- A MacBook Air
- An iPad
- An iPhone
I don’t know what people officially classify these things but I call them computers. And I do heavy-duty writing (or writing-related) tasks on all three of these computers. But I do slightly different things with each one. So I stupidly end up carrying all three around with me most of the time. Bad on my back (and bad for the way people mock me), but good for my writing.
And here is roughly how I use them:
The great organizer and assessor: MacBook Air
So this is the one that is least surprising as a writing tool. A laptop computer. But I don’t do so much straight-up writing on this thing. I use it to organize and assess my writing projects. I keep my novels in Scrivener and so I often use my computer to look at my novel at a high-level. For example, I’ll look at the novel with Scrivener’s outline view or the corkboard view, or I’ll assess how chapters or scene transitions are going, or look at pacing issues, or point of view issues, or problems with the characters in my story, or realize that I have a nasty habit of letting sentences run on forever… I also use my laptop when I’m interacting with several programs at once. For instance, if I need to modify a screenshot and then convert it to a different format and then insert it into a document and then email it to my editor. I can move files around between programs more easily on the laptop. Basically I connect the dots on this computer. But I don’t often create the dots here.
The great in-your-pants solution: iPhone
I make sure that my writing is synced with Dropbox or iCloud so I can get to it from this device (or really any device). I can also do basic project and task management from here (even though I prefer to do the more heavy-duty task management on either of the other two devices). Basically this is my ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE computer. When I’m in the bathroom stall at my day job, this is the only computer that I can sneak in there without people thinking I’m crazy or disgusting (more so).
The great do-one-damn-thing-at-a-time appliance: iPad
I saved my favorite computer for last. This is the computer I use to focus on a particular thing and get it done. There are many clean, well-designed, undistracting apps on this computer (too many to mention). I’ll write scenes for my novel with my iPad. I’ll write short stories or essays. I’ll write blog posts. I’ll edit my writing. I also sometimes do outlining on my iPad. If I’m writing something from scratch, I may use an external keyboard for speed. But often times, I don’t need an external keyboard because I don’t need to type at full speed for the kind of writing/editing/reading that I do on it. I also find that task management and project management is great on this thing with apps like OmniFocus and TaskPaper. It’s a pleasure to do uninterrupted work on the iPad.
The great rationalization
Before you send me an angry note stating that I can do task X perfectly fine with device Y, keep in mind that I’m (slightly) less dumb than you think: I realize almost any of these tasks could be done with the other computers. There is a bunch of overlap between these devices (and the overlap is only growing), but for me it’s a matter of where these tasks feel most natural, most pleasurable, most productive.
So… have I convinced you of each of these devices’ worth? Or… have I convinced you that I am stupid enough to buy anyfuckingthing that Apple sells?
Other Person: Check this out. It’s just like a regular popsicle stick, except it costs $799. And it has the Apple logo on it.
Me: It’s amazing!!! I suddenly need one! When can I pre-order!?!?!?!?!