I got lazy and haven’t built a computer in years. I would buy an off the shelf computer. When I do that I don’t have to hassle with loading windows and all the other software just to get the computer to run. I’m a computer user, not a software bozo.

The price differences between a pre-built off the shelf computer and a do-it-yourself computer is very small, except for what you get. Lately I have found that a pre-built computer is the slowest cheapest components they can slap together. Bottom of the line CUP slow memory, etc. The manufactures make it hard to find out what’s in the computer. The CPUs have so many designations, it’s hard to find out how fast a CPU is.

So I bit the bullet and started to upgrade the old tower computer. This is a work horse computer that I use for down streaming off the internet. At times it runs day and night, except for a reboot every eight hours. I read that Mr. Gates turns off his computer every night so the programmers at Microsoft only have to make sure that Windows will hold together for eight hours.

What does this have to do with writing? It’s trying something new. If you don’t try something new with your writing you will get stale, you will lose long time readers. You will sell less books.

I went and bought a new mother board for the old computer. It wont fit in the old case. It’s just a hair off in size.

This is like taking a course form a famous author and trying out what the instructor teaches in the course. The critique group, the beta readers, even your regular readers tell you they don’t like what you did. They say it’s just too much different from what they like about the old way you wrote. That’s a failure, but you learned something. You go back and change things, find out what to keep in what you wrote and you write on, using some of the old and some of the new.

So I go and get a new computer case. Install the new mother board. It is a tight fit. Start to plug the old power supply in and the connector isn’t the same. Back to the computer store and I get a new power supply.

The power supply of a novel is the plot and tension. You shift from the Hero’s Journey to the Story Circle method of plotting and it’s a lot of hassle. That’s another learning experience. You have to decide if it’s worth it to learn new method or chicken out and go back to what you know. If you persevere, you find there are good points to the new method. That’s like finding out later that I could have used the old power supply by making a slight modification (with a sharp knife, it’s called surgery in tech lingo) to the power plug. The lesson form all this; Research the new method thoroughly.

I plug the new mother board in and the fans come on the LEDs light up but I don’t get a motherboard splash screen on the monitor. I don’t get nothing on the monitor. The experts at the computer store say that’s not right.

I plug in the old hard drive and the new computer lights off. The instructions on YouTube say that to get Windows off the Microsoft USB drive onto the M.2 solid state drive you have to remove the old mechanical hard drive. The computer will not work without the hard drive plugged in. The BIOS will not let the computer boot off the Microsoft USB thumb drive.

What’s that got to do with writing Steam Punk? The expects are wrong, at least for your case. You are unique and you are going to have to blaze your own trail. It sucks, I know.

The only thing I have left from the old computer that I was going to slap a new mother board in is the mechanical hard drive. With the new motherboard I had to get new memory. The old motherboard was so old that it used DDR3 and the new one used DDR4. That’s like going from two spaces after a period to one space. Some upgrade. The new computer is ten times faster than a store bought computer and I can upgrade it much easier next time.

Go make changes to your writing process. Make failures. In the end you will have a novel that’s ten times better than the last one. It will not be without work, sweat, and heart ache. At least you won’t have to blame the programmers.

Stay strong, write on, and remember the experts will be wrong.

Professor Hyram Voltage