Write Gear laptop Buying Guide

The Write Gear Laptop Buying Guide For Writers

Episodes 10, 11 and 13[1] of The Write Gear podcast are all about laptops — the best laptop overall, great laptops for if you want something small and light, laptops for small budgets, etc. These episodes, plus the extensive links in the show notes, constitute my Laptop Buying Guide for folks who write.

As I say in the intro to episode 10, “Which laptop should I buy?” the #1 query from writers asking me for tech advice. My answer depends on a lot of factors, but I often end up recommending one of the laptops mentioned in the two podcasts.

Listen to TWG #10: The Best Laptop for Writers right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 10

Episode 10 Show Notes

Episode 11 is partly about recommending small, inexpensive laptops, though mainly a conversation with Brad Linder about the history of netbooks and the current state of things. We do talk about what you should look for in these netbook-like machines if you go out on the hunt for one.

Listen to TWG #11: Small And Light Laptops for Writers

      The Write Gear: Episode 11

Episode 11 Show Notes

Writers often ask me about Chromebooks because they’re inexpensive and seem like a good idea. My general advice is that you’re better off with an inexpensive PC or even an AlphaSmart over a Chromebook most of the time, though they do have uses as a secondary laptop.

Listen to TWG #13: Are Chromebooks Good For Writers?

      The Write Gear: Episode 13

Episode 13 Show Notes

Keep in mind, my anti-recommendation of Chromebooks is based solely on a writer’s needs. They are great machines for other folks and other purposes. So don’t come banging don my door in anger, Google. I just got it fixed from the last time!

Footnotes

  1. Post updated April 22nd[]
From Farscape to Fountain Pens

The Write Gear #9: From Farscape to Fountain Pens

When I was a wee Tempest, I read in some book by a fancy author that all real writers write with fountain pens. And being a dutiful person who wanted to be a real writer, I took this to heart and went out and bought a fountain pen. And for a few days it was The Best, and then it got ink everywhere and became The Worst.

Does this experience feel familiar to any of you? I bet it does. Fountain pens do seem a proper tool for those of us who still write by hand (more thoughts on that on an earlier post). They may also seem daunting. Are inexpensive fountain pens even any good? If you want something that will last, where do you even go to figure it out? Is dealing with ink as fraught as it seems?

I decided to put these and other newbie questions to Richard Manning, screenwriter, producer, and fountain pen geek. Richard was a producer on Farscape, and started down the long, twisty path to fountain pen love thanks to seeing a certain actor’s fancy Montblanc. Which actor? You’ll just have to listen to our nerdy pen conversation to find out.

Listen to TWG #9: From Farscape to Fountain Pens – A Conversation with Richard Manning right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 9

There are links to all the pens and inks and websites Richard mentions in the show notes.

So, where my fountain pen geeks at? Fly your flag in the comments or over on Twitter with the hashtag #FountainPenLove.

JEMcast Alone Again

New JEMcast: Alone Again

JEMcast Alone Again

On this week’s JEMcast we talk about a bunch of people’s favorite episode: Alone Again. Season 2 seems packed with PSA-type shows. We had two on literacy and now this one about drug use. What I find fascinating is that the main character, Laura, goes through the entire drug addiction arc in the space of 22 episode minutes and 6 days of in-show time.

Feeling depressed/worthless –> falling prey to slick drug dealer with free product –> getting hooked immediately and can’t live without the drugs –> Can’t afford to pay for drugs, so steals from loved ones –> Discovers that drug dealer is the worst ever –> Told they must go to therapy/AA/rehab –> Won’t admit they have a problem –> Finally admits they have a problem. In 6 days.

This episode also provides more evidence that Jerrica is a terrible foster mom as well as the world’s worst CEO.

Listen and let me know what you think! Also, just a reminder: the JEMcast is eligible for the Best Fancast Hugo Award!

Subscribe to the JEMcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, via RSS, or listen below.

      JEMcast: Alone Again
Alphasmart and Jennifer Stevenson

The Write Gear #8: All About AlphaSmart

Alphasmart and Jennifer Stevenson

The last Write Gear podcast got a lot of positive attention–even more writers struggle with the distraction thing than I thought. This week’s episode keeps it going with a deep dive into the AlphaSmart. I learned about this wonder of distraction-free writing from a Clarion West classmate back in 2003, and bought one right away. A few years ago I met someone who loved it even more than I did: author Jennifer Stevenson. I knew she’d be the perfect person to talk to about it, and she is.

Check out the podcast for everything you need to know about the AlphaSmart and then click over to the episode page if you want to buy one. There are a few different models available, and I link to them all.

Listen to TWG #8: All About AlphaSmart right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 8
The Write Gear 7 Tools to Block Electronic Distractions While You Write

The Write Gear 7: Tools to Block Electronic Distractions While You Write

The Write Gear 7 Tools to Block Electronic Distractions While You Write

I used to feel a sense of shame around the fact that I am easily lured away from writing by the Internet shiny things such as notifications and new comments and tweets and whatever. To solve this problem, I would sometimes ask people for suggestions on minimizing or blocking distractions and there would always be one person—usually more—popping up to say that I should just have self discipline instead of looking for crutches.

This is some ol’ bullshit, I hope you know[1].

Not only are there some people who can’t just have self discipline in the way those jerks mean, every person has to own up to their limits or needs and find ways to work with how your brain works. And that sometimes means employing outside help.

That’s what this episode is all about. I’ve found quite a few useful distraction blocking tools to help me, and I hope they’ll help other folks. If you use different tools and have found them useful, please say so in the comments!

Listen to TWG #7: Tools to Block Electronic Distractions While You Write right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 7

Footnotes

  1. Anytime someone says that “You should just” as if their ability to “Just” isn’t based on factors they never have to think about–i.e. privilege–and is the absolute correct way of being, you have my permission to tell them to go to hell.[]
JEMcast - 3 new episodes

JEMcast Catchup: The Jazz Player, Danse Time, & Roxy Rumbles

JEMcast - 3 new episodes

I am behind on posting about new JEMcast episodes! My apologies. (Though if you subscribe to the podcast you don’t need me reminding you. Hint.)

The most recent three episodes have been okay, though none are among my favorites in season 2. I do have fond memories of Roxy leaving the Misfits after winning the lottery. That episode also taught me to never trust the IRS.

Subscribe to the JEMcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, via RSS, or listen below.

      JEMcast: Roxy Rumbles

The Jazz Player is one of those episodes that solidifies the fact that Jem exists in a parallel universe where the United States is about 500 miles wide at best and going between Los Angeles and Chicago is a matter of minutes on a plane.

Subscribe to the JEMcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, via RSS, or listen below.

      JEMcast: The Jazz Player

I like the songs in Danse Time, especially the Misfits one, but what is up with Danse being completely whiny throughout it?

Subscribe to the JEMcast on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, via RSS, or listen below.

      JEMcast: Danse Time

Alex, Aleen, and I explore all of this and far more, and you should listen and laugh along with us.

The-Write-Gear Conversations with Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick

The Write Gear Episode 6: Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick

The-Write-Gear Conversations with Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick

A few years back at my first GeekGirlCon, I got the opportunity to interview Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick about their writing tools and process. Both conversations turned out to be enlightening and fun; and then I sat on them all this time because it took me a while to get this podcast thing going. Now they’re out and you should listen!

Listen to TWG #6: Conversations with Jane Espenson and Kelly Sue Deconnick right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 6
The Write Gear best pen episode

The Write Gear Episode 5: Is The uni-ball Jetstream Really The Best Pen?

The Write Gear best pen episode

A couple of years ago a website called The Wirecutter published their recommendation for Best (non-fountain) Pen Ever. This post is over 6,000 words long, and not only gets into which pen they picked as the best and why, but also about types of pens and the differences between them and what qualities they were looking for in determining a Best Pen. Intrigued by all the gushing about their pick, the uni-ball Jetstream, I decided to try it and compare to my favorite pens. You can find out if I ditched by Pentel EnerGels for the Jetsteam in the podcast.

I also ask: is it really possible to determine a Best Pen for everyone? Plus, I wanna know what everyone else’s favorite pens are and why.

Listen to TWG #5: Is The uni-ball Jetstream Really The Best Pen? right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 5
write gear episode 4

The Write Gear Episode 4: Back Up Your Stuff!

 

write gear episode 4

The number of writers I know that don’t back up their stuff is scary. Y’all, you need to do this. It’s not even hard. And if you’re willing to spend a bit of money, you don’t even have to actively deal with it. In this episode I detail all the different types of backups for computers and tell you how to make a set it and forget it backup system, even when using physical external drives.

I also talk about that new-ish kind of frightening virus–Ransomware–and which backups help protect you against them (and which don’t).

Listen to TWG #4: Back Up Your Stuff! right here or subscribe in iTunes

      The Write Gear: Episode 4
My head superimposed on leonardo dicaprio accepting the oscar

Awards Season Is Upon Us #1: My Eligibility

Hugo Award voting opened not long ago, and the Nebula nominations are out. Awards season is in full swing! And that means it’s time (long past time, actually) for me to mention that I generated some award-eligible content last year. And I’ll be honest: I would indeed appreciate you considering me when you fill out your ballots[1].

My head superimposed on leonardo dicaprio accepting the oscar

I didn’t publish any fiction last year (damn novel taking up all my energy), so all my eligible works are in other categories.

Best Related Work: io9 Newsstand

“Works of literary criticism” fit in this category, and my io9 column fits that label. Every week I posted links to short fiction (stories, novelettes, novellas) that I loved and wanted everyone to read. I hope I also shined a light on stories and authors the io9 audience wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Best Fancast: JEMcast

Just in case you think Jem and the Holograms was not a genre show, I will remind you that it was about a woman who changed her appearance via hologram-generating earrings controlled by an AI that was magically able to connect to government computers via wireless Internet, which did not exist in 1985, when the show happens. And that’s not even getting into the time travel.

Every week on the JEMcast we analyze (and sometimes make fun of) an episode of the show. We also provide commentary on Jem-related stuff, such as the movie we’ve already all forgotten exists. I love our little show and I’m very proud of the episodes we produced last year and continue to produce this year.

Links to some of my favorite episodes:

Best Fancast: The Tempest Challenge

Fancast includes vlogs, and thus my challenge videos are also eligible. I didn’t produce that many last year, though, so I’m putting more effort into boosting the signal for JEMcast. However, I will not stop anyone from nominating the videos as well.

Some of my best:

Best Fan Writer: K Tempest Bradford

Writing from my blog is what counts toward this–well, the blog and social media posts and such, perhaps? I’m not the most prolific blogger these days. Though when I do write I tend to drop a bunch of stuff at once then go back to social media.

Here is the link to all my 2015 posts and here are a few I’m particularly proud of from last year:

And that’s it. As I said, I hope you will consider me when making your nominations. In my next post I’ll list the stories and other stuff I loved from last year that I think you should also consider.

 

Footnotes

  1. Do I need to put a disclaimer here saying NO SLATES, OH GOD, NO SLATES? I doubt it. Just in case: No slates, y’all. Nominate stuff you love and vote for what you think is best.[]