Current workflow

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.).

First Impressions

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.

The Bad

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.

The Good

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.

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