For years, I’ve only used a single computer for my personal writing and the everyday job. This meant that I ended my work day, left my studio chair, went to eat something, and returned back to the same chair to write my things. Dang! It was as if I was returning to work, after a day of work. All the fatigue of the days made my fingers and eyes become slow and heavy.
Then, I tried to write with an iPad, and later with a MacBook that was not my main computer, while away of my studio. Believe it or not, but I started writing again. With pleasure. There was no hint of my work tasks in the iPad, and I could easily hide them in the MacBook (separate spaces, all Finder windows containing work files hidden…). That was my writing cabinet, my meditation place, my hortus conclusus.
Then, both the iPad and the MacBook Pro 13" (2015) are totally silent. Their battery last forever (when using only a text processor, the MacBook battery indicator reports up to 19h of energy left). I can turn off the wifi, disconnect any cable, even go at the sea and lock in my car, if the dogs of my contrada can’t stop barking.
The writing place has to be a separate place from any other work, for me. And I envy those who can (like Carver did) continue writing while lulling one of his children.
I completely understand. I’d love to have a studio for music (soundproofed, so as not to piss off neighbors), where I could do multi-channel stuff. (Kind of hard in our small apartment…multiple sets of speakers takes up room we don’t have. Plus, upstairs neighbors.)
Multiple computer-users in the house means multiple computers already, though, so space is at a premium. (It’s a mixed marriage–he likes Ubuntu and Windows 10. I like Slackware. Computers are one thing it’s easier to just agree to disagree on. And that’s not getting into window manager or text editor preferences.)
I work in one room but with two separate desks because, like Paolo, I still find that some kind of physical remove is extremely helpful for the psychological one. I have a wall-facing desk with a large screen Word-and-Widows set up for my editorial work; and a few feet away, a window-facing table with pencils, notebooks and an MBA 13" for my (academic/non-fiction) writing.
I have a single desk, but a separate work and home system with decent KVM switch. Helps me keep that isolation which is so important, since I work from home and have done so for most of the last decade.
The easiest solution, for those that do not want or cannot afford to have multiple computers, is to make use of every modern operating system’s multi-user features (good for families as well!). You can create a new account on the computer that even has locked down privileges, such as an inability to use web browsers, which some might find a productive setting to use.
Well, nom, me old mate, I’m not gonna argue, when faced with such irrefutable logic and perspicacity as yours! But, by the same token, ask yourself this: how often, when wallowing in the depths of despair, have you happened upon one or other of the And Now For That Latte threads, and been mesmerised and beguiled by the wit , wisdom, and sheer ultra humanitarian altruism that abounds therein, and been lifted from those abominable depths, and gently laid upon a peak of exquisite euphoria and elation, engendering with it, at the same time, hope for Humankind’s peaceful future and existence? Innumerable times, I’ll wager. It’s a bit of the old swings-n-roundabouts … init … eh?
Why I need two computers? Well, having one is fun, so having two is twice as fun? Right?
Or maybe it’s more a natural human condition, showing that computers are becoming a natural part of us?
Two arms, two legs, two ears, two eyes, two computers. The logical question is not why we need two computers, but why we only have one mouth. With two the concept of “talking to one self” would really get a new meaning.