More Tools of the Trade
I’ve talked about how I type most of what I write, but I still keep bound notebooks and make lots of notes (and write poetry) by hand. When it comes to typing, I’ve used the usual word processing programs for the most part (going all the way back to college, in the early days of Mac OS and Windows), until giving Scrivener a try a few years ago. I very much like how Scrivener works the way my mind works, nonlinear, in fragments, where you can collage together a story from bits and chunks, with folders for notes and inspirations. But despite that, I’ve never found Scrivener particularly intuitive and I’ve always felt like I needed to go through a number of tutorials and play around with it a lot to really get it to work the way I want it to–and when it comes to writing, I don’t want to have to learn how to use my tools, I just want to grab the tools that work and get to the actual writing.
For the past 10 years, my different library jobs have required me to work from at least two different computers, often in different buildings. I used to carry flash drives with documents I was working on so I could take work from one computer to another, which was kind of a pain…until Google Docs came along and I could simply sign into Google from whatever PC I was using and do my work. And that naturally translated to my personal writing as well. I’ve been using Google Docs for so long, I’m more comfortable using that than anything else. And now I use Google Drive for pretty much all of the creative work that I don’t do by hand.
I have a lot–A LOT–of documents with notes on everything from writing in general to titles for potential stories to specific stories and blog posts I’m working on. Longer stories have their own folders, with separate documents for each chapter/fragment. I have folders with images that serve as inspiration for stories. I upload images and links from my phone, from my laptop, from whatever computer I’m working on when I suddenly find something I can use. I edit a lot on the go and the only time I’m not using Google Drive is when I’m driving. Even when I write by hand, I quickly type new poems up in Google Drive and will even take photos of journal pages to save in my drive.
I’ve usually taken a laptop with me when I’m not writing at home, and I don’t do a lot of writing at home for a variety of reasons. My current laptop is 17″ and doesn’t fit well in my backpack, and when I do carry it in my backpack, it’s more weight than I like to lug around. The battery also doesn’t last very long, so wherever it is, at home or out somewhere, I need to have it close to an outlet most of the time. So I’ve stopped taking my laptop with me unless I was absolute sure I’d be doing specific writing, which meant I was writing less in total. Not being happy with that, I decided to buy myself a Chromebook for my birthday and found one I could afford. I love it! My hands are still getting used to the size of the keyboard, but it’s so much easier to take with me and use anywhere than even my laptop, I’m writing more than I have in a while. In fact, I’m writing this post on it right now. I can schedule this post to publish on my blog, then close up my Chromebook, pop it into my backpack, and go off onto a new adventure.