Over the last few weeks, I have been asked several times what my writing setup is. Do I write on a tablet, laptop, or phone? What software do I use? How do I promote my work?
Laptop & Tablet
The computer I use is an Acer Spin 5. It is both a laptop and a tablet. One of my favorite things about the Spin is the stylus. If you need to take notes and highlights, the Spin is for you. It uses a Flash hard drive which makes it whisper quiet. The battery life is insane. I usually get at least 13 hours under my normal usage! Previously, I had a Mac laptop which cost twice the Acer. I am sold on the Spin. It would take a minor miracle for me to revert to a Mac.
Call me old fashioned, but I love Word for all my writing. Word got me through high school, undergraduate, and post-graduate. I am familiar with all the keyboard short cuts. I use the feature where I can write on a blank screen with no menu bars or ribbon. If I need a feature, I press the Alt key, and the ribbon appears. My writing requires minimal formatting. Only when posting on Medium, Patreon, or chrisoldcorn.com do I need to worry about formatting.
My biggest disappointment with Word is the grammar and spellchecker. I have the Word grammar and spellchecker turned on. However, if you are a full-time writer, I would use Grammarly Premium. There is a Word plugin to check grammar without having to export your writing to the Grammarly app.
Word has a free online version stripped down to just the basics.
Grammarly’s free version checks for critical grammar and spelling errors. Everyone should be using the free version. It is better than Word’s grammar and spellchecker.
There are two ways to use Grammarly’s standalone editor. Cut and paste your writing into Grammarly and cut and paste your writing back into Word or use the import feature in Grammarly. If you use the import feature, you must cut and paste your content back into Word.
Grammarly’s premium version scrutinizes your writing for punctuation, grammar, context, and sentence structure. It looks for overused words and suggests alternatives. For example, it suggested “scrutinizes” when I wrote “checks” in the first sentence of this paragraph. With the vocabulary enhancement suggestions, you can expand your vocabulary and appear smarter!
If you write for different audiences, there are genre-specific writing style checks. If you are writing an essay, you should not be writing in the first person. But, if you are writing a personal blog post, you can write in the first person. Premium version allows you to write to both audiences with the correct style.
For students, a plagiarism detector checks more than 16 billion web pages to see if anything written appeared elsewhere. Excellent feature to ensure the proper citations.
Grammarly’s paid premium version is worth every penny!
Most writers who author longer articles, short stories, novels, and non-fiction books rave about Scrivener. It comes with a 30-day trial. I did not make it through the trial period before switching back to Word. I used the Windows version of Scrivener which was not upgraded to version 3. Mac users already have version 3. I found it clunky and froze often. Very unfriendly for users. Maybe when the Windows version upgrades to 3, I will try it again. But for now, it is a pass! Try it if you want, but the Windows version is not worth your time unless you are still using Windows XP.
Signals is an auto-tweeting application made by Smedian. You can set it and forget it for promoting your writing. It is better than any other tweet programming applications. Prior, I used both Hootsuite and Buffer. Which took about 45 minutes every day to set up. Now, I barely use either! Every article I post, I set up the tweet and how often I want it repeated. Done! Signals is the perfect Twitter programming application!
My writing setup works perfectly for me. I suggest when you are creating your writing setup that everything works together for you to be as productive as possible. I am sitting in Starbucks drafting this article. In under an hour, I wrote and revised an 800-word article which for me is excellent!