My writing tools

15 November 2010 07:05

In my day-job, I work as a Software Engineer. It should come as no surprise that I feel quite comfortable around computers and technology, and my electricity bill reflects that. I thought it would be interesting to talk about the various "tools" I use for writing. The basics are obvious, I have several small notebooks that contain all sorts of outlines, character descriptions, event summaries and map sketches. But the technological stuff is far more interesting:


I use an Asus EeePC 900 as my primary writing tool, as I tend to do a lot of writing while traveling by train. The small keyboard takes some getting used to, but I can write with it just fine now. It runs the Xubuntu operating system.

In addition to that, I run an Ubuntu server with a RAID1 harddrive setup that hosts a Mercurial repository, both for backup purposes and for revision control.


I often see remarks on blogs and Twitter that people use Microsoft Office for writing. Seeing as I use Linux (and quite frankly, can’t stand Office) it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I don’t follow this trend. The most obvious candidates for Linux would then be OpenOffice (or the LibreOffice spinoff) or something along the lines of Abiword, but instead I use LaTeX using the Texmaker editor. LaTeX is a text-based format. The formats used by MS Office as well as the free counterparts are all binary formats, which� makes it difficult to use with revision control software. As I mentioned before, I use Mercurial for revision control and backup purposes. When brainstorming, I use Freemind to turn my ideas into nice mind-map like diagrams. Basically all software I use for writing is free and open source.

In addition to this, I am currently working on a small web application so I can put virtual post-it notes on a virtual board, in order to use the Index Card Method described by Alexandra Sokoloff on her blog.

So, these are my writing tools. What tools do you use?