Buying a Laptop as a Writer

While some may prefer the old fashioned pen-and-paper approach for writing, I personally favor something a bit more modern and electronic. I write 99% of all my novels and fanfictions on my computer, and it’s the main thing my laptop is used for. This year, for my birthday/Christmas, I had the opportunity to pick out a new laptop. During my quest for the perfect computer, I discovered several key features to take into consideration when choosing a laptop used for writing. Here’s a list of what I learned.

1. Keyboard

For me, the most important requirement for my writing laptop is that it have a nice, comfortable keyboard. As the right keyboard is writer specific, the absolute best way to know if the keyboard is comfortable is to try it out. Before I seriously considered any computer, I visited a few electronics stores and tested the keyboards of various laptops by typing out a short note (I typed out the names of all the dwarves from The Hobbit) using Window’s Sticky Notes program. By typing, I had the chance to see how the keyboard felt and how many typos I made (which told me how easily I could type on the keyboard). Another thing to consider when choosing a keyboard is whether you like it backlit. Backlit keyboards are keyboards that have LED lights behind them, illuminating the keys. Not only does it look pretty cool, it makes it much easier to see the keys, as well as allowing you to type in low light situations. I eliminated quite a few computers simply because of their keyboards. My favorite keyboard is, of course, my computer’s, a Toshiba Satellite. A close second was the keyboard on the Lenovo laptops.

2. Portability

One of nicest things about my new laptop is the fact that it’s portable. I’m able to take it anywhere, allowing me to work on writing wherever I want. So, when searching for a new computer, one of the first things I checked was how much the computer weighed. Most websites list the weight of the laptop mixed in with the specs. My Toshiba is fairly light at 5.7 pounds. I’ve been carrying it around in a backpack recently, and it does have some weight to it, but nothing too much to handle. Another factor for portability is battery life. You don’t want to be stuck looking for an outlet to plug in your laptop everywhere you go to write. Many laptops these days have a fairly decent battery life. I’ve found that my Toshiba lasts around 3 hours on a good charge. That’s plenty of time for me. The last portability factor is screen size. Laptop screens are getting bigger and bigger, and screen size affects portability. My Toshiba has a 15 inch screen, and I’ve found it to be the perfect size. It’s small enough to be portable and big enough to still have a good-sized display.

3. Storage space

As an author, I wanted to make sure I had plenty of storage space for all those bestsellers just waiting to be written! 😉 A huge hard drive is definitely a must. Most computers these days come with the option of pretty big hard drives, so finding one that holds all those documents isn’t difficult. One of the biggest hard drives you can get is a 1 terabyte hard drive, and according to http://www.ehow.com/about_7534804_10-tb.html, a 1 terabyte hard drive can hold 143 million pages of Word documents. My new laptop has a 1 terabyte hard drive, and I’m looking forward to filling those 143 million pages with my newest novel and fanfiction ideas.

4. Word Processor

Another thing to think about is making sure the computer you’re looking into buying runs your word processor. Before finally choosing my current computer, I looked into getting a Chromebook. One of the huge downsides of a Chromebook is I couldn’t install Microsoft Word. While there are other programs out there I could have used (such as Google Docs), I’m a Microsoft Word fan and wanted to stick with what I knew. I also don’t like cloud-based storage. So, whatever  computer/operating system you’re looking into getting, do some research first and make sure your chosen writing program will run on that computer before buying it.

I hope that you’ll be able to find that perfect writing laptop for yourself and get to writing on your new computer soon!

~ Kayla

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One thought on “Buying a Laptop as a Writer

  1. As an author, I fall out with Microsoft Word on a regular basis; it’s all very well for writing, but formatting afterwards… I find it infuriating. However, that said, I still swear by Word despite nearly throwing my laptop out the window on many occasions 😛 So yes, I will always need a laptop that supports Microsoft!

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