1. Mercury12000
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    Mercury12000 Member

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    Am I the only one using a typewriter?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mercury12000, Jan 9, 2012.

    I refuse to write creatively on a computer. It's unfaithful to the craft, isn't it? Just like I refuse to blog or use a Kindle, I draw a big fat line between writing and gadgetry. If Voltaire didn't need Microsoft Word, then neither do I!

    In all seriousness though, my laptop is junk and my Windows is bootlegged and it doesn't have MS Office. And Notepad sucks hard. So a while back I bought a Brother typewriter and I haven't looked back. There is something about writing with a typewriter that feels so much more productive than the digital images on a screen. The typewriter is a machine; it slams the ink on the paper with authority; from my brain, to my fingers, to phyiscal existance. Hard copy!

    And before the typewriter I always get the ball rolling by hand.
     
  2. hoggyboy
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    hoggyboy Senior Member

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    ive never used a typewriter...microsoft office being so easy to use is probably why ive never bothered
     
  3. Granville
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    Granville Member

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    When I think back to the days before PC’s--yes, I am that old—and I remember the ribbons and the ink pads and the little reels which were so fiddly, and the reams of paper (half of it wasted), and the white-out and, well—yes, you may well be the only one. There is though, something substantially 'satisfying' about hard copy, I agree.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I own two typewriters - one's electric, the other's... whatever non-electric means - and I dislike both. All the typewriters I've come across are too loud and distracting, and I absolutely loathe the keys. I like my keyboard to be easy to use and rest my hands on. On my laptop, there's considerable space for my wrists to rest and my hand pivots from there. It's comfortable. Typewriters are so annoyingly angled, they waste paper, and if I want to tell a friend about something I wrote and I want to show them a particular excerpt that I'm proud of, I'd have to transcribe it. I hate transcription.

    Really, there's no reason why computers are "unfaithful to the art". They do all the same things, so they're not even a new medium. They're just a slightly different version of the same medium of word processing.
     
  5. Mercury12000
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    Mercury12000 Member

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    ^Quite right about the noise issue. Each keystroke is roughly as loud as a screwdriver banging on an oven. That is a serious draw back when you live in an apartment with thin walls. I think anyone within 20ft. of my apartment knows when I'm typing. I don't like that. :mad:
     
  6. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Awesome. I commend you, sir.

    The only reason I have a kindle is because I can bootleg thousands of books. Don't worry, once I find them in a thrift store I will buy them, because I prefer hardcopy but am too poor to buy thousands of books new.
     
  7. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    I've always wanted a typewriter, but that's because I'm a total hipster. Technology's for punks, bro.

    Nah, I'm kidding. But, you know, I've always wanted a typewriter. However, I can't imagine myself enjoying it once I get it because I make so many mistakes in my writing. Not small typo mistakes, but big, paragraph-sized mistakes. So maybe a typewriter isn't a good idea. Though, I admire you for owning one. It sounds pretty hardcore.
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I only use a typewriter when I'm visiting my grandparents. :)

    Creativity flows really nice for me when I use pen and paper, though. I can't do it for too long, but if I'm struggling for that really powerful opening or poignant line, there's something about physically writing in the absence of the Great Blank Flashing Word Doc. I think writing by hand works best for speeches.
     
  9. Jethelin
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    Jethelin Member

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    I used one wayyyy back when I was a kid. Back then I wrote stories about tanks and soldiers haha. They were terrible but I did like the typewriter from what I remember. It seems like a nice compromise between writing on paper and computers to me. But I don't own one anymore.
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know at least one successful author who still writes on a typewriter. He refuses to write on computers. And yet he still has written a whole lot of novels throughout the last like, 30 years. It's admireable but I don't think it's for me.
     
  11. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Besides hipster cred, there's no reason to. It's not like your manuscript will stay 'analogue' very long if it gets picked up either--although even getting it picked up would be an achievement given the number of agencies and publishers who no longer accept unsolicited physical copies.
     
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  12. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    I don't see why it'd be unfaithful... I'm sure writers from a different era would have used better technology had the options been available.

    I've honestly never seen a typewriter, let alone used one. I'd go for practicality over pretension personally ;)
     
  13. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Are you looking for validation or admiration?

    It's not about the tools... when I read a book, I couldn't care less what tools the writer used to write it. He could've used crayons on butcher paper, for all I care.
     
  14. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've heard people say that it's because you put a whole lot more thought on what you write with a typewriter. With a computer it's easy to, as they say, write thoughtlessly because it takes no effort to delete it or remove sections and so on. I think there is something to it. If you know you have to rewrite an entire chapter to change one paragraph you might think twice before you write anything. :)
     
  15. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    That can be a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on the kind of writer you are. The 'fixed' feeling of a typewriter can also paralyze you, whereas the 'floating' feeling of a word processor can help you write 'stream-of-conscious-style', and have your internal editor edit the text afterward. For instance, I often allow two characters to have a dialogue for 2-5 pages without editing. Then I wait a while, read it back and bring the dialogue back to a succinct half page. If I had to do that on a typewriter, I wouldn't waste so much 'paper space' so freely.

    To me it's like analog vs. digital photography. I never liked analog photography - taking a picture and waiting until you can get it developed to find out if it was actually the picture you wanted to shoot. Digital photography freed me to take as many pictures as I want and simply delete the ones that suck.
     
  16. Ziggy Stardust
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    Ziggy Stardust Active Member

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    I don't write on a type writer, but I have a netbook that I got while I was overseas that I've deemed my 'writing machine'. It basically has nothing on it except for Open Office, and isn't connect to the net. I find that if I write on my main computer that I tend to get distracted with looking things up on the net, checking emails, facebook, looking up random information that I think would help me but is just wasting time, etc, etc.

    When I was in school it was the same. I would go into a room without a computer and write everything by hand. Because I just waste so much time otherwise.

    I think it's a good idea to have a dedicated writing machine, that is free of the temptations of internet, games, facebooking, etc.

    But I wouldn't use a type writer personally. We do have one in the house that was my grandfathers, and I have used it a few times just out of curiosity. I do love the engineering in it, and it looks beautiful. But it would annoy me too much to use frequently. And as someone else said it's a bit redundant when these days you'd need to type it up later anyway.
     
  17. Anarchist_Apple84
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    Anarchist_Apple84 Senior Member

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    @Assassin - do you find that helps to refine the voices of your characters a lot? That's something I have issues with when I first start writing with a new character. I might have to try this.
     
  18. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the good old days before PCs if I had to choose between a typewriter and pen and paper, it was always pen and paper. Typewriter, to me, was an unnecessary obstacle, if I can write legibly anyway. It used to take me ages to write anything up because of all the errors, having to start all over again every time, ugh...
    I love writing on a laptop, Pages (Mac's answer to MsOffice, sort of) is the best program in the world for outlining and writing, in general. I'd be completely lost without it.
     
  19. AmsterdamAssassin
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    Most of the time, the voices of my characters are pretty refined by the time I start writing, but I do write much more than will end up in the manuscript. The run-on dialogue, with minimal tags, helps to let the characters have an unedited conversation, without forcing the conversation towards a specific goal. It's in the polishing afterward that the 'conversation' becomes a 'dialogue'.

    What I like most about writing on a word processor is this process - the ability to write whatever comes up, without switching on the internal editor, and amassing this rambling story, warts and all. Then, after I let it sit for a while, the editor comes on, copies the whole mess onto a clean slate [so you don't lose anything] and starts cutting and merging text until it becomes a polished manuscript. I do the same thing with scenes. I wrote a scene a decade ago that got cut in the final editing round. I liked the scene, but it didn't fit that story. When I was writing another story, I needed a scene like that, so I lifted it from the archives, changed the characters and polished it, so it could merge into the story seamlessly. I never throw anything away, no matter how awful. You never know when you might need something that you've written but couldn't use at the time. Besides, with the enormous memory capacity for digital storage, you don't need to throw anything away - 1 whole 100K words manuscript in Word is about 1mB, so my 16GB USB stick can hold everything I've ever written and then some.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I completely agree with you on the usefulness of the computer, I was just referring to what the typewriter-enthusiasts use to motivate their choice. i could never write on a typewriter either. before the computers I used to write by hand rather than on the typewriter we had at home. It's like the pen is connected with my thoughts in a different way, and so it the keyboard nowadays. I need to get the words down as quickly as I can and i'm not the kind of writer who sits and construct a sentence in her head for an hour before writing it down, meditating over a word that won't come to mind. :)) Sometimes I wish I was, it's got a slightly romantic feeling to it :))
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    he didn't use a typewriter, either!... so you'd better start sharpening some quills and grinding your ink, kiddo...

    seriously, i used to think my writing had to go straight from my head to pen to paper... and thence to be typed up for submission... knew for a certainty that i could not 'create' on a machine... but when i ran out of money to pay the typist to retype my messes, i was forced to start using a bargain-price magnavox 'video-writer' and was shocked to discover one day that i'd typed 3 pages past what i'd handwritten!... had to concede i'd been lying to myself all those years...

    the great bottom line was that once having dipped my toe into the electronic waters and then taking the full plunge into computers, my output has been increased many times over, ever since...

    however, i still love the sound of a typewriter, so i use the 'home typist' program and click-clack away happily!
     
  22. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Aaron hit on the key point. Authors should use what their personal preference dictates, but be aware that the number of markets that will take typed, physical copies is shrinking.
     
  23. Mercury12000
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    Mercury12000 Member

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    In my mind, your work doesn't exist unless it exists on paper. You can use MS Office, e-mail it and get it published on Kindle if you want, but unless it ends up in print form, I don't think you really have it, I think it's existance is attributed to a bunch of codes and circuitry and junk.
     
  24. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    On ink and paper, its existence is attributed to a bunch of atoms, molecules, and junk. Typed word, ink, or computer pixels are merely a representation of words, which in turn are merely a representation of thoughts and ideas that can only be imperfectly communicated from the creator to others. The idea that you don't 'have' something, or that it lacks existence by drawing the line at one set of physical characteristics as opposed to another is arbitrary. Further, the document on paper and the document on a computer screen can at least be identical to one another, so they are more closely related in terms of existence and in terms of 'having' things than the author's mental impression is to either of them.
     
  25. Mercury12000
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    ^Well I hope your MS document looks good on someones shelf some day.... somehow. Maybe it will even be a collectors item, that Kindle file. With a beautiful binding.... er, I mean icon.
     

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