The Guardian has collected a series of short articles about the computer desktops of writers. It’s exactly the kind of diversion that ruins my productivity, yet I simply can’t look away.

(Do the contributing writers feel any guilt for distracting me, possibly even taking food from the mouths of my children?)

It’s interesting to note that many authors carry a small paper notebook with them. A majority are not very computer savvy. And that many writers maintain messy computer desktops, which somehow makes me feel just a bit better about myself (it’s not healthy, but it’s honest).

A few highlights:

Novelist Craig Taylor makes an excellent point about writing on an instrument that does so many other things:

I was speaking to a friend recently who asked: if you had to design a perfect machine for writing, what qualities would it have? Would it be stuffed with videos, MP3s, films, games, correspondence, tax returns, photos, Garage Band and Skype? Would you make sure it included a link to Twitter?

Novelist Jenn Ashworth’s slow adoption of ebook technology — forced on her by a lack of space:

I didn’t think I’d own a Kindle — I went all “threatened librarian” about it when they first came out. But a friend of mine bought me one for my birthday last year and now I am never without it. My house is stuffed full of books and we just can’t take in any more. So now, if I want to buy a new one, I choose the ebook over the paper version.

And finally, the decidedly non-technical Julie Myerson:

As far as I know, I write in Word. But I’m not totally sure. I’d have to ask Chloe (who would give me a suitably withering response). Yesterday, my son Jake called me “an untechnological old trout” which is just about right. If it is Word, I like it.

Keep writing, Tom Chandler.

Writer's Desktops

The writer’s desktop — a series from The Guardian.