Helping writers escape the thrall of technology by selectively giving in to it.

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What is a writerDeck?

A writerDeck is a device dedicated specifically and solely to writing. Technically, a typewriter is an analog writerDeck. But usually we mean some sort of computerized word processor, such as the Astrohaus Freewrite or the Alphasmart Neo, to name two of the most popular mass-produced versions. But these tend to be either too expensive or too limited for many writers, so many of us build our own.

The term “writerDeck” comes from “cyberDeck”. People argue over what counts as a cyberDeck, but in practice it basically means “a weird cobbled together computer, usually without a mouse and usually homemade, often with a retro-futuristic, cyberpunk vibe.” So a writerDeck is just a cyberDeck dedicated to writing.

Why would anyone want one? Why not just use a computer?

One major reason is distraction. If your writing machine is also your video watching machine, you may find it difficult to get much writing done. When you use a writerDeck, you can only do one thing: write.

A second reason is pleasure. If a significant focus of your life is on writing, and much of your day is spent writing, then having a beautiful, dedicated device for doing it is very nice!

A third reason is because they are fun to design and build.

Commercial WriterDecks

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Please see the list of commercial writerDecks for mass-produced offerings.

There are also people willing to build you a custom writerDeck for a fee, such as Keegan McNamara of Mythic Computer Co.

D.I.Y. WriterDecks

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Check out the list of D.I.Y. writerDecks to see all the ways people have built their own.

Why wouldn’t I just use my phone/tablet and a bluetooth keyboard?

Many people do just that! The only downsides might be if you have other distracting apps (which you can always remove) or if you have to juggle multiple devices (unless you attach them somehow). Here is a list of the many approaches people have taken with phone/tablet writerDecks.

How do I make a writerDeck? Is it hard?

It’s actually pretty easy! Unless you aren’t very good with computers, or don’t have the patience to Google things and figure them out. But basically you just need…

Does all that sound overwhelming to you, or painfully obvious? If the latter, you can do this no problem. If the former, you may need to take some time reading through Raspberry Pi and CyberDeck introductions and searching for basic tutorials for similar projects. Any kind of Raspberry Pi project will get you acquainted with the fundamentals, and then it’s just a matter of tinkering.

WriterDeck Friendly Software

Two free, open source projects dedicated specifically to writerDecks are WareWoolf and ZeroWriter, but there are many other options as well. Please see the software page.

WriterDeck Tutorials

Where can I get more info?

There is an active community on Reddit at r/writerDeck.

There are also subreddits for specific projects such as r/ZeroWriter, which focuses on using the ZeroWriter software to build e-ink writerDecks.

About This Guide

This guide is written purely in markdown and hosted for free on Github Pages. It was started by Benjamin Sloan (creator of WareWoolf and r/writerDeck) but contributions are welcome through pull requests on the WriterDeck Github repository.

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