Guest Blog: Technology And Writing


This post is particularly apt, considering what happened to my laptop this week. Fortunately for me and our workload, we’ve been able to get it fixed and (lucky us) sorted out our dead desktop too. It means no food for a month :p but at least it’s done. Maybe I’ll make back those pennies on the books I’m now able to keep working on.

Today’s guest post is from David Gilchrist; a lovely guy for whom I beta read a year or two back. Reading his post makes me wonder how much of Tapasya was written on a tablet or smart phone (:p) but I’ll let him talk about that. I can’t point fingers anyway; I do a lot of recording notes and thoughts on my smart phone these days; it has an excellent voice recording feature with is slowly becoming invaluable.

Anyway… over to you, David. ^_^


Writing is just you and your favourite word processing packing, bashing away for hours on the keys, or finding a million excuses not to, isn’t it? And you better stay away from those gadgets. Once the cute pics of cats have you, that’s another night down the pan….

But can’t your tablet be more than a distraction? Ever thought about using it as a way to write whilst stuck on the train or bus? Even some phones now have screen sizes that allow you to capture your wild imaginings whilst everyone else on the tube tries to block out all the tinny whinings from all the other sets of Beats, by turning theirs up. I’ve managed to batter out 500 words in the passenger seat of a car whilst doing the evening commute. Not recommended if you get travel sick though.

There are many apps available for your phone and tablet: word processing ones to help you capture your ideas (Kingston Office and Writer to name a couple); progress monitors to help keep you on track (NaNoProgress, Writeometer…); dictionaries and thesaurus (Websters etc). Go and have a delve and see what’s there.

And what about where to store your precious work in progress? Sure you save it every half hour/hour/day… but what if you drop your 99th cup of coffee all over your laptop? That’s when you wished you’d backed it up. And these days, backing it up doesn’t mean firing in a floppy disk (yes I am THAT old) and then sending it to your old mum. There’s tons of online/cloud based services for saving your documents securely (Dropbox, Google drive etc etc). Most are free up to several 100s of MBs if not GBs worth of data. Also, these can be synced across all your devices so you always have the latest version of your WIP with you.

An example; for those that like to read on the Kindle, export your WIP to pdf and then email it to your kindle account. Then you can review it and mark it up there!

And talking of versions, what of revision control? Coming from a software background (GEEK ALERT!) I love revision control. Tools like Tortoise SVN allow you to track all the changes you make to your document – compare versions – revert bits of versions. This may seem a bit extreme when it comes to writing, but if you’ve ever made a large change and then wished you hadn’t, have a wee play with them.

But what about my precious hand drawn maps, and my scrapbook of notes that I leave by my writing desk? How can I have them with me when I am out and about, I hear you ask? Take photos! Your smartphone can capture extremely sharp, high res images of all your doodles. These can even be automatically synced with your Dropbox/Google Drive account so that they are available in the same place as your WIP. Also, when you see that thing that inspires your next novel; the run down church, the broken car, the forest on the edge of the lake, then snap away and have them magically whisked away so you can dig them out when your muse has deserted you.

And the best thing about most of these is that they don’t cost a penny (apart from your phone contract of course!). The important thing is to see the potential in your devices and gadgets, rather than just the limitless possibilities for distractions.

Maybe there’s just time for one more clip of a dog on a skateboard….


David is a writer of words, lover of music and designer of electronics. The west coast of Scotland is his home.
Having loved fantasy since first reading The Lord of The Rings he has been devouring the genre ever since. He enjoys sojourns in the lands of horror, thrillers and even (whisper it) non-fiction. But he’ll always find his way back to dragons and magic and fantasy.
Find Tapasya, his debut novel at here or here.

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About Da Shared Brain

I am the mind behind Ileandra Young and Raven ShadowHawk. They call me da shared brain (DSB) and I quite like it, so I thought I'd make my presence here known. You won't hear from me much, but enough to remind you that I'm here.
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One Response to Guest Blog: Technology And Writing

  1. Arlene says:

    Great tips David! My problem is I’m so addicted to tech I’m constantly “testing” out new apps to see if that next new app is the perfect one for me. This causes me to forget where I wrote those notes on my WIP, or the beginning of a poem, where I recorded audio, or saved a picture. I’ve gotten much better at using Evernote for my one stop shopping for all of the above, and using the notebooks in EN to help categorize, i.e: blog ideas, poems, WIP, etc.

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