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  • Writer's pictureNina Lane

More Than One Monitor?!


When I first starting writing (that would be, at age 5ish), I started with large, chunky pencils and paper, which eventually became notebooks as I began penning "serious" stories in my teenage years. Then my parents gave me a typewriter as a birthday present (yes, this was awhile ago), and THEN I finally got my first Mac computer.

I've since had several computers and laptops, and am now the proud owner of an iMac with a 27" screen, which I love dearly because it allows me to see multiple pages at once and is easy on my eyes. However, I've never considered even remotely the idea of using two monitors to write, much less more than that.

Apparently, writers of the world, this is a thing. Over on a NY Book Editors post about creating your writing space, they discuss the ways in which a second screen can be used for different non-writing tasks, such as emailing, social media, and outlining.

In his post on The Wandering Desk about why he uses multiple monitors, Neil Bennion says he just finds it "really fricking useful" to have separate screens dedicated to separate tasks. He writes on the main screen in front of him, then uses his laptop for peripheral work -- tasks lists, calendar, music, and his book layout. Having his main screen in front of him allows him to focus and not get distracted by swapping from one task to another.

The Lit Central blog has a detailed post about using more than one monitor for writing, with suggestions of different types and sizes of monitors and how to use and set them up for max productivity.

On the flip side, Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times had the opposite experience when he went from being a dedicated multi-monitor worker to relying only on one screen:

I turned off the extra screen on my desktop computer. At first, the smaller workspace felt punishingly cramped. But after a few days of adjusting to the new setup, an unusual serenity invaded my normally harried workday. With a single screen that couldn’t accommodate too many simultaneous stimuli, a screen just large enough for a single word processor or browser window, I found something increasingly elusive in our multi-screen world: focus.

Perhaps Justin Krajeski sums it up best at The Wirecutter when, after speaking with several efficiency experts, he concludes that there's "no one-size-fits-all approach." His posts lists some great ideas for improving focus and productivity, regardless of how many screens you have on your desk.

Do you use more than one monitor when you write? Tell us about your set-up in the comments!


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