Monday, August 1, 2016

WHY I CAN'T FINISH MY NOVEL

A Bug in my Computer!

Writer's Block. Again. My monitor had been blank all day. Each time I returned to my computer the curser sat blinking on the empty page, mocking me. Finally, the spark of an idea burst into my head and I wondered what had taken me so long to begin Chapter Four as the words flowed from my fingertips to the keyboard....
.... Savannah lifted her long skirt and carefully stepped over a fallen soldier. She stopped and scanned the smoky battlefield. Light from the full moon illuminated the rocky landscape and bounced off the grotesquely twisted bodies of dead and dying men. The stench of death filled her nostrils and she took short, shallow breaths to ease the pain that threatened to crush her chest. Her gaze came to rest on a familiar form, lying prone in the bloody field. She quickened her step and  cY   ñàj#"$±   ñàj#"
What the--I mean what in the world is happening now? I typed a few more words with the same results. Suddenly the black screen of death! OH NO! Off to the computer repair shop.
"It's a bug in the software," I was told. "Actually, the hard drive crashed."
I knew it; I knew it! That Windows 10 fiasco I'd been battling for months had destroyed what might have been my greatest work. Okay, that was it. No, I didn't want it repaired. No I didn't want another PC. I'd finally had it with my PC. Off to the MAC store for a new laptop. 
Back home, I hooked up my new MAC and sat there looking at the blinking curser trying to remember where I'd been with my novel. As I sat there trying to recreate the story and the mood, I started wondering why computer problems were called "Bugs."
I Googled it.
Did you know the term "bug" was used in an account by computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who publicized the cause of a malfunction in an early electromechanical computer. In 1946, Hopper joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory. Operators traced an error in the Mark II computer to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term "bug." This bug was carefully removed and taped to the log book. Stemming from the first bug, today we call errors or glitches in a program a bug.
Well, that was interesting. I didn't realize computers dated back to the 1940s. I wonder what happened to Ms. Hopper. Did she go on to have a great career in computer science?

I think I'll go check it out on the Internet. I'll work on my book tomorrow...
How do you stay motivated and focused?


8 comments:

  1. That sounds very similar to how my day usually goes. I start to write, then decide I need to Google something. Next thing I know, an hour has passed and no progress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear it isn't just me. I thought I was a hopeless case and needed to give up this pretense of being a writer.

      Delete
  2. The Internet is my enemy. Yet, I can't seem to turn it off (I'm HERE instead of writing, aren't I???).

    Yeah, you're not alone. **sigh**

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hahaha. I fell better knowing I have company. At least I'm not out here on the Internet all by myself.

      Delete
  3. I can't stand computer malfunctions. I'll use my iPad until I get a new one.

    I go off on tangents while I'm doing "research."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Computers are one of the worst things and one of the best things ever invented. When they work, they are wonderful; when they don't, they make me crazy!

      Delete
  4. I did not know bugs originated with a real bug. But I did know they had computers in the 1940s. Ever seen "Desk Set"? Well, that's from the '50s, but a movie about a computer taking over jobs at a company.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, I haven't seen that movie. Now that you mention it, I did see an old Twilight Zone episode made in the 1960s about a computer that was jealous of the computer tech and messed up his love life--I think. So somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind I must have known there were computers around at that time. They were big as a room back then so I guess I never imagined I might have one some day and didn't save that particular memory to my hard drive. ;-)

      Delete