Today I want to share with you the first of 10 things that every aspiring author needs to have in order to succeed. This will apply to all writers whether on the traditional publishing route or planning to self-publish.
This should be a pretty in-depth subject encompassing all things from tech to thought so I am going to break this up into 10 parts.
Thing One: The Laptop
This may seem like the most obvious necessity for writers but I don’t think it can be over stressed.
Many writers create their stories on paper, and that’s fine. I am sort of a mixed bag when it comes to the medium through which I tell my stories. One day, I will write by hand in ink or pencil, another day I will use a typewriter, and yet another day I will go back to a computer. I ALWAYS go back to a computer.
The thing is, no matter which way you choose to write, it will need to be digitized at some point, namely when submitting to most agents for representation. This is why I think that having a laptop is so vital. While any computer is fine, I will strongly suggest a laptop because 1.) they are fairly inexpensive while having many of the same features as a desktop, and 2.) chances are, you are a mobile person and having the ability to move around is a true blessing when it comes to writing.
Here are some of my recommendations for laptops:
For the most basic of tasks, I recommend getting a Chromebook and, in particular, I recommend the Asus Chromebook.
The thing with Chromebooks is that they operate with what is essentially a web browser as an operating system. This means that you won’t be able to run software that operates outside a web browser (Scrivener). This is a small disadvantage but the goal here is to provide a device that:
- is light and portable
- has word processing abilities
- has good battery life for all day use
- and finally, doesn’t break the bank.
This laptop achieves all of those things and will only set you back $209.00 USD.
This area of laptops is an incredibly broad one and encompasses countless brands, styles, and prices.
When recommending a mid-range laptop, I like to think of machines in the range from $600-$1100. The one that comes to mind here is the Dell XPS 13, which is right at the edge of the price range at about $1190.00 USD.
This thing is amazing! It’s such a workhorse for writers and creatives in general. I put it in the mid-range category because of it’s price, it’s processor, and it’s hard drive.
- Intel Core i5 7200-U Kaby Lake processor- This is Intel’s mid-range processor, middle child to the i3 and the i7. It’s perfect for handling most of your multi-tasking needs. You can have Srivener, Word, and a browser with 1,000 tabs open (okay maybe not 1,000) all at once.
- 8GB Ram- Also great for helping your processor remember what’s in those 1,000 browser tabs.
- 256GB PCIe Solid State Drive- This is the one area I am always skeptical about. My laptop (which just crashed after 7 years) had 750GB of hard drive storage on a conventional 5400RPM drive. What you get with an SSD is often less storage but far less boot up times and less time spent searching for data on the drive. It’s also much quieter, stronger, and uses less power. It makes a huge difference and it’s not a huge deal for me as I also have multiple 1tb external drives to store things I don’t really need on the machine.
- 60Whr Lithium Ion Battery- Dell claims up to 22 hours of continuous use, but that’s not practical at all. Most people are getting around 10 hours.
For what this machine costs, it’s a powerhouse. If you go to Amazon right now, you can pick this up with a QHD+ Touch screen for $1,186.00 USD. On Dell’s own website, you get the standard Full HD screen and a 128GB Hard Drive for $1,074.00 USD. I’d say it’s a no brainer to go for the touch screen, though your battery life will inevitably suffer by a couple hours.
High End Laptop
This one was a tough one for me. There are so many great ones to choose from! However, I wanted to give you guys a laptop that could do everything while still maintaining a decent battery life. What I came up with was the 2017 MacBook Pro 15.
I don’t see a better option on the market right now. If you’re not working on a budget, this thing is the way to go.
For just under $2,000.00 USD you get:
- 15.4″ Retina Display
- Intel 7th Gen. i7 Kaby Lake Processor @ 2.2 GHz (Turbo up to 3.4 GHz)
- 16GB DDR3 Low Power Memory
- 256GB PCIe SSD (the 512GB model runs around $2,800.00 USD)
- Around 9 hours of battery life.
I could have easily chosen something like the top-end Dell XPS 15 with better specs at a lower price but one thing I take into account is how Apple is notoriously secure. That’s something that’s important to me as a writer. There is a far less chance of getting a system crashing virus with Apple products which is one of the main reasons I would be willing to pay the premium price.
Well, ladies and gents, that’s the end of the first in a series of 10 things you need to succeed as a writer. Come back next week for Thing Two, in which I will cover the books all writers should be reading and have by their side at all times.