Dissecting A Diversion

I was ready to start a new chapter, and went back to where I’d stopped yesterday.

Main character was on a zeppelin. I decided I needed to get him there, so I moved back in time. Yeah, my process is very non-linear. I’d written what I saw the day before, and that meant he was on a zeppelin, taking a trip. Now I needed to get the hero and team there. I decided to pick up the action where he first encountered the zeppelin. I began visualizing that moment. The zepp is tall. How tall? How big? To the Google!

Wikipedia was a bitcoin mine about zeppelins. A company had built some and had been giving tours, but folded. The company was based at Moffett Field. Well, shoot, used to live there!

I needed technical information on the zeppelin. How many engines did it have? What’s its payload, crew size, etc. Remembering my time on Moffett, I recalled the U.S.S. Akron. Well, let me search and read.

From the Akron, I went to the Macon, and on through the history of German, British, and U.S. military and civilian zeppelins, designs, and disasters. Nevil Shute helped design R100 and R101 for the British military. A side path was followed to a summary about his autobiography, Slide Rule. Clicks uncovered information about hybrid air vehicles (HAV), dynastats, rotastats,  Long Endurance Multi-intelligence Vehicle (LEMV), the Airlander 10, and the Flying Bum.

This novel is set in a future dystopia so I needed to wrap my head around how HAVs may progress from now to then. Then, what limitations would be encountered, and how they would address those.

Hours had elapsed. I’d taken bathroom breaks, replenished fluids, and stretched and walked around. I hadn’t written, although I’d collected a stack of information as building materials. It was almost four by then, so…well, I needed a break. I’d do a Sudoku, and then write. But, by the time I finished the puzzle fifteen minutes later, well…I went on to my jigsaw puzzle in progress.

And that is how a novel doesn’t get written.

Got my coffee. Time to try to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Coffee House Rules

My home office is a comfortable place. Got a big desk, chair, books, all that stuff, with easy access to the kitchen and coffee.

You’d think it’d be ideal for writing. Cats, spouse, neighbors, and generalities seem to conspire against it working. If I had to name one as the greatest offense, the cats would take the spot. They’re like, “Hey, I hear him typing. I better go put a stop to that by getting on his lap or the keyboard.” (This is called an interflooftion.) Just doesn’t work for me.

So I like coffee houses for my writing endeavors. I abandoned my previous favorite (management changes, and they treated former employees (who are family) like garbage, so I’m gone). The search was on, causing me to remind myself what I was looking for. Also, people ask me, “What are you looking for in a coffee shop for your writing?” or “Why do you go there?”

So — no order, really, but numbered for convenience.

  1. Tables with chairs and access to outlets.
  2. Good coffee.
  3. Some space.
  4. Decent prices.
  5. Location – must be in Ashland, OR.
  6. General ambiance.

A nice staff also helps but I must say, in fourteen years of frequenting Ashland’s coffee houses, I’ve not encountered a nice (code for friendly and engaging) staff.

These are subjective things. (Right? Most things are.)  I settled on Noble’s after trying a few places. Noble’s has all of the above (plus excellent scones and muffins (although I try not to indulge, right?) except their coffee costs one dollar more. After deciding on the place, though, I then had to pay attention to its ebb and flow, cause, you know, those tables, chairs, outlets, and space aren’t unlimited.

As with most places, you either must arrive early (typically before 8:30) to beat the morning rush. The next break generally arrives at ten. With Noble’s, I found the best time to arrive for my writing is 11:30 AM. The place empties. Most tables (with outlets) are available, so I have a choice of places. There’s then a forty-minute lull before they experience a lunch rush. I can settle in and write for a few hours. It’s great.

The start time pushes back my time, so I need to adjust either ends. Of course, this is winter; things will be different in other times of the year.

It probably won’t surprise you, but I ran into friends everywhere I went in to have coffee and write. (“Oh, you’re writing here now?”)

Alright now. Got my coffee. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

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