Creativity # 17 - Use New Technology to Jump Start your Writing!

So the world has changed. Technology is now magic. Things we could only imagine 10 years ago, are now a reality. And the rate of technology is ever increasing so more magic will be manifesting as the days pass.

As a writer, how can you use this technology to your advantage so that you can write more often, and have more fun in the process?  Here are a few things I do:

1. Write on your phone.  Yes, I have mentioned this earlier but writing on your phone is one of the best ways to increase your productivity. The great thing about writing on your phone is you can set it up to sync with your computer or your other internet fed devices.  Increasingly, I am writing more and more on my iPhone.  I can do it while waiting on line at the bank, or sitting under an Umbrella at the beach.  Your word processor is in your pocket, and all that you write on your phone is saved also to your home computer.  Simple access and BACK UP. What more could you want?  Check out text based notes programs like IAWRITER, or SIMPLENOTE which sync everywhere. You don’t have to sit at your computer to write now.  Now you can write anywhere. Almost like in the days of the Yellow Legal Pad!

2.   Use the DICTATION feature on your PHONE.  I have an iPhone and they just upgraded the operation system to IOS 8 and they improved voice recognition dictation ten-fold.  It is awesome now.  One of my last Creativity Journal entries, I wrote solely using the dictation feature on my phone, one night while I was working the house at the theatre while patrons were entering.  I literally dictated the entire entry after I sat each patron. Is that crazy fun?  So if you have an IPHONE give it a whirl.  And most Android phones have dictation too which I heard is pretty good.

3. Use the Mac program called Scrivener.  This is a great writing tool especially in the creation process.  I use it all the time for it organizes my writing in a really unique and easy way.  On the left, you have all the entries in your blog or scenes in your play or chapters in your novel.  Each is its own separate file.  You can label your scenes which then can turn into cork board post its so you can rearrange scenes and more. It compiles your manuscript really well and exports to Final Draft, Word, pdf and a myriad of other formats. It has a slight learning curve but once you learn Scrivener, you will use it all the time. It is such a great tool.  You can download a free 30 time trial  (you use it 30 times, not 30 days) at https://www.literatureandlatte.com.

4. Use Timers on your computer to establish writing periods and break times.  I know this sounds crazy but as I mentioned in an earlier post, taking 10 minutes of break time every hour will increase your productivity.  I use a program called Pester to set my work and break times.  There are other programs too, (like the Pomodoro Timer: Focus) which will easily set timers for you. Use these timers. Yes, it seems bizarre but you will probably produce a greater quantity of writing AND a better quality of writing!  So set those timers!

5. Make Mindmaps on your iPad or Mac with programs such as IThoughtsHD or MINDNODE.  Mind maps are sort of these visual representations of anything you wish to represent. Taking your plot, or choosing a character and MIND MAPPING seems really odd at first, but if you stick with it, you will see the power of it as different ideas suddenly connect in ways you never could have imagined, and your creativity will soar!

5. Lastly, give up technology for a while. What? This is a journal entry on technology! YES! Take a night off from Technology and break out paper and pen. Draw, scribble, write long hand and let your ideas fly. The next day, transcribe what you can to your computer, and see what happens. I have gotten my best ideas with paper and pen, and then improved on them putting them into the computer!  I find there is something magical about putting these two methods together.  Check it out.

Ken Wolf