Choosing your digital canvas

canvas

In the past few self-publishing articles, we’ve discussed fiction versus non-fiction, figuring out your fiction niche, and how nothing is original anymore. At this stage, you’ve got your niche fiction idea and you’re ready to begin writing. But wait – begin writing on what?

I personally write my manuscripts on Google Docs. I get weird looks when I tell people that, but I really don’t understand why. Do people think that all writers religiously sit at their typewriters with a big stack of paper? Some may do so, but on the whole, times have changed. You certainly can’t do self-publishing on a typewriter.


For me, Google Docs is ideal. I can access my manuscript anywhere I have an internet connection, I can switch on offline access, and my changes get saved and synced within seconds. Add in revision control, and it’s a writer’s best friend.

But Mark, people cry out, what if Google Docs goes down or Google wipes your files? Come on, be honest, what are the chances of Google’s servers having a complete meltdown and wiping files? How many backups to the backups to the backups would Google have? By all means, make your own local backup of the Google Doc at the end of each day, but don’t dismiss Google Docs completely, because maybe a lightning strike might hit their data centers.

Alternatives to Google Docs

Of course, there are alternatives like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Notepad, LibreOffice, or a dedicated writing app with all the bells and whistles. But to be honest, too many features are just distracting. You spend more time tweaking your document than actually writing anything. Google Docs gives me just what I need, and no more.

Plus apps like Word or LibreOffice only store local copies of your files on your computer. There’s no automatic cloud backup. So what happens if the computer eats your manuscript file or the computer dies on you? You would also have to constantly remember to hit the Save button, which is easy to forget, and having multiple saved copies of your manuscript, all at different stages and versions? Talk about chaotic.

So now you’ve got your writing app! Next time, we finally begin writing! Thanks for being patient, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. There’s a lot of preparation involved before you actually start. But the actual start is just an amazing feeling.

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