Nick Ang

Laptops are not the best for writing

May 11, 2019

best for writing nick ang Photo by NordWood Themes

I have a love-hate relationship with technology, specifically with computers being the de facto tool for writing.

I love writing. And I love my laptop for many reasons including its ability to let me gently, cost-freely whip up a tweet, blog post, or essay.

But I also dislike, or maybe even hate, the mental baggage I have to push aside in order to actually write. This is especially true on days where I am uninspired and just want to “sit down and report to my should-be writing habit”.

What mental baggage, you ask?

“Better” things to do

The biggest thing is having to get past the fact that I could be doing a hundred other more instantly gratifying things on my laptop than trying to form coherent sentences about some vague thought. Like watching videos of people rock climbing, reading blogs, or going on Twitter. They are so much easier than to write.

There is no purity in the tool I’m using to type these sentences! I know how much I sound like a purist who romanticises the writer’s life, but that’s not my point.

Take for example a photographer. If she is serious about her craft, she would invest in a good DSLR camera with a full-sized sensor and a couple of built-for-occasion lenses.

Does the DSLR camera also happen to take video? Sure, it’s probably not great at doing that, but sure, it can. I can imagine scenarios where a photographer would like to take a decent video for production. But it includes no other frills, like the ability to connect the WiFi and show you a live stream of photos from Flickr and Instagram.

A writer in 2019, on the other hand, doesn’t have any other option than a laptop to write with. There is no escaping a soft copy nowadays, regardless of what you do with your writing, which means using old school typewriters or handwriting is not good enough anymore. Most of the time, they just end up creating more work for yourself.

My dream for so-called purity in a writing tool is more about stripping it down to its core functionality, so that, you know, people like me can simply sit down with it and write.

Nobody who wants to be a productive writer actually wants to have to consider whether to first check their email, Twitter feed, and/or watch a movie trailer (or five) before actually launching their word processor app of choice.

Starting with a blank page is hard enough; I don’t need to fight temptresses to get to it. I think my statistics of winning those battles is something like 20 percent. Okay, who am I kidding? It’s probably more like five.

A more focused tool would probably bump that figure up to something like fifty.


Nick Ang © 2020

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