If I had my way, I’d still write with pen and paper. Maybe I’d use a typewriter once in awhile if I wanted to get with the times. But the facts are that I’m now a digital boy in a digital world, and writing on a digital platform is the only way to keep up.
It’s been a struggle to find exactly which platform I work best with. At first, I was writing on my desktop computer. The obvious problem with this is that a desktop computer is the most powerful, godless machine of distraction the world has ever seen.
For my next attempt, I went to a computer story specifically looking for the smallest, crappiest, least powerful laptop they had. And I found it. The thing would basically shut down if I opened anything other than a basic word processor.
This was great, for a time. I writing productivity shot up. I found that where I wrote mattered as much as on what I wrote. Simply being in a chair different from the one I sat in to browse YouTube and play games helped me focus more.
Eventually, the shortcomings of that laptop began to grate on me. It was impossibly slow to attempt any sort of research on, and I constantly worried about losing progress due to its poor stability.
Finally, I picked up a Chromebook. And I say “finally” because I can’t imagine moving to any other platform again. Here’s why.
By far, my top priority for a writing computer a machine that won’t distract me from work. This has a double meaning. I don’t want to be distracted by things fun things and I don’t want to be distracted by technical problems.
Chromebooks run Google’s unique Chrome OS, which is an extremely simple and stripped down operating system that mostly functions through the Chrome browser. Because these are not Windows platforms, all those games that distract me on my desktop computer can’t be put on this computer.
The Chromebook I use now is powerful enough to allow multiple, smoothly running windows open, and I don’t have to worry about my weak self-discipline installing games to distract me.
On top of that, the minimalist Chrome OS also means that computer maintenance is very un-distracting. Chromebooks are virtually virus immune and they simply don’t have all the bloatware that bogs down a Windows machine after years of use. The instant speed you get on your Chromebook will be its instant speed for life.
What surprised me most when my Chromebook arrived by mail is how good it feels. Of course, this will vary depending on the make and model of your Chromebook. I’m using the Asus 10” Flip.
The keyboard is responsive and has a satisfying, solid click. It takes some getting used to to type on a 10” laptop keyboard, but within a week my typing speed was already at a natural level with no discomfort.
Furthermore, the thing is tiny. This is extremely important for a writing laptop. It allows me to go out and find a quiet shop to do my work in, or to do work while on the road. It’s thin as a book and weighs almost nothing. I don’t even notice it when I throw it into my bag.
On top of all that, the battery life lasts up to eight hours while active. It’s battery consumption while closed is negligible. I can carry my Chromebook around in my bag all day, working and checking email as often as I like, and never even have to think about the battery life.
Before I bought a Chromebook, I was most concerned about having to work with cloud storage all the time. I didn’t know if I would be required to have internet connection to work, or what program I could use to write.
Even though Chromebooks are cloud based, it turns out you don’t need an internet connection to work. You can setup your Google Drive to allow offline use. This will automatically save any changes you make to documents on your computer, then automatically sync it to the cloud the next time you reach a connection. It works seamlessly in the background and it’s beautiful.
I’ve been using Google Docs for all my writing, and it’s been fine for me. I’m pretty easy to please with word processors, but there are other options on Chromebooks if you have different requirements. You can even get Microsoft Office working on a Chromebook if you must have it.
Not only have I found no problem working with cloud storage, I’ve even grown to love it. I never need to worry about losing progress, and I can access my files from any device anywhere.
Top Best 5 Chromebook Laptop
I mentioned before that the Chromebook works with instant speed. Microsoft machines come packed with all sorts of application that you never need and probably never even realize they’re there. Yet these programs still eat up storage, RAM, and download updates all the times.
Everyone has experienced a Windows machine’s speed slowing to a crawl over the years. This is a problem you’ll never have with your Chromebook. Google built it as a minimal operating system to avoid exactly that issue.
Also, it works on flash storage that allows the whole computer to start up and shut down instantly. I don’t know about you, but I get most of my best ideas while laying in bed, trying to sleep. It’s great to have a writing machine I can keep beside me all the time that starts up instantly, just like a phone, so I can jot down an idea on the fly.
I know how it is as a writer. If it costs money, we probably can’t afford it. The Chromebook does cost money, but not a whole lot of it.
Google introduced Chromebooks to the market at a simplified, cheap computer. And they still live by that standard. Most small Chromebooks (and I do suggest small ones) range between $150-$400.
You won’t get a powerful computer for this price, but what do you need power for? All you need is a word processor and enough RAM to open a couple internet tabs for research.
For the productivity increase I see with this machine, I’d gladly pay more than that. This Chromebook I’m writing on right now is the most valuable tool I have.
The digital world is upon us, and writers must adapt. We need portable, reliable machines to work on, and Chromebooks fit the bill perfectly. I’m here to tell you from the other side. I’ve jumped ship to the land of Chromebooks, and it is good.
Check out our coverage of the best 2016 Chromebooks here.