So, in the interests of getting to know me and given that LifeHacker are probably not going to ask me how I work, directly, I’ll just borrow the questions they typically ask – How I Work.
Location: Geneva, Switzerland
Current Gig: Scientist and Writer – mostly more science fact than science fiction recently but I’m trying to fix the balance.
One word that best describes how you work: Chaotically
Current mobile device: iPhone 6
Current computer: Macbook pro – getting a little old now but it’s running light and without distractions – for writing. The science gets a newer macbook air and there’s an ipad in there as well to replace paper.
What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? What do you use for writing?
For writing I use Scrivener and sometimes MS Word, for shorter stuff. At the moment I am undecided about self publishing so I may have to put everything into Word for submission eventually, but with Scrivener I am at least learning how to do the whole process if I decide to go down that road.
Evernote lies at the heart of everything I do from researching, collecting ideas, clipping web pages. I also use it in the initial stages of a new story when I’m “composting” – brain storming, if you prefer. I use Pinterest for collecting imagery and motivation. I use this a lot, especially when I’m developing characters.
I use the web interface for G+ and Pinterest but Tweetdeck for twitter on the computer and the Twitter app on my phone, but that is only occasionally. I have too many email accounts and spend too much time emailing – I group this all in the mac Mail programme. My blog posts usually start in Evernote before going to the wordpress editor. Photos are stored on Photobucket… for historical reasons. I love photography but can’t really afford to go for a DSLR so I enjoy the “challenge” of mobile photography with my iphone. There is a really nice app I just started playing with, for editing mobile photos, called Snapseed – it works for ios and android.
What’s your workspace setup like?
Simple. It drifts between a chaotic mess, to spotless. I usually have to get rid of everything before starting a new project … some people say I’m procrastinating. They’d be right, but I need to do it anyway. Yeah, and I like a hat.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Just going and doing what needs to be done. No one else is going to do it.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I tend to use Mail and Evernote to keep track of things to do. For some time I’ve also been keeping a Done list. It is nice to be reminded of just how much you have done some times.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
Does a bottle opener count as a gadget?
Do you ever write away from a computer? Have you used or do you use a typewriter or pen and paper?
I like pen and paper sometimes as it slows me down and forces me to think a little differently than usual. I usually use it when I’m trying to structure a story line. I still like blackboards for this as well.
Do you find yourself always working on something? Or when you finish a project, do you take time to let your mind wander without concern for what’s next?
That would imply that I plan things. I tend to run with what I’ve got. I haven’t not been working on a project for a very long time. I suspect that if I stopped having new ideas and projects, I might nearly get everything done in this lifetime.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I make pretty good coffee. Practice!
What do you listen to while you work?
That depends on soooo many things. My music collection spans a lot of genres and a lot of time, so I can usually find something appropriate to work with. Sometimes, however, nothing is also good.
What are you currently reading?
I’ve just gone back to read Larry Niven’s Ringworld. I tend to swap between new and old.
How do you recharge?
What do you mean?
What’s your sleep routine like?
Like someone that doesn’t sleep enough. I get around 7 hours a night, a bit more on the weekends sometimes. I usually get up early although I’m not sure that’s my best time.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Anyone. I think it’s an excellent exercise to look at what you’re doing and how you’re going about it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Read widely. Also, that you can think about anything you want to.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
Try to be better.
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