Hemingwrite is a $400 gadget that helps easily distracted writers stay on task

The Hemingwrite
Credit: Hemingwrite

Writing on a computer is hard, I'm told. Too many distractions. How can you write something when YouTube and all those silly cats are just a click away!? It's basically impossible.

Or so the people behind Hemingwrite would have you believe. But not to worry, their product will solve all your problems. It's a gadget that's basically a keyboard and a display. It's the hipster version of a typewriter, I guess.

There's a Kickstarter running now and for a pledge of a mere $399 ($369 if any of the Early Bird pledges are left by the time you read this) you can get your own Hemingwrite in the fall of 2015. That's $100 off the eventual retail price, apparently.

The Hemingwrite people are proud of the fact that their device includes a mechanical keyboard. They say it's a full-sized keyboard but it looks pretty cramped to me. Instead of something distracting like menus the Hemingwrite has physical switches to navigate through the three folders you have to organize your documents in.

While using the Hemingwrite you're also protected from distractions like copy and paste. Because Hemingway didn't have copy and paste and neither should you. But you do have page up and page down. This is the future, people!

This gadget does have some upsides. They claim it runs for a month on a single charge and turns on instantly. If you've ever had a great idea trapped in your head and felt it slipping away while your PC booted you should appreciate that feature. Since it has an E Ink screen you can use it in bright sun without the screen washing out. And in one concession to modern life, it saves your content to the cloud. The idea is that you dash out your first draft on Hemingwrite and then use a real writing tool to do your editing.

Clearly I'm not the target demographic for this, but the last time I checked the Kickstarter project they'd raised $200,000 of their $250,000 goal; I guess there's demand for this kind of gadget. Kudos to the Hemingwrite folks for finding an untapped market.

I write pretty much every day. Personally I do my first drafts in Draftin. It has a Hemingway Mode if you really need that kind of thing, and it doesn't cost $400. In Draftin, Hemingway Mode doesn't let you back up at all. All you can do is keep writing, which is pretty much the same thing the Hemingwrite is trying to accomplish. The theory is that 'writing' and 'editing' are two very different mindsets and you shouldn't try to do both at once.

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