How the AlphaSmart Neo Changed My Writing

Posted May 20, 2016 by Briana in Productivity / 4 Comments

Photo Credit: Gene Wilburn on Flickr
A couple weeks ago, I saw that the wonderful Cheyanne Young had posted a photo on Instagram. It was of an old-school word processor, the kind that only holds text and doesn’t connect to the Internet (settle down, now). She went on about how it had improved her writing productivity and was one of the best purchases she’d made in her life. I was thoroughly intrigued. I had to get one for myself.

After minimal searching on eBay, I found an AlphaSmart Neo2 with USB cable for only $29.99 and free shipping. Now, before you go all, “But you can turn off the Internet on your computer or shut off the modem for free”—yes, I’m aware. I know I can do that. I know HOW to do that. And I know that a lot of writers find success with this method, but you know what? I’m weak. Sometimes, I am LAZY. And on those days when I want to do anything but write, it’s too easy for me to toggle the switch back on. I have to make it as hard for me to procrastinate as possible.

Enter the AlphaSmart Neo2. When I’m using it, I can’t do anything on it but write. I’m forced to be productive. No matter where I am (it’s portable and battery-powered), once I get it out, I’ve committed to getting things done. In fact, I wrote all of the blog posts for this week on it in about half an hour’s time, just because I wasn’t distracted. How awesome is that?

For those of you worried about losing text, you’ll be relieved to hear that the Neo2 saves everything locally in individual files. If you want to transfer the writing over to your computer, all you have to do is connect it via the included USB cable. It’s that easy.

I never imagined that something like this could make such a difference in my writing life, but I swear, my productivity has grown in leaps and bounds since purchasing it. Now that it’s almost summer, I especially love that I can take this thing almost anywhere. So far, I’ve written on my back porch, in the waiting room of the dentist’s office, lying in bed, leaning over the edge of the bathtub (I walk on the wild side), in a parked car (not that wild), and under a tree.

All in all, I love this thing, and that’s why I’m sharing it with you guys. I believe in it. It WORKS.

And for less than fifty dollars, I’m ecstatic about that.

What do you think of using an old-school word processor to write? How do you avoid distractions while writing?

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“I never imagined that something like this could make such a difference in my writing life.” @brianawrites (Click to tweet)

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4 responses to “How the AlphaSmart Neo Changed My Writing

  1. Wow, this looks like a dream! I definitely need something like this to increase productivity, although I would be nervous about losing the files. Definitely something to look into!
    India |

    • I understand your concern about losing the files, but the processor does a great job of holding onto everything. Of course, I always transfer my writing to my computer when I get home so I don’t have to worry much about losing everything. 🙂

  2. I’m all about this. I remember a few years ago, I fantasised about something like this. I didn’t know they already existed! I don’t think this would be something I use, though, since I rely on my project notes and outlines while I write. I also have generally good practises for avoiding the Internet. I think I have a quota for how much I can procrastinate–there comes a point where it makes me sick, like junk food. 😛
    Still, a great tool, especially it’s portability and single-purpose use! I think it’d be great for freewriting and first drafts, when you really just gotta get the words down.

    • I haven’t found myself using it much at home because I have notes and things, too, that I like to refer to. It has been invaluable on the go, though! Of course, if I did need to refer to notes while using it somehow, I’d probably put everything on Evernote or something, that way I could access it on my smartphone.