Every author is different. If we were all the same there would be no point in reading books, they'd all be the same too. One of the things that makes me unusual as an author is my use of a typewriter for my first drafts.
I know it's part of the author stereotype. There's a college degrees on the wall, a vintage typewriter, maybe even some tweed, with a nearly-empty bottle of bourbon on the desk. It's supposed to be late in the evening while I pour my tortured soul out into my novels, drinking heavily and watching my world turn to ruin. My isolation and dark sense of humor robs me of my friends on my way down.
I can't speak about the mindset of most authors. The ones I've met are pretty normal people. I do have a dark sense of humor, but I hardly ever drink, don't own any tweed, and actually didn't get the chance to finish college. I hardly ever write late at night. Mostly I work in the early hours of the morning, just after the kids go to school. I can say that the reality about modern writing is that it's mostly done on a computer. So the melodic clack of typewriter keys is replaced by the insect-like ticking of the computer keyboard. Maybe that's why in fiction, writers always use a typewriter. The computer is quieter, but I would argue that it's not more pleasant to listen to. I know at least one author who still writes everything out long-hand first, but mostly it's just the ticking.
So the question becomes why do I choose to write on a typewriter over a quick, convenient, computer?
The answer is that I have lots of reasons. The chief among them is that it allows me to actually finish what I start. Can't I do that on a computer? I guess I could but I have a problem with trying to say everything "just so." When I write on a computer I'll save what I'm doing, second-guess, then rewrite half of it before I ever get started with the day's work. The more I've written, the more I second-guess and re-write. Yes, that is the point of editing, and I'm more than happy to edit with a computer, but it's death for a first draft. If I'm too concerned with perfect dialog, or the necessity of every sentence to move the story forward...I don't move the story forward. With a typewriter I would have to re-write entire pages just to change a sentence. My rational mind can be reasoned with, even it sees that as too much work. So, I can tell myself I'll fix it in editing later and just move on.
Secondly, I like a hard-copy of my work. I don't trust computers not to lose files, or me not to accidentally overwrite, or forget to save something important. On the computer that means I have to print as I go along, but do you remember what I said about needing to re-write, and re-write. It leaves me only a couple of options. I can print immediately for my peace of mind, but my environmentally conscious self squirms while I print and reprint my page as it changes over and over again. Or I can choose not to print for chapters on end hoping that when I finally do it's the final version of that chapter in my draft. If I'm still re-reading it I can assure you it isn't. Aren't I worried that my print copy is the only copy of my book. No, because it isn't. I scan my pages as I write them so there are always backups.
The third reason I do it is that when I start work on my second draft I can't be lazy about it. Every page has to be typed onto the computer. When I'm doing that I have to go over every sentence. I'm going to get agressive about cutting things out that are not necessary just so that I don't have to type it in.
In the end I think the typewriter makes me a better writer.
I wrote my first book "As It Ends" on my Olivetti Underwood Lettera 33. Now my second novel is being written on the Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe that I found at an antique store and bought for myself to celebrate the completion of my first book.
I have an ongoing interest in dystopian fiction, both reading and writing it. I’m a fan of simple living and draw inspiration for my writing from my love of old-fashioned skills and my small hobby farm.
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My first book is available on Amazon