I sometimes get a bit nostalgic about writing. I love the idea of sitting down at a desk or table, picking up a pen (fountain pen preferably, or a quill pen when I’m having a flight of fantasy – how very Jane Austen), and just writing.
But writing a manuscript out by hand just isn’t very practical these days – you just can’t write fast enough, or you’re so used to typing, writing longhand makes your hand ache.
But then I get fed up with the computer, both desktop and laptop. So, what’s a writer to do?
I thought I might have found the answer a few months ago: get an old-fashioned typewriter.
So I did, and the novelty of it quickly died. The typewriter looked okay (for its age) but it was an absolute pain to change the ribbon, and it really made my arms ache. I grew up when computers were being used in conjunction with electric typewriters and the keyboards were pretty similar. But a manual typewriter is quite a different beast – you need force to bang the keys down. The other problem was that anything I typed would have to be re-typed into the computer.
So, I gave up on that idea.
And then I came across something on YouTube that made me think I’d found the answer. I found the Freewrite – a smart typewriter.
The Freewrite is a digital typewriter – the best of both worlds.
Thanks to a Wi-Fi connection, it allows me to type up documents that are then saved to my computer – no retyping necessary. It has an e-Ink screen so there was no dreaded blue glow that made my eyes ache. It’s entirely portable – no more having to be ‘plugged in’ – I can just pick it up and plonk down wherever I feel like it and start typing by pressing the On button. And more importantly, it has a mechanical keyboard with that all-important clicky-clack typewriter sound (which I love).
I felt a bit guilty about getting the Freewrite. At £500+, it’s not a cheap option, not when you consider you can get an all singing and dancing laptop for the same money, but I was given it as a present from my lovely dad, so I didn’t have to let the price tag worry me for too long. I was also a little concerned that after my dad spending such a lot of money, it would be a 5-minute wonder, something I would play with for a week or two and then grow bored with – something I am prone to doing.
How wrong I was! Almost 80,000 words later and I have to say I love my Freewrite. It’s freed me from the computer. No longer do I have to make sure I’m in easy distance of a plug socket so I can plug my laptop in. I can take it out in the garden if it’s a nice day and not have to worry about shading the screen so I can see it. And it’s made me write. I’ve never got this many words done in so short a time before.
It is only a first draft tool, I hasten to add. Once this draft is complete, I’ll be back to editing on the computer, but that’s the point of the Freewrite: it helps you get that first draft done, which is often the hardest part.
So, if you’re a writer and wondering whether the Freewrite is for you, then I can heartily recommend it. I got mine from Amazon here, but I believe you can order direct from Astrohaus.