Shameless Plug

Posted: November 11, 2014 in Writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

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Okay, I know I already wrote about how I like to write using my iPhone, because I always have it with me, and so on and so forth … you can real all about it.  Yeah, that’s all still true.

But I got an iPad for my birthday.  And suddenly the world (the small one my writing lives in) is a whole new place.

I’m writing this on my iPad.   This isn’t really much different that writing it on my iPhone, except that in the past when I chose to compose a post on my iPhone, I usually just used the on-screen keyboard.  Now, I’m usoing my bluetooth full keyboard.  In both cases I use my Thinkstock app to locate and download the stock images I use in my posts (subscription required), and Dropbox to manage all of my files.  Oh, for those of you contemplatig doing this, let me recomment composing your posts in a browser, rather than using the WordPress app.  The tools are much richer on the web, which seems odd to me, but that’s how it is.

Working with my novel manuscript is where thigs have really changed for me.  And not only because of the new iPad.  Up until now I’ve been using an app called Documents to Go, which is a little pricey for an iPhone app ($16.99) but it lets you manage, create and edit Office documents right on your phone, and iitegrates seamlessly with Dropbox.  This was a match made in heaven for me.  The Word editor is a little light, in that you can’t work with headers of footers, but it is rich in other features such as text style and size, paragraph justification, bullets, etc.  Which Microsoft’s latecomer Word for iPhone had even less of.  Plus, I didn’t need to pay a yearly subscription fee to use it.

Literally the day after I got my iPad Microsoft released a new suite of Office apps for iPhones and iPads that do not require a subscription, and are still feature-rich.  Plus, it integrates with Dropbox.  Now, I can view an entire full page of my manuscript — including footers and headers — on my screen.

This is huge.  And I only have an iPad Mini.  (See what I did, there?).

And all the other writing-related things I have been doing on my phone are much better, too, on an iPad.  The book on life in medieval Europe I’m reading — and heavily highlighting — is full-size, now.  Books were always very readable on my iPhone before, but now I get the whole page all at once.  Viewing PDFs is suddenly practical, because unlike in an e-book reader, PDFs do not reflow the text to fit your screen.  You have see the whole page in miniature, or you have to look at small bits of it through a retangular window, and scroll around a lot.

I’m very happy with the Mini.  I think a full-sized iPad would bee too big to conveniently carry around.  But that’s me.  Up until now I have been telling myself that I was going to take part of my advance for this book (because I live in an optimistic fantasy world) and but myself a Macbook Air, and write it off as a business expense.  So I was going to be perfectly fine carrying that around.  But now … I don’t think I’ll bother.

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Comments
  1. ellenb says:

    thank you John for your post. I use my iPhone for everything, writing, dictation, auto reader and was wondering whether I should get the larger iPhone 6 OR an iPad mini. Do you know what would be the difference using those apps and viewing on the large iPhone 6 vs. the iPad mini? it just seems like one less device to carry and not too disimilar in size. What are your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ellen, I think it depends on what you prefer. Have you been hands-on with both? For me, the iPhone 6+ is too large because I can’t carry it comfortably in my pocket. I’ve been very happy with my 5, and look forward to the second generation 6 next year, because it is larger without being too large.

      But the Word app on the phone — any size phone — is laid out differently than on the iPad. If you don’t have an external keyboard, the on-screen keyboard covers up most of the text. And even with an external keyboard, seeing the whole page (if you need to) makes it fairly unreadable because the text is so small. Why don’t you try using Word on your current iPhone and see how you like it. A 6+ will give you a little bit more room, but the iPad mini is really like a small laptop. You will discover, as I did, that many apps and almost all built-in apps are arranged differently — and I thnk better — on an iPad. It is one more thing to carry, but I don’t carry it everywhere every day. If you have a bag, it’s a no-brainier. My mini fits in my lunch tote.

      Good luck!

      Like

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