I had difficulty completing my first book partially because I kept getting distracted by new ideas. I could jot them down or start a new file for them but seeing a single line or a single page was daunting to return to and there are numerous pages of single line threads saved on my computer. I thought writers HAD to write one thing at a time. That it was the only way to be serious and be taken seriously.
It wasn’t working for me. I would clog up and then freeze and my writing would suffer for days at a time. I am a multi-tasker in every aspect of my life. I tend to work on four things at a time, even reading multiple books at once. Because of my tendency to multi-task; I’m easily distracted when writing on my laptop whether by the internet, games or other tasks.
There had to be a tool for a writer like me, right? I would’ve never guessed that perhaps to find the most useful writing tool for me to go forward, I’d have to go backwards in technology.
Author Sophie Jordan spoke to the Houston chapter of the SCBWI and discussed a small typing system called AlphaSmart. The machines are about the size of an ipad with a small raised LED screen. It fits in a small laptop sleeve so it’s easy to transport and because it was designed for student use it’s incredibly sturdy. Schools bought them by the hundreds, barely used them and now they’re available all over eBay and other auction sites for $10-20! Once the battery is charged the machines last for over 100 hours and it holds the text of over 100 pages. When you’re done writing for the day you simply plug the machine into your computer and download your work as a word document.
The main facet of AlphaSmart that I appreciate is that it has 8 files which can be switched between by the touch of button. For example: I currently have a YA contemporary, NA office romance and YA issue based piece which I alternate between as I come to plot and or character epiphanies throughout the day.
After looking into purchasing an AlphaSmart I quickly learned that dozens of authors are using them. I am in no way pretending to be the fore bearer of this idea, I’m simply hoping that maybe another writer or two will come across this and it’ll make a difference for them as well.
*If you are purchasing an AlphaSmart you may want to inquire which cords (if any) are included with your purchase. Mine came with a cord to connect the AlphaSmart to the computer and a battery charging cord.