|Debby works on her AlphaSmart.|
Debby Giusti here!
Anyone who has stopped by Seekerville in the last month knows we’re in the middle of SpeedBo. At least 118 writers have been feverishly cranking out pages to complete—or come close to completing—a book in a month. Read through the blog comments each day, and you’ll be inspired by the hard work and persistence of the committed folks pushing forward to the finish line.
Our techniques vary. Some write early in the morning; others turn on their computers late at night. Pantsers rely on a flow of inspiration with seemingly little prior planning, while plotters work from a detailed outline that guides them as they write. No matter how we attack the SpeedBo challenge, the final result is increasing our page tally and eventually typing THE END on our stories.
Ask writers about the tools they use to enhance their creativity and up their daily page count, and they might mention a good laptop or a Netbook, perhaps even an iPad.
For me, it’s my AlphaSmart. The word processor was developed in 1992 by two engineers, who had previously worked for Apple Computer. According to Wikipedia, their goal was to "deliver affordable, lightweight, rugged portable computing devices." While the AlphaSmart was initially created for classroom use, the company soon realized their product appealed to writers, as well.
AlphaSmart, Inc, eventually sold to Renaissance Learning and changed their name to NEO Direct, Inc. Their newest model, the NEO2, comes with a built-in spell check, thesaurus and calculator as well as wireless printing capability.
Another favorite, the Dana, has more bells and whistles, and according to the company, is the “Ultimate Palm-Powered Writing Tool.”
I have the AlphaSmart 3000, an older model that has served me well for almost ten years. The screen shows only a few lines of text, and the simple commands prevent me from editing my work so I just keep writing…and writing…and writing.
Each of its eight files holds 23 to 24 typewritten pages, which can be downloaded, via a USB cable, to my computer. Do the math. For a 300-page manuscript, I need to fill 12 files. After completing ten books, I now see the story laid out in 24-page increments and can judge my progress by how many files I’ve filled.
My Alpha runs on three AA batteries. Since it weighs less than two pounds, I can take it anywhere and work no matter where I go—while in the carpool line or at the doctor’s office, even standing in the kitchen, waiting for water to boil.
Over the past few months, I’ve tried to change my writing method and go to a daily page count of clean copy, like some of our more productive Seekers. But what works for them left me frustrated and blocked.
When we started blogging about SpeedBo, I still had more than half of my current book to finish. Needing to jump start my production rate, I reached, once again, for my AlphaSmart.
As the files filled, I breathed a sigh of relief and realized writing a fast first draft is the way I work best. Yes, the draft requires heavy edits, but when I have words on the page, I can see the story unfold and know where changes need to be made.
With only ten days left in March, I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned this month. The most important lesson is that I need to trust myself and the way I write. The AlphaSmart allows me to push forward and get pages written in a timely manner without stopping to edit. In my opinion, that spells success.
Wave if you’re an AlphaSmart fan. If not, tell us about your favorite writing tool. Also, share what you’ve learned so far from SpeedBo.
Leave a comment to be entered in a drawing for one of my books, winners choice.
The coffee’s on, and the breakfast bar is open. Today’s menu is for busy writers: hard boiled eggs, bagels with cream cheese and jelly, an assortment of pastries, fresh fruit and grits. Pour a cup of coffee. Fill your plate and let’s talk about SpeedBo!
Wishing you abundant blessings,
A DEMONSTRATION TURNED DEADLY
When one of his soldiers is killed by live ammunition during what was supposed to be a simple training exercise, Captain Phil Thibodeaux wants answers. Even if it means working with the Criminal Investigation Division that seems certain to pin the blame on him. But after CID agent Kelly McQueen defends his conduct, Phil realizes that there’s more to the dedicated agent than meets the eye. Maybe she’s someone he can trust, after all. And he’ll need
someone to rely on as investigations lead him to doubt everyone else—even his own soldiers.
Military Investigations: Serving their country and solving crimes.
Join Debby at Barbara Vey’s Readers Appreciation Luncheon, April 10, in
. Make your reservation at http://www.barbaraveyreaders.com Milwaukee, WI
Today is another day of our March Speedbo. Find out more about Speedbo and our exciting weekly prizes here. Comment today for a chance to win! Winners announced in the Weekend Edition.