Part of learning to live with ADHD, with or without medications, is figuring out what your roadblocks are, and figuring out solutions or what I sometimes call “hacks” to remove those roadblocks or at least turn them into manageable speedbumps.

So today I am trying something new to hack my brain into being productive and doing what I want it to do. The problem? I need to write more (as you can probably tell by the fact that I haven’t made a new post in a few months). I need to write more in my druid journal, in my personal journal, and in this blog. So here I am, typing on a digital typewriter, in hopes that this will help get my thoughts out into words, someplace outside of my brain. So far I’m really liking it! I like how simple it is, and the fact that I can do this while laying in bed – which I currently am.

You may be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. What’s a digital typewriter? How is that going to help? Well, here’s a bit of backstory about what I’m using and why.

I usually put off journaling and blogging for many reasons:

  1. I don’t like to sit in front of a computer any more than I have to. I do that all day for work, so more sitting in front of a computer after that just does not sound like fun.
  2. I don’t like to type on my phone or tablet because it’s awkward and not the easiest way to type. Even though I use the swipe typing method, it’s still pretty awkward overall.
  3. I love handwritten journals for journaling, but I’m starting to develop arthritis in my hands, so it’s becoming more and more difficult and painful.
  4. I don’t do well with voice-to-text because my brain doesn’t work that way and I can’t think good with the voice and the words making out loud. I can organize my thoughts much better visually.

The solution? A digital typewriter. It’s basically just a keyboard with a small, very minimal screen. These were mainly used in schools back in the nineties and early 2000s, then became pretty much obsolete once laptop computers became more common and affordable. The one I’m using is an AlphaSmart Neo2, and it’s got a basic monochrome LCD screen that only shows 4 lines of text at a time about 45 characters wide. It can save up to 8 “files” at a time, but they’re only files for the purpose of the machine’s internal storage. The text doesn’t show up as files on your computer. How it works is you plug the AlphaSmart into your computer via a USB cable, open up whatever program you want the text to go into (MS Word, for example), then click the “Send” button. It then acts as an emulated keyboard and types the stuff you wrote into the Word document, text file, blog post, or any other places where you can put text. It can take a while to send the full file, especially if it’s very long, but the main goal is to remove the complications and barriers to writing and encourage you to just write something, dammit! You can free write all you want, then send it wherever you need to and edit it later.

I know I probably sound like an infomercial or paid promotion, but the model I’m using is outdated and discontinued, so I highly doubt the company is paying anyone to promote these (especially since the company is now defunct). Sure, there’s a newer model coming out based on this one, but it’s overpriced in my opinion, and while this one may look old and a bit tacky, it works perfectly for the purpose I need it for, and it’s way cheaper. There are other digital typewriters and word processors out there as well, so if you’re also struggling with writing roadblocks that could be solved with a similar device, I suggest doing your own research to find the machine that’s right for you.

Sometimes the right brain hack solution for a roadblock can be a matter of finding the right gadget. I’ve only been using this thing for one day so far, and this is the first thing I’ve written on it besides a small test, so we shall see if it will stand the test of time… Otherwise known as withstanding the ADHD novelty factor wearing off after a while.

Yours under the California Blue Oaks,

/|\ Kendria

Header image by Annie Spratt.