Over the next ten weeks, I'll cover the topics that were included in the Tech Savvy Writer talk at Voices on the Coast 2020 - if you missed it - this is your chance to enjoy the info in bite-sized chunks.
When we're writing, there's an intrinsic whimsy that seems to be lost when using a mobile device - but when you've got a book (or an assignment) due - it's pretty much imperative to be able to write where ever you are.
Read on while I cover three easy to use apps for writing on the go - and one bonus for backing up your work.
Google Docs is a brilliant, free alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite, and is super handy because you can get it on pretty much any device. It also means that you don’t have to save, transfer, and open – potentially doing what I’ve done in the past and writing over the most recent file, loosing days or weeks’ worth of work. You’re able to open a document and start where you left off. You can edit and collaborate with others wherever you are, and it’s got a great price tag. It’s free. The one thing that takes a bit of getting used to if you are familiar with Word, is not having to hit save. The document is automatically saved for you – so long as you’re online. You can even go back and see the old versions of the same document, which can be really handy if you think you’ve overwritten something, or that last phrase was better. Google Docs can now covert to Word files, and vice versa. This is something that didn’t happen without a loss of formatting when I was using it back in 2015. It’s a really handy feature. All you need to use Google Docs is a gmail account, and an internet capable device.
Word 365 is another app that you can open and start where you left off. It has a few more requirements than google docs. There is a cost for this one – it varies from a $99 a year subscription, to $349 to buy outright. Students may already have access to Office 365 through their school or university, but that does depend on the agreements that are in place between the school and Microsoft. Word is a very versatile program, and can do a whole heap of things for writers. This talk was written in Word, as were all of my novels.
Evernote is by far my favourite for writing on the go – purely because I can manage everything from one place, I can capture ideas and inspirations, and keep track of tasks and deadlines. Entire chapters have written and edited in Evernote. It isn’t the best for formatting, but for getting your ideas onto the screen, it’s amazing. Evernote Basic is free to start with, and offers plans from $10 a month. You don’t really need any more than the basic plan when you’re starting out. And you can access Evernote via an app or the internet. Evernote also has the ability to look at previous versions of your files.
Bonus for backing up!
OneDrive is a great option for backing up. And trust me, backing up is a must, no matter what you're working on. Don’t put it off, don’t think about it. Set it up as an automatic thing that happens in the background. That way, you may only loose hours, not days of work. Students, you should have access to One Drive automatically, but if you don’t, there’s a free 5GB plan. It also comes with Office 365 if you decide to fork out for that.
Please keep in mind, I am a windows and android user. I don’t use macs or iPhones in my writing life. There may be other alternative for apple users, but the majority of software I will cover in this blog series is multi-platform.
Prices correct as of 20 February 2020.