When I woke up on Wednesday, I definitely did not think I was going to buy a typewriter. I had never thought about purchasing one before, actually, but I started to after watching this video. I spent the morning researching everything about typewriters, reading reviews and articles about where to buy them from, and going over my budget to see if I could swing it. At the end of it, though, I figured there were way more reasons to say yes than no.
[ONE] NO SCREEN: I spent the entire day on Tuesday behind a screen. It’s kind of impressive when I look at how productive I was able to be without even leaving my house–or the couch, for that matter–but I went to bed with bloodshot eyes and a pounding headache. Still, I need to set goals for myself if I want to improve my writing and make progress on my novel, and doing that always adds screen-time to my daily schedule. Writing by hand is out of the question because of how easily my hand cramps and how illegible my writing gets, but typewriting is the perfect alternative.
[TWO] FOCUS ON WRITING: The other benefit is that I can completely unplug. When I write on the computer, there are so many distractions–especially since I’m on Google Docs. Any time a random question pops into my head, I can just open another tab and look for the answer. Whether I end up on the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums List or looking up why the QWERTY keyboard is set up the way it is, it’s way too easy for me to get sucked down rabbit holes. With a typewriter, I can just play an album or put a playlist on shuffle, leave my phone charging in a separate room, and type for a bit, distraction-free.
[THREE] SLOW DOWN: One major reason why I started typing everything over writing down my thoughts by hand is because my brain moves so much faster than my pen. It’s much easier for me to ramble when I’m typing–I can write 1,000 words on a subject I’m passionate about without even breaking a sweat. But sometimes this is a disservice. This writing isn’t good by any means. It’s drawn-out and filled with tangents and by the time I’m done, I’m miles away from where I wanted to go.
When I’m forced to slow down, though, my writing improves. I choose my words more carefully and I stick to the main point. The added benefit of using a typewriter is that I have more stamina when it comes to typing than writing–even though it does require more force to push down the keys than what I’m used to with a computer. This adds to it as well, though, because it makes me want to write better. If I’m going to go through the whole process that involves everything from loading the paper to manually starting each new line to resetting it when the keys jam, I’m going to punch each key with conviction.
[FOUR] IT’S VALIDATING: Along those lines, the whole process makes it worth it. There’s something validating about the clacks and dings and something beautiful about having something tangible at the end of it. I can start the day with just thoughts and ideas and watch as it forms into something I can hold and say, “look at what I made today.”
[FIVE]: IT’S SO PRETTY: All of these reasons can be summed up to the fact that I think a typewriter will help me be more productive, and this one is no exception. I spent the entire morning researching which typewriters are best for beginners and capable of heavy use and I ultimately decided on one from “We R Memory Keepers” that I picked up from TJ Maxx for a total of $170. It’s brand new, mint green, and definitely a splurge, but it was easily the best deal I found.
So many people on the internet shared their bad experiences of purchasing typewriters from sites like eBay and Etsy. Some sellers don’t properly package and ship them and spent weeks trying to negotiate prices. I considered getting one from a reliable source like TypeWriters101.com–I considered the funky-looking 1966 Royal Safari from the Space-Age era as well as the pale blue 1960s Brother De Luxe, but I didn’t want to spend that much money or wait weeks to get it. I wanted to start writing immediately.
I think it’d be really cool to eventually buy one that has history attached to it, but for now, the one I have is exactly the one I need. It might not be cool and vintage, but I love the way it looks and it certainly gets the job done. When I look over and see it sitting on the desk, I’m drawn to it. I want to write.
Ray Bradbury said “The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me.”
Now I’m excited to do the same.