Monday, October 19, 2020

Computers, Printers, and Phones (Oh, My!)


Computers, Printers, and Phones (Oh, My!) by Debra H. Goldstein

Today’s blog was written at the last minute. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to write it earlier. I had the best of intentions, but I ran into a combination of technological and human snafus.


When we moved, I didn’t hook up my standalone computer. Although the screen is a nice size, both to fit on my desk and to see, the tower is massive. For now, that computer, which is ten years old, is sitting in the corner of my office until I decide what to do with it. Not a problem, I was going to write this blog two weeks ago on my seven-year-old laptop.


The laptop has slowed from when I bought it, but it has been getting the job done. At least it did until two weeks ago when I thought about writing this blog. Suddenly, it began having problems being turned on. Either the connection button didn’t connect or there would be a moment of blackness before the words appeared. When it took me fifteen minutes to toggle it on before a Zoom PR call, I realized it was time to replace it.


I’m a writer, so it had to have memory, writing capacity, and a comfortable keyboard for typing purposes. I don’t do much in the way of gaming, graphics, or fancy stuff, so it didn’t need every bell and whistle. I’m not going to take you through my search process or how I decided it had to be curbside or mailed to me. Suffice to say, I ordered a new laptop, used not having it as an excuse for not starting to write this blog, received the computer, but failed to open the box – which was also an excuse for not writing. I finally broke down only to discover after six hours that what should have been a simple set-up wasn’t.


Next up was a conversation with a service rep after many minutes of being on hold. But, as you can see, we got everything resolved. It was a simple matter of having signed in with the wrong email. Six wasted hours on top of two wasted weeks.


My writing of late has been like the timing of this blog. Rushed or non-existent. For the past month, I’ve been doing PR for Three Treats Too Many, the third in the Sarah Blair series. The heaviest push has been during the past two weeks. Most of the time, the event was only an hour or two, with maybe another hour to prepare. But afterwards, when the adrenaline eased off, I was wiped out. My focus was gone. Things that should take ten minutes took hours because I missed something simple, like using the wrong email account for the 365 Office log-in.


In retrospect, I realize that for each of my books, I’ve had trouble balancing writing and PR. What about you? Does doing one or the other zap your energy or creativity? Do you look for an excuse to avoid one?  If so, I have a printer that is on its last leg, too.                                                             


Jim Jackson said...

2020 with its combination of politics (national and global) and pandemic (global, then national) have me perpetually tuckered out and incapable of long sessions of working on anything related to writing. I've not found the same issue with physical exercise outside, so I blame the miasma suffocating my brain on 2020.

Seven years on a computer is pretty darn good. I usually get six and wonder why I was so cheap I didn't replace it after five!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

My laptop is three years old and I'm already considering a "just in case" backup. Or maybe it's just the toast crumbs stuck under the touch pad.

Kait said...

Oh, Debra, happy that it worked out in the end. I am in your camp. I am so technologically inept that I hold on to my gear until its last possible breath. Office 365 is one reason I am leery of replacing this laptop. It holds a purchased copy of Office and I understand that Microsoft will not license owned Office programs for a new computer anymore.

As for PR and creativity - The last time I juggled the two I also worked full-time. Needless to say, sleep was not an option and creativity definitely suffered. Now that I am no longer working a day job, I am looking forward to my next foray into the PR world.

Judy Penz Sheluk said...

I have a difficult time balancing PR and writing. When I'm doing the PR push for a new book, I do virtually no writing. It's just too exhausting.

E. B. Davis said...

I have one word that sums up all that you've gone through, as I have, too. Only with cell phones. The one word--Verizonwireless! AHHHH. I can't even go into the horror. Saturday Night Live would be interested in the skit. Sometimes in my sleep, I can still replay the phone music they play while customers are on hold.

KM Rockwood said...

Discouraging--I'm getting ready to move & hooking up computers (and TV, internet, phone) are a major worry. I have a laptop--but it no longer connects to the internet! It's a Mac. When I took it in to the local computer place to take a look, the guy at the desk was doubtful--they don't work much with Macs. I didn't leave it.

Wish me luck!

Susan said...

I’ve generally managed five years per computer, and at one point my laptop was on its dying breath before I finished the novel.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

All of you make me feel so much better. When a computer was on its last leg, I used to move it into a storage area off my office in the old house in case I needed something on it that I hadn't backed up. When we moved, my son-in-law was amazed how much equipment i had (I asked him to kill the drives)... and how old it was.

I never realized how much energy PR took until I felt the exhaustion and noted how many hours of anticipation it involves. Judy, thanks for letting me know the same thing happens to you. E.B., I'd love to see the skit for SNL.

KM . good luck with the move. Susan glad it lived through the book - starting a new one, is why I went and invested in the laptop now. Jim..haven't tried the exercise, but know some of my other friends are saying the same thing you are. Kait, I want to talk to you in six months. I was more disciplined when I worked (and didn't sleep) than now that writing is supposed to be #1. Margaret - toast crumbs? I'm always afraid it is going to be a drink that goes over on my laptop.

Jennifer J. Chow said...

Debra, thanks for sharing.

I'm so glad I have tech-savvy family, so I can always turn to them when problems crop up.

As for juggling PR and writing, I feel like it's been doubly so this year. Having things pivot to online has made the marketing stuff ratchet up.