Saturday, October 8, 2011

The iPod Touch has changed the way I write.

I recently posted to our sailing blog, Voyage of the Play Actor, a description of how I became a convert to eBooks, which I read on an iPod Touch.  As I wrote that post, I realized how much the iPod Touch has improved  my productivity as a writer.

For the reasons I described in that post, I now read almost everything on an iPod Touch, which also contains  a large amount of reference material, as well as apps  for taking and organizing notes.  Ideas that are stimulated by whatever I happen to be reading are now readily recorded and easily found later.  These often relate to some aspect of a writing project, and in a paper world, were often lost, just because recording them was awkward and distracting.  If I did stop reading long enough to record my thoughts, I had retrieval problems when I got ready to write again.  Now, I just switch from what I'm reading to an app that uses on screen handwriting recognition to record my note, and switch back to my book without losing my place, all within seconds.  It's also simple to copy a few words that provoked the thought and move them into the note, if that's appropriate.  When I next sit down at the computer to write, I transfer my notes from the iPod to the PC, and I'm ready to incorporate the notes into my writing.  If something I'm reading raises a question as to fact, I can usually answer it by switching to the offline encyclopedia, the CIA Fact Book, or any of dozens of other references, all right in the palm of my hand

I've also discovered that the iPod is an invaluable tool for editing what I've written.  After a writing session, I print what I've just written to a PDF file and transfer it to the iPod Touch.  I can then read the file as an eBook.  This change in presentation makes it easier for me to spot errors or opportunities for improvement.  If I'm reading the file on the computer screen, it's much harder for me to step back and get an objective perspective than it is if I'm looking at it as if it were an eBook I'm reading.  As I read it on the iPod, I can highlight and annotate the PDF.  When I'm done, I transfer the annotated file to the PC, and I'm ready to edit.

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