Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Claire L. Evans

Claire L. Evans

Writer, editor, singer (YACHT)

Posted in editor, mac, musician, writer

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Claire L. Evans, and I do a few different things. I'm a writer; I write about about tech, science fiction, and the future, mostly for Motherboard, where I'm also "Futures Editor" of a science fiction imprint called Terraform. I'm the singer in a band called YACHT. I'm also the co-founder and editor-in-chief of an iPhone app called 5 Every Day.

In all of these pursuits I do a lot of stuff that doesn't quite hew to any of my various titles -- which is to say design, video production, lectures, making physical objects, app development, Internet experiments, etc.

What hardware do you use?

An 11" MacBook Air as TextEdit burner and Internet machine, desktop iMac for anything more heavy-duty, like editing video. My iPhone 6 serves as communication machine, audio recorder, camera, and digital notepad.

I write in unlined Moleskine and lined Muji notebooks, which are essential to my process; every song, story, and article begins as a handwritten something-or-other. I do my best writing when I am categorically offline -- on a plane, for example -- or in woozy periods of the mid-afternoon. I use fine-tip Muji pens or a LAMY fountain pen, when I remember to buy ink refills. Strong cold-brewed coffee at regular intervals is essential.

And what software?

I exclusively work in TextEdit for all editing and composition. I use Apple Mail and Safari. All my lectures and talks are written straight in Keynote's presenter notes. I use Google Drive, Docs, and Sheets for everything: to edit collaboratively, to maintain a master calendar for 5 Every Day, to author and store song lyrics. I hate Google Drive so much and the moment something better comes along I'm jumping ship.

Sometimes when I'm doing interviews via Skype or on the phone I use Quicktime's audio recording function to make a record of the conversation. Then I just play it back in iTunes or straight from Quicktime when I'm transcribing. There's probably a better way, but it works for me.

I work in Wordpress and various proprietary CMS systems for my publishing concerns. My partner Jona and I just started using Slack to manage our projects, but since it's just the two of us 90% of the time it's usually easier to holler across the apartment.

I use this kinda rinky-dink iPhone app called RhymeZone as my primary rhyming dictionary when writing songs. Adobe suite, of course -- I use InDesign the most because we make a lot of PDFs in my household. I depend on f.lux for when the darkness comes.

What would be your dream setup?

The proverbial "room of one's own." Every writer has a fantasy of a long, long wooden desk where they can splay their papers about. I am no exception. Other than that, I appreciate the simplicity of my current setup. I can work anywhere, anytime.