Monday, February 11, 2013

Technology For Writing

Technically, all you need in order to write is pen and paper. Some people still hold to that, but if you want to get your work out to publishers, then you need technology. You *could* make due with a typewriter, but then editing will be a nightmare. And we all know how necessary editing is to the writing process, right? :)

With technology comes the added risk of losing your work to a random glitch or malfunction, which means we need backups to ensure we don’t lose anything. I already did a post on backing up your work, so I won’t dwell on this. Instead, I’m going to focus on the good things technology can give us.

There are some pretty cool programs out there. Two, in particular, I use regularly when I’m writing. The first is called Evernote. It’s been around for quite some time so you may have heard of it. I use it as a place to collect all my notes and research for a story I’m writing. I keep character profiles, plot brainstorms, revision notes, research and references, story summaries, you name it. I keep it all in there.

These are items I used to keep in a notebook...or, at least, try to. Sometimes my notes would end up in multiple places, or I’d have to carry it all with me when I went someplace quiet to write. But with Evernote, it’s all there, all the time. And, my account isn’t local to my computer—it utilizes the cloud, so I can access all the info in my account from anywhere. There is even an app that gives you access from your phone or tablet. But the best part is that I can organize all my notes. For each project I’m writing, I create a ‘notebook’ with the title of that project. Then, I tag all relevant notes so it’s associated with that notebook. Easy-peasy. I love Evernote. I never have to wonder “what did I do with that list of websites” again. :)

The other program I use regularly is an app call CloudOn. I installed it on my iPad, and it works in conjunction with Dropbox—it gives you full access to the documents you store in Dropbox. If you don’t have an app that can read Excel files, no problem! CloudOn can let you read and edit it. Same with word and text files and probably more I haven’t discovered. Any changes I make through CloudOn gets automatically uploaded via Dropbox, and is waiting for me the next time I sit down at my computer. I actually write many of my blog posts using CloudOn (including this one) because it’s more convenient to carry around an iPad than my laptop.

Anyway, these are two programs I use regularly and love. Have you used them? Do you have any that you love?


Unknown said...

I've been interested in trying out scrivener. I used a freeware version for a while, but didn't love how it worked.

Right now, I type in word and keep notes in a composition notebook old school style. :)

Kelly Hashway said...

I just started using Scrivener, which I got for Christmas. So far I love the character sketch sheets and the other planning features it has.

Unknown said...

Dropbox is my favorite piece of technology today. It beats carrying around my flash drive everywhere I go! At least now I don't have to worry about losing the flash drive. :)

Tabitha said...

I've never used Scrivener, but lots of people talk about it. I'd love to hear more about what it does and how it's useful. Do you have the free version or the paid? What operating system does it need?

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip on Cloud On.

I just got an ipad and installed Evernote today but I'm impressed with it already. I'm also going to try Notesy - after lots of research about editing apps.

And Dropbox is so useful too, of course.