A Writer’s Writing Tools

Everybody has their favorite method of writing. Some have a couple. Your preference is not the same as everyone else’s, and that’s okay! We all have our method of doing things. Do what works for you!

There’s desktop computers; laptops; iPads; smartphones; pen and paper; hammer, chisel, and stone. (Did I miss yours? Comment below!)

I think every option has its pros and cons. Let me highlight a few below.

Laptops are usually the most popular. It’s fast and easy to get your words down, you can images (2)(usually) take it with you wherever you go (unless you have my POS laptop, but I covered that in a different post), and you should have enough hard drive space for everything you need to be successful. But, in some ways, being able to take it wherever you want can be a con. I used to take my laptop to coffee shops but I would spend the entire time on Facebook. I seem to have my writing space figured out where I am very productive. Just because my laptop can come everywhere with me doesn’t mean it’s the best idea to do.

Desktop computers on the other hand cannot be moved, and if you are a writer who needs to get out of the house to write, these are not convenient. If you’re someone who has one writing space and that’s it (i.e. ME), these can be great. You can have a bigger computer screen, which leaves more space to have more windows open. It has even more hard drive space for all your writing-specific computer programs (or The Sims). I think the lack of mobility though is the ultimate downfall of a desktop computer.

Smartphones are the most convenient writing tool. The majority of people nowadays have smartphones, and for the most part, they’re never more than 5 feet away from you. I think my iPhone is great for jotting down some notes on occasion, or a quick scene or character sketch that pops in my mind, but that’s about it. The screen is small, the touch keyboard is easy to trip up on (I do it often), and the punctuation isn’t always convenient to the letters you’re typing (especially on iPhones).

iPads are a huge step up from a smartphone. I carry my iPad everywhere. The battery life on it is amazing (as long as I’m not watching Netflix), and even if it is dying, I have a 10 ft. charging cable for it. I bought myself a good Bluetooth keyboard with hard keys (I hate those silicone keyboards. I canNOT type on them at all). A huge con though is (unless you have one of the newest generations of iPad) only being able to have one window open at a time. My iPad is the iPad 2. It runs slow as heck anymore, so switching between apps constantly takes longer than I would like it to.

Pen and paper is classic. I always felt like my best writing was done on pen and paper, because you write slower than you type, so you think about the words a little bit longer as you write them down. You can have several different notebooks open, with outlines, sketches, etc. You can scratch out words but still be able to read them should you realize they weren’t that bad (versus deleting them forever). But if you need to do research, you still need a computer. It takes way longer to hand-write a novel than to type it. And, no agent or publishing company is going to accept a handwritten manuscript anymore. So you’ll still end up needing to painstakingly type that baby up later on.

Hammer, chisel and stone is a little too classic. I mean, it will take your entire life to chisel a novel into stone. You need to probably move into a cave to even have enough stone to get it all down. Should you mess up, or decide you hate a sentence, have fun chiseling a line through that. A pro though? Your work will always exist for the world to see. The scientists of the future will possibly be analyzing YOUR story. So write something that’ll make them question everything they thought they knew about our time period.


Me personally? I flip between a laptop and my iPad. When I get a new laptop, I’ll probably be 100% on that. I really just hate this laptop so much. All I can use is the Internet. No other software will open anymore. What a waste, isn’t it?

I like the iPad, but like I said, it’s old. I should have never updated it to iOS 9. G-docs doesn’t really agree with my keyboard often (delete tends to delete more than just the last character). WordPress gets so behind when I’m typing. I’ll write a sentence and it takes 10-15 seconds to catch up! BUT it keeps me focused. If Google Docs is open, I’m not constantly flipping between it, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, etc. (because it takes like 30 seconds to open the new app and have it refresh). My focus is on Google Docs. And sometimes, I do need that kind of focus. I’m easily distracted. That’s why I turn my phone over when I write, so I can’t see any of the notifications popping up on my screen. I have all push notifications turned off on my iPad.

Maybe having a laptop where I can’t use any other software is a good thing though. I don’t know how much time I’d probably waste playing The Sims or Rollercoaster Tycoon…. I’m still saving up for a new one though, so, I guess we’ll find out sooner or later.


What do you do your writing on? Any of the above? None of the above? ALL OF THE ABOVE? What do you like/not like about your method?

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16 thoughts on “A Writer’s Writing Tools

  1. laptop. These days mostly on my couch with my dog’s head on one leg so I have to angle my arm weird to type and not squish his face. LOL. Not so great for my shoulder but I get things done and he gets his alpha time.

  2. I mostly use my laptop, though I have a notebook and pens with me wherever I go. I use the iPhone only for jotting down notes/ideas, like you, because diddling around with the tiny keyboard is just too frustrating. I’d rather jot stuff down on my notebook, if I have more than a few words to record. Then, when I get the chance, I write more about those ideas/thoughts on the laptop. 🙂

  3. I do most of my writing on a laptop, I have some journals that I write down some story ideas and sometimes write what I call “snippets” (not long enough to be a chapter too but too long and cohesive to be a note). I’ve never been very good at writing on my SmartPhone or Fire.

  4. Laptop for me, generally. Or pen and composition notebook, when the laptop isn’t feasible. But transcribing my chicken scratch to a word .doc can be challenging. I have an irritating habit of losing words as they make the trek between my brain and hands, when I write, and it’s exponentially worse when I’m writing by hand.

  5. I primarily write on my desktop, but I also have an old laptop and an ancient netbook I use when I need to be out of the house. I sync my writing with dropbox so I can always pick up where I left off.

  6. Hahaha the chisel and stone thing cracked me up. 😀 I write primarily on my laptop. Up until recently I had a super old laptop (it turned off if it was unplugged and it was missing an O key, lol). But recently I invested in a used MacBook Pro and I’m loving it! I also often take notes or write short snippets on my phone––but as you said, it’s hard not to make mistakes. I sometimes take notes by hand, too.

  7. I write on my laptop. I may try to write with my cell, blue tooth keyboard & word app someday. I spend a lot of time waiting to pick small people up from activities. I couldn’t do pen & paper I would never figure out what I wrote.

  8. I use my laptop that I got over the Summer and it’s starting to become SO annoying. Like I can’t unplug it cause it’ll drain within a few minutes. And then I have to have a vent underneath it and then a separate mouse and etc etc. It’s like five pounds! Otherwise I sometimes write my plot on paper at first.

  9. I have a small laptop that’s pretty close to the size (and space) of a netbook. And it’s perfect. It’s hard to get comfortable with though: I need to sit up because the moment I recline, my eyes start to close. I think I have CFS. But in sitting up straight, my muscles start pulling and straining. I need a new setup, I think! Or at least a new chair. This $20 Target computer chair is atrocious.

  10. I only write my novels on my laptop, but I always carry a small notebook for me. In my opinion, it’s a lot easier to write something down on paper than a touchscreen. As for the portability benefit, I hardly ever write at a desk–couches and upholstered chairs are more of my thing. I started writing a book or two using pen and paper, but it was so frustrating because I had the next five paragraphs ready to write but my hand doesn’t move that fast! Then I would go and re-read what I got on the paper and I could only make out every other word.

  11. A mixture of laptop and using Evernote on my phone to ensnare every random scrap of thought that passes in and out of my mind. I use Word Online on my mobile for the same thing and save to my OneDrive so that the editing can be finished on a Laptop. So those and mysterious quill that appears out of thin air with an inkwell filled with what appears to be human blood, and an ancient parchment that claims to be a soul binding contract.

  12. I keep a notebook with me at all times, since writer brain never really turns off. I don’t trust my phone to not randomly delete things, and my keyboard is twitchy, so its not particularly helpful, but Scrivener is a personal preference of mine for larger pieces, or just sitting down to work. A lot of the time if I’ve written something in to a notebook, I transcribe it in to scrivener.

  13. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger Award! – The Incidentalist

  14. hi thanks for dropping by on my page.
    I love this post of your’s about ‘a writers writing tool’ – as for me, I still prefer writing my post using my 5 year old desktop computer, I feel more comfortable and my thoughts are more precise to what I actually want to write, however sometimes I create a draft using my phone and then edit it and published it from my computer.

  15. I write first in longhand when I’m writing down scenes I want to write, and when I’m doing research. But the first draft is always on the computer – although I used my tablet for Nanowrimo.

  16. Pingback: ReBlog – A Writer’s Writing Tools | The Caffeinated Writer | Brickley Jules Writes

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