Why is the AlphaSmart Keyboard so good for fiction writers?

I bought an AlphaSmart NEO2, and I love it

Yesterday, after hearing so many other writers talk about it, I bought an AlphaSmart NEO2, and I love it. Already it has kicked me out of my writing slump and I’ve typed more words in a single sitting than I have in at least a month.

No-wonder this thing is so highly regarded by writers. Here are just a few great features which I’m enjoying right now:

  • No internet (no distractions!)
  • Auto-saves everything you type (phew)
  • Big clear screen/text (even when outside in the sunshine)
  • Typing outside! Yes, in the sun! omg.
  • Retro hipster cool
  • Instant on (no waiting)
  • Password protection
  • Exports your work into ‘any’ writing software (acts just like ctrl+c ctrl+v on a keyboard)
  • Runs on batteries and lasts for a year! I kid you not.
  • Appears to be bombproof (designed for young school kids)
  • etc etc

The downside to this technology: production has ceased. However, you can still buy these things brand new from the Alphasmart supplier (at least you can in the UK). Finally:

It only costs £39.99 (freepost)


So, with all that out of the way: why? You might be asking.

See the bullets above!

I have a PC laptop, a Mac laptop, and an iPad. All of these are full of distractions and over engineered. As soon as I plan to write, I get distracted and write nothing. Not good. The NEO2 only does one thing (excluding the Calculator): type words. It’s like you’ve got a mentor continually watching you prodding you to write, write, write. Perfect.

It’s hard to believe in this super-teched up world full of short-cut goodness that a basic piece of electronics (originally aimed at school children) could become so valuable and highly regarded.

A craft such as fiction writing existed happily on a typewriter after all. Is it any surprise that writers managed to stumble upon and seize this kit for themselves?

Which brings me on to the end-of -production statement. That’s right, AlphaSmart is no more. That means, whatever stock is left, is going to be worth a lot in future. An example of exactly this, is the Lomography trend for the old Russian Lomo LCA (of which I have a brand new one, btw). These days they go for £250 and if any come up for sale the lomo company buys them up to refurbish and sell on again. Effectively controlling the entire second hand market! Now, I’m not claiming the same will happen with the AlphaSmart, but stock is limited, and demand is high, so I recommend buying one asap. Even if you don’t use it. Stick it away in the attic and I will bet you never lose a penny on its value, and may even make a few quid. I will guess that they will easily sell for in excess of £100 each once supply is gone. That’s a pretty big claim, but I am so sure it’s going to happen I might just buy another for storage. I mean £40! I’d pay that for a piece of (Scrivener) software, so I’m sure many many writers will be queuing up to get one of these.

Where did I hear about it? Where is the popularity coming from? 

I heard about the AlphaSmart years ago (5?) and have heard about it ever since in various locations (blogs/forums/podcasts/newspaper articles). It’s still being talked about today as being one of the greatest secrets for writers in the digital age who want to get their wordcount. I swear this is up there with the Write Or Die app.

So, that’s it. My enthusiasm for this blog post must come to an end somewhere. Go find out more and buy one now!




  1. I can not tell you how much I love this machine. It has been a game changer to my writing.

    • Indeed Cliff! Glad to hear you’re a convert. This has also kickstarted my writing – and I can do it outside/on holiday etc. Wonderful. Do you think as the stock depletes the value of these things will increase?

      btw – Cliff has a book out and you should go and buy it now

      • I think they will only increase, and interest will grow when the Hemingwrite/Freewrite comes out in September/October.

        The instant-on/off is one of the best features, and I think the keyboard is one of the best I have owned, and I’m a BIG keyboard snob.

        Thanks very much for the book mention Mark – very kind of you.

  2. How to save and distribute? Qq: once done with a sentence, paragraph, story, or novel, how does the machine allow you to save and distribute? Thanks!

    • The machine saves automatically, so don’t worry about saving. You can only distribute by connecting the cable to your computer (its a regular old Printer cable). Instructions for transferring the file to your computer is in the manual, or look here: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/207868/Alphasmart-Neo.html?page=17#manual


  1. How to Freewrite without Freewrite to discover if you need a Freewrite | Credible Ink - […] assuming all of this because I write in public on a laptop everyday and own an AlphaSmart Neo 2, and…

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