Blog by Toby Welch

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Writers and Computers

It’s no surprise that computers are one of the main favored tools that writers use; they make writing, rewriting and editing a tad easier than a pen and paper. John Warner is no exception, “Most of all, I appreciate the computer and its ability to:

 a.) allow for word processing and the attendant spelling, grammar correcting and general shuffling of text. (My first novel was 240-odd pages conveyed to paper on a portable manual typewriter back in 1967 and I had to start each page anew if I made a typo.)

b.) access to the Internet. (The second novel required intense research in books [i.e. libraries] and newspaper archives [i.e. Edmonton Journal]. This was pre-computers. Now, in a matter of seconds, I can research a scene and actually describe the building opposite as two lovers meet at a cafe on the Champs Elysees.”

Laptops are much more flexible than a desktop computer. Gillian Zylka relies on her trusty laptop, “One thing that is essential for my writing is my ASUS UL20A notebook. It is tiny, highly portable, smaller than a file folder, and very light. I have no idea what kind of memory it has, but it was researched to be perfect for my writing needs, and it is. I slip it into my computer/writing bag and haul it everywhere I need to go. It has an eight hour battery, and was a gift from my husband.”

Mini-laptops (also called netbooks) are a big hit with many writers. Most are around 20 by 25 cm in size, making them portable. And weighing around one kilogram, they won’t add too much weight to your purse or backpack. They can do everything a regular laptop can do but come in a much smaller package.

The original ‘laptop’ geared for writers, the AlphaSmart, continues to be a hit with many writers. The AlphaSmart Neo, is priced around $130, making it more financially feasible than a standard laptop. The Neo is a writing tool with most of the capabilities of word processing programs and runs for 700 hours on three AA batteries.

To protect your laptop from theft when you leave home, consider buying a laptop security kit or a cable lock. These handy cables and locks allow you to leave your laptop on the table at the coffee shop or the library while you run to the bathroom and it’ll still be there when you return. No one can argue the value of a gadget that keeps your laptop from getting stolen.

Happy writing!!