This week I bought a new smart phone, which led me to think about ways my smart phone helps me with my writing.
The Photo Function. I’ve always liked photos but I didn’t really get into taking pictures until I bought my first cell phone that included a camera. With a camera always in my pocket, the ease of picture taking made me nearly an addict, and I take several pictures a day.
This morning I photographed the creature watching me eat breakfast. Being more aware of the fauna in my yard often leads me to look up info about them, thus making me more informed in general, and sometimes serving as story starters. For example, I wrote “Man vs. Beast,” a magical realism piece about a man’s battle with beasties from squirrels to deer.
Taking lots of pictures has made me more aware of the world around me, more aware of details, such as plants that survive in the concrete jungle. It’s also made me more aware of framing—i.e. what needs to be left out to improve a (word) picture.
The List/Notes Function.
This function is great for jotting down words or phrases that come to mind or are overheard that might suit a story I’m writing now, or might write in the future (e.g., oh, perdition!, about played out, we’uns and you’uns). Also it’s a handy place for lists of books recommended in conversation.
My favorite aspect of the calendar is that I can separate writing events from personal, medical, travel, etc. This makes it easy to identify due dates and writing deadlines, as well as readings and book signings.
The maps and navigation functions have made me bolder, more willing to attend meetings, events, and conferences. Not only can I get driving directions spoken aloud to me, I can locate food once I get there!
Contacts. I can separate writing friends from others for mailings, etc., and each contact can be used in more than one list. This is incredibly more convenient than using my old Rolodex system, easier to make changes and edit.
Last but far from least, my phone allows me to search the internet for whatever bit of info I might need for what I am writing, anything from the cost of gasoline during the Great Depression (10 cents a gallon) to lists of imaginary/fantasy diseases. With this aspect of my phone tool, I can be accurate more easily and get background on virtually every person/event/issue of relevance.
Bottom line: Although some bemoan the ever-growing dependence on technology, I for one appreciate the ways a smart phone has made my writing life easier and richer.