theaters or coffee shops texting to my friends. I’m really boring, I guess—when I’m sitting at a keyboard, it’s right here, and I’m sitting here because I’m writing something I want people to read.
Some of the authors whose books I’m editing send notes to me via their BlackBerries. That makes me wonder … are they also trying to write their books on these little texting gizmos? A BlackBerry is very powerful, but it seems to me that holding a key down until the letters turns into a capital or hitting ALT plus whatever or scrolling until you find a symbol would drain the creativity right out of you. You’d get so busy on that nifty little keyboard that you’d forget your plot, your dialogue, the philosophical argument you’re trying to make. As a friend of mine wrote (on her BlackBerry), Writing a book on a BBerry is masochist to the max if you ask me ((-; And, gee, I guess she forgot to double space so the gizmo would “period the sentence.”
Ya gotta have a decent keyboard. A few days before my new computer was delivered, I forgot to put the cover over my keyboard when I took my morning walk. I came back to find that one of cats had thrown up on the keyboard. You can’t type in cat puke. Nor can you clean it out from between the keys. I ran to Staples and bought their cheapest keyboard. But it stood at the wrong angle. The keys were smaller and closer together than I was accustomed to. I was working on a magazine article, but that cheap keyboard drove me nuts. I was so focused on staying on the home row that I couldn’t keep my thoughts straight.
If you’re writing a book of any kind, you need not to be distracted by your keyboard. No matter if you’re writing on a desktop or a laptop, make sure your hands and arms are comfortable. If you’re writing a novel and your hands are stressed, you can be sure you’ll end up with carpel tunnel or a repetitive motion injury. Don’t do that to yourself. What you’re writing is important to you and your potential readers. If you use a decent keyboard, then you can focus on your work, not on sore wrists.
Barbara Ardinger, Ph.D. (www.barbaraardinger.com), is a published author and freelance editor. To date, she has edited more than 200 books, most of them for authors going to small, vanity, or on-demand presses. To learn more about the editing services Dr. Barbara Ardinger offers, please visit her web site at www.barbaraardinger.com.