Writing on an ereader.

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So I am currently working on a new book, and I am writing it on an ereader. Whether it will ever be read on an ereader is for others to decide. But it is definitely being written on one.
As you may or may not know, I write on the subway. At one time this involved getting on the train at the second stop on the F line (so many seats, so much time) opening a journal, uncapping my pen, and letting my shaky hand scratch indecipherable marks on the page. Years pass, times and needs change, agents use epithets to describe your process, and soon enough I was fighting for seats at a different station (still the F, but the train is “more crowded” i.e. Full) and using a laptop (goodbye journal, goodbye chicken scratches, goodbye months having to transcribe with a netbook on one knee, a journal on the other). But the fight wasn’t easily won. I often couldn’t get a seat and my writing time was thin and getting thinner.
Enter the Nook Color. Just a few weeks ago the Nook Color firmware was updated. The ereader now has built in email, an app store, and online browsing. After a visit to a Barnes and Noble and a test run on their floor model I went home and googled “word processing Nook.” Guess what. There’s an app for that. Low and behold some eager beaver has written an app that allows for creating and editing Word documents. It even syncs with DropBox or Google Documents. I bought one, installed the update to the firmware and realized with a grin that the Nook Color is basically a tablet pc.
Now I don’t worry about getting a seat. I can stand anywhere and work. My thumbs do my talking for me, and I’m back to getting my words in daily. Is it perfect? No. I would like a healthier autocorrect (how about a period when I double space?) and it would be nice if it remembered how large I like the font to appear, but no system is perfect. You only have to look at my handwritten and untranscribed third novel for proof of that.

9 thoughts on “Writing on an ereader.

  1. I love that you’re doing that. When I bought my Nook Color a few months ago, I had heard the update was coming, and I was hoping to be able to use it in just the way that you’re describing. I wish you luck.

  2. That is awesome. My handwriting is awful. (I can write nicely, but in order to do that, I have to write slowly.) And I type faster than I write. So, I’ve mostly used a computer to write.
    But the more I hear about people using the ipad and the nook to write on (this is the first time I’ve heard that you can write on a nook), the more I find myself intrigued.
    Hooray for getting writing time in when and where you can. 🙂

  3. Clever. I remember an agent mentioning that he partials on his iPhone right after they came out, and thinking that was the beginning of being able to do stuff (i.e., read, write) on transit.

  4. When the iPad first came out, I went to Best Buy and typed up a whole paragraph in the note pad about trying to write a novel on an iPad. I could only read back about half of the words so I decided not to buy one. (Well, decided not to feel bad that I didn’t have one.)
    You’ve inspired me to try writing during my morning commute. They’ve outlawed texting while driving, but I doubt that law covers writing a novel while driving, so I’ll have to look into a Nook. I’ll make sure to give you credit for my scheme when people ask.

  5. I edit on an eReader but writing on one takes dedication – hats off to you.
    It must make for slow progress though. Couldn’t you get a dictaphone and talk your next novel into that – then play it back into a voice recognition software device? In case you are worried about getting strange looks on the train you could buy a blow-up dolly and dress her in office clothes – pretend you are talking to her. This will also allow you to use two voices – and no one will stare at you, honest.
    Seth

  6. I’m getting my masters’ degree part-time while working full-time so I’ve been using my time on transit to write and edit on my iPhone. But I wanted to upgrade to an iPad until I learned you need a separate phone plan to access online files during the commute. Ugh. Instead, I’ll get a Nook! Thank you for your column!

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