I know Amber does all the writing but behind the scene there are little choices that I help out with. Among them are buying all the little things that help her write effectively. There are links to items to purchase and we get a little something back if you use them. But these are my honest opinions and I hope they help.
Writing a novel is as easy as putting one word in front of another and continuing until you are finished, and then revising that twenty times until it resembles little of what you had to start with.
To help you with writing a novel or any piece of written art you might want to pick up a few tools to help you. This can be done with an array of tools depending on the kind of person you are. Some people want to write with pen and paper. Of course this will later have to be put in digitally but that’s a whole other hurdle. Some like to dictate into a recording device which can often times record directly into a written file. And there’s the kind who like to sit down with their coffee, or other beverage of choice and hack away at a keyboard. Whatever your style, here are a few items you might find helpful.
If you like hand writing, you may do this in notebooks, on loose pages, on stickie notes, or on napkins while out with friends. The one thing these have in common is the use of something to write with. When I write sometimes I realize it’s not quite right. No backspace on paper though. That’s why I like the Frixion pens. These pens erase with the back of the pen and unlike pencils they don’t leave all that messy eraser grit behind, truly a pen for those who write a lot.
Of course any old paper will do in a pinch but if you really want to keep all those plot ideas somewhere safe and organized (organized being the key here) you might want to invest in some Paperage lined journals. Not only are the hard cover journals easy to write on, they also come in a variety of colors. This way you can keep different projects straight and not have to dig trying to find the story you were looking for. The elastic band also keeps your pages from getting damaged when you have it stored away in your backpack or purse.
If your notebook is for notes and character information you need to keep straight then you might also want to get these Colored Page Markers. Their durable plactic and bright colors are sure to keep you organized. You can write on them too so you remember exactly what you’ve tabbed for easy reference.
Sometimes you just want a break from doing it all yourself. Your wrists might be sore from all the typing. You just don’t feel like staying inside because the weather is just too nice not to go for a hike. These are all reasons why you might want to dictate your story into a recording device. Where do you start? The range of recording devices is huge from the cost of lunch to the cost of your car payment. It really does depend on what you want out of the experience. It doesn’t have to cost that much though if you want to give it a spin. As a note, many of the devices that claim transcription are not really part of the product but a service the company may provide at a monthly subscription cost. This is something most phones can do merely by playing back the voice recording into a notes program and having the phone transcribe for you.
On the low end I found the Sunlan digital voice recorder. It’s inexpensive and can easily store more than enough for a day’s hike into the wilderness. It also has plenty of features and super easy to use.
If you really want to use the monthly pay feature (might be worth it if you really do a lot of recording) then you can go with the Langogo digital voice recorder. This one also claims translation features into more than a hundred languages. This one is more in the mid range of the voice recorder budget but still not too bad.
On the upper end the Sony digital voice recorder is a pretty sure bet. It has great support and quality noise reduction. Again this one needs separate transcription but the file transfer to a PC is super easy.
This leaves us with most of the rest of us who have realized we like to just sit down and write, er… type, our books out. The clickity clack of the keys on a computer just haunt our dreams as we come up with yet another plot we may never have the time to get to. Of course the advantage of using a computer is all of the other tools you have at your fingertips, not to mention the rabbit holes.
If you’re wanting portable you probably want a laptop. Computers are such a personal thing that I figure I should give some options to what is out there. The HP 17 Laptop is a solid choice. It has a full 10-key pad as well as all of the standard ports including a regular HDMI, something that is often missing on laptops these days. The Lenovo Legion 5 for the Lenovo fans out there. This one has a ton of ports and makes use of the back for most of them unlike the HP which uses the sides only. Also the Asus Tuf Gaming Laptop which again uses only the sides for its ports. If you are wondering why I recommend gaming laptops for writing, it’s because they are more robust and are designed for long periods of time spent literally hammering on the keys. I think writers are the only people harder on a keyboard than gamers are.
If on the other hand you are more of a sit at a desk type then the tower/desktop computer is a lot more personalized and so I think focusing on the add-ons might be more helpful.
First off we have keyboards. Pretty standard is the Cherry Stream nothing flashy but a good solid keyboard. As you will soon notice I recommend wired devices to prevent too many issues. The last thing you want to do is run out of batteries in the middle of a tense scene. Next is a more ergonomic option, the Perixx Periboard. The split keyboard makes long typing sessions easier on the wrists. And of course back to the gaming aspect of comfort we have the Razer Ornata, not only a rugged design but backlit.
Where would you be without a mouse, or trackball?
One of the two devices I personally use is the Utech Smart Venus Gaming Mouse It’s reliable and the optional weights help customize it for individual users. The Logitech Trackman is another good go to for optimizing space. It’s also a good center ball control keeping the thumb from being overused.
Additional items that may be useful
Currently the world is getting smaller and faster so the Samsung Pro Plus 256GB microSD V30 may just fit in nicely. Enough room to store a bit of data and small enough that you won’t have to worry about where you’re going to store it.
For the laptop crowd I recommend a backpack instead of an ordinary case to carry everything in. These are more like mobile stations than a backpack, including such amenities like usb charging outlets and pouches designed for all of the more common items you might be bringing. An inexpensive one is from Lapsouno. Of course we’ve gone for a slightly more rugged and pocket filled variety from Moblie Edge. It really has gone through a lot and still looks like new.
One thing these backpacks don’t come with is the battery backup to attach to the cables. We bought one a few years ago that still works great and has backup solar charging capabilities. I suggest one of the newer versions though especially for the phones these days with the MagSafe charging which eliminates pesky cables while using it around town. The first of these is the Ryoki Solar Charger. It’s the smallest of the recommendations but has lots of plusses including the magnetic charging, flashlight, and solar charging. An upgraded charger, although not solar, would be the Anker 633 with three times the charging life. Also includes a stand so you can use your phone to watch movies and not worry about the battery running out. And if you really want a powerhouse, and a real need to have gotten the backpack, you can get the 65 Watt Portable Laptop Charger from SinKeu. Of course it also charges phones but has 8 times the charging ability as the Anker.
If you find you need some inspiration and want to fire up a movie, what better way than to use a portable projector. We’ve used a number of lower end projectors and you really do get what you pay for. They’ve all worked but some are more fragile than others. On the super low end you can find such projectors as this Portable Mini Projector. Probably the lowest end I’d go and sold by many different brands but the same projector. For an upgrade for what it can do and how bright the image can be you might try something along this LCD Mini Projector. It costs a bit more but probably well worth it. Of course going even further you hit the name brands like this LG Portable Full HD projector. With a 2.5 hour battery life you can get just about anything done on the go.
No matter what you want or what you want it for a little looking around can give you plenty of ideas to give you exactly the setup that fits your style.