See this contraption? This is a USB hamster wheel. It plugs into a USB port on a computer. The faster the typing, the faster the little runt in the wheel runs. Isn’t it a hoot?
The last time my typing speed was tested, I was well over 100 words a minute. Bet I could make the little sucker run! Talk about being in a gym named 24 Hour Hell with Beelzebub as a trainer.
This little novelty is also not cheap or easy to come by. Everywhere on the web where it was carried, it was out of stock. It was also available only in Europe and retailed for close to $50 (U.S.) A little pricey in my book for a fun doo-dad. In my house, $50 represents three bags of cat food and two large boxes of cat litter. Or a tank of gas and a Happy Meal.
But electronic toys aside, I have quite a symbolic fondness for this little fake furry friend. You see, I just finished my second novel in under twelve months. No one put a gun to my head. I did this willingly. I knew I could do it and I did. Other writers I know also write two books a year, so it wasn't like I was breaking new ground. It wasn't even that difficult, as long as I stuck to my writing schedule and didn't let my lazy side and tendency to waste time rule the roost. And there were times I had to beat them into submission.
Then there were the days in the past year when I felt like the hamster. Like my stumpy little legs were pumping like pistons to keep my fat ass from being mangled by the wheel.
The real downside to writing two books a year is that as soon as you finish one, you have to start on another. Normally, I take four to six weeks off after I finish a novel. This time, I gave myself two weeks. But last night, with less than one week in my writing vacation under my belt, I got the urge to pull up my next manuscript and get to work. I didn't do it, but my fingers itched to make the hamster run. I'm pretty sure by this weekend the little rodent will be flying through the wheel like Usain Bolt.
What can I say? Sometimes you're the keyboard; sometimes you're the hamster.
But notice that the hamster is a happy hamster. That's because she's doing what she loves.