Bullet Wisdom

I am an Active Duty Officer in the US Army. I am a Husband, father, writer, hunter, gamer, and SOLDIER. This blog is a forum for my many hobbies as well as my random musings.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My Place to Write

"Lemme see your writing space!"

Except to the tune of R. Lee Ermy's line in Stanley Kubrick's 1987 war epic, Full Metal Jack, "Lemme see your war face!"

Yeah, it's a stretch. Lame.

When I attended the Army's Command and General Staff College a couple years ago, my instructor said we needed to create a space where we could read and contemplate in quiet. We needed somewhere away from raging kids and other home-driven distractions, somewhere we could focus on learning and expanding our view of the world.

We bought a new place back in January, first time we purchased a home since 1995. It's taken a few months, but the house is finally starting to come together. Between work, school, and extended family stuff, we only had time to seriously work on the place on every three or four other Saturdays. A pain. But I did finally got around to putting together my little workspace in the back bedroom. The way our floor plan is designed, the only thing better would be a basement or cave (it's Texas, everything is slab).

So I figured a picture was in order.

Let's break it down guy-style:

Apple 13" Macbook Pro Intel 2.53 GHz Core 2 Duo ($1,400 USD), 4 GB RAM, 320 GB 7,200 rpm HDD. The 24" Apple LED Cinema Display ($849 USD) lets me tile my work across dual monitors, simplifying all my cutting, pasting, blogging, twitting, and critting.

I'm ADD, it works for me.

The Time Machine backup program goes to two external HDD's, a 320 GB Western Digital My Book and a 320 GB Western Digital Passport Elite (both available everywhere online for under $100 USD). When my laptop went down last week with a bad motherboard and RAM, the Apple Store ended up replacing the entire interior, HDD included. If I didn't have timely backups, I would have been screwed. Fortunately, I keep two, in case either external drive decides to fail (and sometimes, they do).

We all know music is critical for our writing, so hiding behind the big monitor is a pair of Audioengine A2s ($200). Designed with critical listeners in mind, these little dudes bring the Boom, Boom, Pow to your desktop, throwing more bass than anything this small should be entitled.

If speakers aren't your fare, of if you're trying to hide you tunage from a sleeping spouse or baby, hiding in my drawer is a pair of Grado Labs SR225i headphones. The 'cans', made in New York ($225), bring true high fidelity to my iTunes collection. If you've never been introduced to this level of listening, even in familiar music there would be detail you didn't know existed .

The Apple Magic Mouse. If you have an Apple, and you have one of these, you know how cool they are. If you're a PC, and you don't, well, you don't.

Software weapon of choice: Literature & Latte's Scrivener. Word processing and formatting by writers for writers. If you haven't experienced the pain of uniquely formatting your manuscript for different agents, editors, publishers, contests, etc..., save yourself the trouble and drop the $40 on this. A click of the mouse and Scrivener will compile to any acceptable standard for Novels, Short Stories, Screenplays, and more. Oh, it's only available for Mac.

If you're a PC, I'm sorry. (Catch the theme yet?)

Desk, a cappuccino-contemporary piece from WalMart, about $90 USD. Chair, an oak dining special from the original Corps of Cadets Duncan Dining Facility, Texas A&M University, circa 1930's. The candle-stick thingy with colored glass? No clue; wife stuck it there because is looked cute.

Later in the month I'm throwing out the guest bed from the room and installing my Consonance tube amps and Sonus Fabers to add some real warmth to the room. If you can't already tell, I'm a bit of an audiophile nut.

If I were doing it again, I would have added an iMac rather than the Cinema Display. The difference in price and size between the two aren't all that much, and there's an adapter that would allow my laptop to dual-screen with the iMac's monitor, adding a cool computer that the kids could use when the Macbook was travelling with Dad.

So, that's it; my place to create. What y'all got? Anyone? Anyone?


Danielle La Paglia said...

I'm a PC. :P

I have a rather large desk, L-shaped in the corner of the living room. I like to spread out my notes and what-have-you. We also have a laptop (Dell) but it's for fun not work. All writing is done at the desk. I do most of my writing in the early mornings, late nights, and weekends when the monster is at dad's and Carlos is working or at soccer. I'm techy, so that's all you get. :)

Danielle La Paglia said...

Oops! I'm NOT techy. So NOT techy. :)

Kelly Metz said...

Love everything but the size of the desk. I like to spread out which is why my desk is so huge. I wish I could go MAC, but not in the cards at the time. When I'm not using my area, I'm lounging in the recliner with my netbook. At least that way, I get to see my husband. : )

Angela Magee said...

I'm a PC, but I'm thinking about hiring you to redesign my writing space!

Angela Addams said...

I am soooo jealous of your Mac

I have one this weekend on loan to play with and I'm loving it! Now I just need a book deal to get some money to buy one of my own.

My writing space is not nearly as cool. I do all of my writing in bed on my laptop! It's hell on my neck but I can't seem to break myself of the habit!

Falcata Times said...

Great post and to be honest my writing space is a real mess. I will get on with sorting it out at some point and really should look at better software to deal but currently I'm still sticking with Word.

This post has given me time consider what I need and what I want and will come up with something based on that.

Scott said...

Ah my old friend, you haven't changed a bit. The man who talked me into my first satellite dish at Fort Hood, the stereo system I could hear down Lauman Avenue at Fort Sill... Thanks for the tour of your space.

Mine is a field desk complete with folding legs. You know the kind. They've been making them the same way since WWI. It's dusty, and small, with way too much stuff piled on it to include the following:

Two year old Dell XPS that I bought for CGSC... solidly in the "good enough for now" category. If it makes it to the end of the tour I'll give it a medal.

WD Passport 1TB external hard drive.

A pair of VOL speakers that have cool blue LED lights on them to make my music loud enough to hear when I want to, but that's about it.

Chair of choice from the stellar variety of folding camping chairs that the PX sells back at FOB Falcon: The "Big Boy", rated to 350 pounds, which is BS. I'm on my 2nd one and the plastic fitting on the cross bars are breaking again...

I have a map of Southern Baghdad taped to the wall, surrounded by letters from the boys...

Anonymous said...

Full Metal Jacket is probably my all-time favorite war movie. Soldiers marching off to war to the tune of the Mickey Mouse Club theme. Brilliant.

I'm still straightening my emeritus writing space with a goal of eventually posting a pic. IT'S NOT READY YET, SO DEAL WITH IT! ;-D