Your speech writing environment

Writing Environment

I’m busy writing my third Toastmasters speech (see my first and second) which I will deliver on June 1st. I’m spending a lot of time working at my desk (pictured above) and even more time procrastinating.

I’ve accumulated a few applications and other essentials that help me write a speech:

WriteMonkey

WriteMonkey is a distraction free text editor. The interface is a simple black background with a column of text in the middle. The colours are deliberately subdued to avoid straining the eyes. The task bar is covered up and there are no extra buttons. Everything but the bare minimum is stripped away.

It is important to get that all important first draft written as soon as possible. Your first draft really doesn’t need to be spell checked or formatted nicely. With WriteMonkey you can push through to the end without being distracted by unnecessary features. For simple text entry I find WriteMonkey far more efficient than Microsoft Word which is bloated with unnecessary features.

Google Docs

At some point writing becomes tweaking. When this happens I transfer over to Google Docs. Google Docs is an online editor ideal for making adjustments as they occur to you at home, at work, or anywhere else you have access to a computer.

Google Docs can do Spell checking and formatting so you can create a version that you wouldn’t be embarrassed to send to your mentor for feedback.

I also maintain a document called Ideas where I jot down personal stories or ideas for speeches as they occur to me. This is an invaluable resource when trying to decide on a topic for your next speech.

Audacity

Audacity is a free audio application. I just use it for recording and listening back to speeches. You can use Audacity to speed up your recording for faster reviewing. You can also export your recording as an mp3 to listen to on your phone/iPod.

Skype

Skype allows you to make free voice calls over the internet. It’s not the nicest application in the world, but I know a couple of people on the other end who are willing to listen to early drafts of my speech. This kind of early feedback is invaluable.

Pen and paper

Check out my mindmaps post to see how I plan out my speeches before writing them. Good old fashioned pen and paper is the quickest way of jotting down notes and playing around with ideas.

Music

And finally to stay relaxed and to stave off boredom, some chilled out tunes are a must. Check out Bedtime tunes for an excellent selection.

What the essentials for your writing environment? Add them in the comments.

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One Comment

  1. Maureen
    Posted May 21, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps because you usually write after you’ve eaten but I find that when I’m writing I get really thirsty and peckish. When I write essays, presentations or revise I like to have a fruit salad by my computer to munch on. It provides a moment to think and also stops me binging on rubbish food that can block your mind.

    Google Docs is great because it saves the document every few mins so you’re unlikely to lose all your great ideas!

    Also my desk has to be tidy else I get distracted by wanting to clean (think ‘Out of sight, out of mind’). If everything’s clean then I’m happy. I guess with your ‘zen’ desk this has been left off of the list but there must be some writers who have an untidy desk.

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  1. By Picking your tools | The Naked Speaker on August 21, 2009 at 12:00 am

    [...] already written about the applications I use regularly. In  particular, WriteMonkey, a distraction free [...]

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