Thursday - Writing Tool of the Day

Give us a tool tip that really helps you with your writing.

I don't think anything has changed the regularity and consistency of my writing quite as much as my Alphasmart. Like most owners, I fondly refer to him as Alphie.

Alphie goes everywhere with me. For several years now, I've made it a point to toss him into my tote everywhere I go that takes more than a few hours. He's with me in restaurants, the library, visiting relatives, in bed, and I can't imagine not having him at the tip of my fingers when riding in a car.

I don't think I truly appreciated Alphie and what he does for me until I got Bella, my new whore-red laptop. Bella is a hefty gal. Alphie weighs hardly anything compared to her. No wonder he's still a more frequent piece of carry-on luggage.

So what other outstanding characteristics of my Alphasmart quickly pop to mind? Here's a list:

  • Alphasmarts cost 1/3 or less than a laptop

  • They run on three AA batteries that last at least six months

  • They are virtually indestructible since they were made for school kids

  • They have eight 50-page files that upload easily to a Word file

  • Alphasmart customer service is excellent... if you should need it

  • They donate Alphasmarts to NaNoWriMo - how cool is that?

Here's a photo of my Alpie. Look at those sleek lines. I have the Neo version which comes without email capability. I chose this model in large part to eliminate that distraction, but the Dana version does have this added function among others. Go check it out. For just over $200, the Alphasmart Neo quickly becomes indispensible for any serious writer.

Since I bought my Alphie, two things have happened - they are now marketing directly to writers .... smart! and they have dropped the price... even smarter!


Anonymous said...

Alphasmart - huh - I'd never heard of it. Thanks for the lead. Sounds like a handy way to be able to write on the run when away from the computer.

Phy said...

Not I.

I do too much multi-tasking when I write, with snippets of stuff scattered across other apps and stored as Gmail drafts.

I can see where a devoted device could be beneficial to some writers, however, this ADD-addled writer works most effectively with more flexibility.

Unknown said...

Gotta get me an Alphie. They should hire you. That was some prime promotion.

My fave writing tool is still a pencil. I actually love to write longhand. I'm not fond of typing it out, if it's something I'm not keeping. However, the benefits of being a boss is being able to get someone to type it for you. Gotta love Christine. LOL!

Helen Ginger said...

Never heard of the Alphie. They sound good, for certain situations. Can you attach an external hard drive?

Anonymous said...

I've had an Alphie for years, have the old one and recently had to buy a new hookup when I bought a laptop with only USB ports. Mine only worked on a serial port. Love it for library work especially.

Joyce Anthony said...

Sounds wonderful--but I think I'll always prefer my notebook and pen --especially when on the go. My muse seems to be a bit old-fashioned :-)

Dani said...

Helen, I don't know the answer to your question. My guess is no, since it's essentially a word processer. I don't think it has memory that would recognize a jump drive plugged into it. You'd have to upload to a text file on your computer, then transfer that to an external drive. I think. Their customer service could tell you though.

Anonymous said...

Having no other "tool" I have to pick my desktop computer. Sure better than when I used a manual Royal typewriter. (Anyone remember those?) But my new tool is new laptop. I'm lovin' it!

Anonymous said...

My bf has an alphie and loves it. I started out years ago with a Brothers wordprocessor. I imagine that the alphie is a portable version of that. My most favorite writing tool(s). A small cheap notebook and some of those mechanical pencils that you can get a whole bunch cheap. Sounds crazy, but I've written some of my best stuff at odd times with those. Usually, it's during waiting at the doctor's office and picking up daughter from softball. No place for a laptop, but the notebook works great.

Teagan Oliver

Karen Kirkpatrick said...

Sounds great, especially for those days when I can't keep myself from going on the Internet and checking my email constantly!

Morgan Mandel said...

I love my D430 laptop computer.
It's light enough to carry to and from
the train
I get lots of writing done on the while
Morgan Mandel

Chris Redding said...

I'm not sure which is more important to me, my laptop or my wireless router.
I can sit anywhere I want in the house and out and write.

Charlotte Phillips said...

I've never heard of an Alphie before - sounds like a great tool. I've been looking for a way to get my Mom set up with email capability. This may be it. I'll check it out.

I have two indispensable tools - my laptop (never leave home with out it) and Mark Phillips. Mark is a walking dictionary/thesaurus and a genius at writing action scenes. I also always carry a pen (love the way they glide over paper) and notebook (the paper kind) because batteries never go dead in those.

Dana Fredsti said...

I LOVE my Alpha! My pal and writing partner T.Chris Martindale (if you like horror novels, check his out) loaned me Alpha (it's a 'she' and I call her Alpha 'cause she rules in our relationship) and I love her. So convenient and I would NOT want email on her. She's the old style, before Neo even. Does the job perfectly well.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Joyce Anthony -- my words flow better through an ink pen onto paper. Usually I'm sitting sideways on the sofa with my feet on the cushions, knees bent to prop up the pad. When I key it into my desktop, it is slightly revised.