If you're any sort of writer like me, then the internet is just one big, bright, shiny object and you can't look away. Something happened after I had kids and stopped working -- I got lonely. I love my kids but I can't have a deep conversation about publishing trends with my four-year-old, go figure. So I filled the absence of adult interaction with Facebook and Twitter and writer forums instead. Then, it got to the point where I couldn't even sit down to write and focus. I had to first check my email and then scroll through my Facebook feed and tweet my senator and then naptime was over and I got nothing done. In an effort to connect, I couldn't disconnect when I needed to.
So I began browsing the web looking for ideas on how to write without distractions (is that irony?) when I came up upon an awesome thread on Kboards about the Alphasmart. Alphasmarts are old-school word processors that were popular in elementary schools. They have a calculator screen and an old clickety-clack keyboard and they only show a few lines of text at a time. They run on AA batteries and turn on within seconds. You can upload your work to any program with a click of a button. They're super portable too. Since two AA batteries can last a year,
you can take these suckers anywhere. Not to mention, they're pretty
durable. Best part: no wireless.
I bought this duo on Ebay for $30. A B1G1 free deal. Good thing I have two because they are no longer made. And many writers do buy a backup just in case.
Alphasmarts have a cult following, including a Flickr group. Writers also get jazzy with their Neos -- some dismantling them to paint and customize them. I bought a can of pink Rustoleum, but I haven't taken my Neo apart yet to paint it. And when I say me, I really mean my husband.
In the short time since getting my Alphasmart Neo, I have nearly doubled my drafting time, writing up to 2,000 words in 90 minutes. That's unheard of for me. That's the kicker -- I can only draft in the Neo. After I upload my draft to Scrivener and I revise and edit in there. But I'm a natural editor. Revisions are my favorite part of the writing process and I find I'm less likely to d^ck around online.
So, dear readers -- do you use an Alphasmart? Do you love it? Did you customize yours? How has it changed your writing?
For those who don't use Alphasmarts, how do you write without distractions?
Does anyone draft on a typewriter?
Thanks for checking in,