Cloud Writing

[ Read this in Dutch ]

We’re living in the future…

Springsteen got it right on his Magic album. We are living in the future. Case in point: the proof is no longer in the pudding, but in the cloud, or rather, the Cloud.

In preparation for the 10th Villa Diodati Writers Workshop, 21-24 April in Southern England, all participants are expected to submit a piece of writing (short story, novel chapters or what have you) for critiquing by the others. With seven participants, I have the challenging task of A. producing a bit of fiction of my own, and B. reading and critiquing the six works by my fellow participants. Challenging, because between a demanding job, a fairly long commute, two little kids, and a lovely wife I also want to spend some time with, life leaves precious little time for this stuff.

However, thanks to the Cloud—and the fact that my commute is by train—the work is coming along nicely.

Ingredients:

  • A laptop
  • An Android smartphone
  • A Kindle e-reader
  • And last but not least, the two tools that make it all easy: Dropbox and Evernote!

Writing recipe:

  • Commute first class for a week and use the quiet and extra space for spread-out laptop writing.
  • Connect the laptop to the smartphone for Internet access.
  • No worries about backing up my fiction: Dropbox syncs transparently with the Cloud, and so to my other devices , as I write.
  • Proofread my story on my laptop, or on my Smartphone, whichever is handy, or e-mail it to my Kindle for even more comfortable reading.

Critiquing recipe:

  • Download the other participants’ fiction.
  • E-mail the stuff to my Kindle for reading on the train (just in case I decide not to bring my laptop).
  • Read on the train, and discover that I want to make some critiquing notes after all (which I can’t on my Kindle).
  • Launch Evernote on my Smartphone, and make notes in that marvellous app.
  • Spare no thought for getting the notes to my laptop; Evernote syncs them, through the Cloud again, to any other of my devices that have Evernote installed.
  • At home, boot up my laptop, and find everything on there, ready for further work.

No USB sticks, no e-mailing back and forth (not counting the unavoidable Kindle step); just work, and save, and like magic, my story, my notes, and everything else in my Dropbox and Evernote end up on all my devices. It’s less hassle, and leaves more brain cells free for actual writing/critiquing.

And best of all: the apps are free! (Though the laptop, smartphone and Kindle are not…)

So what are you waiting for?