Would an Arduino be well-suited to a digital typewriter?

Hello! This is my first post on this forum and my first project. Thanks in advance for reading, and I appreciate any help or advice you decide to give.

I get distracted easily, so I had the idea of building a machine that would let me write in peace, without the distraction of Reddit and other social media. My vision is connecting a USB keyboard and an LCD screen to a board, and just typing short entries which are saved to an attached USB drive. I realize memory on even the higher spec boards are limited, so it probably couldn’t handle very large files. All I want for basic functionality is to just be able to write, and when I’m finished append the buffer to another file. In that way it could serve for writing journal entries, blog posts, any piece of writing, just in small chunks. I don’t need spellcheck or anything fancy. Just plaintext is fine. I would edit on my main PC, where I would have access to fact checking and information.

My question is, is this feasible with Arduino or would I be better off with a Raspberry Pi Zero? I have some programming and electronics knowledge, and I’m willing to learn and do research to get this done. This would be my first real project with a microcontroller board, so odds are good I’ll make some mistakes. Another reason I’m doing such a big project is to learn. Though I imagine the biggest hurdle is just writing software for all this.

An ESP32 could easily handle the above task. With a 4/8MB ESP32 WROVER, in the Arduino IDE, you'd be able to access 4MB of RAM to store your writtings onto. You'd, also, have WiFi and be able to sync or push new data from the ESP to the other thing.

I'd recommend buying a cheap laptop and disable the Wi-Fi driver.

The Arduino doesn't have any standard I/O or an operating system/file system so connecting a keyboard, mouse, display, hard drive, etc., is not straightforward. Any hardware like that requires additional special software. There are often software libraries but it's generally not easy.

A Raspberry Pi would be a better place to start if you want to build something from scratch.

...Jerry Pournelle (RIP) was a science fiction writer and technical columnist who may have had the first "blog". He had a room in his house he called "The Monk's Cell" which had no Internet, no TV, and probably no phone. (He started before there were cell phones). I don't remember what the Wi-Fi situation was but maybe the Wi-Fi didn't reach that part of the house.

I'd recommend buying a cheap laptop and disable the Wi-Fi driver.


You can easily turn off social media - I have never turned it on.

But to my mind trying to write using an Arduino with limited capability would just be another distraction.