Writing Hardware: What’s useful and what’s not


Hardware? PC’s, MAC’s, desktops, latops, screens, printers etc. What do you need to write and what is really necessary.

OK, so for me I use a 1.9ghz ACER laptop running windows 7 that comes with 4 GB of RAM and 750 GB hard drive. We’ve been good friends now for over 2 years but frequent trips to electronics store have me thinking, do I need something else?

Most writers I know, and I’m not sure if this is the rule, but most are MAC users. MAC users absolutely, hand on heart, love their MACS but when I ask why, they simply tell me it’s because they’re far superior to windows run systems. Now on the face of it MAC’s have similar specs to most windows systems, aside from operating system, but the Apple price tag can be up to twice as much. I understand computer viruses and malicious software isn’t a big issue with MAC’s but with Norton Antivirus protection I’ve never had a successful attack on my system. So like the TV ad from a few years back, I’m the nerdy PC guy not Justin Long.mac

Now to Specs. How specy does the system need to be?
Running most word processing software doesn’t require a monstrosity of a system that’ll run the latest games. Scrivener for instance uses 1 GB of RAM, 1ghz processor and takes up 100 mb of disk space meaning you don’t need the best and brightest of systems for the job. A netbook could run the software comfortably. I can’t comment on other writing software but it could be assumed that they would try and make their products run with the most minimal of specs to achieve as wide a market as possible.

Desktops are quickly disappearing. People want mobility not tethering to a desk. The advent of the tablet is a testament to this shift. My laptop weight 2.6 kilos (5.7 pounds) so can get to be little heavy when in its carry bag which also carts around my notes, a book or two, a drink bottle and maybe gym clothes. Not the most cumbersome of items but a little pain in the backside at times. It’s 15 inch screen is probably more then I need too. Some systems weight as little as 1 kilo (2.2) pounds, are really slim and come in 11 or 13 inch screens. Samsung have an awesome range of ultrabooks I’ve been thinking about. Writers I think need mobility and flexibility to move about as they choose. The designated writing space doesn’t alway cut it and roaming the outsides can kick writer’s block to the kerb.

The only other hardware I use and feel I need is a printer. My wife who is my first beta reader, can only review my work on printed paper. The printer I use is a brother $48 dollar laser printer. The quality difference for me is minimal from expensive to cheap printers. If I was to send in a manuscript to a publisher or agent I would have it printed professionally anyway so only need a half decent job when reviewing work at home.

So, that’s my party piece on hardware. Let me know what you use and what you find useful?



  1. I’ve got a 1.8 GHz Asus laptop with 8 GB RAM and 1 TB hard drive. It’s new, and it uses Windows 8. I also use MS Word 2013. It works for me.

    Macs aren’t better for writing. They’re better for video and photography, that’s all.


  2. Hey David!
    I use a desktop PC. It is two years old, but runs Windows 8. I can tell you it was the cheapest tower I could find. PCs are almost disposable today. It isn’t even on a wireless router. I use Malware and Norton antivirus.

    I have a black and white Brother HL 2240 laser which I got on sale very cheap.

    West splurged on a 2 in 1 for me to replace my Neolithic laptop. It is a Widnow’s Surface and I love it. Very portable, very light. Perfect size but I do admit to making more typos using the smaller keyboard.

    With all of that said, I’ve been hand writing most of my current story using Papermate gel pens and a mead marble notebook. Scenes are also scribbled on random sheets of paper. Everything is held together with a two pocket folder with pictures of horses on it. Eventually though, I will have to type up those bits.
    Good post, thanks!


    • That’s cool you write full scenes with pen and paper. My handwritten work is normally crazed ideas while out and about or little titbits I want to slot into stories when I get home. Smaller keyboards can be a pain but I used to use a wireless keyboard which with my laptop the only issue was is wasn’t very easy to balance on my top of my lap so I gave up


  3. I use a variety of machines for writing.
    Most of the time I use my sleek, slim Dell XPS 13. It’s ultra-portable and the keyboard has a great chicklet layout, and a real comfortable key-depths.
    But at the same time I also love the clackity-clack of the chunky old laptops I have back at my parents’ house. There’s also something comforting about using a larger machine, especially when you’re formatting or performing some hard editing.
    I had a MAC two years ago and used Scrivener on that for a while. It was a beautiful machine, and I still managed to write a whole 140,000 word manuscript on it, but I wouldn’t go back to using it as my primary machine. I spent too much time admiring the craftsmanship. Also, it’s difficult to export documents to windows-friendly formats without some ugly formatting hiccoughs.
    Apart from that, when I’m caught out, I’m not adverse to using my iPhone, but most of the time I do my draft writing longhand, in a journal. Having said that, I’ve written a few short stories on an iPad, and that wasn’t so bad, either.
    I think a lot of machines come in handy when it come to writing, but it depends on situation.


  4. I just saw this post and thought I’d chime in. I write on an old (read: 2006) MacBook that I’ve had since college. It still runs fairly well despite the heft and age I’ve put on it. I use Scrivener, Storyist or Pages depending on what story I’m writing and when I’m writing.
    Let me elaborate on the “when I’m writing” part of that. Scrivener is an excellent program, and I adore it, but for NaNo (specifically in November), I tend to choose from Storyist or Pages. The reason for this is versatility. Both Storyist and Pages come in app form for my iPad2, and I’ve written on my iPad2 with a Logitech Bluetooth keyboard for the last two Novembers and find it extremely portable and versatile.
    Also – I love being able to easily transfer stories from my devices. But that’s just me, and I know it’s just as doable from Windows devices as well.
    For writing at home, my laptop is optimal. For writing when I’m out, I can load up my Bluetooth keyboard and my iPad2 (which conveniently snap together magnetically) and head out.
    Also, I don’t know about other Apple users, but I simply prefer Macs/Apple products aesthetically to Windows. And I’ve grown accustomed to my Mac over the year and now find Windows more clunky than Mac, but that’s just because I don’t consistently use Windows. I’m also hoping to get into my own cover design eventually, and I think having a MacOS and Mac products will assist me on that. 🙂 Hope that answers your questions about differences between Mac users and Windows users!


  5. I use a Chromebook. They’re light, extremely portable, if it weighs more than a pound I’d be surprised. BUT… since my laptop died I’m having to solely rely on it. I don’t recommend that. It’s great as a second because you can tap into your existing computer remotely, and you don’t need to be home. You could take the Chromebook to a park and still work on it as if you were using your existing device, for example. The only problem I have is… for a writer Google Docs is NOT the way to go. It has a word limit of around 55,000 words. However, now I write using One Drive, which is Word in the cloud basically. It’s better than G-docs, in my opinion, but sometimes it still interrupts me because it’s an online program. No internet = no One Drive. Google Docs has an offline feature, but the word limit is ridiculous for writers who write full-length novels. I’m rambling now… my point is this… for a second, transportable notebook, you can’t beat a Chromebook. Plus, they’re cheap!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s