FIVE REASONS WHY I BOUGHT A TYPEWRITER

Dear Reader,

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. 

Sincerely,

Sammy

I’M WRITING A BOOK (LULU.COM)

Dear Reader,

A few weeks ago, I found out about the website “Lulu.com” and I can’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner. So I’m sharing it with all of you.

Lulu is a company that allows you to self publish books and ebooks. You can sell your work through their website and others, but that’s not quite what I’m intending to do.

I started a novel last spring and wrote like crazy for almost three weeks, managing to rack up almost 26,000 words. And then I just kind of stopped. I planned on working on it over the summer, but I kind of forgot about it. And I thought about finishing it up and revising it like crazy and then get serious about getting it published. Maybe I’d look for an agent or start going to writing conventions, I don’t know.

But then I remembered why I wrote it in the first place. I feel like a broken record, but I write for clarity. I take things that happen in my life and try to make sense of them. And last winter, I started feeling really sad. I felt ultimately alone, and I found myself easily aggravated at the few people who I constantly found myself around. And all I wanted to know was why. Why was I, a privileged girl from the suburbs who has the world at her fingertips, feeling depressed?

So I sought out therapy (you can read more about that in my recent post here), but it didn’t help like I thought it would. Then again, I might’ve had unrealistic expectations since I thought there was no way possible that he would actually think I was depressed. Even didn’t think it.

And then more stuff happened and I started to feel better, which made me think it was just seasonal, but then it got worse, which just made me feel helpless, really.

So I started writing a book.

A new book.

I started with a character that I largely based off of myself. She was a freshman in college, at a college very similar to Miami, and she was sad for seemingly no reason. But then the story started writing itself, and the girl suddenly wasn’t me anymore. It was a girl who had a traumatic experience, went through multiple therapists, and finally found one who she trusted–someone who actually understood her. And she fell in love.

So it was no longer my story, but it still helped me to write it. I still related to her, sure, and I loved finally working on something that I couldn’t stop thinking about. It was my own therapy, in a way.

And now I’m back at school, and it’s weird. I have so many good memories from last year, but I had so many bad thoughts as well. And I’ll listen to my playlist from J-Term and feel overwhelmingly sad again. Just because the music will bring me back to that place in my life.

So, long story short, I suppose, I’m going to finish this book and I’m going to publish it using Lulu. I’m going to have a hard copy of something I created, and I’m going to see my own name in print.

I’m going to have this goal I’m working towards–a goal that I so desperately want to reach. Not because I have dreams of being rich and famous and seeing my name in bookstores and signing over rights for the movie version. But because of the whole reason I like writing in the first place–it helps.

So these big dreams can be put on hold momentarily. I’m helping myself first.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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DAYS 11 & 12: THANK YOU CARRIE HOPE FLETCHER AND JOHN GREEN

Dear Reader,

Today I’m going to thank two people that I look up to very much.

Everyone probably knows John Green: author of Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and, of course, The Fault in our Stars. Most people who know this are also aware that he has a YouTube channel that he runs with his brother, Hank. They have over 2 million subscribers and they started VidCon! He’s basically set for life, and his job is to write and make videos and teach and inspire and he’s in charge of this wonderful, life-changing event that improves each year. He’s incredible.

And then there’s Carrie Hope Fletcher, possibly not as well-known, but equally talented and important to me. Carrie is my idol. She stars as Éponine in the West End (fun fact: she’s the only actress in the West End to have ever starred as both child and Adult Eponine). She has a blog and has announced the release of her first book. She has half a million subscribers on YouTube. And she’s the sister of Tom Fletcher, from McFly! She’s wonderful.

These people inspire me every day. They’re intelligent, thought-provoking beings who challenge everything and truly make the most of life. They’re everything I want to be.

I’ve always had a hard time with labels, and I’ve always seemed to fall into too many categories. No aptitude test has ever picked a single job for me and I’ve never had a standout multiple intelligence. I like puzzles and balancing money and playing sports and following a routine and traveling spontaneously and working with my hands and learning new things. I can be just as introverted as I can be extroverted. I can feel the need to be outside and then go on walks for hours, but I can also lock myself in my room for an entire weekend, perfectly content. I can plan out an entire day and stick to it, or I can be impulsive and trash it all without so much as a second thought.

I’ve been told this is a good thing, but it’s made my life confusing. Some days I feel like a completely different person, or like I don’t know myself at all. And then I get scared I’ll choose the wrong career because one day I’ll just stop feeling like it. One day I might stop liking what I like now.

But Carrie and John give me hope. They’re pursuing their passions and traveling and singing and writing and making videos. They’re connecting with people, and that’s all I really want to do.

So thank you. Thank you so much for inspiring me every day to do what I love. To throw labels and job titles out the window and just move forward–learning and living with every passing day.

It’s because of you that I’ll never give up on my dreams.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Listen to this song: Zella Day – Hypnotic