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Author Topic: If You Remember Manual Typewriters, You Probably Werent All There...
Ira Nayman
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Post If You Remember Manual Typewriters, You Probably Werent All There...
on: March 3, 2013, 21:53
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It's funny how the machines you use affect your creative process.

I started writing on a manual typewriter. I remember having to bang the keys sharply just to get the slightest imprint on the page. When, a couple of years later, I was given a portable electric typewriter, I nearly destroyed some of the keys because I was banging on the keyboard so heavily. Eventually, I adjusted. When I got my first computer, I had the same problem: my touch was too heavy for the new keyboard. Again, I adjusted.

I would never have written a first draft on a typewriter; at that point in my writing life, all of my first drafts were written in longhand. This gave me the opportunity to do a basic first edit before I started typing, which made working on the first typed draft a much smoother process. Writing first drafts by hand was a habit that stayed with me until well into my computer era (although, perhaps interestingly, only for fiction; I started composing non-fiction directly into the computer the moment I got my first). Of course, now, almost 20 years after I got my first computer, I compose everything on it.

I found that writing longhand slowed the process down enough to let ideas percolate in my subconscious, which serves my writing best. When I reached a point where I needed a new idea to keep the writing going, I would do that staring off into space thing writers do until it came (or, if it didn't, put a placeholder in and move on). To compensate for the speed of typing on a computer, I now periodically take short breaks (ie: to read two or three emails or send a tweet) to slow the writing process down and let my subconscious work on creative problems.

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