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How to Write a Book on Your Smartphone

Lauren is the author of 10 books, including the popular "Amplified" series, as well as numerous musicals.

Our phones can capture those thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be lost by the time we get to our computers.

Our phones can capture those thoughts and ideas that would otherwise be lost by the time we get to our computers.

Can You Write a Book on Your Phone?

Many would-be writers are intimidated by the thought of the hours upon hours it will take for them to sit down and write their book. "I have so many brilliant ideas, but when will I ever be able to find the time to flesh them out?" This is a common complaint voiced by many aspiring authors. But when so many of us have the gift of an ever-present smartphone, we're offered more flexibility in our writing time and medium.

Recognize When You're Most Productive

In the days of my writing naïveté, I used to block out hours of time for writing. I would put off writing anything until the end of the week, when I would set aside five to six hours specifically for typing out the chapters upon chapters that would surely spill forth from my subconscious.

But inevitably, those hours faithfully spent in front of my computer would get filled up with surfing the internet, listening to music, staring into the void, or just drooling on myself. And maybe I would write a paragraph or two at some point during the session.

Creativity cannot be forced. It happens in snatches and moments of genius.

I came to realize that creativity and productivity cannot be forced. It often happens when we're in the middle of doing something else, in snatches and moments of genius, often forgotten by the time we're able to write them down. By putting off any inkling I might have had to write because I had reserved time for writing later, I was denying myself some great opportunities to actually make some progress in my work.

Even the best writers have their unproductive days.

Even the best writers have their unproductive days.

The Turning Point

A while back, we were taking a long drive to Las Vegas, and I was diligently trying to make progress on a book I'd been working on for two years. I was writing in a notebook, but when the sun went down and I still had a few lingering thoughts to record, I pulled out my iPhone and recorded those thoughts into my notes app. And then I continued writing in the notes section of my phone. For that entire weekend, it never seemed that I was devoting any significant amount of time to writing, but in between events and activities, in snatches and moments of genius, I finished writing that book. With my thumbs.

The Greatest Ideas Come When You're Doing Something Else

People may be averse to the thought of writing a novel or a piece of literature with their thumbs. They might think it would take too long. But think about how fast and efficiently we text. For many of us, if we compiled all of our texting conversations, we would find that they could fill a novel. Some of us text so much that our conversations could fill dozens of novels or world almanacs.

The sit-in-front-of-your-computer-for-hours-and-force-yourself-to-write method may work for some people, but for many, sitting stagnantly in front of a screen is a great formula for wasting time watching cat videos. Constantly having something with you to record your thoughts, ideas, and dialogues enables you to write virtually anywhere and in any situation. Plus, your subject matter is constantly running through your mind and propelling your work forward. Tablets and laptops are comparable for this kind of on-the-go writing, but only something as small as your phone can be with you nearly anywhere.

Your subject matter is constantly running through your mind and propelling your work forward.

Your subject matter is constantly running through your mind and propelling your work forward.

Times and Places to Write a Sentence or Two on Your Phone

  • In line at the grocery store
  • Riding in a car/on public transportation
  • At lunch or mealtimes
  • Doing laundry
  • During a boring conference call
  • Feeding a baby
  • In the bathroom

And the list goes on. Essentially, any time you have one or both hands-free (or none if you use a speech-to-text feature), you can be writing your book or article.

Reasons You Should Try Writing On Your Phone

  • You can always have it with you.
  • You have more flexibility with your writing time.
  • You don't have to block out hours of your day to make progress on your book.
  • You can record sentences, ideas, and dialogue immediately.
  • Your story or subject matter is always in the back of your mind helping you to constantly move forward.
  • You can churn out a few thoughts or sentences in your idle time.

I've written several books solely with my thumbs; I've written the scripts for four musicals with my thumbs, and I'm even writing this article with my thumbs. After each chapter or scene I write, I'll email the body of text to myself and then paste it into a word document. Alternatively, you could write your book in the drafts of your email. I've never been such a productive writer. It may not be your particular cup of tea, but it's worth a try.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have a Galaxy 8 phone. I lost my computer with 4 chapters of a book I was writing so now I only have a phone to write on. I really miss typewriters, white out and dozens of ideas on napkins and post its! Is it even possible to use my phone to write my book?

Answer: Sure. You can use the Samsung notes app on your Galaxy and write your ideas and chapters in there. It might take a while to get used to writing without a word processor and on a smaller screen, but now I actually prefer it. If you find it impossible or incredibly frustrating than maybe you ought to try getting a new computer, but I would give it a try on your phone first.

Question: Where do you write a book on your phone?

Answer: You can write on the notes app, in the drafts of your email, or on a myriad of other journaling or note taking apps.

© 2018 Lauren Flauding


Lauren Flauding (author) from Sahuarita, AZ on February 27, 2018:

Sp Greaney, it’s true, your phone is the best tool for recording inspiration immediately, and it’s also so liberating.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on February 27, 2018:

I've never though of using my phone for things like this because when inspiration strikes, you gotta record things quickly.

Lauren Flauding (author) from Sahuarita, AZ on January 25, 2018:

K S, your sentiments are quite true. Writing on the go has made it an enjoyable experience instead of some dreaded event where I beat myself up if I don’t write 10,000 words in one sitting.

K S Lane from Melbourne, Australia on January 25, 2018:

This is a really interesting idea. I wrote on my tablet for a few years, got a laptop and now write on that. I find that forcing myself to sit down and block out a few hours to write is the most effective strategy for me, though it does seem like writing isn't as enjoyable using that approach. Perhaps if I start writing on my phone when inspiration strikes I'll be productive while still keeping the fun. Thanks for the tip!

Lauren Flauding (author) from Sahuarita, AZ on January 24, 2018:

Thanks Cleo! I tried dictation for a while but I found out that my ideas don’t flow as fast and freely as I thought!

Cleo Addams from USA on January 24, 2018:

These are all great tips for writing. I always tell myself, "If I actually wrote as much as I run my mouth, I'd have written a thousand books." So, I bought a dictation recorder. Now, I just have to get myself to use it. LOL!