5 thoughts on “Questions 194: Cell Phone and Longhand Writing”

  1. I am a writer who still has a separate day job. A year or two ago, I would take breaks and use my then iPod Touch to make notes. One day, when I noticed how fast I was ‘typing’ with my thumbs, it dawned on me that I could actually write prose. Back then, I’d do my morning writing on my Mac in Scrivener. I’d copy/paste into a Google Docs file. That GDocs file would sync with my iPod (and act as a de facto backup). Then, during breaks during the workday, I’d spend 5 minutes or so writing 2-3 paragraphs. They’d build up over the day and I’d usually add about 500 words just from the iPod. I’d then copy the new text from GDocs into Scrivener. Repeat.

    Now, with an iPhone and, most importantly, the iOS Scrivener app, none of that copy/paste stuff applies. The Scrivener app is fantastic and seamless. Now, I write in Scrivener at home in the mornings (up at 4:30am) and still write 2-3 paragraphs on multiple breaks…but with a lot less copy/pasting.

    I would sometime use the dictation software in the iPhone, stopping/starting with every 2-3 sentences so that the timer doesn’t run out mid-sentence. It’s not a big deal. At home, I often dictate on my PC with Dragon…but that’s another discussion.

    I have almost all my notes and active projects in various iOS apps on the iPhone (Scrivener; Simplenote; Notes; PlainText) so I can always work whenever I am.

  2. For Christmas I got a bluetooth keyboard with a little docking slot to put my big iPhone 6+ in . I’m excited about using it as a writing station. It’ll pretty much be a little laptop. I think I’ll start using it on lunch breaks. I’m excited about having a super mobile solution that gives me a full keyboard with my phone as the computer and screen. Thanks for another great episode!

  3. I did a prepress course in my early twenties. One of the best parts was learning to touch type. It has made a massive difference in my further studies and my working life if both in IT and later as a teacher. The bulk of my writing, I do on a Macbook pro. I carry it around with me way too much (its a 15inch). I can type very fast. The first outline for the novel I’m working on however, was written by hand at a cafe in Paris. The ability to just scribble stuff down in a tactile way, without structure that typing imposes, was very handy. I’ve typed a few sections on my iPhone 6 plus, but I am slower and I dislike seeing so little on screen at once. I am tempted to get a keyboard for my phone when I next fly as my laptop does not fit easily on modern tiny economy seats!

  4. I know we’re dealing more with capturing longer thoughts, but let me start small.

    I’ve been using the same method for quick jotting ideas for several years, and it’s worked well enough for me. I enter my own cell phone number into my contacts and routinely text myself whenever I have a burst of inspiration. I’ve gone so far as to text myself entire scenes and paragraphs, send photos or content links I find online but don’t want to save to my phone’s memory at the moment, or to send myself voice clips if I need to ramble a little to get to where my brain is going faster than if I typed it. It’s a simple go-to drop box that’s always at my fingertips. I don’t have to open/load any special apps, I don’t have to fight with formatting tools or jump through welcome screen/login hoops, and even if I don’t finish a thought or have to quickly put my phone away, the message is waiting for me (as a draft) the next time I have a minute.

    Dan, you mentioned having stacks of notebooks you peruse every so often to find (and perhaps revive) old ideas. My vast inventory of self-addressed text messages is my version of that. When I need inspiration, I scroll through what I’ve sent to myself and look for gems. From there I can easily e-mail them to myself one by one, or do screen grabs to capture clusters of thoughts quickly and without any additional typing/copy/pasting.

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