Why I Can’t Wait for Self-Driving Cars

I am very excited for self-driving cars. I know, many people are leery. I, too, have read Charles Stross and understand that they can be hacked and used as murder weapons. At this point in time, what can’t be hacked? But I digress.

electriccar
About like this, I suspect.

Even with Stross’s visions of mayhem running through my head, I hope self-driving cars get here sooner than later.

My Top Reasons for Wanting Self-Driving Cars

 

  •  Someone Else is the Kids’ Chauffeur – I know, my oldest child is only in kindergarten, and I am already tired of either me or my husband having to cart her all over the place. Dance lessons. Gymnastics. Another birthday party. I can’t believe how much of my life this consumes, and I can’t listen to audio books while she’s in the car. My hope is they can design the cars to recognize faces, let the child into the vehicle, then take them where they are going. Maybe I’m hoping too much, but a parent can dream
danceclass
It’s only cute until the 50th time you’ve sat through it.
  • Lower Cost – If we had self-driving cars, I believe it will only be a matter of time before we’re all scheduling a majority of our trips with a less-rapey version of Uber. While we may still need one car, our second car is used exclusively for my husband’s commute. We could simply schedule that with a self-driving car. One less car is a big deal to the average family when the cost of a new car is almost $34,000. Cars are the second most expensive thing we own after a house.
  • Traffic Rules – I am tired of people not choosing to stop for a stop sign, running red lights, and otherwise not obeying traffic rules. You know who you are red pickup truck that didn’t decide to yield to oncoming traffic. *glares* If we’re all in self-driving cars, this goes away.

 

stopsign
Not sure how much more obvious we can make the sign.

 

  • More Free Time – While my commute is usually less than fifteen minutes each way, my husband has a much longer commute as do a lot of people I know. So while it might not buy me time back a lot of time, it will get my husband more time.
  • No More Distracted Drivers – Drivers can now text or whatever the heck they’re doing on their phones that caused them to be not paying attention to traffic and forcing me to honk at them when they run a stop sign.

I know there are a lot of safety hurdles to self-driving cars, but I’m really looking forward to them. I am hoping the benefits outweigh the costs.

How about you? Like the idea of self-driving cars? Hate it? Why?

Five Things I Learned as a "Professional" Writer

I was recently fortunate enough to have three days where the kids were in daycare, and I was home from work. DH and I decided that we didn’t want the girls to completely get out of their routine over the holiday season, and he was fine with me spending these days getting some house stuff done and writing.

So, for three days, I got to spend most of my time writing. Here’s what I learned:

1. Errands Take Longer Than You Think – Among the things I needed to do during these three days were a variety of errands. I was home, so I agreed to do them all. Having no idea how long it can take to go to the bank, buy cat food, and get dinner fixings, I set out to get them done in less than an hour so I could start writing. Only to find the bank doesn’t open until nine. The pet store at ten. I learned really fast getting everything out of the way right after dropping the girls off was about as likely as finding a unicorn in my driveway holding a million dollars.

2. It’s Lonely – I am an introvert by nature, but being home alone all day really tests that. I found myself keeping iTunes on at all times, and eventually reaching out to others through Twitter. Sad, I know. But there it is.

being-a-good-writer

3. Distractions Abound – The internet is normally not much of a distraction for me, but then, I only have an hour a day to write. Easy enough to turn off distractions for that amount of time. A whole day? Suddenly, a whole lot harder.

4. Timers Need Not Apply – My first two days, I foolishly listened to advice that recommended setting timers for productivity and break time (50 minutes or so of writing followed by 10 minutes of doing stuff). This was hugely detrimental to me as I could sometimes write well over 50 minutes, and 10 minutes was sometimes too long and other times not long enough of a break period.

5. The Joy of “The Zone” – When you have carved out an hour a day to write, you guard that hour jealously and write during it no matter what. But when you have a whole day?  There is this magical zone, and once in it, you can do amazing things. No children to pull you out of it, no spouse talking about important things. It’s amazing how much you can accomplish. Or how much you can cut.

 

How about you?  You ever have a day or three just to write?  How did it work for you?

 

 

Writing Through Distractions

I cannot write through distractions, not real ones, anyway.

Yes, I can write and listen to music. Sometimes, music can inspire my muse.

I can write while I eat a sandwich, drink my juice infused water, or let the cat sit on my lap. But turn on the TV? I’m done.

elephant-964898_640
I just have to look.

I don’t know how people write or do homework or do anything that requires concentration in front of a television. I see people doing it all the time, but I’m not one of them. I would just stare at my computer screen while I kept sneaking glances at the TV until I was just watching TV. Even if whatever was on was something I didn’t care about. Even if it was something I didn’t like.

To write, I need to focus.

In college, I used to hide away in breakout rooms to study. I seldom studied with anyone else because then I couldn’t study.

I know the rage today is multi-tasking. Easy enough if the work requires little to no thought. But the moment it is a difficult or in-depth problem, I need to focus on it. I will set time aside in my work calendar to dedicate to a particularly difficult analysis. If our open concept office environment isn’t conducive when I need it to be, I will squirrel away in a conference room.

If I need to think, I need to minimize distractions.

I really like to have that kind of focus when I write, but sometimes my only writing time comes while DD gets her episode of TV before she goes to bed. Focus is impossible for me as DD watches My Little Pony. Until she’s watched the same episode the 15th time (thanks Netflix!), and then I can mostly tune it out.

It’s so bad I have a hard time paying attention to conversations I really care about when someone has the TV on. I actually have a hard time hearing their words over the light and noise box clambering for my attention.I simply can’t do sports bars. I feel like my head is going to explode from information overload as all those channels bear down on me.

At our house, we generally do not have the TV on unless it is being actively watched. Probably because of me. Okay, definitely because of me. Most other people seem to have it on as background noise and don’t even notice it.

Ahhh, to not notice children’s television programming. Now that truly is a gift.