editing, writing tips

Writing with an Alphasmart

I’ve posted a few photos of my Alphasmart Neo on social media lately and many authors always ask about it. Some have even said they like the idea of one, but it seems too hard. Seriously, it can’t get any EASIER than the Alphasmart. So I made this post to show you all how it’s done.

The Alphasmart Neo is a typing device. That’s all it does. You type on it and it saves your text (up to 10,000 words) on up to 8 files. Then, you upload it to your computer. Most people have seen these in elementary schools to teach students how to type. But lately, writers like myself have adopted these into our writing arsenal and it’s proven to be the most valuable thing I own when it comes to writing. this thing is more important to me than my computer, and an Alphasmart costs about $25-30 with free shipping on Ebay.

So why is it better than a computer??

There are no distractions with an Alphasmart. There’s no Twitter, Reddit,  Amazon. There’s no Solitaire game begging you to stop writing for a minute and play a game. It’s just you and the keyboard and the small screen. I used to average 600 words an hour on a computer, but now I average 1500-2000 words an hour on the Alphasmart.

This device is the sole reason I now write a minimum of 5000 words a day.

It’s portable. I take it to cheer practice, the park, the pool. I carry it in my purse and whip it out at the doctor’s office when I’m stuck waiting. No one’s gonna steal this thing; I looks dorky and useless. You don’t have to worry about the batteries dying. It takes 3 AA’s and I’ve had mine 6 months, use it every day, and the batteries aren’t even low yet.

It is seriously my favorite thing ever. Using it, I’ve written 4 full length novels in the last 8 weeks.

I use it each day for my day’s writing, and then I transfer it to my computer. That way I never have a full novel WIP on the device…(that’s just stupid). I write on it an hour or so, transfer to the computer when a chapter is finished, save and backup the computer Word file, then go back and write some more. I delete each chapter from the Alphasmart when I’ve finished uploading it because I no longer need it on there.

I still use my Word file for editing and formatting, obviously. The Alphasmart is for DRAFTING. You’re not gonna edit on this bad boy, that’s for sure. But drafting quickly is the best way to be a prolific author, or even an author who finishes a book.

If you’re having trouble writing a lot of words each time you sit down to write, you should seriously consider getting one of these. It’s so cheap it’s practically a disservice to your career if you don’t try it out.

Here’s some photos of the process!

When you’ve finished writing a chapter, connect it to your computer’s USB port with the included cable. Plug the other end into the Alphasmart.

Open Word, or whatever word processing software you use. Press the SEND button on the upper right hand corner.
This is the screen when you’ve plugged it into the computer.
Watch your words appear on the computer! Like MAGIC!

So there you have it. Easy, cheap, productive. If you’ve been curious about these things for a while, I highly suggest you try one out. There are a few different models, and the Alphasmart Neo2 is the best one for authors. I wouldn’t recommend the Alphasmart 3000, it’s too clunky and doesn’t have a word count feature.

Also, I’m not getting paid to promote this thing–I just really love it. 
Happy writing!