“THAT’S THE SOUND OF TYPING. It’s the cadence of creativity, the percussion of punctuation. That sound, you’ll get lost in it. It becomes a rhythm, a music that will spur you on to other areas of imagination that you will eventually create and record forever on your typewriter.” — Tom Hanks
My life has a new soundtrack and I don’t need to open Spotify to get it. I need only sit in front my 1946 Quiet DeLuxe typewriter and the music begins.
“Chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick chick TINK…… Zrrrrip… Chick Chick Chick…”
I’ve found myself intoxicated by these sounds not just because it originates from a fascinating piece of American technology, but because it is the confirmation of my own progress of written thought.
The fact of the matter is that I am new to typewriters and have much to learn about their history, mechanics, as well as my own relationship to this machine. Seeing as I will not have the opportunity again, I am taking this moment to give you my first impressions of using a typewriter and THREE REASONS why I think a typewriter might just be right for you too.
1. The Typewriter Delivers a Tactile Experience
Perhaps it is the years I have spent typing on laptops, but I didn’t realize just how much I would come to appreciate the tactile response typewriters deliver to the writer. It happens in more ways than one: The mechanical movement of the keys and hammers. The splashing of ink on wood pulp. The smell of 70 year old steel (in the case of my black metal beauty).
All of this keeps me grounded in the real world and encourages a deeper connection to the material I create. That tactile experience then affects my head space and fosters greater creative thinking. I find the sensations that accompany a typewriter to be particularly inspiring for passion projects. As a result, it is now exclusively what I use when writing my poetry, stories and screenplays.
2. Using a Typewriter Slows Down the Writing Process.
Slower is better!
At least when it comes to creative writing. In comparison to the computer, the design of the typewriter will inevitably cause you to slow down and think about the words you are about to type.
On a typewriter you are not just spewing word vomit, but rather constructing fully realized thoughts. There are ways of deleting errors, but (in the spirit of the construction metaphor) I prefer the “measure twice, cut once” approach. Without the safety net of a proper delete button you will be forced to choose your words and ideas with greater care.
While the process is slowed down, it also facilitates progress. Without constant editing the typewriter allows the writer to continue moving forward and complete first drafts faster. As important as it is, editing can come later.
Not to mention, the payoff is worth it! The sensation of formulating a well crafted idea and then seeing the words physically take shape in front of you is extremely gratifying and worth the extra time taken.
3. Cut Out the Distractions!
This is a tool with a singular purpose: to type!
Think of all the times you sat down in front of your laptop to write and got sucked into the vortex of the internet. While my laptop is a brilliant machine and is what I primarily use for work, the typewriter forces me to focus on the task at hand: the creative process.
I still lose focus at times, but now instead of responding with the equivalent of thumb twiddling via YouTube and social media, I daydream or observe my surroundings. This serves my writing and creative thinking as opposed to diverting it.
‘Should I Purchase a Typewriter’, You Ask?
ABSOLUTELY! These are just a few of the many advantages to using a typewriter. They have been echoed by many a great author time and time again. I happened to notice them right away and I think you will too. Whether you are typing a grocery list or manifesting your next work of art, the typewriter is here to serve you without question.
It is certainly not the easiest way of writing, but in my humble opinion it is the most satisfying. Though there are pros and cons to every medium, I find the typewriter to be the best writing companion I could ask for and I am becoming more and more thankful for the “sound of typing” with each passing page.
Davis Wilton Bader — 04Apr19