A start page is the first page you view when going online; the first page your browser program opens up when you run it. Most often, you’ll see the start page selected by your Internet Service Provider. If you use priority software such as America Online or MSN, you’ll see AOL’s start page or MSN’s start page. You can, however, have any page as first page you see.
Why would a writer care about the start page? The answer is simple; the start page can be personalized for your craft, whether you’re a writer, teacher, doctor, or anything else. You can pick any web page to start with, but ideally the sites that offer modules and personalization make the best choices.
Start pages generally include modules you can add, delete, and move around in two or three column layouts. This is done by click and dragging, or using an ‘add module’ page. Modules include news, email, radio, to do lists, calendar, and millions of other blocks of information that is personable to your tastes. This means if you have a weather module; the module will be specific to your area. News can include topics you select, such as Health, local, or Global new. Calendars, email, and to do lists further personalize the page, including deadlines or even word count goals.
As a writer, I prefer IGoogle for my start page. The themes are straightforward, and changes by updating a different picture through the day. I can select not just Google modules, but widgets from other sites as well.
Some of my favorite modules for IGoogle :
Online Stopwatch– This I use for timing myself with writing, or when my writer’s group works on timed exercises. There is no alarm unfortunately, but it does allow to count dow or count up.
Time Gadget v100. Project Tracker helps organize my time and forces me to focus on one thing at a time.
Wikipedia is a good resource for resource, but be sure to double check sources as well since this is an editable-by-the-public site.
Google Document Google documents is a wonderful tool to backup and collaborate your writing. I often backup stories and articles on Google Documents which also allows for collaboration. Mac users might want to check Zoho.com for collaboration.
Online English Grammar provides some tips on grammar. This also includes an ebook link, online resources, and more, but I use it mostly for the tips.
Google Bookmarks– I keep a series of helpful links at my fingertips which also includes little icons to keep track of them.
To Do List provides many features in one single module. Not only can you make a to do list by priority, you can also set deadline dates and notes to specify further on what needs doing. I make sure to list what stories or articles I want to work on first.
This shows you an example of my IGoogle page. You can see the theme (which changes through the day), as well as the modules below. This is the writer’s page I made, but I also have added my ‘home’ page and a blog page which includes more blog-related RSS feeds. All my information at my fingertips.
A tip I found so plainly simple but effective is to remove distractions that take away from your writing time. I have to remove certain toolbars that lure me into wasting valuable time by shutting them off by going to VIEW, Toolbars, then deselecting them for the time I’m writing.