4 Ways I Use My Phone in my Writing

Saturday, May 30, 2020
Last week, I found myself in a discussion about how writers use their cell phones when we are at home social distancing. First, let me emphasize that I hate texting. Truly hate it. And I have a lovely ergonomic keyboard at my desk so I have no interest in actually writing on my phone. Talking with my fellow writers, I realized that some of my favorite phone-based activities really are writing related.

Pod casts. For some of you, this is a no brainer but I’m not talking about writing related pod casts. Although there are some I enjoy, none of my favorites are about writing. My list includes “Missing in the Carolinas” from fellow Muffin blogger Renee Roberson, “Fiber Nation,” “TED Radio Hour,” “Stuff to Blow Your Mind,” and “Stuff You Should Know.” It is amazing how many story or article ideas I can pull from a pod cast about horseshoe crabs or Herculaneum.

Webinars. In the past, I’ve always used my computer to participate in webinars, but last week I finished one on writing memoir, one on writing thrillers, and one on constructing fiction scene by scene. The last, I watched on the computer. The other two I watched on my phone and when the speakers put up a slide, I tapped my screen and captured the image. No fumbling to take notes which means no Post-It Notes to find stuck to the cat. It was so efficient!

Audiobooks. With my library closed, I’ve been checking out e-audio books to enjoy while I knit, crochet, fold laundry, etc. I have experienced some amazing books, including The Golden Thread by Kassia St. Clair and All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. During the discussion with my fellow authors, I realized how valuable it was when I listened to a book read by the author. I just finished Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou and hearing her read her own words was amazing. What a lesson in voice!

Dictation. Reading aloud really is the best way to make sure I’ve used just the right word. I discovered this when I had to submit an audition video of an essay. I found myself massaging it as I read, cutting phrases and changing words although I really dislike listening to myself. One person in the discussion suggested Evernote. In addition to allowing you to type notes or make sketches, the app will record audio which will definitely help me refine my work. One piece that I’m working on has been especially challenging as I’m fumbling to find the voice and actually hearing the words is going to help.

Our phones are such amazing tools. How do you use your phone in your writing?

Sue Bradford Edwards' is the author of over 25 books for young readers.  To find out more about her writing, visit her blog, One Writer's Journey.  

Sue is also the instructor for  Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins  July 6th, 2020) and Writing Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults (next session begins July 6, 2010). 


Sioux Roslawski said...

I use it in no way, except for diversion (playing Wordscapes instead of writing). I wish I participated in more webinars, and the only podcast I listen to is Renee Roberson's. (I used to listen to Ear Hustle, and loved it.)

Dictation using the phone? Does that mean I could jog/walk/shuffle and work on writing at the same time? Would it then transfer it to a document?

You can multitask, and are still prolific. Right now, I have the energy level of a sloth on downers...

Angela Mackintosh said...

Same! I use it for dictation, typing notes in Google docs, podcasts, webinars, reading, creating recordings in GarageBand, and I've actually thumb-typed a few short pieces. I tried Evernote, and I know most writers swear by it, but it had too many options for me.

I would love to see your video audition of you reading your essay! Maybe upload to the BKers group? hint hint ;)

Nicole Pyles said...

I definitely use my phone for writing! I have used it for writing stories, editing and revising, and, of course, reading. I use Google Drive and I USED to use Jotterpad but then they threw a paywall in front of syncing your work to the cloud. So now I use Bublup for notes and stories. I like Google Docs but sometimes that can be so clunky with writing drafts.

Cathy C. Hall said...

I have sort of a love hate relationship with my phone; I love that I can do just about anything on my phone but I hate feeling...tethered, if that makes sense.

So I use my Kindle for ebook reading and I use my laptop for watching webinars BUT do you hear that ring tone? It's those podcasts, calling to me. :-)

(Wait! One thing re: writing where I use my phone. When I hear something interesting, I'll whip out my phone and ask Google to tell me more. And now, Google automatically sends me stories about Bigfoot or aliens or ghosts. It's a win-win!)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

You are the champion of actually writing on your phone. Honestly, I'm amazed at what you do.

I totally understand your love/hate relationship with your phone. That was me until they closed our local libraries. I had the print books I needed to see me through but audio? That's where I love my phone. Not reading. Just listening. And I love that you Google things.

The video is on Marco Polo. But if you are really nice, REALLY nice, I can tell you where to find a video of me reading that the boys helped me record. Back when I believed I could get actual cooperation.

Dictation to text isn't an Evernote thing but it is something you can do with Speechnotes which is apparently free. Hmm. Maybe I'll try that one . . .


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