Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Tricks of the Trade-Alphasmart
Go ahead. You have official Seekerville permission to write a terrible first draft. Seriously. Try it.
For most writers, this is harder than it seems.
Having trouble turning off your internal editor?
The most amazing discovery I've found on my road to publication is this nifty little light weight machine called an Alphasmart.
It is a portable keyboard. The window is so small, it's a royal pain to go back and edit . . . so I just don't.
This is s good thing when I'm trying to churn out a rough draft. I can usually plunk my 55-60k mess draft out in a matter of days or a few weeks on my Alphie.
Everyone writes differently. I'm not saying my way works best, but my way works best for me. If I don't get my rough draft (which I call a "mess draft") down in a matter of days, the story falls apart and ends up harder to write.
I have the Neo and I do not have Internet access to it. I don't dare read the instruction manual because I don't want to know what all this gizmo does. Or I might be tempted to utilize the word processing features. LOL! I do use the control that lets me see my word count. But I've figured out that each file (and there are eight) holds about 25 single spaced pages. More than enough room to write two category length novels before you have to transfer to your computer.
Alphies are so light, you can stick them inside an over sized purse. Their instant "on" "off" switch has an autosave feature so you don't have to save your work or wait for it to boot of shut down. You push a button...it comes on. It's instantaneous. When you hit "off", it shuts off and autosaves in that moment.
I do back my files up to my computer using a USB cable. You can also use infrared or a fire wire. Files take a little more time to transfer than say a flash drive would, but for the ease of typing that Alphasmart brings, it's well worth it. I got my Alphasmart for around 200 bucks. MUCH cheaper than a laptop.
I have typed out most of every story I've written on my Alphasmart and only changed the batteries maybe three times in a few years. It runs 700+ hours on 3 AA batteries. You can also plug it in too I think. But I love the battery version. Every time you turn it on, it gives you an image of a battery and how much juice you have left. You'd definitely need to transfer your files to a computer before your batteries run down.
How does this relate to contests?
With 50 double spaced pages per file, you have room to type out 16 (count 'em!) individual contest entries on your Alphie.
Do any of you use Alphasmarts? If so, what brand? And what do you like or dislike about them?
Do any of you use anything similar to this? What is it and how does it work for you?
Talk away! This is an interactive blog.
Here is the link for anyone wanting more info.
Alphasmart Web site