Monday, July 4, 2011

Turning to tech to get writing again

It's amazing what a change of scenery and some new tech will do when you're stuck in neutral on a writing project.

My wife, to my utter shock, bought me an iPad 2 a little while ago as a birthday/10-year anniversary gift after we'd talked about strategies to get writing again. I'd found myself in a non-writing rut for a while and needed to shake things up. I do enjoy writing on my computer here at home using a fantastic application called Scrivener (I can't recommend it highly enough) but between the cat and other distractions (phone, TV in the same room, the knowledge that there was laundry to be done, etc.), it's been hard to get into a groove at home.

However, going mobile felt even worse as my laptop -- a very fine MacBook Pro -- is my work computer and frankly, I spend too much time using that system every day at work to really feel comfortable spending my free time writing on it as well.

And then the topic of an iPad came up and to my surprise, Jenn went out and got one for me. First of all, it's a really cool gizmo and one that has changed how and where I read the news every day among other things. But more importantly, with a Bluetooth keyboard and a very slick way to get access to my Scrivener projects via iPad (the free Simplenote app), I suddenly found myself with an ideal way to get away from the stuff on my desk and the loving cat desperate for attention and instead camp out in our local library (recently redone from top to bottom and now one of my favorite places) and write. I hunker down in a carel with a nice view of the gardens, tucked away in solitude on the third floor in the Religion section that no one ever seems to visit, and I've found myself writing again.

The great thing is that this doesn't feel like a short-term fad. I love the iPad, I love using it as a writing tool, and most critically, I have not permitted any work-related apps, e-mails, or other materials to be loaded onto it. It's 100% a personal tool, one that I can pick up and move wherever I need to be. With the synchronization to my Scrivener project, I'm have access to the same notes, chapters, scenes, and more that are available via my iMac. I'm not done with my novel yet but I'm farther along than I was a few weeks and months ago, which feels very good.

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