Last time, we discussed a couple of the benefits of using Google Drive for writing collaboratively with others and keeping a “sim bank” of your characters’ background sims and long-term joint posts (JPs) with other characters. This time, I’d like to expand a little more on what makes Drive such a useful, versatile tool.
First is its sheer volume! If you’re like me, you’ll probably find there are times when you are working on a few different JPs (especially during shore leave) with a few different people at the same time. One of the biggest pluses to writing in Drive with someone is that it’s much easier to keep track of all your documents as opposed to tracking emails bouncing back and forth. Then, too, you can keep all the JPs you’ve ever written in Drive so that they’re easily accessible — and one of the most useful parts of Drive to me is the ability to check in a moment what I may have written in a JP several months (or years!) before. It’s a great way to keep track of ongoing character arcs, especially if those arcs are difficult to work on outside of shore leave.
There are certainly plenty of ways to write JPs — sending emails back and forth, writing in real time via a chat client. The real benefit of Drive over either is that allows you all the tools of a word processing program with the immediacy of real time chat. In fact, one of my favorite tools of Drive is that it has a built-in chat client — so, even when you’re writing your sim with a friend or two, you can also chat with those friends, deciding what should happen next and chatting about what you’re doing.
Finally, the word processing part of drive is only one of the tools it offers. From the administrative side of things, the spreadsheets that Drive offers are an invaluable tool for sharing tracking information with other folks. While these spreadsheets are primarily used to track members across the fleet, I’ve found spreadsheets to be quite useful in keeping track of ship-specific things like mentors and mentees, promotions, multiple email addresses, and more. If you’re a CO or part of your ship’s staff and you haven’t yet tried using Drive spreadsheets to simplify your information tracking, I’d strongly encourage it.
Drive is a multipurpose, extremely useful tool for the types of writing that we do — so if you haven’t yet, be sure to check it out and see how it could help you out!