When I decided that I was going to write a novel (over four years ago – no-one could accuse me of being impulsive) I realised that as I work from home and my day job involves a lot of writing, I needed to find a way to differentiate between the two. I wanted to signal to my mind that this was fun writing and not work writing. And my husband came up with a great idea: a different laptop.
When I first started using computers (1991-ish, writing manuals for a software company) I worked on one of those tiddly cubic Macs (heavens, my eyesight must have been astonishing). So by rights I should be a Mac user – but as most of my clients in my day job are financial institutions and they are not at all Mac-ish, I quickly moved over to PCs and have stayed there ever since. So this decision to have a second machine for novel-ing seemed a good opportunity to try a Mac again. I bought a secondhand little white Macbook – quickly named Flora (Flora MacDonald – helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape) – and she and I spent many happy hours together on “Fatal Forgery”, either in my back bedroom or in the library.
The only problem with this two-computer arrangement is when I travel. I often go away for a week at a time – I work during the day, of course, using my PC, but in the evenings, I could get a bit of the new novel done…. if only I had Flora with me. But taking two computers is impractical, so this week, for the first time, I copied a draft chapter to my PC to see if I could work on it that way. And it felt really weird. I even think that the style of writing was different. Does my brain really know that “grey PC means work” while “white Flora means novel”?