This $600 Writing Gadget Helped Me Focus Better Than I Ever Have Before

It’s not the perfect writing assistant, but it’s close

Naomi Day
Debugger
Published in
9 min readOct 27, 2020

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Astrohaus’s Freewrite Traveler
Photo illustration, source: Naomi Day

For writers who struggle with the endless distractions of connectivity or the intimidation of the blank page, Astrohaus’ Freewrite Traveler might be the perfect device to encourage the focus and creativity needed to finish a first draft. 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.

After using Astrohaus’ latest writing tool for a week, I’ve decided that while the Freewrite Traveler has neither the sleek power of a modern laptop nor the attractive simplicity of a fresh sheet of paper, it is a unique type of device that enables distraction-free focus better than any I’ve experienced before. With a retail price of nearly $600, comparable to or even surpassing many modern budget laptops such as many Chromebooks and Microsoft Surfaces, it’s not the most affordable tool. But if I had the money to spare, I would incorporate the Traveler into my writing routine. It maximizes productivity, but not at the expense of enjoyment, as the physical experience of the device ended up being unexpectedly lovely.

I understood that with a device that includes portability as one of its major selling points, I’d likely have to give up some of those smaller material comforts, but I didn’t expect to miss it so much.

The packaging for Astrohaus’s Freewrite Traveler.
Photo: Naomi Day

My initial reaction after unboxing was one of profound disappointment. I looked first at the physical aspects of the Traveler. I prefer a laptop with a 15” screen and an accompanying keyboard with plenty of space for my hands, so the lack of space in front of the Traveler’s keyboard made my typing feel cramped and awkward at first. With the shortened keyboard space, I found myself having to keep my wrists elevated in a way I typically don’t need to with a laptop, which quickly…

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Naomi Day
Debugger

Speculative fiction and Afrofuturist writer. Software engineer. US-based; globally oriented. I think and write about building new worlds.