Tag Archives: computer

If it Light’s Up…USE IT! Don’t be Afraid of Technology

We live in amazing times. We have computers, tablets, even phones that allow you to write your manuscript on them….between software and hardware writing has become a streamlined practice for a lot of people. You don’t have to worry about spelling, word processors do that for you…and grammar programs improve every day. Hell, before you know it technology will take the writer out of the equation altogether! WAIT! WHAT?!

Okay, don’t get excited…writers will always be needed because a machine can’t do what we do. I know that there are a lot of old school writers out there who refuse to embrace new technology for fear of being replaced but I am not one of them. For me if it lights up and makes my life easier…whoo hoo! I know that writing is an intimate and personal practice so the concept of machines replacing us…well it’s just not going to happen so I take advantage where I can.

Technology saves you one thing that all writers complain about not having…enough time. I like the fact that I can take my tablet everywhere I go and I can write wherever I want to. If I have downtime because the spouse is shopping…I can write. If I am stuck in traffic and it’s at a standstill…I can write. If I am at the in-laws and I want to drown out my mother-in-law…I can write. (not that I would EVER do that…)

Technology should be seen as a way to enhance your writing, not take away from it. I would encourage all of my fellow writers to explore the technology out there and discover new ways to by you time, editing services and even have a little fun along the way.



© The Writer’s Advice, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 13, 2022 in Writing, Writing Tools


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hopping Up on My Soapbox to Fight Technology Zombies from Spreading


Our brains are turning to mush. Not, hey it’s the weekend and I’m on my 15th beer mush but the bad kind of mush; the kind of mush that causes dementia and other brain disorders. We are losing our memories and our ability to write in long-hand. Face it people we have become the laziest bunch of humans I have ever seen and it is our fault.

Our lives have become a constant whirl of electronic backwash. Computers, tablets, GPS and smart phones, all of it is designed to make our lives easier, us lazier and somewhat dumber. I have begun to realize that I personally need to take some time away from all those electronics from time to time. If I don’t I’m going to become one of the tech zombies that we all see on the streets texting instead of watching where they are going, hooking into the grid instead of hooking up with other humans…it’s all rather disturbing.

On the one hand, they are great tools but, on the other, we are losing some of our mental capacity by becoming dependent on all those gadgets. Consider that we are now currently raising an entire generation who will not know how to read a map or remember a phone number. In a few short years no one will need to know how to spell, computers already pretty much do that for you. And handwriting? Won’t matter if yours is good or bad…no one needs to do that anymore.

I recently went back to using a handwritten journal. I am also buying actual books instead of just ebooks. And once a week I spend a whole day without (gasp) turning on my computer at all. Don’t tell anyone but I spend those days actually reading….

Don’t let technology turn your brain into mush. If I was a conspiracy theorists (and some days I can be) I would tell you that it feels like we are being trained to literally not think for ourselves. Computers do our work, GPS finds our way, smartphones make our calls and television (media) tells us what is real. Wake up people….wake up before you find yourself in the land of I-can’t-do-for-myself.

We as creative people have a moral obligation to make sure that others around us know that, although technology is good for the most part, there is a dark side. Ray Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains” comes to mind. It is simple…the brain is like a muscle and if like a muscle you have to use it or it will just stop working. Turn off the computer and read, turn off the GPS and get lost, turn off the smart phone and enjoy the quiet….when you do quiet the buzz of today’s technology you may just discover something you haven’t seen in a while…your sanity.

© The Writer’s Advice, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Laptop vs. Desktop vs. iPad - A Fight to the Death…OR at Least to the End of my Book

I have a dilemma. I have a desktop that I write on currently but I also have my iPad which I have done some writing on, but not a lot. I want a laptop although when my oldest son asks me why, I have no good reason other than the standard 3 year old response, “because I want one”. Over the past few days it has gotten me to thinking…what exactly do I need to write? What would be the best avenue? And…can I save myself some money and thus the wrath of my spouse by using what I have instead of buying another laptop? (With me a laptop is akin to disposable razors…they only last so long and then I have to replace it)

I have been writing on a keyboard ever since I talked myself into my very first computer. In 1983 I bought a Commodore 64…I swear I really did…and I was smitten with the concept of being able to write in a way that did not require a pen and my keeping track of a zillion notepads. Back then computers were huge and carrying it around would have made you look like Dale, the crazy homeless guy in our town who carries around the bumper of a 1968 Ford Truck. (No one knows why and I think everyone is afraid to ask him) Today, that has all changed and not only can you carry a computer around but some are small enough that you can stuff it into your pocket. (I know…crazy…right?) I am in heaven with the choices now…but there are too many choices and I am finding myself considering the road to data storage and wondering, “will there ever be something that is “enough”.

For those of you who have been living in a cave…the changes to data storage over the last 20 years has been ridiculous…we went from big floppy, to hard floppy, to click storage, (you remember these, they were little round metal disks that fit into a card reader) to CD’s, to DVD’s, to something we call “the cloud” now. (I don’t know about you but “the Cloud” sounds so ominous) Computers have become like those data storage changes….you can buy one today and it is obsolete by noon tomorrow…it’s frustrating.

So there-in lies my problem….I want something that I can do my writing on, carry around with me and be able to fulfill all my needs. I think that might be an iPad. It does have everything I need on it to write and it provides a distraction free zone because you can’t multitask with it, you have to focus on one thing at a time. BUT…I think that my brain is hardwired for a desktop or a laptop because I find myself questioning if the iPad is enough….

So what do you think readers and writers? Which should I choose and why? Help a fellow writer out here because I’m just driving myself crazy…



© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.




Posted by on November 17, 2022 in Business of Writing, Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Read to Me Baby………………….

I discovered a nifty new piece of software that I am just over the moon about. (Okay, I admit it…that was the dumbest saying EVER….I had to try) This piece of software does something that has put a new little spin on my editing process. It reads to me.

The software is for the iPad and it’s called Write & Say. I cut and paste a piece of my work into this little baby and just like that I have a woman (or man, you can pick) reading what I just wrote to me as though she (or he) were reading my actual manuscript. Coolest….thing….ever…..

Now, before you panic because you don’t own an iPad, don’t despair…there are other versions of this software for the MAC, PC, Kindle and any other number of gadgets that yanked all that money out of your wallet. All you have to do is locate it on the internet and most of them are downloadable for free. Here’s the thing, this is a great tool for all you writers out there. I know that MS Word has always kind of had a text reader but it was always stiff and the words always sounded like Robby the Robot was reading them. The Write & Say program is smoother and sounds more like an actual reader. I like it because it gives me a chance to see how my work actually sounds to a reader.

Those of you who follow me know that I am a huge gadget guy. Anything that can make my work easier, I am all for it. This little cheap piece of software ($1 on iTunes) makes the grade in terms of helpful-little-cheap-software-I-can’t-live-without.

Again, there are other text readers out there but this is by far the coolest with the little switch that allows your reader to have a British accent. (Everything sounds better in a British accent, try ordering a hot dog some time in one…I swear they will give you extra mustard without you having to ask) Its fun and it’s helpful in terms of being able to listen to your manuscript. Being able to listen to your manuscript, by the way will help with a number of things, not the least of which is your sense of rhythm within your story.

So take the time today to download a text reader and give it a try. I’m telling you its fun…and it’s alright if you get a little goofy and type in cuss words too….I won’t tell anyone.



© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

Leave a comment

Posted by on June 30, 2022 in Writing Tools


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

But its Friday…………….

I don’t know about you guys but Friday is the hardest day of the week for me in terms of working. I have slaved away all week long at my keyboard, tucked away inside the house, void of most human contact. (some weeks you can call what happens between me and the kids “human contact”) I WANT OUT!

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want out of writing per say. I want out of the house. If I don’t get out of the house I give up on my writing all together in favor of the couch and some Cheetos and no one wants to see that happen. So I pack up my laptop and I head for the door. Spring has sprung after all, so today I am heading to the park so that I can sit on a park bench and imagine myself some famous writer, hanging out at a park in Paris. I am gonna get some work done away from my desk right?

Be honest, you have always envied those writers that you see on television who have their laptops or iPads at some really cool beatnik coffee shop, hammering away, churning out the next great novel. They look so together sitting there working their butts off while everyone just looks at them longingly wishing that they were a writer….cue the screeching sound….what a minute…is that how it really works? I don’t think so….

When you are out, laptop in hand, people feel they have permission to talk to you. Writing done??? Please…folks see that you are trying to turn your laptop on and they ask, “Are you a writer?” You dumbly nod your head and from there it’s on. A million questions from this stranger who seems to be very at home in a coffee shop. That first guy becomes a second when the yahoo sitting at the next table hears you talking. The barista stops at the table to see if you need anything and asks how long you’ve been writing. You tell her a long time hoping that she will go away but instead she tells you some story about how her mother’s sister’s step daughter’s cousin also writes. A fourth person leans in to listen as well. Someone asks you what you are working on and you tell them a book. Now they want to know what the book is about and a fifth and sixth person joins the crowd. It’s a couple who look like your Uncle Jack and his mistress Maria. (who is also the maid I might add…Aunt Clara has no idea.)

Before you know it, a crowd has gathered so you quietly turn off your laptop and shut the lid. Everyone is asking questions. What do you write; where do you get your ideas; do you know Stephen King…you smile and answer as best you can. Well you were going to get some writing done…the heck with that now. You smile and tell the Uncle Jack look alike, sure, thanks, you’d love a latte…what’s the use…it is, after all, Friday.

Writer’s Note: Still try and get out of the house and write on Fridays…just don’t be surprised if you don’t actually get any writing done.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on March 23, 2023 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Software - The Freedom Not to Be on the Internet

Ok, I admit it…the title is a play on words. Today’s post is actually about a program that helps folks gain freedom from the internet. Now if I sound like the internet is a prison, that’s because it can be. We have all done it…gotten out of bed, slogged over to the coffee pot, sat down at the computer and suddenly it’s 6:15 p.m. and the kids are asking if grilled cheese is really dinner. The internet can catch you and hold you for the better part of the day if you let it.

I get caught in the trap if I don’t severely organize myself. There is so much to do on the internet. As it is, I get up and check my e-mail, update Facebook (personal), update the Facebook fan page, check my website, update my blog, check the news and look at the obits in my hometown newspaper (okay, that last one is a little creepy but I am at an age when folks I knew in high school are dying off…it’s sad and interesting all at the same time) If I allow it, the internet can bleed through into my writing time very quickly. You really do have to have enormous self-control and…well…and I don’t. (There I said it)

So what can you do if you are an internet weakling like me? The answer for me, currently, is a software program called “Freedom”. Freedom was developed for the MAC originally (because all the really cool programs are) but now you can also get it for the PC. The program does only one thing, turn it on, tell it how long you’d like to be offline, and it kicks you offline. It literally blocks your system from the internet for the time you allot. Freedom enforces freedom. Once the time you set is up, the program allows you back onto the internet.  If you want to get back onto the internet before the time is up you’ll need to reboot your entire system and having to do that means you’re less likely to cheat, and you’ll enjoy your freedom. It’s a really cool program. You can get the program here; and it will cost you $10 but it is two lattes well spent for a little freedom from all those e-mails from your mother-in-law and Timmy, your creepy childhood friend, the Facebook updates about everything from people’s choice of underwear color to if their two year old has finally gotten he hang of potty training and those annoying doomsday news flashes about 2012 warning of impending doom. Go ahead, admit that you are addicted to the internet and buy yourself a little “Freedom”. It’s really worth it.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Write, Write, Where Ever You Are

I am a techno geek. That’s right; I love anything that lights up and plugs in. I try and get all of the newest gadgets and I have to spend at least an hour in the electronic section of any store I visit. It’s fun and, because I am female, it confuses the sales people. (I am often asked if I am looking for my husband or son…chauvinist!) I like the games and all the neat stuff but thing I enjoy most is how mobile it has made me as a writer. Because of technology I can write anywhere I want to.

Don’t misunderstand me, I do love my desk. It is, after all, where I keep my mess, but, being able to pick up my iPad or my Galaxy Tab and move to the couch or the back deck…that’s kind of cool. Sometimes my desk is the place writer’s block finds me and in order to hide from it, I have to get up and move. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to write, it means that I don’t want to write AT my desk. Technology allows me to do that.

Now I know that there are some old…sorry…”experienced” writers out there who are cringing at the idea of writing anywhere but their writing space…I get that. Change is tough. I would challenge you to give it a try though because it is freeing. I no longer have to lug my laptop everywhere I go. I did love the concept of a laptop when it came out. It was freeing from the desktop. Laptops were lighter and mobile but now, tablets are even lighter and more mobile. I can write in the car, I can write in the yard, I can write in store and I can write even more…oops got so excited I went a little Dr. Seuss there. Anyway, you get the idea. Technology is your friend.

So break away from the norm, get out from behind your desk and write somewhere else. Find a tree to sit under or a stream to sit by….you will be surprised at the affect it will have on your work.


© The Writer’s Advice, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.


Posted by on March 8, 2023 in Inspiration, Writing, Writing Tools


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: