Books seem to come into existence as if by magic, flying from the minds and fingers of authors. They even beam themselves onto our Kindles.
But it ain’t magic.
It’s a labor of love undertaken by regular people, like me, who love stories. We don’t all use the same process or the same tools. Some people have fancy systems, and some of us are simpler.
I’m offering a peek behind the writing curtain and to share what it really takes to write a novel. At least for me.
I don’t currently have an office or I’d start there. I’m planning to transform a guest bedroom into an official work space in the future. I intend to blog the process. (You have been warned.) Right now, I write wherever I happen to be: living room, car, kitchen. I don’t often write at coffee shops. I’m down with solitude.
So, tech tools first. I’m pretty basic, and I’m not brand loyal when it comes to tech. I go for what works, meaning I prefer functionality over form. Pretty colors and sleek designs are nice, but I need something that functions for me.
For writing, I currently use a Toshiba Satellite 17.3 inch laptop because it has:
- a ginormous screen
- I can increase font sizes for easy reading and still get a decent amount of words on the viewing screen.
- I can see my outline and my book text at the same time (in Scrivener, more on that in a future post).
- A wide screen means a wider keyboard, which means I don’t have to wad myself up to type.
- a number pad
- I still can’t efficiently use the numbers on a standard keyboard.
- The screen may be huge, but I can still carry it wherever I need to go.
- loads of memory
- Text files don’t take up much space, but still, I manage to fill up memory fast.
Since we’re talking about memory, I should mention that I backup my writing every night on a portable flash drive. (I also have backups of the backups in various locations.) Yes, I keep multiple digital copies of every single version of every single book I’ve ever written. That means I always have the latest version, but I can also return to a previous version if something goes wrong.
And now for some nagging: No matter what work you do back it up DAILY! And don’t trust backups that live on your computer. That hard drive ain’t gonna live forever. Duplication is the key. Put copies all over the place.
- Use a cloud
- Use a flash drive, which is what I use
- Use your phone
- Use a stone tablet and chisel
…but back up your work! Daily. [End nagging.]
I also can’t live without my wireless mouse. I dislike the touch pad on the laptop. I’m far too klutzy to use it effectively, so I usually disable it or set it so that it takes a heavy touch to engage it. Otherwise, I end up deleting text with my wrists. Don’t ask how I manage it. But I do.
So those are my techy tools. Up next, software….
In the meantime, do you have any questions about the writing process or book creation? If so, leave them in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer them.