Challenge,  On Writing,  publishing

An Experiment

Doing this from my new iPad

…with attached keyboard. Yeah, I know a lot of you are just going “So…”

But after over 1,700 of these nightly blogs in a row, this is the first one I have done on anything but my huge iMac. (Now that all by itself is a record.)

Since I am going to be in Las Vegas and in Lincoln City, both, I figured I better learn how to have a little flexibility if I want to really keep going on these nightly blogs. You know, come into 2018 like the rest of the tech-based country. (Grin)

I teach a great deal about breaking old ways of doing things, of being uncomfortable in the learning, and here I am tonight breaking old ways and being a little uncomfortable. But learning quickly that this nifty keyboard is almost better than the one I have on my writing computer because I seem to be able to type faster on this thing. Wow, go figure.

So now you all have been officially been practiced at. (I know, practice to writers is a swear word but I did it anyway, right out here in the open so you could all be shocked and cover your eyes and yell “Don’t look, Ethel!”

Sorry, bad reference to a really bad song.  All this practice is making me punchy.


  • Céline Malgen

    But but but… I thought you were writing all your blog posts on a manual typewriter, because your Muse wouldn’t show up if it weren’t for the physical effort of typing and the smell of metal? Now you’ve shattered the myth!

    • dwsmith

      LOL… That was how I started on fiction. Well, close, it was a small electric Smith/Corona typewriter that made a wonderful “thump” when turned on and sort of vibrated when I did my hunt-and-peck typing.

      • Kris Rusch

        And when I tried to teach him how to use his new computer to cut and paste, he fretted that the computer would “blow up.” He got past that quite quickly when he realized how cool and convenient computers were then. And now? Even better!

      • Chong Go

        Lol! I had an old IBM that, when I turned it on, sounded like the Death Star powering up and would jump a quarter inch to one side.

  • Michelle

    It’s’s too late, I’ve already been incensed… Glad to hear that you and Kris are settling into the new normal!

      • JM

        I had to look up the song reference, but I was never a fan of that song so that’s not stuck in my head.
        Now, “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival” is in my head.

        • Jessica Baverstock

          I love “The Mississippi Squirrel Revival.” It’s written by Bubby Kalb who to me is the songwriter equivalent of Dean. My favorite Buddy Kalb song is “Frog Kissin'” but I also think that “Little by Little” is the ultimate song for writers. He starts talking about how to eat an elephant–“one bite at a time”–and how houses aren’t built overnight but stone by stone. I’d link to a lyrics sheet but I can’t find one. Best line is: “Say, ‘I dunno where I’ll finish but I’m gonna start right here.'” Those are words of experience from someone who spent a lifetime writing words that sold and gives me a musical pep talk every time I listen to it!

          • dwsmith

            Yup… “I dunno where I’ll finish, but I’m going to start right here.” That explains writing into the dark perfectly. And how most of us long-term professionals write.

  • paladin3001

    I have an older tablet and a bluetooth keyboard that I use for writing when I am away from home. Only minor issue is that I have to use another document program then the one I have on my laptop. For traveling the setup is lightweight and fairly easy to use. Tether off my smart phone and things are backed up to the cloud. Modern technology is wonderful.

  • David Anthony Brown

    My parents have a VHS of that guy’s music videos, including the song you referenced. When they pass on, that tape is the first thing to be thrown out.

    On last night’s topic, on the audio tip… Audio is such a low priority for me, I just haven’t gotten to learning how to do it yet. One day, after I feel like I’ve gotten further down the road with what I’m working on, when I have more books, I’ll do audio. Not any time soon. But what you said in the tip makes sense to me.. High cost, low return.

  • Rick Grant

    You may find this to be quite a transformative move. It certainly was for me.

    I write mainly non-fiction and long form journalism but fiction is creeping in. When I started using a Bluetooth keyboard, first with my phone and then on an iPad Mini I suddenly found myself liberated in space. I could write anywhere and it was like being let out of a dank and dark cellar into the light.

    I use Scrivener for IOS on the iPad so everything can be loaded to Dropbox and made available to any of my stationary machines. Sadly it is not yet available for Android phones but its absence is a pretty trivial problem.

    I don’t wish to sound presumptive, but I think you will enjoy the experience.

    • Jessica Baverstock

      I found the same thing, Rick. Earlier this year I got an iPad because my previous little hand-me-down tablet was dying on me, and once I got a bluetooth keyboard a whole new world opened up to me! I finally became that writer who could just pop into a cafe and write for an hour before shopping or something because I wasn’t lugging around my laptop.

      But it really came into its own when I found myself in a surgeon’s waiting room for an hour and spent the time pouring story onto the page instead of wondering what to do with myself. It made my day, even if the surgeon’s visit really didn’t.

      Also, Dean had always been talking about how having a separate writing computer is so important, but I never had the funds or space to set that up. I had a separate writing login on my computer which had parental protections on everything except my writing software, but it was still the same chair and keyboard etc. The iPad and keyboard setup finally gave me a separate writing space and it’s fantastic!

  • Mark Heath

    which keyboard are you using? I’ve been using an ipad for cartooning, which is great, but I could use a keyboard for all the writing that goes with it.

  • Kate Pavelle

    PSA on backing up your work: with these new technologies and options, current events reminded me to back up my work not just on a flash drive, but also on more than one cloud.
    Event 1: my husband’s updated cookbook draft wasn’t auto-saved in Word, and did not properly upload to Dropbox. He did rescue it eventually, but the Dropbox people were of no help whatsoever, nor did they seem to want to be of help. (He’s switching to Google now.)
    Event 2: a modified iMac croaked (a video card burned out as a result of 2 years of rendering animation files, which happens) and some files died with it. My daughter was upset, because my book covers in progress bit the dust in the process. But voila! My new, cheap, 1/8TB flash drive came to the rescue.
    We back up on Google as well as on an external drive now, and I think it might be smart to warehouse some of the finished, more important files at a third location.
    CAVEAT: some of the new tablets don’t have a USB port for the flash drive. That’s not a good thing.