I’ve always been easily distracted. The cute fuzzy squirrels outside or the playful robins — at least at my full-time job, I’m too short so I’d have to stand up to look out the window, otherwise, I’d never get any work done. I find that I’m just as easily distracted with my writing, especially when I’m on my desktop or laptop. It’s too easy to find a game to play or surf the web. When my laptop finally went to computer heaven, I decided I didn’t want to spend the money on a new laptop. We have an Ipad and a Nook, but neither is geared toward long-term writing. The Ipad could be, but I’ve tried it, and even with a wireless keyboard, I didn’t find it all to my liking. My wrists hurt after a while and no matter how I adjusted the font size, it always gave me a headache. I still wanted the functionality and portability of a laptop, but I didn’t want the distractions or the price that usually came with them. Then I started thinking about when I was in junior high before laptops were fiscally feasible for the masses. There were these simple word processing units. I couldn’t remember their names, but after some searching on eBay and Amazon, I found them.
Neo Direct makes them now and markets them for student K-12 use. A brand new one will cost you about $169.00. If you’re careful and do some research, you can find a used one on eBay or Amazon for between $20 – $40. They’re light, about two lbs., and the battery life is about 20-25 hours, much longer than an average laptop battery. You can write and edit Office Excel, Word & PowerPoint files. There are eight different files where you can store up to eight different stories/chapters/etc. for a total of 100 pages of storage. Hook up the device to your PC through a USB cable, pick the program you want to transfer the file to, and hit send. The text is transferred. I found an Alphasmart 3000, which is no longer being made, but there is still a website out there for drivers and manuals if you want to read up on the product. I did have some difficulty getting into the device at first because it was password protected and the person I bought it from did not supply the password. After some searching, I was able to restore the Alphasmart to its original settings using the factory preset password (which was: ‘think’). Overall I’m very satisfied with the product. It does exactly what I want it to do: it lets me write, and only write, and limits my distractions.