Brian’s Writing Laptop Campaign – An Explanation

There have been some questions about my Brian’s Writing Laptop Campaign.

EDIT: Since this was originally written, Scrivener on Windows has achieved parity with the Mac version (or soon will anyhow), so a Windows laptop could do okay, but preserving this post for posterity.

Fist, the Why? Well, I enjoy writing, and I’d love to be able to do that remotely, that is away from my home computer. Not an easy task. With a laptop, I could write during my lunch break for example, or while I’m out of town away from my desktop… if I got a break from other activities anyhow. It also allows me to write while out with one of the local writing groups. If for some reason you can’t see the link on the sidebar, here are The Collected Writing Prompts of Brian A Thomas.

Why a MacBook over a cheaper equivalent Windows laptop, or even Chromebook? First and foremost was the software. Scrivener currently is better on the Mac than PC. Now sometime in 2018, the PC version is supposed to reach feature parity with Scrivener on the Mac, so one could argue just wait, then buy the new version at whatever the discount will be for upgrading is. More on Scrivener in a bit. Vellum is Mac only, and that is more of a down the line tool for when I’m more ready to self-publish or submit for publication to somebody.

Scrivener is far superior to Word, Open Office Write, Google Docs, and all those other general purpose word processors. It is designed from the ground up as a tool for creative writing, and non-fiction, scripts and the like as well. It has lots of tools and methods that make writing, especially longer works, far easier. I haven’t even really started to use it (mostly because I’m using the trial at the moment), but I’ve been blown away by the YouTube videos I’ve seen of what it can do.

The next reason on why a MacBook over a Windows laptop are fewer distractions. The Mac is still not a great gaming platform, while the PC is. I would undoubtedly use the Windows machine to game far more than write.

Why not a Chromebook? Because in terms of what I’m using the laptop for, it wouldn’t function well. It is great if all you want to do is browse the web and other light duties that may be easier on a laptop than your phone, but it isn’t a good productivity tool at all. You don’t want to trust your writing to the cloud. A Chromebook is a no-go. If I wanted a cheap web browsing, Netflix watching thing, it might do, but at that point, a cheap tablet would also do.

Now we’ll get into some of the other points most brought up.

Don’t I need a new car, or have some repairs to my car done? Yes. Yes I do. A newer car would be well beyond what I could raise via Go Fund Me, as I don’t think I can even get to the Writing Laptop level. Which raises the question of repairs. I do need car repairs, but how much those will come to in the end I’m not sure. I am guessing between $2500 and $3000, which is more than I was seeking for the writing laptop. However, if somebody during a donation specifies it to be for car repairs then it will be direct to car repairs. What all do I need to be done to the car yet? In order: New Brakes. New Tires. Pay off repairs done already (about $1200, though I’ll call it $1500) which are mostly in high interest, as in 27% or so, credit cards. Fix the emissions issues so it would actually pass an emissions test (there are about two issues there). Fix the rusted struts. Possibly fix whatever is causing it to burn 3 to 4 quarts of oil a month… this is the primary reason I didn’t make a campaign to fix the car because it really is getting to a point where a newer car would be a better idea. Once you start burning oil, not leaking it, then it starts to get into expensive repairs, and unfortunately, perhaps some of those repairs may be needed to make it pass an emissions test. Of course lack of credit, income, etc… Anyhow, if a note to the campaign says that donation is for the car repair, it will be set aside for the car repair.

Don’t you have a host of medical things that should be taken care of? Very much so, and I don’t have insurance, so it is going to be super expensive to get everything looked at, to get specialists involved to make sure diagnostics are correct (for example, my eczema was being treated as athletes foot by GPs until a dermatologist discovered it was eczema looking like athlete’s foot and that treatment finally worked… I’ve been out of eczema treatment medicine for years). It would probably take up a whole blog post on medical needs, but I’ll put a few of them here. Tired all the time (I suspect depression being the biggest cause, but possible low testosterone is another as I have other symptoms of that too, though that I likely wouldn’t treat if that’s the only real problem it gives me, but I want to be sure it isn’t something deeper). Sever stomach issues. I pop a TON of antacids, be it stuff like Tums (FAR too many of those), Ranitidine and more Omeprazole than the bottle says you should take in a given period (I only take one a day, but you apparently are supposed to wait longer between the two-week courses I take, but it the only one that really works well). Frequent headaches… on the positive side, of late while the bad headache count has gone up, the migraines have gone down. When I did last see a doctor, they were highly concerned about my liver and wanted me to get an ultrasound on my liver. I suspect the blood tests are catching the fact I nearly keep they Tylenol plants running. The aforementioned eczema. I probably should see somebody about the depression. The problem with a campaign for all that, is one there are a lot of unknowns, of which the biggest is just how much will that all cost? I’d set aside $3,000-$5,000 for it though. Of course not getting money for a laptop is one thing, not getting money to help one live is actually depressing, so that’s the main reason I didn’t. Any donations to the Writing Laptop campaign that say they are for medical use would be put into a medical fund and not the laptop fund.

Don’t you need/want to move out on your own? Don’t you need a house? Sure. I’d be FAR less depressed if I were living on my own, but I don’t make enough to do so, and won’t for at least ten years. Locally, staying close to my kids, nice homes can be had for under $150k, in a really nice area, good school district and all that jazz. However, crowdfunding a home seems highly unrealistic. I really need a newer car well ahead of the home. Basically, that isn’t a realistic option. Any money donated now for a house would likely just so I can pay rent at my mom’s house, which would help free my paycheck for other things, be it the car, paying off the high interest credit cards the car repairs are on faster, etc.

TLDR: So basically it comes down to if you think the car repair or medical expenses are higher priorities and would rather donate to those, use this fund, but then specify you want some or all it to go to those instead. Saying some will mean 50% of it unless another percent is specified. That said, the primary purpose of this campaign was, and remains, raising funds for a laptop to do my writing on. Who knows, perhaps I’ll write that great American novel and be able to fix all those other things myself. That isn’t likely, but at least I can be happy (or happier anyhow) trying… of course a good reliable car that got good gas mileage would also help on that mental health aspect… the medical stuff far less so. Anyhow, I’m getting off the point, which is that the primary goal remains to raise enough to get a good MacBook and the necessary software. If needed I could go to Experimac in Canton and get a used one for far less, though I’d prefer a newer model from the Apple store.

Why a GoFundMe rather than a Patreon? Well, I actually do have a Patreon as well, but that is more an ongoing thing, but if you want to donate to that too, or instead…

And yes, “explanation” is misspelled in the URL.