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How many of you can relate to this scene?
You’re on your laptop, writing (but not yet fully invested) when you get the urge to check Twitter.
Like a child who sneaks toward the snack cabinet, you open a different tab. You even feel the urge to look behind you to ensure no one’s noticed you getting distracted.
You open Twitter, where you’re already logged in. For the next ten minutes, you laugh and retweet and like. Then, you think, “Well, I’m already here. Might as well check Facebook real quick.”
Somehow, you end up on YouTube, watching Jimmy Fallon interview a celebrity through Facetime.
Guiltily, you go back to your article and write for another ten minutes. But there’s another problem: Your eyes are tired of staring at the screen.
You close your laptop, a little too harshly, and promise you’ll try again later.
This was a common scenario for me. Sometimes, it’d take me two hours to write a one-thousand-word article.
My screen time was high, and I needed eye drops every night for my dry eyes. My vision is already bad, and spending seven or eight hours staring at the screen wasn’t helping much.
That’s why when I came across the Freewrite, I knew I had to have it.
What’s a Freewrite? Let’s talk basics.
The Freewrite was created by Astrohaus.
I tell everyone it’s a modern typewriter. Astrohaus calls it a distraction-free writing tool. Why? You don’t have access to the Internet.
There are no apps to download. You can’t even do a simple Google search. The Freewrite is a keyboard and a screen for writing. That’s it.
That scenario from earlier? You don’t have to go through that ever again when you write. That, of course, is the best part.
The Freewrite also has an E-ink screen (the type Amazon Kindles have). Your eyes will water when you stare at it not because they burn but because they’ll be endlessly grateful for your choice.
I haven’t used those eyedrops since I got the device back in November.
The screen is about five inches in height and width. I thought it’d be too small, but there’s actually no problem at all.
The keyboard is made with Cherry™ Keyswitches, which makes the typing process more comfortable and faster. (Bonus: the clicking sound is very satisfying.)
I absolutely love writing on it. It’s a writer’s dream come true.
How do you use it?
That big red button on the upper left corner is the on and off button — or rather, a lock and unlock button, as phones have. You click it, and a blank gray screen appears. That’s where you write.
On the left of the screen is the Folder control. You have three folders: A, B, and C. They work the same way as folders on a laptop.
You can create endless documents inside those folders. For example, I use my ‘A’ folder for my articles and my ‘B’ and ‘C’ folder for the book I’m writing.
On the right of the screen is the WiFi control. As I said, you can’t go onto the Internet on a Freewrite.
However, you have access to WiFi because your work automatically syncs to your Postbox account, which you create after you’ve purchased a device. (It can also sync to other services such as Dropbox.)
You pick your folder. You write. It syncs. The end.
The keyboard does what it has to — lets you type.
You don’t have the option to add, say, bullet points. You also can’t bold or italicize, but you can fix those things when you edit.
If you look carefully, you’ll notice there aren’t any arrow keys. We’ll talk about that more in a bit.
Let’s get more specific. What are the keys beside the space bar?
Two red keys that say “new”
You use the red keys for a couple of actions, but we’ll only talk about the important one. You start a new document inside a folder by pressing both keys at the same time.
One “pg up” key, “one pg” dn key
You press the pg up and pg dn keys when you want to “scroll” through your document.
When you press one new key and pg up or pg dn, you can access old and new documents.
The “send” key
This button is handy because when you click it, it instantly sends your document to your email.
The “special” key
Under the typing screen is an oval screen, as you can see in the picture. By pressing the special key, you can access different types of information such as word count, a timer, a clock, and more.
The downside of the Freewrite (which I don’t consider a downside)
I’m only labeling this a caveat because not everyone likes this feature. I do. You can’t edit on a Freewrite.
There’s a backspace option, but as I said earlier, there are no arrow keys.
You can’t add something in the last paragraph or erase that mistake you just caught from the sentence before last. Not unless you want to delete what you’ve written.
I thought that being unable to edit would be exasperating and feel confined, but instead, you feel freer.
I’ve learned to let mistakes be (not that I have a choice). There’s no point in going back to erase spelling mistakes or add anything when writing isn’t supposed to be about editing in the first place.
Get the words out — that’s what matters the most. You can edit your work on your laptop later.
The only reason I don’t like it is that I would love to edit on the Freewrite rather than using my laptop.
If you’re interested, Astrohaus also offers a Freewrite Traveler, which is available for pre-order. (Although, you should know that the Freewrite is not too heavy or big to carry around.)
It’s smaller, lighter, the screen is adjustable, and I’ve no doubt the keys are as great as the Freewrite. However, in this case, you can use the WASD keys as arrow keys, which gives you the freedom to go back and edit and rewrite.
Have I really doubled my writing?
You can’t edit. That’s one reason you’ll save time. Instead of erasing mistakes or rereading your work and editing, you only have the choice to write.
Before I got the Freewrite, I was writing one article in two hours. After I got the Freewrite, I could write two articles in two hours, even a little less.
You don’t have a choice but to focus — that’s the best part about a Freewrite. Plus, it’s so damn addicting you’ll want to keep writing.
Do your writer self a favor, and get a Freewrite. It’s so worth the investment that I wrote a whole article about it.
I can’t stress enough how much it’s helped me concentrate, get more work done, and helped my eyesight.
It’s worth every fucking penny.