Google Docs

When I was writing my doctoral dissertation in the mid 1980s, I did much of the writing on a laptop that I hauled to various coffee shops, libraries, and hotel rooms – any place where I could find a quiet corner to work. Before I left home, I always downloaded the latest version onto  a backup disk. Or I thought I did. More than once I sat down to work at some location away from home, only to discover that I’d packed the wrong disk.


If Google Docs had been available back then, the writing process would have gone much more smoothly for me. Google Docs is a free website that lets writers safely store a project online and access it at any location that has an Internet connection.

But wait – there’s more! Google Docs also has its own word-processing system, so that you can create a new document online.

Google Docs also allows collaboration – highly useful for anyone who does consulting work. You can even open up a window inside a document to chat with a collaborator in real time. (I can remember, years ago at a CCCC conference, hearing Lisa Ede say that she and Andrea Lunsford dreamed of having that functionality available to them. It’s here!)

My only gripe with Google Docs is that it’s not intuitive – not for me, anyway. I would like to have the most useful functions clearly visible on a toolbar. For example, I use Google Docs primarily as a backup for ongoing projects. It annoys me that the upload function is hidden inside a folder. But then maybe what’s important to me isn’t a priority for other users.

At any rate, help is on the way. You can find a free tutorial at this link:


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