The spacebar: I have a new appreciation for this unsung, overlooked hero of the writing world.
My spacebar was driving me absolutely insane. About 10% of the time it either refused to enter any space at all, or it added two, which triggered autocorrect to add a period and capitalize my next word. I was ready to heave the whole thing at the wall.
I had so many options. I could get my keyboard fixed. I could turn off autocorrect. I could, you know, try to be patient.
Did I do any of those things? No. I did what any self-respecting 2020 coronavirus-era millennial single independent woman would do and watched a YouTube video before attempting to fix it myself.
I will spare you the gory details, but it was a disaster. Instead of a misfiring spacebar, I now have a spacebar that doesn’t work at all unless I press down really hard right in the center or remove the cover completely and press the tiny little button on the inside.
It’s pretty difficult to write and edit without a working spacebar. It’s amazing how our hands get used to the keyboard, how fluent they become. We can speak through typing without even thinking about it. I mean seriously… take a moment to think about how our hands move over the keys. They aren’t in alphabetical order, and I’m sure there’s a history to why the order is the way that it is. I don’t know the logic/design. My fingers just know where to go after a lifetime of practice.
I type about 100 words per minute with 99% accuracy. I wouldn’t win any championships, but that’s pretty fast. (Shout out to my middle school typing teacher, who once had to discipline me because my friends and I were having a butt-kicking war. Anytime we saw each other in school, we ran up and kicked each other in the butt. Middle schoolers are brilliant, btw. I was walking by his classroom during passing period, saw one of my friends, ran inside, performed a beautiful kick right to the derriere, and then saw his angry red face rise from his desk).
Anyway, without the spacebar, my fluent fingers are pretty much useless. I have to stop after every word to jam the spacebar super hard. Ugh.
I’m writing this on a different device before transferring it to my computer to post, design the header, etc. Until Covid is over, I’m not risking a trip to a store to get it repaired, and I can’t send it away and be computer-less for who-knows-how-long (considering I need it for both writing and editing). So, a cheap wireless keyboard is on its way from Amazon to temporarily save the day… hopefully. I’ll keep you updated on this breaking news story.
All this to say: Take a moment today to appreciate your unsung hero spacebar. And your middle school teachers.
Other, more important updates:
Writing: I’ve been matched with a new editor for my sequel in the Tales from Adia series. My former editor is taking a step back from her work load, and my manuscript has been sent over to a new one. I’ve “met” her via email, and she seems great. She won’t start actual work on my story until after the holidays. Meanwhile, my most recent draft is out to a few readers who are reading and sending me feedback. I’m really happy with it, and the only thing bothering me is that it’s a little shorter than Book 1. I don’t know why I’m obsessing over it. It comes down to about 10 book pages (front and back), which few people will even notice. But I will. I expected the sequel to be longer, not shorter. The problem is, I’m so happy with the flow of the book that I’m not sure where I’d add to it. So these readers, who are outside of my head, are going to take a look and tell me whether they think I should leave it alone or if there are places they think I should add. Meanwhile, I’ve started dreaming about Book 3! I’m very excited for the next chapter in Tovi’s story.
Editing: I recently finished working with a client, and I’m moving on to the next. It has been so fun to dive into editing more fully. Writing my own work will probably always be my first love, but helping another author get to where they want to be? That’s pretty damn satisfying. What a privilege it is for them to trust their babies in my care. I can’t wait to see some of these stories in print, and I will be shouting from the rooftops to promote these authors (with their permission of course!) when that day comes.
One thought on “Spacebar: the Unsung Hero (and other more important updates)”
Love this, Maggie!
And, to answer your unanswered question, the “qwerty” keyboard was designed to slow down the dexterity of typists. Roughly half of the most often used keys — like s, e, t, a — are hit with the left hand. 90% of people are right-handed, meaning that you are unconsciously slowing down as you type those keys with your non-dominant hand. Otherwise, in the days of manual typewriters, the keys would literally jam together if you typed too quickly. This layout proved even more useful when women were hired as typists — our smaller hands meant we were even faster and more dexterous.
Of course, those of us who are left-handed are not slowed down a bit by the awkward “qwerty” arrangement. 😊
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