How to write a book on an iPad
“I really want to start writing my book, but first I need to get a new laptop / create the perfect writing room / free up more writing time…”
Writers often tell me they need certain items or setups before they can start writing their books or stories.
Two of the most common ‘essentials’ I hear are the right office space or computer.
And while I’m a huge fan of crafting the creative conditions that most support us – we can start without them.
They may make life easier and the process more enjoyable – but they’re not essential to begin.
We can agree that it would be heavenly to have an idyllic writing room and all the technology and uninterrupted time that we all crave for our writing.
And – even as we create those things, or wait for them to appear – we can choose to begin where we are, with what we’ve got.
We can still hold that lovely, inspiring vision of our Ideal Writing Conditions.
And we can begin writing now, even before they arrive.
So, if the perfect conditions are on your Writer’s Wish List, pursue them by all means – but remember that you don’t need to wait for them.
If you have a book in you that is calling to be written, you can start now.
And to help you, I’d like to share how you can begin – today – using whatever mobile device you have to hand…
How to begin writing that book. Today.
Obviously, you could begin writing your book using the barest of essentials; paper and pen.
However, with our busy and highly mobile lives, this isn’t always the most practical solution for the modern writer.
(Carting piles of notebooks with you wherever you go could soon take the shine off your writing dreams…)
So, for convenience and ease, we can harness our ever-present tech devices as helpful writing allies.
They can help us plan and outline our books, or even write the whole manuscript.
But which device to use?
It is possible to use a phone or handheld device as a writing partner.
Popular blogger Leonie Dawson began her multi-million dollar business single-finger typing her blog posts on her iPod during the hours she spent feeding her baby.
Man Booker Prize Shortlist author Fiona Mozley wrote her debut novel Elmet on her phone during her daily commute.
Marketing legend Frank Kern claims he never sits down to type a single word for his books – he dictates everything into his phone and has it transcribed.
So, if you have a smartphone, you have all you need to get started on that book.
But whilst it is possible to write your book on your phone, it’s not the ideal tool for extensive typing, crafting or editing.
However, if you have an iPad or tablet, I believe you have the perfect writing partner.
It’s much more ‘typing-friendly’ than a phone, especially if you invest in a keyboard case, yet it’s still portable enough to keep it to hand or carry it with you on your travels.
Having a user-friendly and portable writing device means you’re more likely to catch those inspired ideas that appear during day-to-day activities, and more likely to collect them in your writing projects.
It also means you can quickly and easily dip in and out of your book – this regular attention keeps it in your mind and keeps your creative senses tuned into the project.
And this is how many books evolve – not from formal writing sessions, but from regular attention during the gaps of life.
Your book doesn’t need to be written in a series of official ‘sitting at writing desk’ sessions.
Books can be created from notes, snippets and inspired musings that grow into chapters, outlines and working drafts.
Books can be built from what starts as a jumble of collected thoughts, ideas that are worked and crafted and edited and polished into a finished, coherent work.
And you can do all of these writing stages on an iPad, anywhere and with any time you have available to devote to your writing.
I wrote my first books using a combination of note-taking on my iPod (a first generation iPod touch that I still use) and my desktop computer that I used for work.
These days though, I prefer not to write at a desk – I write in various spots around the house, as well as in cafes and outdoors.
And ever since I bought a keyboard case for my iPad, I write much more often, more quickly, easily and comfortably – wherever I am or choose to go.
(After much research, I finally chose this one which I love.)
I now find that my iPad, keyboard-case and writing apps are the perfect partners to help me to collect my ideas and to easily keep working on them as I turn them into my next books.
And this seems to be an increasing trend for a number of writers.
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest (and regular traveller) told me that he writes 90% on the iPad now.
“There are still a few things I need a desktop computer for,
but most of the time, with a little planning the iPad
(plus a good keyboard) is all I need.”
Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, author of Rest
So, if you’re postponing that book project until you have the perfect conditions, laptop, office etc… I hope this post will inspire you to use your current devices as writing allies to get you started now.
Then you can start to enjoy some lovely soul-soothing progress with
And to help you see precisely how to create a book using an iPad, here are the apps and the processes I’m using to write my next book…