Category Archives: Life

Disasters and Drama–Take Your Pick

For those who’ve wondered what happened to me, here’s the long and short of it.

My desktop PC went into death throes and left me stranded with only an older laptop which wasn’t anti-virus protected. I had to buy a new computer. I got a new laptop, which had Windows 10, of course. The data from my desktop was in the hands of the Geeks, trying to recover as much as possible. My writing life was on that hard drive.

Well, poor, apologetic Geeks saved as much as possible to my external hard drive, but of my dozens of file folders, they could only retrieve A thru C. That meant I only had one novel, out of five, saved in its entirety. Four novels existed now in bits and pieces on flash drives or  in hard copy.

That’s four FINISHED novels awaiting final revisions, plus the entire plotline arc of the Wisher’s World Series.

Now you know why I’ve ben MIA. But, it gets better. Because of the new laptop and the old one, we had to get a new WiFi package upgrade (at a reduced price thought), a new modem and new router. It didn’t work. We had to wait several days for a tech to come to the house.

After that glitch was fixed (the new router was no good and had to be replaced), my new laptop decided to scare me half to death and go into hide mode where I could neither turn it off or turn it on. Yes, the gremlins had taken over my office and were playing hardball. A quick trip back to the Geeks had me up and running again. It seems that my computer has a major hibernation moe that required determination for circumvention of internal sleep mode.

That brought me to a few days ago. I was so stressed out by then and so fed up with trying to decipher Windows 10 that I let the new laptop sit and wait for me to deal with it. I went into distraction and escape mode for a few days. Today, I began tackling the arduous process of learning Windows 10, installing Office 10 again, and trying to get the app installed that will allow me to listen to music and watch movies on this new computer.

Oh, yes, that’s the other frustration. It seems that many of the new computers don’t come with media player anymore. You have to purchase one so you can use the DVD drive on said machine.

Now can you understand why communications hae been so difficulty for me lately? I pray you don’t have the problems I’ve had to deal with lately. Hopefully you won’t have to customize vision/audio settings to accommodate needs. Just finding the settings on Win10 that you want is a visual nightmare. It was not really designed to be user-friendly for the visually impaired.

So, that’s my current tale. Disaster in terms of time and data lost. Drama for the frustration and hair-pulling I’ve been faced with.

So, I’ve had my rant. I’ve gotten little done beyond that. I’ve gotten one short story revised–one written as part of a novel during November’s NaNo. I’ll be subbing it shortly to one of those lovely markets that actually pay for stories.

In the meantime, I’ll kep working on learning this new computer and its infuriating system. I’ll try hard to get back to you sometimes during this coming week with something other than grumbling.

It you have personal horror stories of your journey through Computerland, drop them into a comment below.

Have a great week, folks.

Which Comes First–Fiction or Life

Fiction writers all deal with the same obstacles, but also with the same basic reality.

quote-background-2-009

Each of us carries fantasy within us. Whether in daydreams, goals, or planning strategies, fantasy is at the heart of our lives. Without it, things would wither and die. So would we.

As children, we talked to ourselves and invisible friends. Come on–‘fess up, you did too. We found ways to entertain ourselves. Okay, so that applies mostly to those born before 1085. But the fact remains–we fantasize all the time.

We’ve had an argument with someone and afterwards, we go over the confrontation and rebuild it with what we would/should have said if we’d thought of it at the time. We’ve done something we think we’ll be criticized for and we’ll mentally audition explanations before the dreaded reveal of our “crime”.

See what I mean?

That’s why I say, which comes first–fiction or life? We talk about the chicken and the egg, life imitating art and vice versa. But can we really determine an answer without contingencies?

As writers, we pluck story lines from headlines. We use our experiences to form cores of plots. And along the way,  we learn about ourselves and human frailties.

One reason readers connect with characters and books are the built-in human qualities, good and bad, we put  into the people who inhabit our stories.

Classics are born because of those qualities and those imaginary friends and foes we’ve fantasized about and put on paper and electronic devices. And in some ways, those illusory human and non-so-humans are as real to us as any flesh-and-blood individual roaming this earthly plane.

We predict the future, recount and explain the past, and live in a present somewhere in-between.   

For us, reality is merely a word plastered on whatever time zone we’re working inside at the moment. We like it that way, and it doesn’t matter to us which comes first.

 

 

Confession Time

images (177)

Okay, peeps. 2016 is both at the top of the calendar and on the clock. Let’s face it. Last year, for many of us, was both a challenge and a disappointment. It’s time to switch things up and make things better.

director-chair-business-cartoons-vectors_GyG7my_OThat’s why I’ve decided to do something totally different this year. Firstly, I’m going to start putting out a monthly newsletter in February. For any who don’t wish to get it you’ll have the option to opt out once it’s up and running.

Next on the docket is a weekly post with an excerpt from one of the stories I’m working on

Image courtesy of jesadaphorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

at the moment. Right now, that could be from any of four different novel-length manuscripts. I might even ask for suggestions or criticisms on the excerpt of the day. I haven’t decided yet.

Lastly, I’m going to write one confession piece each month. It won’t be salacious, but it will reveal something about me that few know. It’s not about exhibitionism. It’s about connection between me and my readers. As human beings, we all share common experiences occasionally. I, for one, like to know that I’m not the only one treading deep waters or falling down and skinning my knees.

And since I haven’t got the newsletter ready yet, and I’m hip deep in revision mode and wish a break from it, I’ve chosen the confession for this week’s post. Here goes.

Errant Thoughts and Where They Take Us

Somewhere between sleeping and waking, a twilight period exists for all of us. Whether at night or in the morning, our minds fall down the tunnel of free thought, without direction or intent.

 The experience is different from daydreaming, for the thoughts scatter to the mental winds, never pausing longer than it takes for a butterfly to drink the nectar of a flower blossom.

Once in a while I have one of these stray shooting-star thoughts bring me into full wakefulness, ready for action. The driver of that action is curiosity—not just about where such a thought or image came from, but also to ask myself if I’ve ever encountered it before.

View over the stone desert of Hudson Bay, Canada, during low tide with rocks and stones in the tidal pools

View over the stone desert of Hudson Bay, Canada, during low tide with rocks and stones in the tidal pools

Take the other morning as an example. I woke, slightly dazed, from a sound sleep. Two words and an image greeted the inside of my eyelids, in bold type and a strong sense of imperiousness: OWL RIVER

I knew I’d never heard of an Owl River, which presaged the question as to why it would wake me.  I couldn’t resist the compulsion to find out what it meant. I got up and flicked on the computer. Google is a wonderful tool.

Owl River exists at the top of the world, emptying into the Hudson Bay at the far northern edge of Manitoba, Canada, near Churchill.  Okay, so now I had its location. But the question remains as to why the place would pop up and wake me.

Churchill Polar Bear Survey

Churchill Polar Bear Survey

Question: did I have any connection to the river? Answer: no. Did I have any connection to someone else with a connection? Answer: Yes, actually. About twenty years ago, I worked with and learned from a man who went to Churchill to film an annual polar bear study. My friend was a nature documentary filmmaker.

Question: had I heard anything about Churchill lately to trigger the reference? Answer: I’d heard

Western Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

Western Hudson Bay, Manitoba, Canada

only that the town had had more trouble than ever with polar bears because of melting sea ice and shortened freeze time in the Artic. The bears weren’t leaving after the autumn snows began.

Question: did I have any connection with Manitoba in general? Answer: only that I’d had a friend in the late ‘80’s who lived in Dauphin, five hours north-northwest of Winnipeg. I’d not heard from her in years.

So, where does that leave me? Well, if I take the paranormal route of thought, there are possible answers. Either there’s something happening with Frank or with my Canadian friend, Danika. Or, there might be something newsworthy up on Hudson Bay around the mouth of the Owl River.

On the other hand, it could be a simpler answer. A fragment of dream, unremembered, triggered memory associations I’m unaware of and the reference simply popped out to startle me at waking.

Take your pick, as to which is more plausible. Personally, I like the paranormal answer, but then, I’m weird that way.

Regardless of the true reason, I believe that many people have experiences similar to my early morning wake up call. I also believe that sometimes, we get messages from an unknown place. Whether we recognize them or not, these messages find us and ring a bell for attention.

If you’ve had something similar happen, drop a comment below and share it with the rest of us. Until next week; take notes, write often, and save a place in your world for wonder.

\ Writers’ Holidays and Year’s End

NaNoWriMo SWinner Badge won_earned

The annual writers’ holidays have begun. Thanksgiving and Black Friday, as always, divided November into days of humming along nicely on NaNoWriMo projects and those days of panicked scrambling to finish a planned novel by the end of the month. Turkey Day sneaks up on writers much of the time, due to the writing frenzy.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-004Once that frenzy ends in success or a learning exercise, eyes and minds look ahead to tree trimming, Christmas carols, egg nog, and gift wrapping. Between those activities are the actual shopping trips, decision-making sessions on when guests are coming to town, where everyone will sleep, and who’s cooking what for the groaning board.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-009Let’s face it. From Thanksgiving past New Year’s Day come a series of weeks that many writers might want to ignore or run from. Others revel in the idea of having the perfect excuse to turn off the creative brain and the computer in favor of diving into festivities that have nothing to do with writing. Regardless of which camp you’ve joined this year, preparations are being made on the editorial calendars of editors and writers everywhere.

The end of the year marks a point of reviewing accomplishments. Questions are asked. Did I get the projects done that I really wanted to? Did I expand my market reach? Could I have submitted more fiction or articles? The list can get really long.

Analysis

I decided to go through my list here. Otherwise, I probably won’t get to it.

  1. Did I accomplish the fiction projects I wanted to? No. I didn’t get Dreamie’s Box revised and edited. I now must wrangle with it in December. I also didn’t get another chapbook done and published on Kindle or get the cookbook done.
  2. Was I satisfied with what I did accomplish? Yes. I enjoyed my chapbooks that went onto Kindle and I really like the first volume of Wisher’s World.
  3. Are projects going as quickly as I’d anticipated? No, definitely not. I feel like I’m wading in thick mud most of the time, which encourages me to feel like I’m fighting a constant battle.
  4. Did I accomplish all of the article writing and submissions that I’d planned? Yes. I got out all planned articles and continue to contribute three pieces each month to Working Writers Club.
  5. Have I expanded my horizons with either fiction or non-fiction? Yes. I now have several fiction projects to revise and edit in the coming months—novella/novel length, plus short stories for magazine/competition submission. I’ve also gathered a long list of new magazine and journal markets, plus small presses.
  6. Have I developed my 2016 Editorial Calendar properly? No, not yet. I still have to go through the new markets (with their guidelines) and flag those I have material for already and those that require major pitches.
  7. Have I gathered all of the new tools I will need for the next year and begun the learning curve? Yes, I’ve gathered, but I have barely scratched the surface of that learning process.

5b6-052714-akpNow, I can move on to prepping for any holiday activity that needs it and take care of obligations for the month.

I have one assignment done already—I whipped it out during NaNo. I have two planned articles to write before Monday. I have titles and outlines for them. The same goes for all the articles due through April. My calendar will help me fill in the rest for 2016.

Fiction is something else. Again this year, I’ll concentrate on what I already have on the hard drive. That alone will keep me busy for the year. I will also work on more poetry in coming months. I’m planning two revision jobs per month—a long and a short, plus a poetry chapbook every other month. Some will go to Kindle, while others go to publishers. I plan on doing at least one extra article per week as well.

curated-stock-photos-v2-011-019We’ll see how that goes. I’ve already decided to plan relaxation time and a fluid enough calendar to allow for spontaneous relaxation, like daytrips. And there you have it.

That’s my current plan. What’s yours? Have you decided how you’re going to work for the next year? Have you looked back at where you’ve been and how you traveled the road from there to where you are now?

Drop a comment below and share with the rest of us. Until next time, have a fantastic rest of the week. I’ll be back.

Logic and Language

5b6-052714-akp

Writing and logic are always paired. Oft-times wee, niggling logic puzzles run inside our heads like so many gears inside a box. They crop up in all sorts of locations, including our own work. Communication is, after all, a writer’s business.

I refer to the pesky oxymorons that test everyone’s logic. Army Intelligence is one of the best examples and one of the most widely used in a comedic sense. Here, though, are questions about a few frequently overlooked examples.

First one up–Is it good if a vacuum really sucks?

Now think about this. Is it? Of course, you say. That’s its function–sucking up the dirt. But, that’s not the point. This is a description with two meanings. In the vernacular, if it really sucks, it’s not doing its job, now is it? Stated in an excited, enthusiastic tone of voice, it could mean that’s exceptionally efficient. So, which is meant here with the original question?

Second up–If a word is misspelled in the dictionary, how would we ever know?

This question takes some consideration. It asks a legitimate question related to the roots of language. If your dictionary has always spelled a word a certain way, with a specific definition, can you be certain it’s spelled properly?

What if the thesaurus spells it a different way? Isn’t it a case of tear and tier. The words mean entirely different things. Yet, how can we be certain that the word originally used for that meaning was spelled that way. Language evolves over time, after all. In effect, consensus tends to rule usage.

Next up–What is a whack and how can something be out of it?

Anyone know? Please, clue me in. I’ve always wanted to know what a whack looked like.

flash fiction picGoing on—Doesn’t “expecting the unexpected” make the unexpected expected?

Tongue twister time. Logic dictates that this is an impossibility, yet we use it, understand its meaning and its directive. Living by this motto, we also began our slide into nervous exhaustion, insomnia, paranoia, and assorted other disturbing conditions. If you’re always expecting something to happen without warning, aren’t you constantly in fight/flight mode?  Therefore, the very act of being prepared brings us to our knees with a variety of psychological problems.

And last for today–If all the world’s a stage, where is the audience sitting? This one is a real teaser in its own way. Its underlying meaning says that each of us is both actor and audience member in the same instant. How can we possibly criticize those around us, or applaud them, if we are being judged for each moment of our own lives in that same moment? Makes a person think, doesn’t it?

Analysis

Analysis

So, consider some of those oxymorons that have cluttered your brain’s logic center for a while. Question their meanings. Along the way, you may find a story that takes you to unforeseen horizons.

At Home—Reading for the Writer

Book and knowledge concept

These last two weeks were interesting in a number of ways. I rediscovered reading for pleasure—something I’d put on the back burner for too long. Every writer needs to read. If I think about it, someone always wants to know what a writer reads.

When I wasn’t working on stories for submission and a chapbook that will be released this weekend, I read. And before you ask, the books that come home with me are by authors I enjoy or who’ve been recommended by those I trust. The subjects and plotlines are varied.

Home from the Sea Mercedes Lackey 51lQj4cRM8L._AA160_For example: all four books of The Bride Quartet by Nora Roberts, Hangman’s Root by Susan Wittig Albert, Home from the Sea by Mercedes Lackey, Grammar Girl Editing Checklist (a very short read but worthwhile,) the Hay House World Summit ebook, How to Overcome Procrastination by Paul Newton, Market and Promote Your Book Checklist & Worksheet by Katie Davis, and several other short instructional pieces.

A mix of subjects and genres never hurts a mind’s flexibility. Between reading sessions, a few movies kept my interest—ones I’d never watched before, like Truly, Madly, Deeply. I really liked that one and not just because Alan Rickman was the male lead. I liked the quirkiness of the plot and the thinking that went into it.

You might ask when writing found a space on such a reception-only mindset. Well, I’ve slowed social media down to a crawl to concentrate on writing and all that goes with it. My time is being used more effectively. I hope. Playtime is being built-in again as well. Long days mean working into the night—a practice not unfamiliar to me.

Dreamie Memior Cover (1)My new Short Tales chapbook—Memoirs from Dreamie’s Box is finalized and will be available no later than Sunday. My novella, Wisher’s World, Vol. 1,Composing an Apprentice, is now through the beta reader phase. Now begins the final edit before it goes to the formatter. Its release is slated for the autumn.

There are also three short stories (7500+ words each) in revision for submission to magazines, a slew of poetry in revision for either a collection for competition or a release on Kindle. So you see—it has not been an idyll.

Sorry, but I couldn’t resist the pun. I leave you to return to those pesky words that fill stories. I’ll be back in a few days with an excerpt from Wisher’s World. By the way, that series will go a full eight to ten volumes before it’s finished. The terrific thing is that I’m still discovering secrets about my characters that I would never have suspected before this last rewrite. Secrets that will deepen and intensify the overall story. That’s exciting.

Sailing

Sailing

While I dive into chapters and formatting, why don’t you all take this weekend to play, enjoy, and relish your ability to participate in life. Have a great time. It will never come around again, you know.

 

 

 

At Home with Prepping

 

5b6-052714-akp

A while back I talked about what I planned to do this year with regards to writing. Last time around I showed everyone what I’d done with a piece of micro fiction. And there things have stayed.

This time, though, I’m reporting what’s been going on for the past two weeks. I’ve been prepping for a big push. I’ve been pulling out stories, flash fiction, memoir pieces, poetry, etc. for the sake of getting the best revised and submitted.

Some of what’s been brought back to light will go into short chapbooks for release on Kindle. I have some surprises there. Some are stories which will be submitted to journals or publishing houses for anthologies that have deadline dates. And some will be piled into full length efforts for publication.

Castle Fantasy BackdropAlong the way I also did some serious research into setting aspects for one episodic fantasy series, as well as a few things that will deepen the mystery I’m finishing.

As you can see, I’ve not been idle, though I haven’t been around here to keep everyone company. I study my coursework, do a bit of research, and find time for my critique group and my write-in group and the meetings that go along with those. I’m also taking the time to play on the weekends now.

Play is such a vital piece of a healthier lifestyle. That’s what I needed and what I’m working toward. I have plenty of work to Happy Girl Making A Wish And Making Bubbleskeep me occupied, without having to create any more. My focus is now on finishing and shopping the writing I’ve already got underway.

If I keep harping on marketing from time to time, it’s because I’ll be hip-deep in it every week. If I write about editing and what a write can learn by tearing apart a paragraph and rebuilding it, it’s because my time is spent doing that each day. A case in point—I’m doing a full rewrite and edit of my mystery “Dreamie’s Box” at the moment. I should have it finished completely by the end of February so that it can go to the copywriter and then the formatter.

What I’ve found, though, during this editing process, is that a third of what I wrote for the first draft and its progeny is now in the recycle bin. Why? Because anytime you can trash a complete chapter and not miss any of it in the next reading, tells me that it wasn’t necessary in the first place. And that’s what’s happened. So far, I’ve chucked four full chapters and the majority of two others. Even my critique group—who’ve been through the whole process with me—can’t tell what’s missing.

That, my friends, constitutes a major success in my book—literally.

Now you know what’s been keeping me away and up to my eyeballs during the day. Evenings I’m taking for my own, as well as the weekends. Life’s too short to do it any other way. At least for me.

Take the time to evaluate your own situation. Have you given yourself permission to enjoy your life as well as the things with which you fill it? Do you give yourself time and opportunity to laugh with friends and family and care about the time you devote to them? And do you come back to your vocation/avocation with recharged batteries and a positive attitude?

Let me know. Tell me about it. We all have the same opportunities to screw up. Why keep them to yourselves and feel guilty about them. Hang ‘em on the clothesline and air them out. They always smell fresher after a good airing.

‘Til next week, create something no one else has ever done and enjoy.

 

At Home with a New Year

stock-photo-13Yep, it’s finally come to this—2015, a new year. Have you had a terrific holiday season and a fantastic New Year’s Eve? Did you have champagne and watch fireworks? Do you have a hearty cup of hot chocolate in your hand calming those after party nerves? If not, grab one. It does wonders for others.

Everything begins anew today; new goals, new aspirations, and definitely new life plans. What do you mean you haven’t made life plans? You made resolutions, didn’t you? Well, those are considered life plans.

Puts a whole different perspective on things, doesn’t it?

Now, you might ask what new plans I have. I’ll tell you. While I have goals that contain writing and other creative arts, resolutions aren’t in the mix. I stuck them in my goals list. It’s easier to deal with them there.

Take health, for instance. Many of us resolve to do better in our health department over the next year, but how many actually follow through and for how long? If it’s a goal, you can create changes in smaller increments without having to leap off the cliff at the outset and expect to fly on the way down.

My health goal is simple. Each day I’ll get on that exercise bike for 5-10 minutes for the first week. The second week I’ll increase each day for another five minutes, and so on until I reach half an hour. I’ll stay at that time but increase speed. On a recumbent bike, different rules apply. Along with that change, I will decrease my sugar intake. Most of those treats will have to go. Between those two things and my current breathing exercises, I’ll be content until around May when I’ll add something else to the regimen.

That goal, taken in smaller increments will get me what I need—more endurance, loss of weight, healthier eating, and better lifestyle. Simple, huh.

Creative work isn’t the same. I can resolve to write the great American novel this year, or I can make a goal of finishing those projects that are already sitting on my storyboard. Those, too, can be done in smaller increments for completion. I can work for an hour a day on each of three projects and get something accomplished more slowly, or dig in and slog through a vast project and go down the burnout road again. Not a good choice there.

I’ve had enough people tell me in the past few months to progress more slowly that I’ve chosen that route. The one specific goal of mine that deserves to be fulfilled each and every week is the submission of at least one project to a publisher. It doesn’t matter whether it’s poetry, flash fiction, a Kindle ebook, a short story, or a non-fiction piece. I’ve practiced fiddling long enough. It’s time to play for the audience.

Those are my strategies for this coming year. I’ve make only a few goals, all doable with determination and perseverance. Lifestyle changes will evolve as a result. Now, I have to go to work on a poem for today. I have the prompt. All I need is the spark.

Raise your cocoa cups in a toast to all of us: May the New Year brings each of us what we need for an inspiring life and a changing scene.

See you all next week, if not sooner. Happy New Year, all.

At Home with New Goals

stock-photo-5

Happy Holidays, All

We’ve managed to make it through to Christmas week without losing ourselves.  Or did we?

NaNo took the last of my writing reserves and wiped the floor with me, leaving me to put myself together again during December. And what have I been doing this month, writing wise?

Well, I’ve revised and combined two chapters on Dreamie’s Box and little else. The next few days will see me doing study duties on a writing course. I did beta testing on new software for writer Holly Lisle’s new course. That was a blast that was.

As part of the testing, I got to read pages of stories, some of which I hadn’t seen before. I’ll read Holly’s stuff anytime I can get my hands on it and now I’m going to have to get the full versions to read the rest of each story. Love it!

004-stock-photo-nAfter the holidays, I’ll work on my 2015 Editorial Calendar. My write-in group will go over goals for the next year at our first official meeting in January. It helps with accountability. It also forces me to implement a pacing program for myself. I don’t want to put myself into the same situation that I had this year. That’s my primary goal for the next year.

004-stock-photo-mIf you’re serious about writing, I strongly suggest putting together a writing group, whether as a critiquing unit or as a write-in cluster. Why? Accountability, feedback, writing energy generator; all of these come into play. If you’ve got dedicated people around you, your writing will improve and be extended.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to work on domestic chores. Like many of you, I have a few gifts still to put together. I make all of my own gifts if I possibly can. I still have a few to go. They may be small, but they’re intricate and tedious by nature.

004-stock-photo-oNow that I’ve got my mind cleared away from all that didn’t get done this autumn, I can concentrate on what I really want to do in the next six/twelve months. I can settle comfortably into a writing routine that includes both of my groups. And above all, I can redefine who I am as a writer. That’s become important to me in this past couple of months.

My philosophy has shifted a bit and I must take a good look at where I want to go and which path serves me best. I have the time now to do that before I lock myself into a calendar of projects for 2015.

I’m hoping to get much more done on both of my websites. I’ve neglected each of them abysmally and I need to correct my course. That’s also high on my list of goals.

008-stock-photo-xComing to these conclusions has caused me difficulty. Why? Because I seriously considered walking away from writing during my time away. I can’t, but I considered it.

Now, I must forge a new relationship with all of you and what I do with this site and my writing in general. Major changes probably won’t appear, but there will be changes on a smaller scale. That’s the nature of moving through time.

Having said that, dedication to including all of you in my weekly struggles will become more pronounced. I hope you won’t mind too much. The transparency will do me good, and hopefully, help others understand that sunny and bright isn’t always the weather of the day. Storms with rain/snow/hail/and high winds come along unexpectedly and must be dealt with.

Along the way will be a lesson or two learned the hard way, which is the only way I know how to learn anything. I’ve got the bruises to prove the hard knocks.

Until I see you all next week, enjoy each day as it comes and forget about what might happen  (or might not happen) sometime in the future. The present is what charts the course to tomorrow, even if tomorrow doesn’t exist. There is only today. That’s where the future begins. It’s 007-stock-photo-b

Have a comforting and blessed holiday. I’ll see you all on the other side. Take care and God bless.

 

 

At Home with Tips

usb-flash-drive-icon-md

Hello there—

I discovered a quick and easy tip tonight that I thought I’d share with you. I always feel especially bright when I unearth something I really wanted to know. In this case, I felt like a lucky miner with a gold nugget in my hand.

Many of us carry flash drives rather than risk our files to a “cloud.” Of course, to determine by intuition how much space is free on one of the said drives is risky business. And rarely close to accurate.

I needed to know how much free space I had on a drive, and I didn’t want to search around on Google for an answer. Instead, I experimented and hit the right answer first time out. How cool is that?

To get a reading on your flash drive:

  • Insert flash drive into USB port
  • Open it as you normally would
  • On the left-hand side of your screen are the libraries, etc. Go to where you flash drive shows up and Right Click on it
  • A menu will pop up
  • At the bottom of the menu is Properties. Left Click on Properties
  • A new screen will appear with the details of memory storage: Used Space, Free Space, Capacity

Now you, too, can see how much more you can store on one flash drive. I mostly use 8GB drives and it takes lots of audio, video, pic, and text files to fill one of them.

Note: If you don’t catch it on your first time through, Right click again on your “J” drive (or whatever designation your system gives your FD) and look at the Menu again. You will see Eject. If you Left click on that, it will disconnect the FD from the system and you can simply remove the flash drive from the USB port without having to go through the hassle of locating the wee icon on the lower screen tool bar. I loved this function when I found it, too.

And there you have it. That’s one of my simple tips for the day. If you already knew about this wee function, congratulations. I’m betting there are plenty who didn’t know it, though.

And now I can get back to learning a new crochet stitch. My next project on that front is a perfect pair of Crocodile booties for Sister’s newly-expected great-granddaughter. They’re actually a practice run for the two pair of adult models that will follow.

Happy computing, folks. If I don’t get back to you before the weekend, have a terrific rest of the week. I was editing today and have critiquing to do tomorrow for my group’s weekly meeting. Stay warm and safe, wherever you are.