This Tuesday, being fairly certain that I have worn thin the kindness of readers who have endured recitals of my moment-to-moment activities combined with editorial grumblings, I am going back to Writing Exercises.
For this purpose, I signed up for a newsletter that promised me 31 Writing Prompts. In order to retrieve the free download, one must only click on a link to confirm the Email address. Doing that, I am beamed over to an infomercial that wants money to improve my writing career, signed up for the daily newsletter, and presented with a PDF file of 31 Writing Prompts, as promised. I “X” my way out of the infomercial and open the file.
The prompts are long. They start with a little dialog, an inspiring quote or two, a few examples and then a suggestion for what to write about. I feel like I’d do better with some of that direction right in front of me. I cannot “copy” and “paste” from a PDF file. By the time I save and close the file, and get to this page, I feel like I have lost the gist of the suggestion.
I try to go back, for a more thorough reading. I can’t find it! This new computer is wonderful, but it is also mysterious. It does not have a “start” button that would – on my old computer – lead to choices like “documents,” “downloads,” “pictures” and “shut down.” I’d had this computer a month before I figured out how to properly turn it off! I can’t find and retrieve things that I’ve downloaded. Of course, I always believe that if I sit here trying for long enough, I will figure it out. So far, that has not proved to be true.
I go back to the inbox in my Email. I reopen the message with the special offer. I click on the link to verify my Email address. I am again transported to the infomercial, signed up for the daily mailing and given the PDF file. I still can’t seem to retain the information. I still can’t copy and paste, or even toggle back and forth from that file to my empty page. I try again.
I have now gone through these activities three times. Perhaps you can guess the results. I am now receiving three identical newsletters each day, with tiny helpful hints, but mostly encouraging me to watch and listen to that infomercial, and to purchase other writing aids. Somewhere, in this mysterious computer, I have three identical PDF files of writing prompts, which may or may not be of value. I don’t know; I only read the first one. If I want to see more, I’ll have to download it again.
In the future, I’m going to be doing some form of writing exercises on Tuesdays. Maybe I’ll get ideas from What If? Writing Exercises for Fiction Writers by Anne Bernays and Pamela Painter. That’s where the ideas for writing about my addresses came from. Maybe from another of the many books I have on the shelf with direction for writers. It is very doubtful that any ideas will come from that missing PDF file of 31 Writing Prompts. Life is too short.