I am currently away on an Internet Vacation. I’ll be back online on March 31. I have written one new post for each day of my Vacation so that folks don’t miss me too much while I am gone. But keep in mind, these posts have been scheduled ahead of time. Feel free to comment, as always, but note that since I am not checking email, I will likely not be replying to comments until I am back from my Vacation on March 31. With that said, enjoy!
A few months back I got a Google Chromebook. I wrote up some initial thoughts on my Chromebook, and now I wanted to talk about how the Chromebook works for me as a writing tool–which was, after all, the main reason I got it.
The Chromebook is very light-weight. To me it doesn’t feel much heavier than my iPad 2. This is great because I can toss it into my messenger bag without fear of leaning to one side when I walk, the way it seems I do when I put my work laptop–a high-end Dell of some kind or other–in said bag.
The keyboard feels natural enough to me. At least, I can type as fast on the Chromebook keyboard as I can on any of the other keyboards that I use (we’re talking at the rate of 75-85 words per minute) and I don’t seem to make any more mistakes.
Perhaps the one drawback is the “litter box” scratch pad for the mouse. Just about every laptop has them these days, but they are not my first choice in mouse manipulation.
I think the battery life is around 6 hours or so, but I’ve only run the battery down once, and it was an accident on my part. (I thought I’d plugged in my Chromebook to charge overnight and I hadn’t.)
Finally, the screen. Until I got my Chromebook, I had been doing writing away from my home office on my iPad using an external BlueTooth keyboard. One of the reasons I wanted a laptop was because the iPad screen was a little too small for me. I prefer to setup my writing screen with larger, readable fonts and when I did that on the iPad, there wasn’t much screen real estate left over. The Chromebook is better. The screen is much larger and when I am in full-screen mode, I have just what I need to get my writing done.
One sacrifice I made, switching to the Chromebook was to give up my beloved Scrivener for first and second drafts. I still use Scrivener, but now I use it for my third, polishing draft, from which I compile the manuscript that will be delivered to my editors.
After some floundering around with various simple, text-based editors, I eventually settled back on Google Docs. I was hesitant about this at first, but I soon realized that by writing some Google App Scripts, I could highly tailor Google Docs to my own needs. I could automate a lot of stuff that I’d done manually. Indeed, for the first time ever I am now able to capture what I write each day in Evernote and actually see what changed from the previous day. This is done entirely through automated Google App Scripts that I’ve written. I have an advantage here over people who don’t write code, but it is, after all, what I do for a living when I am not writing stories.