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Tip Tuesday #40

Hey everyone! If you didn't have a chance to read Sue Walker's interview yesterday, please do. I put it up later than I meant to. Today, your Tuesday Tip comes from Daren Hansen of the Laws of Making. This is his second time on the blog, so please give him a visit!

When I described the WriteMonkey text editor a few weeks ago, I shared only half of my distraction-free writing story. The other half is that I use WriteMonkey on a netbook. Netbooks are smaller, lighter (and some would say underpowered) laptops designed for common applications (like writing), email, internet browsing, etc. There are many models to chose from and you shouldn't have to pay more than about $300.

I did remove most of the software that came pre-installed, which noticeably improved the netbook's performance. In most respects the system was what I expected, but there were two things that surprised me, in a delightful way: the netbook's 9-hour battery life and its light weight. Together, those features opened up my writing horizons. Because the netbook is so light and small, I nearly always take it along if I'm going someplace and might have a chance to write. Similarly, it's perfect to take to whatever corner of the house is relatively quiet and distraction free. And with the stunning battery life (and a captive audience in the car), I was able to turn a road-trip into a productive read-through-and-revise session.

If you're considering a new computer for your writing, I encourage you to take a look at netbooks--their liabilities as a general computing platform are assets for writers who want to minimize distractions when they're trying to write.

Thanks Daren! I've been wanting to get a netbook for this exact reason. It's a pain to tote my regular laptop around and the battery life is awful. I'd love a reliable, on-the-go writing companion! : )

15 comments:

  1. Try a dog. They're very reliable on-the-go writing companions.

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  2. Ha! Thermocline. I need a smaller, more reliable one of those too. : )

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  3. We've got miniature dachshunds. They are really portable.

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  4. YES!!! I think they're taking over the world. I'm getting one later this year. : )

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  5. I've been thinking about getting something new, easier to carry around. This sounds great. I will so look into it. Thanks, Daren. Ooh, and Casey.

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  6. I've heard great things about Netbooks, and it's great to hear it's easy to write on one.

    But I have a question: I missed your first post on WriteMonkey so I apologize if you've already addressed this--how hard is it to convert a WriteMonkey document into a .doc suitable for submissions? Or can you buy Word for Netbooks?

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  7. Great tup. I bought a Samsung NC-10 a while back for just this purpose and I use it constantly. Wouldn't be without it!

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  8. PS R. Allen - Yes, you can install Word on a netbook. I have it on mine.

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  9. I looked at notebooks when I was deciding what to get. I got a lappy, but have since seen other writers with notebooks. They look so light! Maybe next time I'll be able to get one. =)

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  10. Whoa, I should definitely get one of those... uh, when I become rich. $300 is a little much in my opinion.

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  11. Thanks for this tip! I picked up a netbook about 2 months ago for EXACTLY the reasons you outline, Daren. It's a Dell Inspiron Mini and it's not been slow at all. The touchpad is not my favorite, but that's only one small detail.

    The one thing anyone who's considering getting a netbook may want to keep in mind is the price of all the software. Between Office software, security software, and Windows (yes, once upon a time, Windows was free), it definitely should be factored into the purchase cost.

    Thanks Daren and thanks Casey!
    Marissa

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  12. I've got a netbook, and I really like it for its portability and battery life. The screen is smaller, of course, which can make some types of editing more difficult, and the keypad isn't very user-friendly, but the fact that it's so easy to carry makes up for that.

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  13. Thanks for the tip. It'd be nice to have something more portable than a laptop.

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  14. Sounds interesting. I know nothing about netbooks. However I have a Mac book that does the job pretty well. The battery life is much longer than a Windows lap top. Plus it is simple to use. I don't need a lap top for much more than writing.

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