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The Hottest Writing Tool? Old School.

There are little lies we tell ourselves all the time. “Oh, I’ll clean out the garage when I have some free time.” Or maybe, “This year, I’m really going to go to the gym twice a week. I mean it this time.” Or my personal favorite: “I’ll just check my email. It’ll only take a minute.”

That last one is the most insidious. I tell myself that one every day. And if you’re like me, the next time you look up at the clock, an hour of your time has vanished forever.

That’s why I love my AlphaSmart. No email.

Imagine a computer keyboard with a calculator-ish LCD screen growing out of it. It’s a word processor. It runs on ordinary AA batteries. And it hooks up to your computer via USB cable. Simplicity itself.

I bought my first AlphaSmart 3000 nearly ten years ago. I’m writing this blog post on it right now. I’ve since upgraded to the snappier Neo for my novel-writing, but I keep the old 3000 around for quick workhorse-style writing, like this. It turns on or off in seconds, the batteries last forever, what’s not to love?

It doesn’t have internet access. Or a thesaurus or grammar checker. It doesn’t do email. That sinks it for most people. It does one thing, and one thing only:

It allows me to focus on writing. And it does that extraordinarily well.

So, what do you think? Could you use a little simplicity in your life? Do you find youself wishing you could write the Great American Novel — as soon as you get done checking your email? Do yourself a favor and check out an AlphaSmart.

Then again, I might be crazy. I’d be the first one to admit it. But I might be onto something, too.

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