In praise of dedicated word processors

Firs off, I admit: I love gadgets! Especially vintage portable computers. I have been building a collection of handheld PCs, smartphones and programmable calculators for years.

Since in my day job I work as a software developer, I also have several laptops and a couple desktops. Working on my novel late at night , either on a desktop or laptop, has proven less than optimal due to the omnipresent distractions of the Internet.

Although, as a “computer guy”, I was deriding dedicated word processors, I decided to try one out, since older units can be had for very cheap off eBay. I bought an AlphaSmart 3000 for about 20 bucks. It originally came out around 2000.

AlphaSmart 3000, a writer’s best friend

The way this device works is, you type in your text using one of the file slots, then connect it to the computer and press send. It acts as a keyboard and quickly types in your text inside your software word processor. Simplicity itself!Even away from home without a laptop (though who is away from home nowadays?), with a USB to USB-C adapter you can transfer your work to your phone and save it in the cloud. Or, as I do, email it to myself. In some ways I am still a tech klutz….

 Mine runs on AA batteries, but it had the option of using a rechargeable. Oh, and you can also use it as an USB keyboard. As soon as I started using it, even sitting up on my bed, I noticed how my chapters started becoming longer, and my writing sessions more enjoyable. There’s something soothing to the simple LCD screen that invites creativity.

There are many used portable word processors on eBay, some with more features, as well as modern alternatives. I’d say, go with your budget and inclinations. You simply can’t go wrong if you had been using a laptop heretofore!

Happy writing!


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