1. ZombieHappyMeal
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    ZombieHappyMeal Member

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    Writing on a Typewriter.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by ZombieHappyMeal, Oct 14, 2011.

    For some reason I have always wanted to get an old Typewriter to do my creative writing. I have been researching online quite a bit, and it seems that many other writers prefer to write on manual typewriters. I really like the idea of not being able to backspace when I am writing something. I feel that it would force me to focus a lot more and would keep me from self editing as I go (which is a problem for me).

    I was wondering if any of you write on a manual typewriter and could share the experience. What are the pros and cons? What brand/model typewriter do you use? Are there any good typewriters for under $100?

    Thank you so much for the information,

    ZHM
     
  2. Batgoat
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    Batgoat Senior Member

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    The only problem with typewriters is having to replace ribbons and then, having to have reams of paper onto which to disgorge your ideas! Back in the 80s, when I was but a wee lad, I permanently borrowed my mother's manual typewriter (she had at that time upgraded to an electric model) and wrote reams and reams of stories, sadly none of which survive. That is also another drawback - losing your pages. But hammering away at a typewriter for hours on end was great. Until you run out of paper and/or ink. Whether it focuses your writing or not would be your own thing to discover. For me, though, it was a kind of "published look" that was way neater than my hand writing.

    To find a typewriter on the cheap, it might pay to investigate sites like ebay. Get it through an online auction. Just beware that someone could be selling their old junk
     
  3. colinbeckett
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    colinbeckett Member

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    Why not just write by hand for your editing problem?

    Or pop the backspace key out of your keyboard.
     
  4. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I had a dream last night that I was typing on an old fashioned typewriter and woke up really wanting one. It's funny to then come on here and see this post...

    There is definitely an advantage to creating something that's tangible and difficult to erase. This is especially the case for those of us who tend to over-edit as we go along (as I most certainly do). I suspect this is why the idea of writing with a manual typewriter appeals to me. However, I think instead of romanticising the notion, I'm going to try to be more disciplined and force myself not to censor my free writing. I need to make my writing in Word more permanent, through attitude & confidence.

    There wouldn't be any harm though in pursuing the purchase of a typewriter. I have no idea how much they cost but perhaps you should ask around friends and family. They might have an old one stuffed away on a loft or in storage? I'd imagine the maintenance and upkeep of ribbons would be quite demanding though.
     
  5. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    If all you are concerned about is not having to backspace while you write, you can save an infinite number of drafts on your PC. Just dont save over them. That way if you find yourself editing way to much, you have the other drafts to go back to. You can turn your PC writing into a faux typewriting expierence without spending the cash on the unit, ink and paper. Just get creative with it.
     
  6. chellelouj16
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    chellelouj16 New Member

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    I think using the pc is more convenient to use in writing because tapping the keys is not so tiring and you can also type fast without any noise. Finding an old typewriter nowadays is quite difficult and if you found one it's not sure if it is working well and the parts are quite rare.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why in the world would "self editing" be a problem? I happily edit as I go.

    I used to write on a typewriter, waaay back in high school. I borrowed my sister's. Guess what? It's really noisy. I found that I preferred writing by hand, which provides all the "advantages" of writing on a typewriter, plus many more. I still often write by hand before dumping my stuff into the computer.

    You're going to have to word-process your work anyway. So why not write your first draft by hand? Better than typing, I think. You wind up with a manuscript that looks like a work of art. I want to take some pages of my early handwritten drafts and frame them and hang them on my walls because they look so cool. I'd never do that with a typewritten draft.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    think of how many reams of paper you'll be going through as you refine and polish your ms with the numerous edits it takes even the best of writers... not to mention how many more it will take to deal with an editor's suggested changes, if you're lucky enough to have it accepted for publication!... and how many trees will bite the dust to feed your whim?

    perhaps more importantly to you personally, how many agents and editors who want sample chapters or complete mss submitted electronically, will you not be able to submit your work to?
     
  9. ZombieHappyMeal
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    ZombieHappyMeal Member

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    I am actually really surprised by the all the negative responses to this post. I thought that there would be at least a few of you that write on a manual typewriter. The fact that you can not type as fast is an advantage for me. I feel like it would force me to focus more on what was being written. Also I love the sound that a typewriter makes when you are punching away on the keys.

    As far as editing goes and submitting to publishers, I would not be typing every copy. Obviously I am not a Luddite. I am posting on an online forum. I would re-type my first drafts into the computer and then do editing there. I type over 100 words a minute, so typing it into the computer wouldn't really be a problem. I just really like the idea of the typewriter for a first draft. No one else feels this way????

    If a typewriter lover does come along I would love to hear recommendations on what typewriter to buy. Thanks!
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I'd like to have a go with a typewriter. I'm not sure how convenient it would be, exactly, but it looks fun.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i combine both, with a sound effect program that makes my keyboard sound like a typewriter!
     
  12. bunpitsu
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    bunpitsu New Member

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    I recently purchased a Remington Model 5, from 1938 I believe, in gunmetal and black (case and everything!). I've typed a little on it to build up some experience, as my only time using a typewriter of any variety was when I was a child. My main purpose for buying the machine was to replace my handwritten note-taking and scribbling. Also, if you're anything like me, you'll experience a strange pleasure from just stroking the keys with your fingers. And that sound! Magical.

    For practical purposes of course, I format, correct and print from my laptop computer, equipped with the Office suite.
     
  13. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I use a full screen text editor that also has sound effects, if you like having them. There is also a momentum writer tool that is free online and it has back-spacing capability disabled so you are forced to continue writing and unable to edit.
     
  14. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Wow, how about a hammer, chisel and a flat piece of stone?

    I used a manual typewriter(built in 60's) back in the mid seventies, had to hit the keys hard, then we got a newer one, still had to hit them fairly hard, and the ribbon ran out quickly. Editing was terrible.

    I think I chucked it at a t-rex on the way to school one day:eek:(up hill...both ways in blazing sun, dodging tumbleweeds.:p)
     
  15. efgeesus
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    efgeesus Member

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    Wow, I salute anyone willing to bash out their writing instead of using a computa.

    I'm picturing Nicholson from The Shining..
     
  16. David Cook
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    David Cook New Member

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    each to their own

    I just have to say, I love typewriters, my mom managed to pick me one up from a charity shop about a month ago. My writing has increased ten-fold in my opinion... like others have said, you really do have to concentrate on what you want to say before letting your fingers fly, like you would on a pc because at the end of it, you really only have one chance, if you want your work to say what you wanted first time.....and I'm sure we can all agree that's a damn hard task!!
    My favourite thing I get from typing on a typewriter though, is seeing my words appear on paper before my very eyes, it feels almost magical in a sense. Bear in mind that I was born in '88, so by the time I was six, computers were really coming into their own.
    I remember when my family got our first pc, the only thing I did on it was learn to touch type, not even the internet seemed appealing to me, I just wanted to learn how to write as fast as I could.
    I got my first typewriter six weeks ago, and it's made me one hell of a better writer. Everyone who has said it makes you think more is right on the money!....The amount of times I've sat at my laptop, staring at a blinking cursor with not a clue as of what to write, used to scare the hell out of me.
    Then, I got the typewriter and everything just sort of fell into place, not sure whether it was the thinking time involved or simply the sound the keys made upon striking the paper but I've found my writing has significantly improved since the purchase and what's more, I enjoy writing a whole lot more lately! x
     
  17. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    David, if you found that writing on a typewriter makes you a better writer, you should try writing by hand. Have you done that? It's actually kind of amazing. At least it is for me.
     
  18. Lou Plot Point Olson
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    Lou Plot Point Olson Member

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    if you want to be lazy just write in pen. i wrote an entire creative essay with i quill i made myself and paper o pressed myself.
     
  19. suddenly BANSHEES
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    suddenly BANSHEES Contributing Member

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    What program is this, and where can I get one?

    I had a typewriter for a while, but never got a ribbon for it or anything, so I'd just play with the keys for fun. The sound was so relaxing.
     
  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    We can't discuss writing software by name apparently, so I am PMing you. As an aside, it seems silly in this computer age not to be able to discuss specifically a modern writer's chief tool (apart from the brain).
     
  21. Nicki_G
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    Nicki_G Member

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    I have a 1950s Royal Quiet DeLuxe that I just got from a second hand store for 6 Dollars. I'm quite pleased with how good of shape it's in, even though the ribbon is quite spendy, about $10 a ribbon. I'm excited to start using it as soon as I get the ribbon :)
     
  22. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    Ha, you think you're old school. I wrote my whole first draft by hand homie.
     
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  23. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I've passed my first draft along through the oral tradition used by cultures prior to writing.
     
  24. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My first draft is lost in the mists of time because I wrote it in an ancient language nobody knows anymore.

    But it was BRILLIANT!
     
  25. Arathald
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    Arathald Contributing Member

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    I've definitely considered doing the typewriter thing before. Not sure how well bringing one to my local coffee shop would go over, though. I think it would definitely help suppress my inner editor, though pen and paper has the same effect.

    A good scanner and OCR software can help out with getting it into the computer.

    Maybe I should look into this again... it's pretty easy to find them for dirt cheap or even free on online classifieds.

    Now the question is: electric or manual?
     

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