Then and Now

In 1999, I started writing a weekly column about using mobile technology for writing. It was a radical idea at the time. The top of the line handheld computer was the Palm III, and almost no one took seriously the idea of using one of these digital organizers as a real computer. Writing down an appointment or jotting down a quick shopping list, fine. But writing articles? Books? Madness.

I wasn’t deterred. I had recently finished writing my first novel longhand in a paper day planner and then later transcribing the handwritten pages into my computer. I was addicted to the freedom of writing anytime, anywhere, but I also know there had to be a better way than using paper.

So I started Writing On Your Palm, a weekly blog before the word “blog” even existed. The first few years the site was static HTML, hand-coded by yours truly and optimized to look good on desktop monitors and PDA screens. I had a lot of fun writing that and helped a lot of people along the way. I even drew the attention of the mobile tech powers of the day, Palm and Microsoft.

Then, somewhere in the mid 2000s, I wandered away from WOYP. Smartphones had become common and powerful enough that treating them like small computers was no longer such a weird idea. I didn’t think I had anything left to say on the matter, so I did other things instead, including writing a novel really good enough for publication, Revelation.

Lately, something’s been bugging me. I have a ton of fiction I need to finish, and I’m starting a business as a freelance commercial writer. And while I can certainly do these things on my laptop, more often than not I still turn to my trusty smartphone (currently a Verizon Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0-based CyanogenMod 9). It’s with me all the time, even when my laptop isn’t. And because everything I do these days is cloud-based, I have access to everything I need anywhere I am without having to remember to sync it before I leave.

And then it dawned on me, that hey, things have changed. Options for mobile writing are more varied and powerful than ever, but they might not be obvious to everyone. I still have something to say here.

So welcome back to Writing On Your Palm. Instead of launching it as a discrete site, I’ll just be posting a new WOYP article here on every Monday morning in the Writing On Your Palm category. If you want to subscribe to just the WOYP content, use this RSS feed. And I’ll see you back here next week.