Beach Blogger – Equipment and Workflow for the Week

I’m acting as a Beach Blogger this week at the shore and I’ve brought a few of my machines to help me navigate and continue to write while I’m away from my office.

There’s nothing too special about what I’ve brought (my Macbook Air, 2 iPads, my iPhone 4, and my Canon DSLR) but I thought I’d share how I’m using them since it might give you an idea of how to maximize your writing when away from home.

For starters I’m using my iPads primarily as drafting machines for my writing – typically I connect a wireless keyboard to one of them and type like I normally would on the iPad version of IA Writer but instead I’ve decided to leave the wireless keyboard and home and draft without it and here’s why: I simply want to spend, if I can, more time on vacation than writing this week.

As such forcing me to draft on the iPad keeps my thoughts focused and my sentences simple instead of waxing eloquence or expanding thoughts too much to drag out too much time.

The iPhone 4 is primarily being used as a texting and phone device – I’m not using it to capture ideas or to do any drafting and finally the Macbook Air is acting as a quick image editor workflow and hitting the publish button when applicable.

See the palm trees? Yeahhhhhhhhhh.

The goal in all of that is to simply get my thoughts down, hit the publish button, and get back to the beach making a mess of myself with sandcastles and such awesome nonsense (as long as servers aren’t crashing!).

I have drafted out on a lofted screened porch with a nice fan and plenty of natural light – a dream!

Finally, I also have my Canon Rebel EOS XTI DSLR with the kit lens as well as a 50 prime – I barely know what I’m doing and am really just a point-and-click user with expensive hardware. My good friend Esther Havens (who spoke with me at the recent conference) got me this camera and I’ve been using it for a few years.

I love the pictures I’ve been able to take with it and I feel like I need to use it more, even for some of the pictures for this blog! I’m at the point where I need a mentor/coach or a serious photography lesson to get past what I know so far.

If you have any recommendations online and/or local classes I’d be interested in hearing about it!

  • Brett

    Very nice. Love the camera. I have an older XSi. The 50mm prime is my go-to lens of choice! I’m far from a pro though.

    Where you visiting? If you are in Destin like a lot of ATL people do, you should come to my church on Sunday (Beachside Community Church, an NP partner).

    • John Saddington

      i was in hilton head!

  • Brandon Conn

    I think you should just enjoy your vacation and forget blogging for a week. Go sit by the ocean and do nothing. Spend more time with family.

    • Dave H


      Seems like too much work for a vacation to me…

      Don’t worry, we’ll still be here when you return.

      • John Saddington

        too much work for you perhaps!

    • John Saddington


      perhaps you should read my blog post here:

  • Ben

    So jealous. has always been a pretty awesome resource, and also Trey Ratcliff’s has also been pretty a rad HDR resource.

    • John Saddington

      thanks ben! checking it out!

  • Danny

    Make sure you have a good shady beach umbrella, as iPhones and IPads can easily overheat in the summer heat. I would also load up the iPad with a few e-books that you have always been wanting to read, preferably fiction (fantasy or science fiction), for added escape.

    • John Saddington

      i haven’t found reading on my ipad very good… i actually like physical books still!

  • Justin Simmons

    Nice setup John. But why two iPads?

    • John Saddington

      one for my daughters!


  • Rick Morley

    I wondered about the 2 iPads too…

    But, other than 2-times-the-iPad-awesomeness, your blogging kit sounds like mine! I was at the beach two weeks ago with my iPad, iAWriter, (I left my keyboard at home as well), and I had my laptop for final editing and publishing.

    So as to spend as much time with my family as possible (and keep marital bliss flowing free) I got up early in the morning (on a few mornings) and did my blogging. I published 50% of the content I usually do – but hey, it’s August and we’re talking about vacation here.

    I also had done some serious pre-vacation thinking on what postings I’d be writing about while on vacation, and I had pre-edited the photos that would go with the posts.

    That being said, suck the marrow out of your vacation. Your restfulness and creative-battery-charging will serve you better in a few months time than the few posts you may generate today.

    • John Saddington


      this is what i did! i got up early to write!

      and now that i’m back i’m feeling great….!

  • Neil @ Looking Towards Home

    I recently had a technology-free hiatus and reconnected with my pencil. It was nice to get reacquainted.

    • John Saddington

      awesome! well done!