I’m a sucker for any piece of software or hardware that promotes distraction-free writing. This appeared on my feed today:
“The Freewrite Traveler is a portable writing tool that looks like a miniature laptop but removes all internet-related writing distractions. It comes with writing software and only enough Wi-Fi access to back up documents.”
The premise is terrific — a little keyboard and attached screen that allows writing and nothing else. Sadly, it’s $600, a price so absurd I can’t believe its makers bothered to bring it to market. That’s not close to the sum of its parts, nor the quality of its IP. And besides, in solving one problem with writing — distractions — it abandons another: comfort. The keyboard is 60% size, meaning it does away with the arrow keys, and bunches your fingers together space smaller than the average laptop. The small keyboard means you must use shortcuts to shift your cursor around the document, an unnecessary hassle for anyone who knows writing is as much about tweaking as it is typing.
And besides, I’ve long maintained the key to a good writing machine isn’t necessarily in removing all unrelated functionality. Like many people, I’m often wowed at how productive I can be when on a flight — though I’m convinced that’s due to shit internet rather than no internet. It’s there if I need to look something up, a single solitary fact, but it’s an internet stripped of its addictive richness of video, images and chatter.
I want a device that allows me to set strict parameters — such as typing only, throttled/text only internet — that can only be changed when I restart the machine.