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How to Turn your Computer into a Manual Typewriter

February 7, 2016

typist (by rocketcandy)

Source: Blockwriter + Subtraction.com by Khoi Vinh

“As we all know, the surfeit of distractions available on a personal computer these days can make it exceedingly easy to get nothing done.

There’s the constant haranguing of emails, the intrusions of instant messaging, and the endless nagging of countless other attention-hungry applications and utilities.

In looking for ways to defuse this, I noticed a few years ago that some serious writers, at least in the early drafting stages of their work, were turning to manual typewriters as a method of sidestepping all of those distractions.

It’s a great solution: what better way to thwart a computer than to step away from it completely?


There’s no email to check on a typewriter, no beeps and pop-up reminders from other applications, and no access whatsoever to the Internet and its tantalizing abundance of productivity-killing diversions.

What’s more, a manual typewriter is a powerful antidote to authorial dawdling, that propensity to continually re-edit a sentence or a paragraph — thereby imparting the feeling of working without really working — instead of continuing to write new sentences or paragraphs instead.

Unlike word processors or even the simplest text editors, manual typewriters don’t allow you to easily re-edit, insert and revise a sentence once it’s been committed to paper. This makes for an entirely different writing experience: the ideas come first, and the act of finessing them, of word-smithing, comes after all the ideas have been set to paper.”

You can read more on Blockwriter + Subtraction.com for the rest of the article.

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