What Do I Write With?

So we’re halfway through the first week of NaNoWriMo! Woohoo! And after meeting up with my fellow Wellington WriMos I have been thinking about the tools people write their novels with. We had laptops and tablets galore, and even one person who was aiming to write all 50k by hand! (In previous years we even had a person show up with a typewriter.)

I have three main writing set-ups, depending on my location: my laptop, my tablet, and my phone.

The Laptop

Hard Bits

  • HP Pavilion laptop with wireless external keyboard and mouse.
  • X Stand: This stand lifts my laptop up to multiple heights, and can break down into a few poles that sits nicely into my bag. I’ll be able to take it to Night of Writing Dangerously to lift my laptop off the floor. It’s studier than it looks, not shaking at earth in multiple earthquakes.
  • External speakers and HyperX Cloud headset: My laptop’s speakers are decent, but nothing is better than a) proper speakers b) headset so I can listen to my music and not wake anyone up. This is also the headset I use for podcasting and with dictation software. Very comfortable, plus you can switch out the leatherette ear cups for velour ones. Velour. /Zapp Brannigan.

Software & Apps

  • Novlr: Cloud-based writing software that is regularly being updated with new features and tweaks. It tracks stats, sends backups to Drive and Dropbox, and has versioning. It can also be accessed from any device, meaning I can easily jump from laptop to tablet without any transferring of files.
  • Scrivener: I actually use Scrivener a lot less now that I have Novlr, but I still use Scrivener for planning and editing. It’s a classic for a reason.
  • Write!: Notepad on so many steroids. Great for popping down notes or trying to write a blurb for my NaNo story.
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking: Dictation software for when my wrists cannot take it anymore. I picked it up several years ago with a NaNo winner coupon.
  • Cold Turkey & Cold Turkey Writer: One’s a distraction blocker, the other a very elegant Write or Die alternative that has built in white noise and other features.
  • Spotify: Music is important, and it makes making story playlists so much easier. (See Signed In Blood, my NaNo16 playlist)
  • Adobe Photoshop: Gotta make the pretty covers!

The Tablet and Phone

I have both a Samsung tablet and a Samsung phone, and I use a bluetooth keyboard with both of them – although if I am travelling as a passenger in a car or bus I just use the phone’s keyboard. My list of apps is smaller, but still useful.

  • Novlr: As it’s brower-based, I can open up Chrome on my tablet and the app will open up to where I was working last. Nice and easy. 😀
  • Word Attack: Write or Die only has an iOS app, but just yesterday I found an Android alternative. Simple, clean, effective.
  • Draft: As much as I love Novlr, it doesn’t play nice on my phone with the default keyboard. So if I’m not writing in Write Attack and copy-pasting into Novlr afterwards, I write in Draft. It’s a simple text editor connected to Dropbox. That’s it.
  • Spotify: Because music! Gotta shut out the world when I’m writing.

So tell me: what sort of things do you write with? I’ve neglected “notebook and fountain pens” because this NaNo I am trying to stay digital as much as possible for word count reasons, but I do like pretty pens. 🙂 Is there anything you think I might find useful? Anything you don’t use but might give a try?

And how is your NaNo going? Right now, I am a little head of target and reaching at least 1667 words a day. Fingers crossed that I keep going.

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Catherine is a writer, reader, and general internet person from New Zealand. As well as designing book covers, she is one of the editors for Bibliodaze and one half of the vampire-themed podcast The Bloodsucking Feminists.

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Kiwi. Writer. Reader. Graphic designer. Video games enthusiast. Bloodsucking Feminist and co-editor of Bibliodaze . Knows way too much about vampires than is healthy. Doesn't care.

Works in Progress

The Cantia Covenant
The Necromancer's Daughter

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