I like sharing this from time to time, in part to illustrate how fluid a process it is, in part to share what’s working for me now in case it helps someone else.
Over the last few months, I’ve found my writing – and in general, non-work activities – are typically browser bound. I blog in a browser, I email in a browser, and I’ve even taken up writing in a browser (90% of the time any way). When I got paid for my NewMyths story, I already had a plan on what to do with the money. While not a princely sum (this is short fiction, not NY Times bestseller material), the check was enough that with a little saving, I could afford a Chromebook.
I know, a Chromebook must seem like an odd choice for a self professed Linux guy who works on servers all day, but the fact is the simplicity appeals to me. I owned an ASUS Netbook when they were just coming out and loved that little thing to death. Quite literally. I wrote a novel on that thing while sitting in the back of a commuter van in what now seems like another lifetime. A Chromebook spoke to that time in my writing, as well as a desire to have something light and simple I could carry around. When it comes to battery life, simple is better – the less there is to power, the longer the power lasts.
So with no trepidation at all, I bought an ASUS Chromebook. The stats aren’t bad (or great) – 4GB of memory, 16GB SD, plus the usual features (camera, usb ports, etc.).
It’s just as light and easy to use as I’d hoped. It weighs in at less than 2 pounds, and took only moments to integrate into my Google profile. The specs say that it can last for 13 hours on battery. Truth is less than that – that’s 13 hours if you don’t have wifi or bluetooth enabled. I don’t do bluetooth typically, but wifi is typically on, so my battery life is typically closer to 11 hours.
Still. That’s ELEVEN hours of battery life before it needs a charge. That’s more time than I ever get to work on writing, so that’s just fine.
It’s a bit slower than I anticipated – my Google Drive pages can take a while to load, even when charged, plugged in (because experience is that wifi signal is weaker on battery for most devices), and near a wifi source. But the only place speed really matters – sitting inside a Google doc, writing – there is no problem, so I’ve got no complaints. If I wasn’t so impatient, I’d have saved up for the more expensive Intel model – I’m positive that the chipset is playing a factor in performance speed.
That said, that’s my entire list of bad things.
I’m a Chrome user anyway, so it was nice that once I logged into the Chromebook, everything was already there. Bookmarks, plugins, the works. I haven’t found a site yet that fails to work on the Chromebook (the same cannot be said for Chrome on Linux 🙁 ). Since getting the Chromebook earlier this week, I’ve written a few thousand words, edited another 10k words, and started a new short story. Not shabby for a few days work.
So In Conclusion
Do I see myself writing on the Chromebook all the time every time? Eh, maybe. Probably not, though. There are a few things that Google Docs won’t do for me (certain types of document edits, etc.) that I need a real computer for. I know there are services that let you edit word and openoffice docs, but the ones I found (like Zoho) are a bit cost prohibitive for me.
I do expect to see at least the next few short stories start life on the Chromebook, as well as the edits for the novel WIP.