The art and science of writing on an iPad

I’ve been experimenting with writing a short story using my iPad mini. We’re talking the whole stripped down experience–basic word processor and making use of the device’s keyboard.

I am using an app called iA Writer. It’s not bad, with limited functionality. Most of the functionality exists to help the user bounce around the screen and parts of the manuscript. It does all the things you would hope that a basic word processor will do: save to the cloud, email your document, store your doc on a third party website. It has spell check and a nice auto-save function.

Perhaps I’m a bit hasty writing this post, as I’ve yet to finish a story using iA Writer. But I’ve pecked enough at the screen to make a few realizations about the process.

1) A person needs a Bluetooth keyboard, or one that docks into your device’s port. The finger pecking is too damn limiting.

2) While iA Writer is basic and nice, I miss the robust, bloated beast that is Microsoft Word. I must find a more heavyweight word processor.

3) For me, so far, it is easier to be distracted by the apps and browsing on the mini iPad than it is when using my laptop/desktop. I’m not sure why that is. Perhaps after using an iPad in its various iterations for over a year, I’ve become conditioned to clickclickclickclick on the interwebs. It’s like click crack. Boomhauer from King of the Hill would be dismayed.

4) Presuming I can get used to having all my manuscripts on the cloud or saved on dropbox or Google Drive, there is a nice feeling knowing that if I get trapped somewhere (say, like, sitting in the doctors office in one of those breezy open-in-the-butt gowns) I can pop out the iPad and get to work (assuming wireless as I don’t have 3G). I know you can save locally, but it isn’t a clean solution.

5) Maybe one day I’ll become accustomed to life without a mouse or track pad. That day is not today.

I’ll try to finish a story on the iPad, and perhaps kick it over the laptop for revisions. I have a feeling any story I write with my mobile devices will be thin like bad soup.

It can be hard being a man of the times, ya know.

2 comments

  1. I’ve just started with the new (regular size) iPad, and the keyboard is great. It’s the same size as my old netbook, so it’s comfortable, and the responsiveness is far better than my Nook Color was, Word or no Word. The app I’m using (with Dropbox) is called Pages, and it’s pretty good. I can’t use formatting to double-space and have yet to really revise anything on it, but I imagine I’ll do most of that kind of work on the laptop, anyway. So far, I’m loving that no matter where I am, I can add to or start a draft at a moment’s notice. 🙂

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