My tablet/notepad recently died. I can't afford a new one. So I basically have to use my phone to write, which I'm not comfortable with. I now have writer's block because I don't enjoy writing on the phone for more than a few sentences.

I used Scrivener on my laptop, and I have an Android phone, so I can't easily transfer my files. I'm stuck and need help.

How does one adjust to using a different technology to write? And/or is there something else out there that would be a better replacement?

  • 2
    It might not work for you depending on your exact circumstances, but have you checked to see the computer services that your local library provides? My library allows you to reserve their computers for an hour at a time, and you could potentially get a lot of mileage out of that. Oct 13, 2018 at 18:53
  • @ArcanistLupus That is a good alternative, but yes, I need something more on the go. Say something during lunch at work, or on planes as I travel. Oct 13, 2018 at 19:10

3 Answers 3


One possible way to combine the library and the writing on the go could be paper. You could do your on the go writing in notebooks, and then transcribe it at the library.

Re your Scrivener files, could you "compile" to text or RTF and move them to your phone? I realize that's problematic if you can't even briefly use a device that can read the Scrivener files.


Check to see if the maker of your tablet provides complementary repair services. It might be dead as a doornail or require several hundred dollars to repair, but sometimes you can get things fixed at a reasonable price if you think to ask.

There are keyboards for smartphones which may be feasible for you. I don't know anything about them though, so you'll have to do some research.

Most libraries provide computer services for members. Exact services will vary, but my local library allows you to reserve a computer with a word processor for an hour at a time.

You may be able to find a used tablet for an affordable price. If you're willing to sacrifice on quality and size, the bottom end of the tablet market drops pretty low.

Text to speech technology has progressed pretty far. It's still going to require more editing afterwards (and it isn't great for public spaces), but it might work for you. Even if you can't get a decent text-to-speech app on your phone, you can just record your words and then convert them on your computer or a web service later.

If all else fails, then the only way to get more comfortable at writing in a new form is to practice. Typing on a phone is more prone to errors than using a keyboard so don't worry about getting everything correct the first time, but save your editing pass for when you can get to a real computer.

  • Another way of using a phone for writing is just to use it for dictation, then when you do get time with a desktop computer use speech-to-text software (or web services -- there are plenty of them out there) to give you a rough version to edit into shape.
    – Jules
    Oct 13, 2018 at 20:44

"Portable word processor" is the thing you're looking for.

You might want to look up the alphasmart. Looks like you can get a used one for less than $20. Though many are in the $40 to $80 range. While the alphasmart looks to no longer be in production, it's still available referbished or from online resellers.

It's not the only option in terms of branding, but it does appear to be a dying technology.

What are you getting with these? A smaller calculator like screen that's attached directly to a keyboard. You would do any formatting later when you hooked it up to a computer (at say, a library as suggested elsewhere) or at a friends house.

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