Category Archives: writer’s resources

Migraines & Computers

Anybody else out there suffer migraines?  Anybody?

Of course, I know I’m not the only one with migraines.  I tell you though, a bad one can certainly make you feel like you are all alone.

This weekend has been a migraine weekend for me.  Yesterday was the worst, so I used my favorite treatment–a really hot shower followed by an ice pack–and retreated to bed.  Not much going on yesterday, no blog, no writing.

This morning was still pretty bad.  But by this afternoon it had subsided to a dull roar, and I was ready to try some writing, at least to get some notes down about where my next scene was headed.

The problem?  Looking at a computer screen turned the dull roar into screaming, blistering, eyeball-roasting pain.  Since I’ve been doing all of my writing lately on my IdeaPad, this was not so cool.

I decided to go back to longhand, and make my notes the old-fashioned way.  The only problem with this idea is that I have carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis in my fingers.  So gripping a pen is not really cool–I can do it for short tasks, like writing a check, but for something longer, like real writing?  Not happening.

Fortunately I have grappled with this particular problem before.  So I could just reach into my nightstand drawer for my two favorite remedies for this problem:

Evo Pen
I have to admit, it was a close call between this and the PenAgain.  Sometimes I switch between them depending on my mood 🙂  I do seem to reach for this one more often, though, and have recently ordered three more so that I can keep them everywhere.  Next on my list is the chrome-plated version, I’ll let you know how that one works out.

All of the ergonomic pens that I prefer completely change your approach to holding a pen.  This one you can cup in the palm of your hand, with your index finger over the long top side of the pen.  It is lightweight and writes smoothly, and so far the ink cartridges seem to last longer than I had expected.

For writing pages at a time, I have not found a pen to beat this one.  My school-age kids are constantly trying to steal it from me, so it isn’t just old folks like me who appreciate it.  🙂


This is my close-second favorite pen.  I have this original 3 pack, the ErgoSof, and the ErgoSleek.  The ErgoSof is very much similar to the original, I don’t notice enough difference between them to be worth comment.  The ErgoSleek has the look and the feel of a very nice pen–nice heavy feel to it, nice operation.  It does take different refills than the other two varieties.

These three packs are good for stashing all over the house wherever you might need to reach for a pen.  You slip your index finger into the curve at the top of the pen.  When I bought these pens I was having a particularly hard time with joint pain in my thumb, and this pen took care of that until I found the Evo-Pen.

The clip on the pen is not really useful as a clip–it’s too small and fragile to actually clip it to anything.  I just added a pencil pouch to my manuscript binder and carry the pens in there.  When my kids can’t steal my Evo-Pen, they will steal these.

I have lots of different ergonomic pens, but these are the two I keep coming back to.  You can check out the others I have reviewed on my website.

Rules of Magic Part II–Book Recommendation #2

If you found the discussion of magic below interesting, know that I have just barely scratched the surface.  If you’re interested in further, deeper discussion of magic systems in fantasy, and how to make them believable, I have a couple further resources for you to check out.

Holly Lisle has been my go-to source for everything writing related for years.  This article is one of the first things of hers I read, and it really opened my eyes to how complex a topic magic can be, and how much more thought I needed to give it.

Fantasy Is Not For Sissies–Real Rules for Real Worlds

Around the same time, I bought my copy of Orson Scott Card’s How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy. Although magic is only a small part of what Card teaches in this book, it stood all my previous thoughts about magic on their head.  It taught me an entirely new way of thinking about what magic is and how it relates to the world you are building.  For me, it took the thought process that began when I read Holly’s article to the next level.

And you could do worse than to read the rest of the book, too.  It’s one of a handful of writing books that I have kept around for years after I first read them, and I still periodically pull it out and read it again.  I find something new to think about every time I read it.

The Timelessness of Writing Advice–Book Recommendation #1

I recently caught sight of one of my favorite books on writing, sitting on my book shelf, and on a whim decided to re-read it.

Yes, I know the book I’m showing you was published in 1988.  I bought my copy from a used bookstore when I was in college, and I have kept it ever since.

And still, after all these years, it is one of my very favorites.  (Did you know they came out with a Kindle edition a few years ago?  Neither did I!  If you click on the picture, it should take you to it.  I’m getting a copy for my Kindle,

Lawrence Block writes mysteries–at the time, I didn’t even read mysteries.  I read a few of his novels, but only after reading his books on writing.  I read his books on writing after getting hooked on his column that ran for many years in Writer’s Digest–I still have a stack of old issues that I pull out sometimes.

You will find books of genre-specific writing advice.  Lawrence Block’s books are not those books.  His advice transcends genre.  He takes on some of the more esoteric topics others don’t often talk about, like foreshadowing that can be done after the fact, the large role of intuition in writing, and the simple fact that the way words look on a page is important.  A lot of this is not nuts-and-bolts advice (I have other books I’ll recommend for that!)

But it is timeless.  I was thinking about it this morning, after one of my kids wondered aloud why I was reading such a old book.  I could find something newer to read, but I doubt I could find something better to read.

The simple fact is that, while genres and writing styles may come in and out of fashion, the techniques of putting words on the page don’t really change.  This book was written when writing was done on typewriters, when Kindles didn’t exist, when the world was a different place.  And it doesn’t matter at all.  The advice is still sound.  Lawrence Block’s entertaining, humorous, engaging style works as well today as it did in 1988.

If you’re in the mood for some good reading (and some good thinking) about writing, give this one a shot.