Scripto: the distraction-free writing tool

When I’m not copyediting for the lovely folks at Raspberry Pi and The MagPi, I write fiction, often involving teenagers running away from murderous water-horses. One of the main problems I have is avoiding distractions, like reading Brooding YA Hero‘s adventures on Twitter, the constant nagging thought that the next email will be another rejection, and the copious amounts of Taylor Lautner GIFs on Tumblr.

Taylor Lautner

Sorry, where was I?

Before you know it, it’s 5pm and your word count’s looking grim. Fortunately, Edinburgh’s Craig Lam (@siliconeidolon) has come up with an ingenious solution in the form of the Scripto, a distraction-eliminating writing tool with a Pi Zero at its heart. He explains:

Writing creatively to a deadline is psychologically challenging: any distraction or obstacle can derail the process. Multifunction devices like laptops are rife with distractions; writing longhand is painful; dedicated word processors are out-of-production or severely flawed. These observations inspired a vision for a distraction-free, portable, convenient, and supportive tool for writers.’

Procrastination

The Scripto, devised as part of Craig’s BSc project, takes the familiar form of a laptop, but with a difference: the only connection to the outside world is to cloud backup. No refreshing social media feeds, no ‘I’ll just check my email once more’… just glorious, uninterrupted writing.

Scripto

The Scripto has a Pixel Qi touchscreen readable in sunlight, with a photovoltaic strip to provide extra power on top of the ten hours battery life. No more squinting at a laptop on a summer day. The Pi boots into a fullscreen adapted version of FocusWriter and provides a host of motivational features, like timers for ‘word sprints’ and word count targets.

Scripto UI

What I love about the Scripto is how personal you can make it. Changeable covers are a nice nod to the old Nokia days (one for the 90s kids), and a companion app to track your word count is a great motivator. (Anyone who’s participated in National Novel Writing Month will know about the joys of racing to 50,000 words and watching your daily graph zooming upwards.)

The focus is on ease of use and low cost, just like the Pi Zero that powers it. The case material will be biodegradable – and café-proof, for those of us often writing hunched over a cappuccino and crumbly cake – and the word processor can come preloaded with the Open Dyslexic font, which is another plus. Social sustainability was important when Craig planned the Scripto; he specifically mentions our educational initiatives like Picademy as a factor when choosing a single-board computer to run the device.

Scripto side view

Craig is considering crowdfunding the Scripto, and I’m sure many writers will be queuing up for one of these nifty devices.

While you wait for the Scripto, you could read some brilliant books by Laura Lam, who told me all about her husband’s project. Or you could try short stories by some other Laura, available on Amazon, Smashwords, and in Blackwell’s Edinburgh. Ahem.