The Digital Divide: The Fun of Formatting


Hi Everyone.


I spent three years writing a doctoral dissertation and used to love the hours I spent fussing over commas and colons. I could while away a whole afternoon formatting a single footnote and then be satisfied that this was all I had done for the day.

I worked in an enormous university library somewhere in the south east of England – it was the size of a decent shopping centre  – and had a small perch/nest (room) overlooking a large reading room. With the exception of the occasional undergraduate who was happier talking than actually reading, the sense of silence was awe-inspiring.

I treated my doctorate like a job and wrote between 9 and 12 everyday Monday to Friday. Then I would stop for lunch.

After lunch I would return to my perch and not write.

I would do anything else I felt was necessary dissertation-wise, but I avoided writing anything new.

Once I left the library for the day it was as if my doctorate didn’t exist. I was lucky to be able to forget all about it and not lay awake at night worrying whether I would finish it or not.

The next morning I would be on the bus at 8am and spend the hour it took to get to my perch reading two newspapers.

I didn’t always feel like writing but I did always feel like sitting in my perch.

I’m no longer sitting in that library but I do still eat my lunch at 12 Monday to Friday.

I hope you have a productive day whatever you are doing.


P.S. How do you work?


Author: Barnaby Taylor

Inspired by his passion for films and video games, Barnaby Taylor loves writing dystopian science fiction and horror. He has recently written the VIRO series about a gang of teenagers struggling to survive in a world overrun by the infected. There are currently three books in the series and Book Four is on the way. VIRO is rapidly infecting the Amazon charts and gaining rave reviews along the way. Here's one of the latest reviews: 'I found myself sucked right into the characters and never-ending action and gore page after page. I very rarely buy books, but immediately purchased number two which I found equally as engrossing. Yesterday I bought book three in the VIRO series and instead of a good night's sleep I've got red eyes and a need for Red Bull! Fantastic series for all my zombie lovers out there!' Book One is currently FREE to download at the following links: Barnaby posts weekly updates on his writing on his blog and you can follow these updates at You can also find him on Twitter @BarnabyFTaylor.

8 thoughts

  1. It’s always interesting to learn how other people work. I do like the sound of your perch. Writers need a good perch. My technique involves hardly any writing, then lots of writing all in one go. I can spend weeks – months – just thinking the book through in my head, scribbling little notes here and there, doodling hats. This goes on for quite some time. Then, when I have the whole book in my head, I write relentlessly for about a week or so until it is done. All in one go. Mostly, when people say ‘how’s the new book coming along?’ I say ‘yeah, pretty good, thanks’ and I haven’t actually written a word (except for in my head).

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hi Lucy, I’m fascinated by your approach. Do you find it exhilarating? I think I’d be too terrified to leave it until I had everything ready to go. My neurosis requires me to peck away every day; a sentence, a paragraph, or, if I’m really flying, a page.
      Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s quite a stressful way of doing things, admittedly, but it just works for me, it doesn’t feel comfortable doing it any other way. There is a huge adrenaline rush at the end of each working day and the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done is immense. I don’t get much food or sleep, though, and am halfway to insanity by then end.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. That is a tough question! It depends on the project. I like to do free writes for my blog and for poetry. For book projects I make an outline and flesh it out. I like to write a piece and then take some time away from the project so that I can edit it with fresh eyes.

        Liked by 1 person

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