Creative Writing on a Computer

I don’t really intend to muse much on this topic. I’m more interested in what any of my writer friends who happen to read this post do to write on their computers. 

Anything in particular you do? Any tricks or tips you’ve found along the way?

I’ve definitely had trouble going between PC and Mac, especially with visual poems.

Very specific spacing does not translate between Word and Pages, neither do text boxes. It seems like pieces generally don’t transfer without a lot of esoteric document set up (which I have no clue about).

I recently discovered using the ‘book fold’ option for margins in Word, which was an exciting thing. I used it for a new manuscript I’m working on and the whole thing changed for the better. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to print a normal looking page so I ended up with truncated half sheets (printing two pages at a time) with text falling off the paper. With a bunch of tedious reworking the whole thing, I got the manuscript back into a normal document, this time with thick af margins to keep the same effect.

Because of that little exploration, though, what had been a document that looked like any other I’ve typed up since my first high school essays and all those papers and poems throughout college years, now looks like a legitimately focused set of poems. I’m pretty jazzed about it.

Also, I’ve gotten a bit giddy about saving templates with different fonts, line spacing and little things like that. It is clutch having documents ready to go for certain occasions—I’ve set up one that comes with a formatted text box ready to go. Great news for me and Hoefler or STIXGeneral. Love you guys. Best friends forever.

Even with my little word processing adventures and tricks, I’m wondering what programs are out there or what kind of set ups people work with to make the writing process different from everything else that happens on your comp.

I’d like to sit down and see something specific to my creative writing, rather than potentially being reminded of that honors thesis I bailed on during undergrad or the hours spent hunched over grad school letters of intent. The Mac update that changed backgrounds to black has been a nice change, but still… maybe I should try off-white background? Or that random app I happened to see that has scenic, serene looking backgrounds to write over?

What do you think? Anything special to consider?

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