A Laptop is a Writer’s Best Friend

A Laptop is a Writer’s Best Friend 1024 576 Reader Views

by Author Dawn Colclasure

One thing that a writer needs is to be is adaptable. Whether it’s improvising on what we use to write with (or on!), writers have to be able to get that writing done no matter what the situation is.

And for me, the way to get writing done when I first started writing was by writing things in my notebook. Even though I used a typewriter in my teens, I was often writing things in my notebook. Then. when the personal computer came into use, I’d often write things on the computer and/or print them out. For the most part, though, I was a “notebook writer” and proud of it.

However, after several years of using a personal computer for my writing, I got to a point where the computer is where I usually did ALL of my writing – even if it was a first draft. Of course, I used notebooks to keep notes in or for research, but the bulk of my writing was done on the computer.

Then came the laptop. I didn’t get a laptop right away. I pretty much decided to just wait and see how laptops fared for writers. Eventually, rave reviews came pouring in from writers the world over, heralding the efficiency and convenience of their laptops. They LOVED their laptops! What a wonderful creation to help them write and submit work anytime and anywhere they wanted to!

So I was pretty much convinced that maybe I should try using a laptop, too. I write A LOT and often every day. I am also a busy mom, often driving one kid to one place or another while also driving the other kid where they needed to go. So I thought it might be a good idea for me to get a laptop just so I could have something “like a computer” to write on when I couldn’t write on a computer.

Having a smartphone did help alleviate some of that burden. I was able to write AND communicate with editors via email with my smartphone. I just couldn’t get work done fast enough.

Then the day came when I finally got a laptop! HOORAY! My husband got me one for a Christmas present and I was THRILLED! Now I could write to my heart’s content.

Or, so I thought.

When I tried writing on the laptop, I was really clumsy trying to use this different kind of keyboard. My friends suggested alternatives, but I was convinced that this was a problem that I really needed to solve.

The solution was just to practice typing on the laptop as often as possible. That way, I could get used to it. That worked! I still have the occasional typos, but I have found that after a few months of consistently typing on the laptop, I am now used to typing on the laptop!

The next obstacle came when I couldn’t use Microsoft Word on the laptop. I tried using it through Outlook, but Outlook eventually decided it didn’t like me anymore and refused to let me sign in. I tried to write on Notepad or Wordpad instead. Then, after I saved my work, I would email it to myself, open it up on the PC, then slap it onto Word there.

That worked until it didn’t.

I wanted to start getting some book work done on my laptop. When I’m ghostwriting a book or otherwise preoccupied with a different book project, I can normally be found revising, editing and completing a bunch of manuscripts I had managed to acquire in the days when I was just writing books but not submitting them. I decided to tackle those manuscripts sitting on my hard drive. These manuscripts needed different kinds of work. One needed to be revised, another needed to be edited, and another needed to be completed. So I decided that’s how I would work; just take those three and do the work needed.

If I wanted to do that on my laptop, though, I needed to use Word. I tried using other substitutes, but they were not compatible.

I turned to my fellow writers (and laptop users) to see what I could try next. One of them suggested OpenOffice. I tried that and it worked great! Soon I was blissfully using Word to get my book work and other writing done.

I have run into other problems with my laptop – such as, having trouble saving files and the fact that it is verrrrryyy sllloooooowwww – but the first one was fixable (I used a flash drive until I figured out what the problem was). The second one? I just have to deal with it. Sometimes, I just need to restart the darn thing to get it to work again!

Overall, it has been great to have the laptop to use for my writing. This year, I was FINALLY able to write a 50K word novel for NaNoWriMo, and A LOT of that writing was done on my laptop! I really don’t think I would have been able to get all that writing done for NaNoWriMo if it weren’t for the convenience of a laptop!

I am also able to do other things on my laptop: Use Gmail, Twitter and Facebook, as well as watch movies on Netflix. I also check in with my teen’s school if needed, and read ebooks. But, for the most part, I use the laptop to get a lot of my writing done.

Needless to say, having the laptop as something I can have access to at any time of the day and just ANYWHERE has been a real blessing for this writer. I write blog posts, poems, essays, articles and book reviews on my laptop, and any time that that I want to write these things but can’t have access to the computer, I have the laptop. This laptop – my own laptop – makes that access possible.

My kids and I all have laptops. The three of us often set up at the table with our laptops propped open, working on our own things. (My oldest does Zoom meetings plus remote work on his laptop.) A laptop has definitely made our lives easier, as well as making it possible for our creativity to thrive. My teen gets his homework assignments done on their laptop, my oldest gets his work done on his laptop, and I get my writing done on my laptop.

While we all still use the personal computer for the bigger projects (and the editing of a book requires me to have many tabs open at once since I have to do historical research for it and need to have many sources), having the laptop as an alternative method to get work done has helped a lot. For the times we can’t use the PC to do our work, we turn to our laptops. It’s the next best thing, as well as a beautiful arrangement.

About the Author

Dawn Colclasure is a writer who lives in Oregon with her husband and children. She is the author and co-author of over two dozen books, among them 365 Tips for Writers: Inspiration, Writing Prompts and Beat the Block Tips to Turbo Charge Your Creativity and the horror novel, Shadow of Samhain. She is also a content writer, freelance writer, book reviewer and ghostwriter. She is also a self-publisher. Her stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. She publishes the SPARREW Newsletter each month. Her websites are at https://dawnsbooks.com/ and https://www.dmcwriter.com/. She’s on Twitter @dawncolclasure.

  • Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    This article confirms the recommendation I make on my soon-to be released 3rd edition of my “The Frugal Editor.” I do that because I found it the one most often acceptable for submissions for everything from a variety of freelance work to most (all?) platforms for the self-published! That makes it a timesaver! Dawn, I use a special Word on my iMac, too! Why learns new word processor when this one works everywhere?😊
    Happy writing!
    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

    • Dawn

      I wasn’t able to use Word because I had to sign in through Outlook and it would not allow me to sign in. I was able to use Word through OpenOffice, though.

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