K. Tempest Bradford

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Not At All Innocent or Hypothetical Question of the Day

Not At All Innocent or Hypothetical Question of the Day

This is for the writers out there. If you were to get the urge to write on a mobile phone (not a whole novel, say, but whenever you needed to bust out some words and it wasn’t practical to do so on a netbook), what qualities would have phone have to have to make you comfortable doing so?

I would imagine a physical keyboard is a must, but that’s because I can’t type very fast with on-screen keyboards. Others are better at it. Regardless of whether it’s physical or not, I definitely feel like a qwerty-style keyboard is a must.

Do you agree? Also, what other aspects of a phone are important? Screen size, operating system, apps?


  1. Saladin Ahmed Saladin Ahmed on 19.09.2010 at 22:12 [link] (Reply)

    Buttons big enough for a goddam grown man’s goddam fingers. (Can you tell this is A Thing for me?)

  2. Sumedha Sumedha on 20.09.2010 at 06:46 [link] (Reply)

    Yes, I think the qwerty keyboard is a must.. typing fast enough to keep up with your thoughts is a lot easier on qwerty. Though if you’re used to the regular phone keyboard and text a lot, that might work too.

    I don’t think screen size matters much. And make sure the phone has an application called Notes or something similar… typing a message and saving it as a draft gets annoying.

    Hope this helps. :)

  3. Alexandra Erin Alexandra Erin on 20.09.2010 at 13:48 [link] (Reply)

    I actually do this about as often as I write on a computer, because I sometimes have the urge to get up and move around while I’m writing, or flop down on the floor on my side. A QWERTY keyboard is a must. Check the size or spacing of the keys, try to actually hold a display model in your hands if you can. I seem to have better luck with my finger size than many people.

    A phone that you hold sideways to type will probably be easier than a vertical one. Mine’s a relatively slim Palm Pre.

    One thing I’ve noticed comparing phones with others is that Blackberry tends to make theirs wider, which makes sense as they’re the ones that were famous as mobile email devices.

    A Notes/Notepad program is the bare minimum. Some phones have an Office clone suite. In contrast to Sumedha, though, I’ve found that at the end of the day I like flipping open the email program and just typing into a blank draft. This may be because my phone not only autosaves drafts but it autosyncs the drafts folder with Gmail… which means that what I’m working on is already waiting for me if I do switch to a computer!

    I tried using a program called “Evernote” to do the same thing and found that at least their Palm software is glitchy and unintuitive, and more than once I managed to lose a draft that didn’t save locally or on the server. With my email, even if I don’t have connectivity, it’s sitting there in the drafts folder and will eventually sync.

  4. Peter David Peter David on 20.09.2010 at 14:00 [link] (Reply)

    Actually, typing on a telephone, iPad, or similar device that doesn’t have room for two hands, I would do better with a straight-up Alpha/Beta listing. When typing on a regular keyboard, I never have to look or even think about it because muscle memory guides my fingers. If I have to type in a situation where I actually have to look at the letters, and it’s in QWERT order, I have to look all over to find it. It would be much easier to find them alphabetically. Also useful is having the letters spread wide enough that I don’t hit the wrong keys.

  5. Longwing Longwing on 21.09.2010 at 11:00 [link] (Reply)

    Fully enabled bluetooth, and an onboard writing program with a proper spellcheck. Past that, any phone would work.

    I use a blackberry for work, and it’s thumb keyboard is decent for brief messages, but I’d go mad if I had to type more than a paragraph on that thing.

    imho, instead of looking for a phone with a semi-decent keyboard, it’s better to look for a bluetooth enabled phone and carry a bluetooth travel keyboard. Yes, it’s slightly less graceful than packing it all in one device, but even a small travel keyboard will be a LOT larger than a phone’s inbuilt keys.

    I’ll also echo Alexandra Erin’s recommendation of wireless sync. With the exception of Apple devices, you can’t trust sync programs. Blackberry, Palm, even Android, all have buggy and unreliable desktop software. Finding a solution that syncs wirelessly, or doesn’t sync at all, should be a priority.

    1. Alexandra Erin Alexandra Erin on 22.09.2010 at 10:56 [link] (Reply)

      Oh! The mention of spellcheck reminds me… autocorrect is not necessarily your friend if you have a full keyboard. My palm has the annoying idea that “its” always means “it’s”, even though it has a dedicated ‘ button on the keyboard. I usually catch it and change it back (takes a single backspace to undo autocorrect), but that’s become my number one embarrassing typo since I got it.

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I'm a writer, most often committing acts of genre (fantasy, science fiction, and other stretches of the imagination). You can find my short stories in many and various magazines and anthologies and podcasts. In addition to being a writer I also engage in activism and fandom -- often both at once.