Do You Have an On-The-Go Writing Solution?

by Nate Hoffelder

After a decade of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

December 12, 2020

A friend just tweeted about the Freewrite Traveller by Asntrohaus, and it got me thinking about writing while on the go.

Astrohaus is a startup that makes a couple pricy devices under the Freewrite brand. The first model weighs eight pounds, costs $550, and launched several years ago, and the second model (the Freewrite Traveler) costs $429 and shipped in October 2020.

The Freewrite are pitched as distraction-free writing devices, but it would be better to describe them as frigging expensive digital typewriters. You can use them to draft a new work but you cannot use them to edit, proof, research, or do most types of writing like sending correspondence.

I would never buy one, but my friend did get me thinking about the tech I use in place of a Freewrite, and that got me wondering about you.

Tell me, what is your solution for writing on the go?

My solution is an iPad plus a Bluetooth keyboard, and it came about almost as an accident.

I had originally gotten the keyboard a few  years ago to use with one of Onyx’s 13″ ereaders as a mobile writing solution, only to stick it on a shelf after that combination of devices proved to less than ideal. (While the ereader ran Android and looked like a tablet, it proved to be far less capable than an actual Android tablet.)

I pulled the Bluetooth keyboard off the shelf in the spring of 2019 after I found myself taking only an iPad to conferences. The limited functionality of an iPad really improved my concentration by keeping me from doing all my regular work, and I liked the addition of a BT keyboard because it let me type session notes.

I know I am not the first to combine an iPad and a BT keyboard, but the great thing about this combination is that I can write or edit any number of documents in Google Docs while also staying on top of my emails and taking notes during a panel. And since I don’t have FB or Twitter on the iPad, I can keep from getting distracted by social media.

And what’s even better from my viewpoint is that both the iPad and the keyboard fit into a child’s backpack (my regular mobile office bag is large enough to fit a small child). And of course it doesn’t hurt that my mobile writing solution cost me the same as the Freewrite Traveler, and does about fifty times as much.

How about you? What is your solution for writing on the go? Pen and paper? Smartphone? Alphasmart?

Hi, I'm Nate.

I build and fix websites for authors, and I am also a tech VA. I can build you a website that looks great and turns visitors into fans, and I can also fix your tech when it breaks. Let me fight with tech support so you don’t have to.

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  1. James Kendley

    I love Scrivener, but I need a web-based solution that does the same things. Do you know of one?

    • Nate Hoffelder

      I use Google Docs on my iPad. That’s not even close to Scrivener, I know, but I can’t think of an online Scrivener equivalent.

      • Dawn Groves

        I use my Microsoft Surface. It goes.everywhere with me. When driving on long trips I record into my phone app and download later into Onenote. I use the record feature when writing book chapters, not for business stuff. I also use google docs but reluctantly. It’s clumsy but it’s free (figuratively).

  2. Delaney Rain

    I have an AlphaSmart that I got for college note-taking back in the 90s. I haven’t used it in years — and just discovered the company went out of business in 2013 — but now I want to dust it off and see if it still works. Gotta find a handful of AA batteries first…


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