I’ve been writing fiction since I was a wee lad. I still remember being in Ms. Damiano’s second grade “Budding Author” program, where I first wrote about “Protocopy,” the President’s ninja (naturally) bodyguard. In fifth grade, Ms. Howard recommended me for a week-long writer’s course at a nearby college. In sixth, I got my first computer, a Brother Word Processor complete with orange letters and a typewriter/keyboard fusion, which I kept until I left home for the military.
Since then, my travel writing setup has certainly improved, but has also remained incredibly light due to constant travel around the U.S. and a little bit of world wandering. Here’s a simple breakdown of my writing setup that has allowed me to produce 15 books in 13 years without severe draft loss while encouraging more in-depth copy.
Disclaimer: I’ve linked products from which I get a small associate’s fee if you use these links. However, as you can see in my image below, I’m only highlighting products I actively use, every day!
My preferred software is available on Windows or Mac. If you have Linux, I don’t think this software will work for you.
Since 2005, I’ve written 14 books using a single software: Scrivener by Literature & Latte. For a staggeringly affordable $45 per major version (which might change once every 5-10 years), I’ve organized mass series like the Pan books, filed away songs and poems, prepared short stories, prepped future books and held onto every digital scrap of note I’ve needed to keep my fiction going.
Originally designed for scriptwriting, Scrivener also generates scripts, novels, research papers and any other long manuscripts. Every Pan novel in the primary seven-book series and up to seven planned anthology books are all generated in ONE SINGLE SCRIVENER FILE.
Autosaving every 3 seconds, my PAN file maintains each book at a top level, a chapter as a subsequent level, and can even rearrange scenes by clicking and dragging. I link multiple reference documents to each chapter including other chapters, images, audio files and my series Encyclopedia references.
GET SCRIVENER (Temporarily Broken)
For too many years, I hunched over my laptop at local coffee shops. Various back problems have stemmed from a loose rib and poor posture. A single purchase, however, revolutionized my “travel office” to allow me, a rather tall man, to maintain an infinitely better posture while I lie for your entertainment.
Nexstand Computer Stand
Nexstand is an incredibly stable, light and adjustable laptop stand. I consider this as the single greatest purchase in my entire life. I take it everywhere and use it all the time. Only when I’m at home with separate monitors do I leave it in my bag.
Velcro ties only work so long before they go bad, and they don’t really make it easy to stuff your power adapter into a bag without stretching, squishing or otherwise tangling your cords. I can spool my cord out and in with ease, stow quickly, and choose to extend between one and six feet to meet my table-to-outlet requirements.
Logitech Radio Keyboard
This keyboard has served me well by being a radio-connective keyboard, meaning you use a tiny USB connector that links wirelessly to the keyboard/touchpad. I love the large volume buttons. The battery life is phenomenal — this is my primary keyboard while traveling and at home, and I rarely change the batteries.
Wireless Mouse (Brand irrelevant)
I use a common Mac wireless mouse. Any you have should suffice.