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I use Google docs and you should too

One of the many questions that come afloat when somebody wants to start is: “What program do I use?”

There are thousands of answers and all of them revolve around using those really expensive programs that are allegedly able to collect all the chapters of your novel, making extended papers for your characters and other some incredibly magical stuff that apparently no other program is able to do, not even libreoffice (the open source alternative to microsoft word) and a bunch of well placed folders.

The reality is that as you may have imagined, none of those programs is essential, for my finished works, the one well stored in my computer I used the aforementioned libreoffice but for my WIPs and for documents I bring always with me (like my personal journal) I use the best writing tool that our generation can be proud to share the lifetime with: Google Docs.

Google Docs is the inbuilt word processor of google and is strictly related to Google Drive. In this post I’ll cover all the reasons why every writer should use it when writing their stories:

The cloud

The moment you start a new document or you import something on your drive, the document is saved in the cloud and as such it can be modified from every device that is logged in with the same google account.

If you, as I, travel a lot and love to go outside, you can fill your document with your phone. Yes, it will be a rough write and it will require an evening polishing, if you are a perfectionist like me you want be able to make the document pretty while on your phone but once you come back to your PC on your chair with your cup of coffee, you will be able to make the best document you want.

But I have to tell you that the UI of the phone version is incredibly good and you can polish the document even while on your phone.

Being the cloud into the internet, every document can be made public and be shared within a group of people that can read and modify the document as they want. This means that a writer can send a document to the editor or the beta reader of the publishing house and then only them can read the document.

Proofreading (AI)

I am about to use a nasty word, you may not like it or not so beware and don’t report me for hate speech. The word is: Artificial Intelligence.

Now that I lost a good bunch of readers let’s speak about the gorgeous AI the program is provided with.

Many writing programs have spell checking and dictionaries. It is an incredibly useful tool that helps in many ways but is limited. They only find spell mistakes and they roughly correct them.

The tool that Google Docs is provided with goes far and beyond simple spell checking. It finds sentences that are far from perfect and close to gobbledygook and gives you the most appropriate modifications to get the perfect sentence. Sometimes I think it knows what I think and gives me the sentence I actually wanted to write, when it will write ads of sentences I didn’t even spell yet I’ll know for sure.

Outline

Google Docs provides a great tool of Heading hierarchy which allows the writer to produce many chapters and to switch between them in the same document in a way that is faster than any other word processor software.

Dictation software

This tool allows users to transcribe spoken words directly into their documents, eliminating the need for manual typing and enabling a more fluid and natural content creation process. With impressive accuracy, it can recognize a wide range of accents and languages, making it versatile. Whether you’re a writer looking to speed up your typing, a student taking notes, or someone with accessibility needs.

The main problem that comes with this tool is that it is not possible to dictate the whole range of punctuation yet. By checking the table of vocal commands there are some that aren’t being implemented yet.

But differently from the first point in this blog (The cloud) I have to inform you that polishing is not the goal of dictation softwares. The only reason to use them is to type faster than you could ever do with fingers.

It is possible to write hundreds of words per minute at the right pace.

Many word processors require external programs or add-ons to be able to use dictation so the fact that Google has its own is surely a plus for the choice.

Compatibility

Google Docs is built into Google Drive, the cloud service offered by the behemoth internet company. The drive has a massive system of compatibility with many document formats.

Once the document is uploaded into the drive it has to be converted into the Google format when it will be possible to work on the document but when the book is ready or the document is finished it can be downloaded on the PC again with any format the person likes.

Is it even possible to convert the document directly into ePub or PDF without the use of any external program installed on the computer.

In addition to all those points Google Docs is constantly evolving and it has a massive system of add-ons for tools and features that you need or think you need.

Now in conclusion I don’t think that Google Docs can be used as an endgame storage for all of your stories. It shows them in order of document modification and for this the best item is the writer’s personal computer.

On the other hand, for the reason of writing and managing a work in progress, Google Docs is the best item a writer can use to create a novel. It can even be used for academic works, to keep notes and many other things.

I personally suggest against spending lots of money for incredibly well advertised but vastly unnecessary word processor documents.

-ldmarchesi

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