Monday, April 06, 2015

How To Be A Mobile Writer

If you are a writer and you are often away from your home base, no doubt you are thinking of ways to write on-the-go. You might be traveling to work or school, spending time at a cafe, visiting relatives, the possibilities are endless. My own mobile writing setup might work for you as well.

The device I often use is an Apple iPhone. It's small, lightweight, and contains all the features I need to write on the go. Any smartphone would do as well, I imagine.

The 3 major ways to input words on an iPhone:
  1. Pair it with a bluetooth keyboard
  2. Type on the iPhone's internal keyboard
  3. Dictate your words into the microphone and your speech is converted into words in whatever word processing program you are using
My preference is for the bluetooth keyboard, unless I am doing something (running) that may prevent me from bringing it with me. I prefer the iHome keyboard:

The second option is a folding silicone keyboard that appears lighter and more portable than the plastic keyboards, but I haven't used one of these and can't vouch for its strengths and weaknesses. Here is one:

The third option is a wireless laser projection virtual keyboard. I'm planning to buy one of these in the near future as it seems lightweight and portable enough I might be able to take it with me when running or involved in some outdoor activity. I'll soon find out how well it works compared with a standard keyboard:

My word processing program of choice is Microsoft Word. The app is free on iTunes. In conjunction with Word, I use Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage app to store my manuscript files. I use the Google Drive app as well, but switched over to Microsoft because I can type and store all the files in Word seamlessly.

When I'm ready to write, I:
  1. Pair my keyboard with my iPhone
  2. Open the Microsoft Word app
  3. Open the manuscript file I'm working on or create a new one
  4. Start typing
It's a snap to pull out the keyboard and start typing just about anywhere, and I can stop and go somewhere else at a moment's notice.

I haven't yet seen anyone writing on the go this way, though surely some writers somewhere must be doing it. It must not be a well-known setup, because strangers regularly ask me about the keyboard and is it really connected to the phone somehow. Most writers I see use a laptop but I consider those too heavy and bulky for my needs.

I imagine how many comments I'll receive when I buy my laser projector keyboard. That’ll really freak em out.

If you're a writer often on the go, and you want to be on the cutting edge, you might want to adopt this setup.

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