Top 10 Reasons Every Freelance Writer Should Own a Chromebook
If writing is your bread and butter, your computer is so much more than a hunk of hardware–it’s your trusty companion. You’ll be in lock-step together day in and day out, traveling the world, setting up shop in coffee houses and typing your heart onto the screen 24/7. So finding the right computer matters. The problem is, there’s such a wide selection out there, it’s hard to know how to choose wisely. But after spending these past few months making a living as a freelance writer, I can tell you without hesitation that Chromebooks are the way to go. It’s got the elegant appearance and ease of a Mac but it’s the fraction of the price. I’ve owned Macbooks, Dell laptops, desktops, iPads, kindles, iPhones…and until recently, I’ve been a loyal Apple girl all the way. But when I made the career switch to freelance writing, a friend encouraged me check out Chromebooks. The Apple snob in me wanted to scream, “Never!” but the price was so on point, I thought it was worth a shot. And now I’d never go back to Mac. I’ve traveled thousands of miles by plane and hundreds of miles by foot with my Chromebook in hand. I launched a blog, wrote pieces for several publications and scored ghostwriting assignments that occupy much of my days. As I’ve pursued my writing craft with greater intensity, I’ve found my Chromebook to be my best friend. Here are some reasons why I believe you’ll feel the same:
You won’t find a cheaper laptop option than a Chromebook. If your income fluctuates month to month as a freelancer, it’s simply the most frugal investment you can make. In fact, it’s so ridiculously cost-effective, it takes the pressure off because if it does happen to break down, you won’t have to scrape together a month’s worth of article payments to purchase a new one.
Most Chromebooks weigh under three pounds–mine clocks in at less than two. Imagine holding a baby chihuahua and that’s about the weight of a Chromebook. This bears significance if you’re a travel writer or maybe you like to lug your laptop to a local coffee joint to work. I’ve even whipped this baby out to take notes in office meetings and it fits right under my arm or in my Michael Kors tote. It’s a little more heavy duty than an iPad but it’s a lot less bulky than a PC. And while it’s lightweight, it’s also very durable. My preschoolers stream YouTube cartoons on this every morning as I get them ready for school. They’ve knocked my Chromebook to the ground and dribbled orange juice on the keys. And it’s still humming!
Excellent battery life
I started off with the Acer C720 which offers more than seven hours of battery life, which was decent. But then I discovered the Dell Chromebook 11, which offers more than ten hours of battery life. That means you can just plug your laptop in overnight and be ready to go the entire next day without worrying about bringing extension cords to the coffee shop or to work. Beauty.
For the life of me I’ll never understand why school districts are providing iPads to kids when Chromebooks are so much better for writing research papers, essays and pretty much everything. The keyboard quality is amazing. I can type as fast on a Chromebook keyboard as I can on any Mac. With a matte finish, the keys don’t stick, the mouse functions smoothly, and it’s a comfortable feel.
Chromebooks will wake from sleep mode instantly. Say you have an idea in the middle of the night and keep your computer on your nightstand to jot down a thought you don’t want to escape. The startup speed is significant. And say you shut your Chromebook down for the night? It’ll still start up in seven seconds flat. Because the operating system isn’t weighed down, it functions at a fast clip. PC laptops and Macs can’t compete with this speed.
Google Docs replace Microsoft Office easily
Maybe you’re concerned about not having the Microsoft office suite at your disposal. That was a main concern of mine, too. But I’ve been exclusively using Google Docs as my main word processor and haven’t had a problem transitioning from Microsoft Word on Windows to this. Google Drive allows you to open, save, download and export the universal file formats of DOC and DOCX. Microsoft Web Apps is entirely compatible with Chromebooks. I’ve created standard text documents, pdf documents, resumes, newsletters, presentations and spreadsheets with Drive. And the older material you saved to Microsoft Word and Powerpoint can be imported directly in your Drive so you don’t lose a thing and you can even edit those older documents.
Saves as you type
As you start typing in your Google Drive, it will flash on the top of your screen “Saving…” and “All changes saved in Drive” and you click away. This saves you a huge hassle in case your battery dies unexpectedly and you won’t ever lose your work. I can’t tell you how many documents I lost when I had a standard Mac or PC because I was so engrossed in writing and forgot to save periodically.
My former colleagues frequently confused my Chromebook for a Mac. At first glance, it bears a similar elegance. While it doesn’t have the wedge design of an Air, it’s thin and sleek with a nice touch screen display and super high resolution. Depending on the model you purchase, some have a clickable glass trackpad. It’s certainly evolved from a boxy-looking cheap web-browsing system to a beautifully constructed computer you will be proud to carry with you.
Chromebooks are immune to viruses. Virus protection is built in and the operating system automatically updates itself. But since It’s a Web-based system so there’s no concern (at least not yet) for malware and virus infections. So once again owning a Chromebook saves you money from having to purchase software to prevent and remove viruses as you go about your writing. You do need to be mindful of visiting only legitimate websites and phishing–but that’s just common sense!
Low to no maintenance
The beauty of a Chromebook lies in its simplicity. As a freelancer, you have enough to worry about. How will I make ends meet? How will I juggle a variety of writing projects while maintaining creativity, structure and organization? The last thing you need to worry about is maintaining the machine that keeps your writing business together.
Consider the Chromebook your most low-maintenance, trustworthy friend who takes care of you with very little input. It’ll perform automatic backups and updates for you. It’s on your beck-and-call by starting up in a flash, sync with the cloud and run smoothly without you having to do anything. And on the off-chance something goes awry, it’s Powerclean option will restore your Chromebook to factory setting. And best of all, you don’t have to worry about losing your writing because everything’s stored in the cloud.
Are you a freelance writer using a Chromebook? Which model if your favorite and tell us why you like it so much in the comments below!