Getting out of my studio to write is one of the best ways I have to break writer’s block. Finding a new location that is free of the daily distractions that I find at home fosters a higher word count and writing productivity. When I am working on a rough draft, there is nothing I enjoy better than sneaking off to the local coffeehouse to enjoy a cup of coffee and to write for a few hours.
I am a convert to using an Alphasmart Neo for my drafting hardware. The machine is lightweight, coming in at around 2 pounds and is extremely sturdy. Originally, the machines were designed to be used in classrooms for students to practice their typing and writing and therefore can withstand a great deal of abuse. They are still used in the classroom today, but the Alphasmart Neo has also found a favored place among professional writers.
The Neo’s main advantage is that it offers distraction free writing. With no internet connection on this device, there is nothing to get between you and the written word. The Neo has a rudimentary word processor that allows you to see only 8 or 9 lines at a time. It is supplemented by a dictionary, a thesaurus and a word count feature. The machine instantly switches on or off at the touch of a button and it runs for 700 hours on 3 AA batteries. To power my machine, I put in fresh batteries once a year and never think about finding power for my Neo again. It is a real pleasure to not have to worry if there is an available outlet at the coffeehouse or to take my Neo to the park and write outside if I choose. The Neo battery life sets you free.
Getting the text out of the Neo is simple. You can use the Neo Manager software to upload or download files or use a cable to send your data to any word processor you happen to have open. You could send directly to an email file, to your blog post manager or any open word processor.
The Alphasmart Neo is my drafting machine of choice. Which machine do you use?