My External Silicon Brains

I am a technophile.  I may not have the latest and greatest in computer gear, but there’s a good chance I have read about it.  If I can justify putting it into my workflow and can afford it, I will purchase it.  That is how I ended up with a Macbook Pro, a first generation iPad Mini, and an iPhone 5.  This November I’ve put it through the test.

Before we get to much further into this, let me get this out of the way.  Apple is my preferred platform for tablets and computers, but if Android or Windows works for your process, more power to you.  I don’t like to play the my-operating-system-is-better-than-yours game.  A few of my Apple-loving friends will say I am committing blasphemy, but I looked long and hard at my friend’s Nexus 7 before I got the iPad Mini and like the idea of the attached keyboard for the Surface.  I have a first generation Kindle Fire languishing in the corner of my room to be sold on eBay.  As of this post, I prefer the iOS 7 and the OS X environments.

Because I work full time, my writing is done on a catch-as-catch-can basis.   That means I’m writing on whatever I have access to when I have a few minutes.  If I’m at home, I’m usually working on my MacBook Pro using Scrivener.  But when I’m cramming in words on break at work, I’m writing on my iPad Mini using Pages and Notebooks or going old school with a notebook.  All my digital writing is synced using Dropbox and iCloud.  The only thing I use the iPhone for is typing quick notes into emails that will be expanded on the iPad or the MacBook.  If I’m really desperate, I’ll grab a scratch pad and scrawl on notes on it and shove them in my pockets.  I haven’t gotten to the point of scrawling something using my own blood—yet.

It’s liberating and frustrating at the same time to have access to technology.  I can write anywhere I want thanks to the iPad. Because the iScriv (as the promised iPad compatible Scrivener app was nicknamed on the Literature and Latte fourms) is still in development, I use Notebooks to mimic the structure of the file used in Scrivener.  But I have to remember to manually sync to Dropbox in order to be able to write on the go.  Several times I have opened Notebooks, ready to add onto a file that isn’t in the cloud.   The other problem is that the iPad to Dropbox to laptop sync isn’t as smooth.  I’ve accidentally deleted a day’s worth of work before by hitting the wrong button.  Doing that leads to much wailing and gnashing of teeth before I try to dig up the ‘prior version’ in Dropbox.

I’m happy to say that I have had a relatively smooth time with the physical act of writing for the month of November.  The problems mentioned had more to do with me adapting to my process than my process being broken.  So in the future, I plan on writing this way when I have that idea while at work that just won’t leave me alone.

Word count total for this week:

One Reply to “My External Silicon Brains”

  1. I like to write on a notepad when I’m away from my computer. (Yes, a literal notepad with paper and a pen. :D) The stuff is still there even when I forget to hit ‘save’.

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