Typewriting

  1. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    Hey all. Fact: internet can be incredibly distracting. As soon as one sits in front of a computer, it's hard to not associate the device/activity in some way or another to movies, games, media, facebook, and other things we normally use it for. Even the most focused mind can trip up over the subconscious attachments/links we create with our computers, and end up deviating from the task at hand. As long as there is the possibility of internet connection, I grow weak, so just turning the wifi off isn't enough. Reconciling my leisure center with my writing device is becoming more difficult, specially when I'm on the writing slump.

    I'm thinking of getting a typewriter or other similar device with the one purpose. A mechanical one might be nice and classical, but impractical when you consider the lengthy editing process (although not an absolute deal-breaker if there's a good deal at hand. Red pen editing is quite enjoyable--but the rewriting of everything post-edit might be too much). I've looked into some electronic word-processors/typewriters like the Hemingwrite/Freewrite, but it seems it is expensive and not really that convenient, according to reviews, to put it kindly. The Alphasmart looks more promising, but overly simplistic for my needs.

    Has anyone had experiences with these devices? How practical is a mechanical typewriter really? Also, is there anything out there resembling a proper typewriter/word-processor keyboard with PC connectivity to edit out drafts and keep things virtual for convenience?

    Your suggestions and experiences are welcome.
     
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  2. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    I used to love my Selectric 3!! That little ball is amazing1 And so easy to change out!

    Can't use a manual typewriter - haven't been able to for some time. The keys get all clogged up when you go over 100CWPM.
     
  3. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

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    At the risk of sounding like a killjoy (typecast again, heheh no pun intended), it’s not technology that stops one writing, but lack of focus and intent.

    Games and distractions are fine, really, but just moderate them. I’m a bit of a magpie myself, but I’m still able to use my laptop and iPad to write without being distracted by shiny things. I do those shiny things in their own time and place, just not when I write.

    I think it’s a trap to get into the mindset of blaming our tools instead of our behaviour. After all a computer is inert, a typewriter is inert, a television is inert; these things don’t do anything without us, so my advice would be to save your money and put it to better use down the line, say paying for an editor or something. ;)

    pH
     
  4. zmunkz

    zmunkz Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Phyrebrat. The novelty of the typewriter might help a few times, but once the brain gets to work, it can find distractions if it wants, I promise you. You could just as easily disconnect your internet on your computer/ipad/whatever and enjoy the relative isolation of an offline machine. Whatever the case, I think the challenge to overcome is with us and our brains, not, as phyrebrat said, with our tools.
     
  5. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    Back in the late 70's early 80's I typed out two two hundred page novels-crudely-on an old smith corona manual. You couldn't pay me to go back to that and really; just unplug the internet cable from the computer you want to work on: ie- disable the internet cards if you have wi-fi and blue tooth.

    This is about like an alcoholic saying he'll go back to getting beverages from the liquor store because every time he goes to a bar he gets carried away.
    Once again as has been said--it's the bad habits that cause the problem with focus and really it would be much easier if you just bought a note pad and started scribbling out your work with pen or pencil and paper, which is something I've seen people do just for this reason and it makes no sense since some time down the road they will have to approach a computer to type it out and make it pretty.
     
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  6. Shorewalker

    Shorewalker Active Member

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    As has been said, the loss of focus is unlikely to be your PC's fault, although I do understand the temptation.

    As a suggestion, find an old, cheap laptop and clear it of all internet functionality. Disabling connectivity won't work, as it's so easy to reconnect. However, wiping the machine of every browser and on-line means of connection...and then disabling connectivity...might just do the trick.
     
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  7. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton The storyteller

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    Disconnect your computer from the internet. Or use an old laptop without internet connection. I would not go back to a typewriter! I used one for years at work, before I had my children, and the joy and bliss of using a computer (running windows 3.11 lol) when I went back was well.....
     
  8. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    At 3.11 I wanted my Selectric 3 back. :(
     
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  9. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    I agree with all said. Don't get me wrong, I'm not blaming the device for my writing slumps. So far I've done all my writing through the years on my computer--it's not like it has stopped me. I'm just looking to level the playing field all I can, and tweak any and all distracting factors. It sounds like everyone else just has infinite passion and ironclad wills! :D Everyone surely has low moments too? It is in those cases that I feel a dedicated device could be specially useful--an object to go to that is exclusively associated with the craft.

    Allow me to play the devil's advocate, for argument's sake. Having a dedicated writing device isn't only romantic, it also makes sense from a psychological standpoint. It's the same reason why you shouldn't use your bed to laze around/watch TV, etc during the day. If you stop associating it with "sleep", it actually lowers the quality of the sleep on it. Unconscious associations have powerful effects like that. Same thing can happen with computers, IMO. Being in the right mindset can and will be influenced by external factors to some extent on certain days. It might be too optimistic and unrealistic to think otherwise. Granted, I can still write despite not "being all there" mentally (and I often have), but it isn't ideal. I guess I'm trying to approach the most ideal situation for writing and thought a typewriter might be one way of going about it.

    Inner motivation is the primary ingredient to sit down and write, no doubt, but even a good steak can benefit from a bit of salt and pepper.

    My typewriter theory on mood/initiative improvement related to writing device used might be off though, seeing the comments so far. Do share your personal experiences with typewriters though. Prove someone here wrong!:D
     
  10. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

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    CBT is cheaper. Well, free, actually ;)

    It’s helped me rewire my mind (although it won’t help you suffer fools, sadly as I’ve found most days)

    If you don’t know what it is, here’s an overview from Wikipedia
    pH
     
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  11. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    I hope you're not referring to me! :D:D

    I certainly do know about it. It's part of my trade! Although working with non-verbal children doesn't give me opportunities to practice it.

    I was thinking something along the lines of having an external object (typewriter) breaking the negative cycle, wedging it between the grinding gears long enough to start writing, and then relying on the inertia and passion to carry me through.

    I probably should address the bigger issue first though: internet addiction :sick:. We need to start a support group here or something! Procrastinating has never been easier...
     
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  12. sknox

    sknox Well-Known Member

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    I write with pen and paper. Try as I might, I am unable to get to the Internet with it.

    Pen and paper is highly portable, even more portable than a laptop and certainly more portable than a typewriter.

    For me, pen and paper has a couple of additional attractions. I love writing with a fountain pen, plus I get to have colors. With pen and paper I can sit, stand or lie in a variety of positions, easing the physical strain. Finally, I'm an incessant doodler. When I'm caught between sentences or paragraphs, doodling keeps my eye on the page, the pen on the paper. I'm far more likely to keep writing. When those moments happen on a computer, it's far too easy to click on something else. No Internet? Fine, I'll play Solitaire. Anything but write! (I'm weak; I'm so very weak). Finally, I find pen and paper to be the best environment for brainstorming, writing random notes, that activity I call "planning" which is mainly brainstorming and writing random notes, and in general doing non-linear thinking.

    All that said, pen and paper are for the first draft. I write a scene or a few scenes, then I type it into the computer. That serves as a quick editing pass--I might adjust a word or make other small changes as the text goes in. Making a second pass also helps reinforce the story line in my own porous mind. I would not ever try to edit with pen and paper.

    In short, it works for me.
     
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  13. Cathbad

    Cathbad Level 30 Geek Master

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    Why will no one suffer us fools?? :(
     
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  14. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

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    Although I can’t imagine writing longhand as some of you do, I can’t plan on a screen. Not that I’m a planner by any stretch but when I need to work out who is where and what they’ll be doing in terms of loose waypoints, I have to use pen and paper. The linearity of screen writing is too restrictive whereas pen and paper allows you to scrawl flowchart-like all over.

    So imo there’s still plenty of value in pen and paper!

    (But not for @Cathbad; he’s just wilful ;) )

    pH
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  15. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    Do what works for you. There's no right or wrong. When i write i bounce on and off the internet and that works for me - for others that's a distraction. There's no need to rewire anything - you just need to play and find what works.
     
  16. Suzanne Jackson

    Suzanne Jackson Formerly crystal haven

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    I find I write happily on the computer until it either decides to update, do some strange thing I don't understand but is clearly necessary - at that moment, or I need to look something up, which is fatal for my writing as I end up on Facebook, etc. I used a typewriter years ago, certainly less distraction, but I couldn't write that way now.
     
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