How to Write a Book on Your Smartphone

Updated on January 25, 2018
Lauren Flauding profile image

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

Changing Perceptions and Habits

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?"- is a common complaint heard among 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.

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.

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 where I would set aside 5-6 hours specifically for typing out the chapters upon chapters that would surely spill forth from my subconscious. But inevitably those 5-6 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, maybe I would write a paragraph or two.

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.

Those hours I'd set aside for writing would get filled up with surfing the Internet, listening to music, staring into the void, or just drooling on myself.
Those hours I'd set aside for writing would get filled up with surfing the Internet, listening to music, staring into the void, or just drooling on myself.

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 texted those thoughts into my notes section. 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.

What Do You Use Most Often For Writing?

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The Greatest Ideas Come When You're Doing Something Else

People may be adverse 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. For some of us, 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 enable 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.

Consider These Times and Places Where You Can Write A Couple Sentences 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.

Let's Review

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 to four musicals with my thumbs, and I'm 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. Alternately, 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.

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Lauren Flauding

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      • Lauren Flauding profile image
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        Lauren Flauding 8 weeks ago from Sahuarita, AZ

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

      • sangre profile image

        Sp Greaney 8 weeks ago from Ireland

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

      • Lauren Flauding profile image
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        Lauren Flauding 2 months ago from Sahuarita, AZ

        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 profile image

        K S Lane 3 months ago from Melbourne, Australia

        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 profile image
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        Lauren Flauding 3 months ago from Sahuarita, AZ

        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!

      • cleoaddams profile image

        Cleo Addams 3 months ago from USA

        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!

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