Created as a low-cost classroom aid, the Neo2 has found an unintended use as a distraction-free writing device. It’s basically a keyboard with a little bit of memory. I call it the ‘first draft machine.’

For me, the first 20 pages are the toughest. On both novels, I wrote the opening long-hand, because while the computer is great tool for writing, it’s an even greater distraction. Why work on that 90,000 word book for the next three years when I could come up with a 140 character tweet that might get 2 likes? But transcribing 20 pages is almost as painful as writing it in the first place. With the Neo2 I can get the focus of a pad of paper, without the wrist cramp and ink stained fingers.

I jammed out 286 words last night, felt the tug of Internet addiction a few times. I’d reach for a mouse that wasn’t there. But since the Neo2 has no network, the impulse was cut short. It runs on 3 AA batteries that last for months, so no hunting for a table close to a plug at the coffee shop. With the LCD display I can read it in the sunlight. I can see myself writing on this in the backyard, on the road, or even while camping. Spellcheck and thesaurus are also built-in, I probably won’t use them. I’ll save my editing for after I export into Scrivener.

Speaking of export, there’s two ways to do it. You’ll want to download the Manager software, for Windows or Mac to transfer at a reasonable rate of speed. As an alternative, you can always plug the Neo2 into a computer as a USB keyboard and have it type out your file into a word processor. But that takes forever, even at the fastest speed.

They don’t make these anymore, but you usually can find them for around $40 used.

%d bloggers like this: