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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Technology and Writing

When I look back through my writing portfolio (which is basically a collection of everything I've ever written)I am always struck by how much of it is handwritten vs. typed. Obviously, I don't want to date myself, but when I was a kid (some years ago) computers were considered a luxury - some even thought them a fad. My parents bought one and I mainly played games on it and did all my creative writing in my scrawled, difficult to read, cursive.

Once I went off to university, my parents got me a state-of-the-art electric typewriter (woo hoo! Soooo fancy ;-) on which I did everything (usually only once because the editing feature was limited - it's appalling what I handed in to my professors!)

Now, I do everything on my computer - from outlining to writing to editing -I rarely see a printed hardcopy of my work anymore. Sometimes I will brainstorm on some sticky notes, but usually I use my iPhone for that now.

So I've been looking into buying some writing software. Currently I use Word and am quite happy with it, but many people have been telling me to get Scrivener. I've checked out the demos that show how versitile Scrivener is and it looks amazing, but I'm wondering if I'll actually use the many features (so many that I fear I'll get too distracted by them and not get any writing done) or if I'll revert back to Word as a simpiler choice.

So I'm asking for input - what kind of writing programs do you all use? What would you recommend?


  1. I vote for Word: it's boring, no distractions there;)

  2. To be honest I use word and cue cards to help sort things out. At times when my mind is going quicker than my fingers I use my MP3's Voice Recorder function to get it down.

  3. I've heard many good things about Scrivener. I'm going to pick up a copy myself. I like word though too :)


  4. I cannot wait for Scrivner to be released for windows! I'm stoked. Not only will it make being organized easier, but formatting and publishing too. And dang, writing does get boring sometimes, I can't wait to add a little 'fun' factor. :)

  5. I've got the windows beta version of Scrivener and just started playing with it. There's a lot there, but I'm also plotting on cards and doing sheets for my characters. So, I still haven't moved over completely to Scrivener yet because its the beta and I'm not comfortable giving up my old ways yet.

    Kelley uses Scrivener and swears its the greatest software out there. She loves it.
    Hope that helps Angie. :) Good luck

  6. Nice Post. This enter helped me in my university assignment. Thanks Alot

  7. Well, I've decided to give it a try - I've been hearing about this program for so long that I can't not try it. I'm sure I'll do a post about it at some point.

  8. I've recently started using an Alphasmart Neo (bought on eBay at about half price) for early drafts.
    At least when I don't have access to the computer.
    (I really need to remember to write up on my blog about it.)

    It's kind of an iffy tool once you reach the editing process, but I've found it's useful to do a few chapters at a time, per file, and upload the first drafts to the computer for editing. And when I expect to be away from the computer again, I download segments of the story (such as the latest chapter) back to the AS to continue working on it.

    And no distractions!

    You just have to remember to add various tags in place of italicizing and the like.
    I've found that if I use underscores for italics, then send directly to a Word file, Word will auto-convert (most of) the relevant words to italics.
    And keep a set of fresh batteries, though this thing is supposed to last 700 hours before they need replacing.

    I'll need to check out the Scrivener Windows sometime, give that a try.