This week’s website review is one of my favorite tools for writers – it’s Google Docs!
Everyone with a gmail account has access to their Google Drive – a personal space for documents, spreadsheets, presentations and images. Since Microsoft legally owns the phrase Word Document, Google has named their “word” software Google Docs.
1) Google Docs has two amazing features that make it such a valuable tool to writers. The first is share-ability. I can’t say this enough, but every writer needs a community of other writers, editors and cheerleaders to complete projects.
Not only does Google Docs’ share feature allows for writers to share first drafts easily, but it also allows for real-time editing and commenting. Traditionally when you email a story to someone, you won’t see the edits until they email it back. But with Google Docs, you keep a copy on your drive while the recipient also has a copy.
This means that both the original writer and the editor can make changes at the same time. It also keeps things organized since they won’t be multiple copies of the same story cluttering up your computer.
2) The second amazing feature is portability. In this day and age, it’s unrealistic for writers to expect to stay in one location for an extended period of time. Between going to work, being at work and coming home, I’m away from my personal laptop for over 7 hours a day.
But when I get free time during the day, I open my drive and add a couple sentences (or paragraphs if it’s a good day) to the latest story I’m writing. Storytelling takes time, so having the ability to add lines wherever I am is extremely conductive to actually finishing projects.
The app is terrible. You have to download one for sheets, docs, presentations, etc. It takes up a lot of space on your phone and has a tendency to crash. What makes the app worse is that it’s impossible to see comments and suggestions from other Google accounts, AKA, the very reason I shared the docs becomes unuseable. For a tech company, Google’s app is terrible.
Another con is lack of options. Google Docs is a poor man’s Word. You can’t insert graphs, images or reorganize the layout of a Google Doc the same way you can with a Word Doc. Using Google Docs limits some of the more presentations-like aspects Word users are familiar with.
Even with the two glaring negatives, Google Docs come highly recommended – all three editors of BOM use Google Docs regularly. Google Docs is free, easy to use and the benefits of instant feedback outweighs the lackluster development – a true tool for all writers.