This post is about the digital tools I use in my “writer’s life”: a life that includes creative and technical writing. I think it’s helpful to share the tools that work with others, which spreads the empowerment potential of the technology in this global, wired village we share. In fact, I am writing this on my Apple MacBook Pro 15″ retina display. This is my favorite Apple Mac notebook computer and I’ve owned a lot of Macs over the years. For me, it’s the perfect melding of what I loved about it’s predecessor MBP and the MacBook Air’s thinner, more elegant form factor which is computing, design genius. And this MacBook Pro retina is fast as hell! I’m not going to bore you with it’s technical specs. there are plenty of other websites to visit if that’s what you’re after, not the least of which would be Apple.com.
As a writer I’m constantly taking notes, and I use Apple’s NOTES which syncs automatically via their iCloud service across my MacBook Pro retina, iPhone 5 and iPad mini, seamlessly. I find myself in a writer’s note-taking nirvana thanks to Apple, Inc. Everything available across my three, go-to Apple devices whenever I pick one of them up to either add to a note or create a new one. In the latter, the new note is automatically placed on my other two Apple devices via my Apple iCloud account in the background. It all just works, it does what it’s supposed to do which means I have things backed up across multiple Apple devices and a set of external, portable hard drives (more on that later).
I’m really trying to not delve into tech. specs. that’ll put us all to sleep. I’m trying to keep the focus on how these devices and software elevate my writing and inspire further creativity. Granted, this is my experience but I’ve seen time and again what people create when they sit or stand with a Mac, iPhone and iPad or iPad mini. I know, I’m sounding like so many other Apple fanboys but this goes far beyond the implications of that derisive phrase. Note taking is a writer’s life blood and Apple’s solutions work for me. If you’re already using a Mac there is really no reason not check it out or revisit it, whatever the case may be. Enough said.
My Apple devices disappear into the creativity and that is the core essence of their utility and beauty. Which speaks to why Apple gets it right far more often than they get it wrong. I love that I can take all different types of notes on my iPhone and iPad mini: typed, voice, photos. and HD video clips. It’s so seamless being able to capture all of those different media all in either device in “the moment”. No other company has really successfully copied what Apple is doing. The ease of use and elegance of their integration of software, hardware and services really has no rival. Long ago the Windows PC side of things decided to go with the commodity, licensing model and it’s not usually useful having that many “thumbs in the pie”. Granted, it’s all about “outcomes” but how long should it take to get there? The Apple haters love to cry, “walled garden” but I’ll take my Apple walled garden over the alternatives.
I think it is a good idea to have the cellular option available on your iPad. A couple of times when my power has gone out I was able to periodically check email (and stay in touch with clients) all thanks to the cellular option on my iPad. My reasons for AT&T Wireless are two-fold: 1) longtime, very, very happy customer and 2) I like to travel internationally and more often than not my iPhone and my iPad work. You always want to do your homework before you leave home. NEVER ASSUME, do your research before you leave home. I need to stay connected, so I always research the country I’m visiting to make sure I’m setup with cellular internet access as backup in the event the hotel’s / resort’s internet service is down. Internationally AT&T Wireless opens far more doors than it closes.
So much of this has to do with having the tool / device immediately at the ready, and it working seamlessly “in the moment”. Every time. Those little idea pearls grow into stories which is why we need to capture, protect and archive them. Like I said, nirvana. Which brings us to the intersection of hardware and software. I always keep my Mac OS software and Intego VirusBarrier software and definitions updated. Everyone needs to keep their OS, virus and malware protection updated. This is critical, can’t stress this enough!
Now, let me tell you about my Go-To writing software. It’s original name is Dramatica Pro but with this new and improved software they have renamed it, Dramatica Story Expert. The thing I love most about Dramatica is that I can come to it with any kernel of inspiration. It does not matter what the “it” is, I launch Dramatica and these days, Dramatica Story Expert and I’m off. I sit and move through the software, answering questions, and skipping the ones I don’t have answers for yet. It creates an environment where I can let the idea hatch and grow organically while capturing any bits of magic and story structure I’ve manifested along the way. I have embedded a video below that shows you “story forming” in the story guide area of Dramatica Story Expert. I have used Dramatic for years and I really can’t imagine developing my story ideas without it. With it’s newest iteration Dramatica Story Expert they’ve made it even more intuitive and powerful. Best $160.00 you’ll spend and it’ll come back to you in Spades in your creative writing.
I began writing the novel I’m working on in Dramatica Pro and I was able to import the original D.P. file right into Dramatica Story Expert without any issues. Fantastically happy the day that happened. I have tried other writing software, too many to bother with here, and none of them came close to what the Dramatica story engine can do. Visit the Screenplaydotcom YouTube channel for more video tutorials. When I’m more productive that fosters / bolsters my creativity and with Dramatica I’ve yet to be dissappointed. You should always explore and discover what tools work for you and then go for it. What are you waiting for?
Now, to keep the legal eagles happy, and in the spirit of full disclosure there are links populating this article that may generate what is called a marketing affiliate commission for Briefly-noted.co in the bg. I’m not shilling for any companies these are the writing tools I use and believe in. These affiliate commissions help to offset the costs associated with the maintenance and marketing of Briefly-noted.co. Happy writing and reading.