Friday, October 21, 2011

The NaNo noveler's dream tool

I follow Barnes & Noble's PubIt page, partly because they occasionally have some interesting author promotions, and partly because I'm planning on self-publishing my Ruby Ransome books eventually via PubIt and/or Smashwords.  Last week or the week before, they posted a link to a blog post on cheap technology for writers.

Most of the technology listed is software, and nothing I feel the need to spend money on.  I was, however, intrigued by the description of the AlphaSmart NEO, a word processing keyboard that allows you to do nothing but write — no Internet, no games, no distractions.  A very neat piece of equipment, and the battery life (it takes three AA batteries) is super long.

I think it would have some shortcomings — the screen would make it hard to scroll through text, either to check up on something or to revise, and I'd be worried about losing what I'd written before I had a chance to upload to my computer.  Fixing all the formatting when you upload into Word would also be rather annoying, and how would I participate in word wars at NaNoWriMo write-ins without Word's word count feature?

But I can also see where it would be very useful, especially for NaNoWriMo-style writing: write as much as you can, as fast as you can, and worry about details such as research and revising later on.  The lack of Internet access would be especially helpful for me — I seem to be frequently distracted by Facebook, for instance.  In fact, I checked it twice just in the few minutes it's taken to write this post.

What about you?  What do you find helps to minimize distractions so you can get your novel writing done?

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