Why this madman loves the manual typewriter

Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment. However, I use a manual typewriter because it is a challenge; because it helps me focus; because I see my thoughts on paper instantly. Don’t get me wrong, it is not all good at first, for the transition from the technological marvel that is the computer can be a torturous test of will. Believe me, when you stand before a typewriter for the first time, you will feel the difference as that blank sheet of paper stares you down, laughs at you, taunts you with silent jeers … and the nervous pressure starts popping from your pores in beads of sweat. Therein lies the magic, in my opinion, because it is a time of profound truth. You cannot depend on technology, on cut & paste. It makes you think before you type. It forcefully clears up the story in your head, gets rid of the fluff … well, hopefully. It takes training, though, like a workout for the brain. I will use an analogy–it’s like training to be a boxer on one of those speedbag things. See, when we are newbies to the mechanical dinosaur, it is a bit pathetic. Click. Damn. Click. Damn. Click. But then we begin to think faster, and faster … until the keys (bag) are slamming away with rhythmic pops from your fevered effort; the carriage is dinging the bell; a paper rips out and another is loaded … and you begin to feel the art, to see the magic of creation go from brain, to fingers, to paper, at lightning speed. It’s a wonderful feeling when you reach that “speedbag zone”. Hours roll by, meals may be skipped, the pets go into hiding as they fear the madman standing before that crazy clicking monster. Yepper, that’s writing. I am addicted to the manual typewriter. Let’s go to the gym and sweat.



8 responses to “Why this madman loves the manual typewriter

    • The secret is to ignore those while in a first draft; just keep typing. And there is no hurry for a story. Then you sit in an easy chair with freshly typed pages and mark them up with a red pen … and do it again. As the drafts go along, we get better, and the typos disappear.


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