The other desk

The other day my friend Ricky Spears was tweeting about an article of the Productive Magazine #11 from Mike St. Pierre in witch talks about the need for a second desk, another desk.
For years, I spend most of my time being mobile, traveling or in the office, or in the so the Home-Office. The later desk was pretty much useless. On 2010 I began working more at home, especially fridays, and begin struggling with the home office concept. That struggle came to and end around mid 2011 when I began working on what my wife called at the time “The Other Desk”
Little by little I began spending more and more productive time on the other desk, until one day I simply make the move.
I work mostly at home these days, in that little desk next to the fireplace, where I almost have nothing other than the desk. At the time this post was written it had: Inbox, Index Cards, One Pen, a copy of each of my books, iPad Keyboard (on the Origami case), a lamp, a picture of our family and a charger/speakers for my iPhone. Nothing else.
Let me explain. When I envision my first home-office around 2004. I want it something that could be better equipped and supplied that the office I was working then. It had the scanner, the printer, the supplies and everything at reach. I continue with that idea of the perfect supplied office for years, I even got one version that had two desks in the home-office, one for working standing up and one for working sitting down. I had the couch, the music and more; but hate working there, so most of the time I pick the laptop and work somewhere else.
When I make the move to work mostly on my home-office, I again set the perfect office, and everyday, pick the laptop(and later the iPad) and work on the dinning table. (Driving my wife crazy)
When I began moving to “the other desk” I did it in a simple fashion, I didn’t move anything that I wasn’t going to use, and I try on friday to return anything that I am not going to use or don’t use to the desk on the original home-office room, the result is a super simple and clean desk.
Since I work mostly on my iPad, the laptop is in a desk on the original Home-Office room, and only get to be on “the other desk” when an specific task is going to required that I use it.
That’s my standup desk, in the Home-Office where all the tools are, the printer, the scanner, the files, the reference material and more. That’s the ideal office space, sadly for me, not the ideal to accomplish work or to get work done.
What took me years to understand is that I need was a desk to work, and a place to have all those equipment, and supplies that mostly distract me from the task on hand, making me less efficient, making me want to use the room less and less. The clutter generated by all that equipment didn’t motivate me to work more, but less.
I need a super clean desk. If I need the scanner, I can spend the extra ten seconds that will take me to walk to the room where the printer is, same with those files I don’t need daily, same with the stack of folders, same with the pens, hard drives and even the laptop.
If I will not use it tomorrow, I don’t want the thing in my desk. For the first time, I have a desk that I love, and that I am actually working on. Does that mean I quit on the idea of working on a table on Starbucks or the coffee shop? No.
There are days that I continue packing and go to a Starbucks I had found near my home. After years of trying I found the perfect one, is inside of a Target Store and don’t have internet access, and that allow me to be really productive. That may be “the other-other desk”

…and you don't have time either

I don’t have time to Write, and you don’t have time either;
I don’t have time to drink beer, and you don’t have time either;
I don’t have time to watch TV, and you don’t have time either;
I don’t have time to read, and you don’t have time either;
I don’t have time to do anything, and you don’t have time either.

I am finishing the edit process of my third novel, I am getting ready to write the fourth one, and I am in the middle of the translation from English to Spanish of my first novel, and like you I have no time to do anything.

I remember when I didn’t have time to write, because I need this perfect set of impossible conditions. In order to write I need it something like what Neil Gaiman’s Gazebo is and a really long time in order to get in the mood, and then things will happen.

What I learn is that I just need to trick my brain, I don’t need the gazebo (even if I drool over the idea) but my brain need to understand when is writing time, and when is playing time.

In my case the answer came in the form of Text Files. Text files offered a couple of things, they don’t allow format, so I can not play with margins, or underlines, or anything, it is just text. Second all computer (Including the iPad and the iPhone and my Mac or a PC) have a text editor, and the files can be email it after (or place in Dropbox that it’s incredible). The cool thing using Text Files is that can’t play, you can only write. There is no tweak, there is no formatting, there is only a place to write. The other thing I learned is that I need to write everyday, because that’s the only way to really have the time. There is no perfect time, some mornings is two hours some is fifteen minutes, some is ten before your eyes close themselves.

The reality is that no one has time to do anything, regardless how much we do daily, because we can only do, what we understand is important, and when get to be important. Until then, you are just calling it important, honestly, it is really different. So like you I don’t have time to Write, and you don’t have time either; and I don’t have time to do anything else, and you don’t have time either.


Sometimes is better the one that do one thing

It’s not a secret that I love to read. I have been reading over 52 books per year for a really long time. On the same lines, it’s not a secret that I love ebooks. I began reading ebooks on my Palm Pilot, (yes many, many years ago). Lastly isn’t a secret that I love my iPad and my iPhone that can do everything.

I try the Original Kindle and like it, but at the time I choose to continue reading in my Palm or my Treo. When the Kindle app was launch for the iPhone, I stop buying books on any other platform that wasn’t Amazon. I even got another Kindle that love and use until the screen broke on a trip. I never replace that Kindle because I had the iPad and the iPhone so there was no need. I was trying to make the devices be good at everything.

I had noticed already, that I was struggling to keep my focus while reading, I am not sure when, I am guessing with iOS5 something on the phone change, that make it faster to multitask, that in my case means worse for stay on one activity.

After read this post on the Kindle Touch from my friend Gretchen Hunter I decided that another Kindle was the solution to improve the focus. After read her reviews on the Kindle Touch, the Kindle4 and the Kindle fire; I pick the Kindle Touch because my goal was to read. For other stuff, I have the iPad and the iPhone.

I got the kindle touch at the beginning of this year, and had been enjoying long sessions of reading again. The Kindle is not fast, it doesn’t allow me to multitask or go to the web, but keep me in reading mode for a longer time. I also discover (I may start getting old) that I enjoy the weight and the size of the screen very much.

I am all for devices that can do many things, but there are things in witch you need to admit that: Sometimes is better the one that do one thing!

Another one bite the dust!

Last week I finish the first draft of my next novel. The tittle it is on revision, since things move in directions that I wasn’t expecting, and therefore the old title may or may not fit.

This new story is the continuation of my last book Putsch that was published on December 5th and had been so far enjoy it by many.

On that original story, Hannah Fisher is the name of the main character, she is a hired-for-kill assassin; and life give her an unexpected twist when she fall in love with victim of one of her crimes. There is a lot of adventure, this is a fast paced book, and also include a couple of conspiracy theories on a country in Latin America. On this second story we get more into the inside of Hannah while she is looking to get even with her old boss, or the person that use to hired her for most of her jobs, including her last set of adventures in Latin America.

The novel take a set in Panama, Mexico, Colombia, United States and Spain, again in a fast paced novel full of adventure and twists.

Now comes the fun, see how much of that you write need to be deleted, and how much is useful, and how much you need to re-write. I will be working on that the next weeks, and I am sure I will be reporting here what it is happening with the book and Hannah!

If you are interesting in read the book, it’s available on ebook and paperback in Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, Smashwords, Kobo and Sony eReader.

Is Barnes and Noble trying to expedite Chapter 11?

There are a lot of noise about Amazon vs Barnes and Noble recently on the Internet. Barnes and Noble is saying that they will stop carrying books that Amazon prints, and I am guessing that Amazon is afraid, really afraid. NOT!

The reality is that people go to Barnes and Noble and browse, wait for others, have a coffee and leave. The problem is that there is no book or volume purchasing, or at least not on my local one. People walk in, and leave, empty handed.

I can remember when was the last time I stop on Barnes and Noble to buy a book, but I guess was more than a year ago, since that was the time we quit on the Nook Color. Yes, we even try the Nook, (my wife didn’t like the Kindle for periodicals), so we got the black and white and later the color one. The devices where OK, the Barnes and Noble service not so much. After a mess caused by a Groupon, we decided to stop using the product. Barnes and Noble was simply unable to figure it out the problem, we forgot about the books, my wife got the Kindle, iBooks and Magazines in the iPad. For her the Nook was dead, and there was no interest ever on bring those memories back.

I have been an Amazon Kindle costumer since the first gen Kindle, guess how many problems Amazon has not resolve to my satisfaction; none, not even one. All had been resolved above and beyond my expectations. (and I have high expectations)

So, back to my original point, Barnes and Noble is not going to sell Amazon books. That’s actually great news to Amazon; guess what’s going to happen when people get used to their Prime Membership and the fact that books arrived now on two days (or less) with free shipping, to make things even worst, guess how many people will be willing too get a Kindle on Target, or Walmart, or Best Buy and never look back.

I only know two people that use the Barnes and Noble Nook, they got a nook, just because when they got the device, they want it to test the product before buy it, and at that time the Kindle was only available trough Amazon. Guess witch device they will consider when time is right to upgrade: The Kindle (or the iPad) (The rest of the people I know that use e-readers use an iPad/iPhone/iPod or a Kindle)

In my experience, people want to bet on the winner horse. Barnes and Noble doesn’t look like the winner one to me. As Borders didn’t a little bit ago.They need to make people fell in love with their stores, go there with the same illusion and emotion you go to an Apple Store; otherwise the paper lovers will continue getting the books cheaper in Amazon and when the want instant gratification they will drive to their local Target or Walmart and get a gallon of milk on the same trip.

There is no reason to stop in a Barnes and Noble unless you are looking for a book that it is in the Best Seller list, oh wait, those are already at Walmart and Target, by the way, most likely cheaper… Why I need to stop on Barnes and Noble? They don even offer anymore a comfortable area to sit anymore (our old Barnes and Noble use to, since we moved my local one only have uncomfortable ones)

Bring it on Barnes and Noble, stop carrying all Amazon Books, while you are on that, stop carrying all self publish books that are not exclusive to Pubit (your self-publish platform); and then make sure you remove the chairs (even the uncomfortable ones) so people come to what they suppose to come to your stores, Buy a book.

While you do that, and expedite the process to file Chapter 11, I will be browsing Amazon catalog to order my next book…
UPDATE: Since I wrote this, Books a Million is claiming that they wouldn’t carry Amazon Books either. The problem is that in the case of Books in a Million they don’t even have their own platform to compete with self publish books, and with Amazon getting more and more writers under their imprints, and more deals on printing, I wonder what and how Book a Million is going to differentiate from Walmart or Target… But as I said before, unless a really extreme transformation happen to bookstores, Indies or the likes of Barnes and Noble or Book a Million they will be soon in extinction soon.

A new direction for this blog

I have been thinking what to do with this blog for a little while. Yes, close it and abandon it had been an option, also for a while. Even if you check, the last time I was here was around December 13, 2011 and I am not apologizing for it.
I am a writer, but I didn’t want to talk about being a writer, or how to write or why I should be writing, there is so many people doing such a wonderful job that I don’t want to get there. I am also a reader, I love technology and many other stuff, but had been unsure on how to work this blog. I even consider for a moment to open another set of blogs so I have a place to talk about writing, a place that I can go and talk about productivity and a place when I can vent about technology and more.
This is suppose to be a place for me to post about my writings, my books and more. Then I began to think about what I would like to see from my favorite writers, and then it hit me, this is a place that people should see what I see, where people should learn what I enjoy, but from the eyes of a Fiction Writer, my own eyes. This is a place that will work as a hub when I want to talk about productivity, or my fiction writing, or how cold or hot is the weather where I live.
So for 2012 I decided that I will do 2 weekly short blogs, Tuesday and Thursday. This is the first one. What I am going to talk? I am not even sure, and almost doesn’t matter. I may talk bout my books, my story, technology or the fact that I am at home dealing with our baby or the dogs that I love and drive me crazy at the same time. I will also will talk about my books, my frustrations with my own stories, and more.
I am looking to show that behind a writer, and more specifically this writer, there is a human, for the first time since I begin blogging, I had give myself the permission to have fun.
So in 2012, I plan to have fun with the blog, and write short or long, sad or not, but more importantly have fun.