This post was written and published by our Summer 2017 Intern, Mallory Corbin, a student at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Gone are the days when one had to sit down in front of a computer to write. Long past are the days of the typewriters, the pen, the ink, the paper. This world is mobile, digital. Our words hang in a cloud and we carry our offices, bookshelves and all, in our pockets. Or at least that’s what many people seem to think.
The reality is that no two writers write the same. We all prefer different techniques. You’ve got your smartphone and tablet users, and good old laptop and desktop users. You may be thinking that there isn’t that much of a difference. After all, they are all types of computers. However, where you write can have a huge effect on what and how you write. Just as a coffee shop can inspire different ideas than your home office, the same is true for what kind of tech you use.
Smartphone Smarties & Tablet Tappers
Smartphone and tablet writers may live an on-the-go lifestyle that requires immense mobility. This need is exactly why small, handheld devices are their go-to when it comes to their writing practice. Especially if you are writing short prose or poems, these small devices can work wonders. In fact, writing on your phone, or other small mobile devices, can have a lot of advantages.
• There are a ton of fantastic writing apps available today on all kinds of mobile devices. Some of my favorites include Evernote, Google Docs, and Ulysses.
• If an idea catches you at a moment’s notice, having your work available to you on your phone or tablet can be the ultimate lifesaver for the average writer whose mind moves one hundred miles a minute.
• With limited editing and formatting options, you are forced to concentrate wholly on what you are writing, not on how it looks on the page.
• Phone and tablet compatible keyboards can be used to turn your device into a mini desktop that can be used anywhere.
PC (Personal Computer) Professionals
I must admit, I am a guilty PC Professional. I have dabbled in writing on my phone or tablet when inspiration really strikes me. However, I have continually returned to my trusty laptop to get a majority of my writing done. The desktop, the laptop’s dignified father figure, is seemingly very quickly becoming an endangered species, although it is still considered a fan favorite for the more traditional writer who doesn’t want to get mixed up in all this mobile nonsense. Just like mobile devices, personal computers also have a ton of advantages.
• A desktop, while arguably becoming obsolete, is a great place to use as your “homebase” to house all of your programs and files. This is because this device most likely has the largest amount of storage available, especially in comparison to your smartphone.
• With a laptop, you get the mobility, without the hassle of a tiny screen. A bigger screen also means less eyestrain, and less of a likelihood of making typing errors – though these days our fancy devices usually catch these mistakes for us!
• Your document may need extensive editing and formatting. This is important if your work is in its final stages and moving toward actual publishing. With tablets and smartphones, it can be nearly impossible to do anything beyond the simplest formatting.
• You may have easier access to the internet and exterior programs. It can be hard to switch between apps when using a smartphone or tablet, with a laptop or desktop computer, it is much easier to maneuver the internet, along with other files and programs, while you write. However, many tablets now have “split screen” functionality, which really helps to be able to see and use more than one application at a time.
Switch Things Up
Sometimes it can be fun to switch it up, especially if you’re feeling a bit uninspired. Whether you’re tech savvy or not, changing up your writing platform and getting out of your comfort zone every once in awhile can work to stimulate your writing muscle, and ultimately help you grow as a writer.
If you are glued to your desktop or laptop computer, maybe you want to try writing on-the-go on your phone or tablet during your daily train ride to work. Catching yourself at these moments can stimulate ideas you may not think of otherwise, especially seated at your desk in front of your computer.
If you are attached at the palm to your smartphone, maybe it’s time to set it down and opt for your desktop or laptop. This may inspire you to look at your work from a different perspective, while also saving your eyes from as much strain – I’m positive your writing and your retinas will thank you for it.
Luckily, for those of us who like to switch it up, cloud based apps like Evernote and Google Drive make it possible to work between devices with the click of a few buttons. Two of the top desktop-based apps for writers, Scrivener and Ulysses, have developed excellent iPhone and iPad companions. Even the venerable Microsoft Word finally allowed the software to be very functional on tablets.
Technology has truly opened up a whole new world for us writers to explore and use to our advantage during the writing process.
Where do you do your writing? Are you a Smartphone Smarty? A Tablet Tapper? A PC Professional? All three?
When are ready to have your writing professionally edited and/or published in print or digitally, contact us at Detroit Ink Publishing. We look forward to working with you!