What I Learned Writing an Entire Novel on My Phone

August Birch
5 min readAug 17, 2018
What I Learned From Writing a Novel on My Phone

The year was 2017. It was cold and dark outside. I was thumbs-deep in my latest novel and minutes away from typing the end. I popped my head up from my phone to address the awful disruption before me.

“That’ll be $136.52,” said the cashier.

I shoved my card in the thing, looked at my feet, and said “thanks.” I slunked away. The phone returned to its worn spot in my pocket and I was on my way to the next stolen moment.

I’m an indie author. I’m my own publishing company. The entire process is on my shoulders, so my time is sacred. I had the hardest time finding moments to write.

That was the year I made an experiment that changed the way I write forever

Now, this wasn’t some novella, or short story. This was a full-length thriller — 70,000-plus words of paper and brawn. 40-plus chapters, and 376 pages of serious thumb typing.

Sounds pretty abysmal, right?

I won’t try to sway your opinion one direction. I’ll share my experience and you can decide if mobile writing is for you. There are pluses and minuses to be sure. In the end, it’s another tool which all writers carry in their pockets and it might help you the way it helped me.

I will say that I’d still be working on the novel had I chose to write it non-mobile. I’ve got a full-time career, I’m a dad, and husband. Couple that with all the family and extra-curricular list of activities, and it doesn’t leave much room for long writing sessions in private.

The drawbacks of mobile writing:

  1. It’s slower than typing on a keyboard. Save for the slowest of typists, thumb typing is far slower than typing the old fashioned way.
  2. You get yanked in and out of your train of thought. This can be very hard on your creativity. When you move in and out of your story, it’s hard on your subconscious to get back to work.
  3. You’re rude in public. You’ll wait at lights too long, get called multiple times in waiting rooms, have cashiers and counter-workers look at you with disgust, and you’ll be a horrible guest at dinner parties.



August Birch

Blue-Collar Marketing Mentor for Writers and Creators | Join My One Welcome Workweek Challenge Here: https://augustbirch.com/ow2