Going Old School

Going Old School

A Practice In Reminiscing

I remember the Christmas that my parents bought me my first electronic word processor. I remember the excitement when I tore the wrapping paper away, and when I opened the box and switched it on, watching the screen whirring to life. It was a Canon StarWriter, and I loved that machine.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, pretty much from the first time that I realised that I didn’t have to just read books, but that I could actually create them, too. That Christmas, I started writing on that little word processor, and I loved it. The feeling of freedom that writing gives me is like nothing else on this earth. It is a joy like no other, and I am sad to say that I had lost it for quite a while.

The thing is that until the last year, I had been a carer for fifteen years, and if I’m honest, that took up most of my time and energy, leaving me very little left to give to my writing.

That changed in October 2017, in a heartbreaking way, when my sister, and best friend (whom I was caring for) passed away suddenly. It has taken me a long time to get to the point when I finally feel able to focus and dedicate the time to my writing once more.

The thing is that, having made that decision, I have struggled to write using my laptop. There are any number of distraction free apps on the market, but none of them prevent the constant notifications that are forever at our finger tips.

So, I started searching to see if there was something else that I could use, which is when the memory of writing on my little word processor as a child, came to me.

Now, obviously, we are in an age, where portability is essential, so, while I got out my StarWriter (yes, I still have it, and it still powers up flawlessly) to use at home, I began looking for something that would be a good, portable alternative.

This is when I stumbled upon this gem. The AlphaSmart Neo2. Looking at the writers forums, I saw that a number of novelists were working from this device rather than from more modern, and possibly high tech devices.

The thing is that the Neo2 does exactly what I need it to. It gives me a full sized keyboard, and a small screen, which I can see about six lines of text. There is no internet, and no pesky notifications to distract me, so I can simply write, write, write. The screen works in bright sunlight, and with a lamp, so I can literally take it anywhere with me, and the battery life is approximately 700 hours, on guess what?! Three AA Batteries!

I have had this device since Saturday, and I can honestly say that I have probably written more in these few days than I have in the last month or so.

This is the thing though… as humans, we have a tendency to over complicate things, with fancy apps, and cloud backup, when really, all we need is the ability to put the words in our head down in some way.

With my Neo, I simply write, and then when I want to transfer it to a document, I simply connect it to my laptop with a USB cable and “send” the document there. In fact, I’ve done that with this very post that you’re now reading.

I’m not saying that it will work for everyone, but for me, it has given my writing a new lease of life, for which I’m so grateful for.


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Li Carter is a writer, artist and crafter. She lives in South Wales, UK, with her family, and five rescue dogs. She’s on Twitter @rbcreativeli , Facebook: Rainbow Butterfly Creative, and Instagram @rainbowbutterflycreative and is the author of My Only True Friend: The Beginning. She is currently working on a new series titled The QuickSilver Chronicles. She is the original Rainbow Butterfly, and wants to fill an ever darkening world with a little bit of beauty and creativity.