A writer’s essential tools

Here’s something that has proved invaluable to me recently; 

From plotting car chases to simply getting a feel for a village street, it’s superb! 

Aside from the obvious tools that a writer needs to have to hand, ie; 

    I’d recommend one of these – a Netbook!

I wouldn’t have been able to get very far without my trusty Acer!

I know they’re not dirt cheap, but I really struggled to do much writing before I bought my trusty Acer!  Good value for money if you can get a used one.  Linux versions are cheaper to buy, but to be honest – I’ve not enjoyed the experience.  Gimme Windows back again (sorry Linux fans).

Get one if you can…try Acer’s graded site.

I did see a ‘Zoostorm Freedom’ Netbook for sale in Argos in August (2010) for £199 with Windows 7 loaded.  May be available from Amazon or eBuyer.

And if you find a Netbook useful, I’d also recommend one of these for those long waits in a car…

Keep your Netbook powered at all times for those long novels!

Before I aspired to something more civilised, I wrote many, many words on my old HP Jornada 620 – mostly my ‘Elementals’ work.

Small, pocket sized but can be fiddly to use and download

It wasn’t hugely expensive (my first cost £65 and the next two came as a pair for £35!).  However, this model was notoriously unreliable (which is why I went through three of them) and awkward to upload the work onto a PC or laptop, requiring extra software on the PC and an adaptor cable (£14 new).

Also needed was a boxful of back-up batteries for when it ran out of juice and lost all the settings.  This may only have been a fault of the Jornadas I used, although all three suffered from this.  Newer models are now available, however.

This model replaced my poor old Acer Travelmate that was a good enough machine – it just wasn’t portable enough!  I needed something pocket-sized that I would be able to take anywhere.

Old faithful laptop that I had for over seven years (and it’s still going!)

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jennifer blanchard
    Jul 15, 2010 @ 16:20:29

    Great post, thanks for the suggestions! Before I attempted NaNoWriMo three years ago, I purchased an Alphasmart Neo, which is a great word processor that runs on three AA batteries and lasts through about 700 hours of use.The reason I love this tool is because it is extremely minimal. The only thing it does is word process. You can’t connect to the Internet. You can’t check your e-mail. Because of this, you really can’t get distracted while you’re writing.


    • Andrew Toynbee
      Jul 16, 2010 @ 14:04:24

      Hi Jennifer.
      Thanks for your kind comments. I’d like to thank you in return – the only reason this blog exists is because of your support and encouragement.

      700 hours – I’m green with envy. My Netbook is limited to 2 hours max which is why I need a car-based power supply. I’m still hopeful that solar panels might prove to be a solution in the future.

      All the best


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