Writer’s Tools: Alphasmart Neo2

Distraction-free Writing


Attempting to increase my writing productivity, I’ve dug out my Alphasmart Neo2. I bought it a couple years ago for a mere $24 USD, free shipping. That’s a sharp contrast to other devices out there that do in essence, the exact same thing yet cost $400 or more. It’s tough to get the Neo2 for the price I paid back then, but it’s still reasonable at $40 or $50.

What is the Neo2?

It’s a simple word processor. That’s it.

It’s exceptionally light and compact. The keyboard is reactive with clacks made a bit louder by the hollow interior of the device. It’s even smaller than its modern counterparts that use e-ink screens. In addition, it uses three AA batteries for all its power which last forever.

Chuck’s Alphasmart Neo2

It has a 1.5” x 5.5” (3.5 x 14.5 cm) LCD screen that’s easy to read in a lit room. If you want to use it in the dark, a reading light over the screen works perfectly fine. In addition, I’ve experienced no eye fatigue, and there is, of course, no blue light to worry about keeping you up at night.

It has quick access to eight active files with the ability save several others to open later. It autosaves each file as you type and quickly transfers the words you’ve written via a USB connected to your computer. Once connected, the PC detects the Neo2 as a keyboard and the words enter into whatever document you have open.

Finally, there’s no browser or additional programs to distract you (or, at least, no additional programs you’ll be tempted to have distract you).

Increasing Productivity

Here’s the deal: There really is no need for a device like the Neo2 or its modern counterparts if you are disciplined enough to ignore all the notifications and other temptations that are inherent with your computer. However, it’s hard, impossible even at times it seems to stay away from all that distracts us.

Therefore, it’s nice having a tool like this which eliminates those types of distractions. On the other hand, for this to be truly effective, you’ll need to set your phone a fair distance away from you as well.

Maintaining distraction free writing ultimately is on you.

Has it increased my productivity? Yes.

Do I still get distracted? Yes. However, it’s not the Neo2 that’s distracting me. It’s everything else that I allow myself to be distracted by or I can’t help but be distracted by.

However, I’m working to change those trends in my life and maintaining consistent productivity by tracking my daily word count.

My Next Post

In my next post, I’m going to talk about the writer’s space: where writers write and when there’s a need for change.

Author: Chuck Lang

Chuck Lang is a writer of science fiction and horror. Influenced by his years as a carpenter, four years serving in the US Navy, and his fifteen years teaching literature, he holds an MFA in Writing (Fiction) from Lindenwood University. After completing his first manuscript, the supernatural horror novel DEAD GODS, in 2019, he has begun work on its two sequels, DEAD GODS: INHERITANCE and DEAD GODS: RESOLUTION. He is currently developing two additional projects, an urban fantasy horror novel and a military science fiction novel. He lives and writes near the frequently flooded Red River in Fargo, ND with his wife and two redhead sons.

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