Use these novel gadgets to help shape your literary masterpiece during National Novel Writing Month. By Keeley Bolger.
With their soft covers and smooth creamy paper, Moleskine notebooks are loved by writers for good reason and now the brand have added a digital offering to sway tech-savvy pen-smiths. The Smart Set has all the hallmarks of a Moleskine - the stylish design and soft pages, but with a twist; by hooking up to the app and writing with the USB-charged pen with a secret camera in it on the enhanced paper, your musings will be simultaneously uploaded to the online platform. You can convert your handwriting into different fonts and colours and edit online via the app, as well as emailing your work, converting it into PDFs and choosing different front cover designs for your online Moleskine book. And if you're not in the mood to scribble down your thoughts, you can record audio via the pen and link up the files to your online pages. For a tech product, the pen is surprisingly slimline and the ink flows beautifully, even if your ideas don't.
Plotting and planning is made easier with this Livescribe Smartpen. Scribble away on the accompanying pad and watch as your words or doodles are synchronised to the app. Editing functions mean you can chop and change the copy, which is especially useful if you’re sharing notes with other people. As with the Moleskine Smart Set, there is a record function which means you can capture conversations, add a note to the pad and the technology will link two online. As with all gadgets of this type, sometimes words will get lost in translation, so it makes sense to cross-check the transcript on the app.
If you're planning on writing your family history, invest in a Dictaphone so you can concentrate on keeping the conversation going instead of scrabbling to record it. Generally Dictaphones pick up sound better than phone-based recording apps and crucially, they don't clog up your storage. This Olympus model doesn't have all the bells and whistles of some pricier alternatives, but it does the basics well. All you have to do is press record and let the memories flow on to your device, before uploading your files using the USB cable.
If you're suffering from writer's block and searching for some literary inspiration, this Kindle Paperwhite could help get your juices flowing again. Lighter than a paperback, it can store thousands of books and displays them in a new Bookerly font, which is easier to read. There's also an inbuilt light to aid bedtime reading and a word-builder function where you can add interesting vocabulary to use in your own pieces. And of course, once you've finished your own work, you can self-publish on the platform.
Cloud storage is useful for keeping your documents in one place online but for complete cover for your manuscript, an external hard drive ensures your work is backed up externally too. This one by Seagate - suitable for both Macs and PCs - attaches itself to your computer via USB and gives 1TB of storage for documents, films and photos. Thanks to the connections, it does the job of transferring content to the drive quickly too.
Hunkering down in a coffee shop to start work on your bestseller is a romantic vision, but one that in practical terms can be difficult if you have a clunky laptop in tow. At home though, you can really spread out using this extra monitor which clips into one side of your machine with the accompanying mount and is secured with a strap. The idea is that having a separate screen makes productivity and cross-referencing easier, and for aspiring writers, means flicking between your writing plan, character bios and copy, seamless.