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NaNoWriMoing with yWriter for PC and Android

I wrote before about my little Samsung laptop that is probably eight years old now is slowing down. It takes so long to power on lately, I was concerned it was getting ready to die. Since NaNoWriMo is upon me, I wanted to make sure I had a reliable way to write when I’m not at home. Buying a new, or even a used replacement laptop was a bigger expense than I could make right now, so I bought a bluetooth keyboard and planned to use it with my phone.
I originally thought I would type in Google Docs because I know I can use that on both my desktop at home, and on my phone, but before November began, I decided to just research if there might be a better option. I found yWriter, and decided to give that a try.
I’m glad I played around with both the PC and android app versions of yWriter in advance of NaNoWriMo starting because it took me a few days to figure out how to sync the two versions. Being able to write on my phone while out, then continue on my PC when I was home was key to my whole plan of living without my laptop, so it was the most important feature to me.
yWriter still actually does (or can, there are other methods too) use Google docs to sync between devices. Both the PC version and the android app save to Google docs. They do so in slightly different ways, and since I’m not super tech savvy, it took me a little while to figure out how to get them to do so. Now that I have, however, it works great.
There are lots of bells and whistles in yWriter that I’m not using. There are outlining tools, and scene breakdowns, and character lists, etc. I already had my outline ready to go for November, and didn’t want the extra work of putting it all into yWriter, but looking around in the program, there are some things I’m looking forward to trying out with other books down the road.
Even better, the PC version of yWriter is free, and the android app only cost $4.99. So far, I have to say it was money well spent.

Today on our weekly library trip, my kids finished looking for books and found me typing away on my phone with my snazzy new keyboard and both commented how ‘cool’ the setup was. Considering all the tech these kids have grown up with, I took that as a huge compliment.  
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NaNoWriMoing with my New Bluetooth Keyboard and my Phone

I think I mentioned in my last post that my laptop was dying, and instead of spending a lot of money I don’t have to buy a new one, I was just going to write on my phone.

This is the bluetooth keyboard I got, because it had great reviews and was super affordable. I bought the white one because it was a dollar cheaper at the time, and I don’t care about color. It looks like both the black and white keyboards are the same price now though.

So far it’s wonderful. It’s actually easier to use out and about than my tiny laptop was. I’m trying to write on my lunch breaks, or when the kids are in a class or something. Before, if I was sitting in the car trying to write, it was scrunched and uncomfortable because the open screen of the laptop hit the steering wheel, so I had to keep the keyboard uncomfortably close to my body to have it open at all.
With my new bluetooth keyboard, I put my phone in the hands free holder on my dash, and only the keyboard itself is in my lap, so I have more freedom to adjust it to a nice position.

The keyboard is very light. Probably less than a third the weight of my laptop, and I had one of those tiny laptops – it was no more than 10 inches wide. So carrying it around in my bag is much nicer.

There were other keyboards that came with a case, and I was a little worried that this one didn’t have one as I know it would be in my bag a lot and I wanted it protected. I figured I’d sew a little quilted pouch for it to live in. With NaNoWriMo in full swing I don’t have a lot of free time for sewing, so I’ve just been keeping the keyboard in the little box it came in and that has worked dandy. The box just fits the keyboard so there isn’t a lot of other space or padding or anything to take up more room. Eventually I’d still like to make it a cute quilted bag, but this will work for November.

I’m not exactly a tech person. I love tech, but I’m not especially good at it, and I had this keyboard synced to my phone and up and running on the first try. I was a little confused because the power light doesn’t stay on, it just flashes when you first turn it on, then it goes out again. I thought that meant it wasn’t still on, or my batteries were bad or something, but it’s just they way it’s supposed to work to conserve batteries. Types just fine with no light on.

So if you are in a similar position of not wanting to invest in a new laptop, but wanting a portable way to write, I highly recommend this system of using a bluetooth keyboard with your phone. I also bought the yWriter app to write with on my phone, and I’ll talk about how that part is going in my next post, but there are other online word processors for you to pick from if you’d rather.