Posts Tagged With: Journal

Traveling with Electronics

I’ve traveled with many, many items stuffed in my carry- on.  The iPad seems to hold all the answers for a mobile traveler.  Here’s what I discovered:

The Good:  The iPad is marvelous for travel. It’s small, light and I can carry it with me at all times.  (I was in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia so I kept the iPad in a gallon zip lock bag to protect it from the humidity).

Like a paper based notebook, The iPad turns on as soon as the cover opens, so making notes in Pages was easy.  I opened it up, made a few notes, and closed it.  For someone who previously traveled with a Mac Book, this instant access is like a tiny miracle.

Buddah in ThailandI recommend the Pages app for  ten dollars because even though the journal apps are fun, they aren’t as easily transferrable to the main computer.  And so much of what we write is destine to our main lap top. I was also able to add  photos to the journal entries to keep track of where and what I was doing.

The on screen key board takes getting use to, but I became fairly proficient. (Why? Because once I add a stand alone key board I have effectively created a lap top, which was not the point).  The iPad works on busses, planes, trains, most modes of transportation (not motor bikes, I observed that a passenger must limit herself to   texting by phone while perched on the back of a motorbike).

I loved the long battery life and I loved carrying one device that included email, all my reading material and all my writing notes and observations. I was able to download two books from Amazon and read them immediately while in transit thus continuing the vacation attitude of satisfying every whim, every want – right now.

A year ago the iPad was ubiquitous and if possibly, it’s more so now.   Tourists carried iPad’s in Vientiane, played games on them while waiting at the boarder in Laos, read books on the plane to Bangkok, took photos in Angkor Wat.   This seemed to be the new traveler accessory, considerably more flattering than a waist pack.

The Bad:  The  auto fill function is bitch when you are typing in  foreign place names.

The auto fill  will also thwart your efforts to employ polysyllabic words, so there is a great deal of back spacing involved during data entry.  And the foreign words and phrases are not found in the spell checker.

The Ugly:  The worst thing about the iPad is that though I could upload all my photos into it during the trip , and I could organize them during travel time, when the photos were ultimately upload into my lap top,  all the categorization was lost, the albums did not synch and the photos ended up just consolidated into one huge event.   So don’t waste your time organizing photos on the iPad.  Work to correct all those weird place names the auto correct “fixed.”

Would I take it again?  I still love the iPad for my books and reading collections.  But if I really want to work, conduct on line classes, real correspondence and work on long writing projects, I still need the lap top.

On the other hand, if I need to keep all my electronics with me at all times, then the iPad is pretty awesome.

I am migrating this blog to be part of  Until we have complete lift off, both blogs will publish simultaneously.  Sorry Panda.


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Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Tossing Out 29 Years

A young lady asked Natalie Goldberg, “What do I do? I lost all my journals and now I feel part of me is irretrievably gone.”

Just before I wrote more than I needed toNatalie  sympathized,  she herself had never recovered a dozen paintings she created and lost during a trip to Paris. But remember, Goldberg is a student of Zen, non-attachment.  Her response  was to shrug and suggest that it was really okay that  the journals were gone.  “You aren’t going to ever read them anyway. “ Natalie said.

That single answer, as harsh as it sounds, was the permission I needed to dump years of journals: specifically 1970 − 1999. I was finally able to ask if I really, ever, wanted to  revisit Junior High.  Should I continue to lug the the past from house to house, ever sealed, never read?


As I chucked hundreds of pages into the recycling bin, Goldberg’s True Secret To Writing emerged again.  The True Secret it writing is that  it really is just about  the process. Writing is its own best means – not to an end, but rather  to your mind, your next story, your soul.

I don’t meditate for very long (about a minute, I call it speed meditation).  When I walk, I walk fast.  But writing every day?  I’ve been practicing that forever.

In this context, what is produced  is immaterial.  Anything decent is lifted from those pages of beginner words, wild ideas and complaints about the weather and  transferred into another, more permanent, workable file.  The process work is not revisited.

I rescued  5 poems from the 70’s that I thought I could rework in honor of National Poetry Month.  And that was all.

Some writers feel that every word they put to paper is great, deathless prose, but not me.  Everyday writing, journal writing, is about the process, it’s practice writing. And we all  need to practice so when it is time to perform: we’re flawless.


You are welcome to re-post this article in your own blog or newsletter – please include this entire statement, “Catharine Bramkamp is a Writing Coach and podcaster, find out if you’re ready to go from  Newbie to Known visit or for a complimentary consultation.”

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Write About the Trivial

Spring in Las Vegas

Spring in Las Vegas

I am always happy when a Newbie Writers Podcast guest confirms what I tell writers to do all the time: keep a journal.  Not only keep a journal but write in it as well.

Write about all the important stuff.

Write about your goals.

And, little known use: write about all the trivial crap that clutters up your head at any given moment. And get it out of the way.

Writing all the stupid stuff down, will, to a certain extent, prevent you from uttering all that stuff out loud. And that is a good thing.

Have you ever sat with a friend or relative and make the grave mistake of inquiring after their day, and they immediately respond with an avalanche of trivia.  What they ate for breakfast, their opinion about seven grain bread and how it should include another grain, perhaps they think the new seven grain bread should include one more grain.   sun flower seeds,  or maybe flax, they heard that flax is particularly good for you, have you ever tried those flax chips? You can buy them at Costco right now, although  you know with Costco they never stock products consistently, especially if you really like it. . .

That kind of response.

Writing all that down in a journal, first thing in the morning will save you and those you love, from a similar fate.   Eat  your toast, and write down all the thoughts you have about that toast.  Once this kind of musing is written down, it’s finished.  You won’t need to express it out loud to anyone.

This helps in two ways:

Your own thoughts about toast become clear.  You can then summarize your morning musings by saying that you ate toast for breakfast and it was pretty good, have you ever heard of eight grain bread?

And you can concentrate on the other person, because you’ve adequately expressed all your own opinions already.

Of course, out of deceptively simple and trivial musings, come much better material.  Sometimes all that junk is just the throat clearing we need to do before our voice is warmed up and ready to discuss brilliant and difficult topics of the day.

But the best way to do it, is off line, into a journal. As as result, in reall life, you will look smarter.

Categories: Newbie Guide Notes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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