Saturday, November 5, 2011

Stuff I like: the Alphasmart Neo

If you check out the Et Cetera page of my blog, you'll see what I'm working on, what projects are on the back burner, what I'm reading, and, as a random aside, stuff I like. I put the "stuff I like" in there because I couldn't think of anything else to add to the blog. To be honest, if I blogged only about writing and reading, I'd bore everyone to death, including myself (and it would be a very sparse blog). I do a lot of both, but I have surprisingly little to actually say about either topic.

So, to add some variety to the blog, and since thinking about stuff I like makes me happy, I've decided to include a "Stuff I Like" feature. I hope it will inspire you to check out a few new things. And please share the stuff you like in the comments as well -- I'm always looking for new things to make life more enjoyable!

I have NaNoWriMo on the brain, so for this first installment of "Stuff I Like" (and expanding on an item in the Et Cetera part of my blog), I'd like to sing the praises of the Best. Writing. Tool. Ever.

:drum roll: The Alphasmart Neo.

It's so low-tech it's laughable. It runs for 700 hours on three AA batteries and can't do anything except store the words I type. But oh, does it do it well! It weighs less than 2 pounds and turns on and off instantly with zero boot-up time, and when it turns on, the cursor is right where I left off. The full-size keyboard is a dream, responsive with just the right amount of stiffness. It's easy to upload my work into a Word document for later editing. The result? Lots and lots of words. I carry wee Neo with me everywhere. I can dash off a paragraph or two when inspiration hits, making it easy to cram writing into slivers of time.

For me, the best feature is the tiny screen. I can only see 4 to 6 lines at a time, and editing on the Neo is a massive pain. As a result, the Neo forces me to keep pushing forward on my first draft instead of futzing and, worse yet, deleting. I enjoy writing first drafts so much more now. The year after I bought my Neo, I completed more projects than I had in the previous five years combined, including my first novel. The Neo paid for itself within the first two months. A sound investment!

And yes, I'm writing this blog post on my Neo. I'm so predictable.

Are you an Alphasmart fan? Or have you found something else that works better for you?