I have three pet peeves that affect my writing: location, long nails, and bad internet.
I can’t write anywhere, although I’ve tried to write in many places. I write best in the dead of the night when the only sounds in the world are those of deathly owls and hungry, annoying babies. The other only sound is that of my fingers tapping the keyboard, and the clicking sound as I use the cursor. Occasionally, there is the sound of a drunk being hauled into the huge police truck. Perils of living next to the road, and next to a road block.
The truth is that I can’t write anywhere. I can research anywhere, even in the middle of a war zone, frankly because research requires less bleeding from me. Even a child of five can Google now, so my only advantage of my niece is that I get paid for it. Plus I use my own phone and computer while she quietly steals her mom’s.
I can’t write in a moving vehicle because it means I am either breaking the law or someone else is driving. I’ve only written once while driving, rather dictated this story about my biological mom and second chances. It’s the sunset that got me mushy, the orange skyline I was driving towards on the Nothern Bypass. Funny, I even drove past my turnoff, all the way up to Ruaka. I can write on the bed, mostly because I initially didn’t have a desk and had to use the bed for many hours on end. The desk though, remains the place where many stories are penned, where many long forgotten research points become a story. Where a tale is weaved, to make the past look like a photograph, an image stopped in time.
Once I have location, then I face another, more serious problem. There is something about long nails that just drains away my ability to write. That’s why I now have nail cutters nearly everywhere. I never see them grow. My brain seems to max it out until the one time I have pushed deadlines and I am in the bliss of writer’s panic. Then I open up the laptop and type away a working title, five words in ten minutes. Something feels wrong, and I work for a while longer, slowly, then it hits me. My claws are hitting the keyboard wrong, and now my brain is cursing at me. The distraction then becomes that. I don’t know what it is about claws that just kills off the juice. Having talons is meant to make it easier to grasp things, and being a writer means that I hardly ever see the sun. When I leave the house, I look like an eagle that’s shedding. But long nails are the easiest of my pet peeves.
It is the bad internet that most gets to me. Before Zuku Fiber, I tried everything else, hence my box of modems and stories. I got my first modem from my older sister, the big modems the size of an Ideos that used a USB cable. It was slow, too slow, but that might also have been the extremely slow laptop I had. So many nights were spent ignoring girls on campus, typing away on an old laptop with damn slow internet. It took me a year to make enough to buy another laptop, and two months to find my own niche in the freelancing world. From there, the hurdles only increased, as did the modems in my little box. One was broken by a rather clumsy lady who brushed by my computer, presumably trying to get my attention. The USB broke, and I had to get another. Another simply died on me, one night as I hassled to finish a deadline and sleep. The thing just broke down. Two I bought on the same day, frankly because one refused to work and I had to drive to three different shops trying to figure out the problem.
They say you shouldn’t marry someone until you’ve seen them use really slow internet. A bad internet connection is a pet peeve for everyone, not just writers. Even socialites need good internet to Instagram photos of their Oates to the mass of screaming followers and creepy stalkers. Excellent internet is an essential need now, frankly because the bad internet is from the Devil. It is the one thing that makes it impossible to research and write. My first stop is always Google. Hence, my internet connection has to be ready to open tens of tabs on Chrome, and PDFs on Foxit. Good internet is thus the road upon which all this is made possible. It is the tarmarcked road splashed on some Governor’s facebook page. The road that eventually lets the potatoes tell their stories before it is too late to become chips. Which reminds me, do you know we have a Chips Law? I shall write about it soon.
My one problem with Internet Service Providers is that there is no perfect one. But if you find one that is significantly more reliable than everyone else, you stick to it. Zuku Fiber’s connection has become my one gateway to the internet, the one way I get material for Too Late for Worms and thrash it into a story. In the last year or so, the style here has changed, the writing has become serious. I found my perfect theme (for now), and I am trying to be more disciplined in rolling out pieces. There is a clear strategy now to grow Too Late for Worms as a platform for stories. The potatoes get here while they are still hot, like the fresh ones you get from Sonford Fish and Chips at 4 in the morning. They are salted and spiced, and sliced down, sometimes into listicles and other times into Features and Rants. Most of it has been because I finally found stability.
One Story is good,
till Another is told.