It’s coming… It will be here soon…

And it refers to both NaNoWriMo and my vacation. In no particular order.

What have I gotten myself into?

Well, let’s start with a simple statement: my vacation is not a 100% R&R venture. No sirree. This is the first major cruise that I’m bringing my camera to, and I am a wee bit nervous. Will it go well? Will my photos come out the way I want them? A bit of excitement, a dash of nerves, and a whole lot of impatience; something I’d call artist’s jitters.

Also: I did figure out the RAW converter, and will be experimenting with that aspect of the process in due time. I went out to New Brunswick this weekend, and all the photos are in RAW format. I am anxious to work through them, really.

NaNoWriMo…if you’re not a writer, or if you’ve never done it, I’ll sum it up in short: 50,000 words, 30 days. Your reward if you win it: your manuscript, or the rough draft of it. And believe me, there is nothing like friendly competition to get you writing. In fact, NaNo is the primary reason I’ve managed to push out six manuscripts so far (four published, one in edit, one on standby).

No, there’s no monetary prize involved. If you think that it’s not worth it because there is no prize, then please review the definitions of challenge, motivation, accomplishment, and inspiration. None of those words have any prizes affiliated with them either.

The plot for what I plan on working on is loosely formed, not yet definite, but I’ve started thinking of at least summary outlines. This is the beautiful thing about using Scrivener, a writing software from Literature and Latte: it lets you template by scene and title these scenes as you go. I’m using the titling aspect to get the outline of what should happen in each scene down on paper. Since I rarely go over 14 chapters per story (I think Books 3 and 4 are the exceptions there), and I set up about 4-5 scenes per chapter, the rest is putting the scenes down on paper. Best part about it is that there’s no pressure to write linear, that is to sat starting at the beginning and laying out the story straight through, which has been my go-to method for years. Scrivener is a perfect way to not do that, and moreover, it eliminates the boon of getting lost in your own story…which, when writing straight-through, is bound to happen at least once.

And then, there’s the experimentation in photo…

I discovered a great RAW converter, and promptly took it as a cue that now is a perfect time for me to teach myself whatever I need to know about shooting in RAW format and work through images that way. RAW format is awesome, and it is much easier to toy with the color balance on an image if you’re in RAW. However…there was one major realization that I had been fighting off tooth and nail: my computer gear is sorely, sorely outdated. I’m running an 1.87Ghz Intel with 1.5GB RAM on my machine; it is almost 7 years old, and of the many things that it could muscle, this is not one of them. It does quite a lot for what it is, but RAW conversion is its Achilles’s heel.

I did not want to computer-shop after getting the Netbook last year but I’m afraid I have little choice. I’m also afraid that my next computer will break with tradition and be an HP. I wanted a Mac, but the more I look at the cost factor, the HP seems like the most cost-effective solution. Everything my old Mac, aka the Gremlin does, my PC could do too, so I see little reason to spend well over 2K on a computer that, for all intents and purposes, can be purchased for $800 – and that’s if I go to town on it and max out the RAM and processor on it. And trust me, Macs don’t get 3.4GHz for the price that an HP does.

Fun stuff.

So yes…I’m likely going to go shopping. I don’t know when, but I’ll keep going until Baby holds out. When that fries, then I’ll worry.