Typewriters Are My Type
Although most of my blogging is done on a Mac, I prefer to do my
creative writing on a manual typewriter. Why you ask? What about spell
check, grammar check, the dictionary, word count, the ability to edit?
Personally, I find these “advantages” counterproductive in creative
writing. There are many reasons I choose to use a manual typewriter for
my writing, chief among them the lack of distractions and the
For me, a computer is full of distractions. Even in full screen mode of
my favorite creative writing program Scriviner, I know that my email,
my twitter, my facebook, is all lurking behind that screen. It’s just
all too tempting. And if those background distractions aren’t enough,
most writing software has tons of distractions built into the software.
I find it counter productive to see my word count so easily. It’s like
stepping on the scale. It usually demotivates me more than it helps.
Sure, every once in a while I like to know how much I’ve written (and
with typed sheets I can easily get a rough estimate with quick
arithmetic) but seeing, or having access at all times to the word count
is distracting. It’s like looking at an alarm clock when you can’t
sleep. Whenever I hit a rough patch in my writing, I look at that word
count and think—what? I’ve only written 200 words? It’s been an hour!
Another built in annoyance is spell-check and grammar-check. Good
writers know that editing comes long after the first draft. Most
writers I know don’t give a flying fruitcake about spelling and grammar
until long after the piece is done. That’s the last thing you do—not
the first thing you obsess about, which tends to happen in word
processing on a computer.
Then there’s the hocus-pocus factor—the “soul” of the typewriter. The
rhythm, and the satisfaction and weightiness of the keys. Something
about this facilitates the creative process.
Finally, in my love of the typewriter for a creative writing tool, I am
not alone. Many people are starting to realize (or re-realize) the
benefits of typing on a typewriter.
So the next time you find yourself with that blinking cursor and that
backlit screen going crazy, those squiggly lines under your words
reminding you that you suck before you can even get started, consider
going old school—