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Writing My Latest Novel On A Typewriter

I've never liked spending long hours on the computer, staring at a screen. But as a writer, of course, this is how I spend most of my working day. In an attempt to combat this, a few years ago, I got a Freewrite, which was a compromise between the typewriter and laptop.

I love my Freewrite, but while looking for a suitable case for it, I started eyeing up the second-hand typewriters available on eBay. And a few months of buying typewriters began.


Brother Baby Blue De Luxe Manual Typewriter
Brother Baby Blue De Luxe Manual Typewriter

My very first purchase was the typewriter I love the most: the Brother Baby Blue De Luxe (circa 1963). It has a wonderful feel to the keys and one of the best typefaces. The model I bought has its problems - the bell doesn't ring when I get to the end of the page, the ribbon comes loose when the Shift key is locked, and it doesn't like typing in red much - but it is still my favourite machine. It's perfect for putting on my lap while sitting on the sofa.


Remington Portable 1927 Typewriter
Remington Portable 1927 Typewriter

I next bought what I thought was the iconic typewriter look - a 1927 Remington Portable. While the machine looked fantastic (and it was in great condition for a machine that was over 90 years old), I didn't like the snappiness of the keys or the typeface. It was too small and the letters were too close together. So, after a little bit of use, the Remington Portable found a new owner.



Remington Typewriter
Remington Typewriter


I bought another Remington, mainly attracted by the light sage green colour, but it had a similar feel to the Portable in regards to the keys and typeface. It also jumped every line, missing out characters, and this was too annoying to work with, so that machine was also sold on.




Boots PT800 Typewriter
Boots PT800 Typewriter


Next, I bought a Boots Portable from the early 1980s. While this looked similar to the Brother, it had a completely different feel to it, which I absolutely loathed. I hated typing on it and didn't like the pages it produced, so yes, you've guessed it, it was sold on.




I decided I wanted a desk typewriter, and after watching far too many YouTube videos about typewriters, decided what I needed was an Olympia. So, I bought a 1970 Olympia, and although doesn't have a tension release lever (which is a little bit annoying), it certainly delivers in terms of performance. The Olympia brand is known as a workhorse in the typewriter world and I can completely understand why.


1970 Olympia Standard Typewriter
1970 Olympia Standard Typewriter

Oh, I forgot, I also bought a Brother Electronic AX-230 typewriter, which is also great when I don't have the energy or inclination to type on a manual.


So, why use a typewriter rather than a desktop or laptop computer? Of course, I can't turn my back on the computer forever. The typewriters were only used to outline and write the first draft of Death of a Blackbird.


First draft typewritten pages
First draft typewritten pages

But that first draft was the quickest, the most workable and the most fun first draft I've ever written and I want to do it again. I know, using a typewriter makes me a bit of a Luddite, but typing on pieces of paper and seeing them build up was soooo satisfying. I didn't have any thought to how many words I was writing each day, which usually happens if I write straight into Scrivener. I was free to just write, not worrying about mistakes, and not having to edit myself as I wrote. It was simply wonderful and I look forward to starting the next book and getting back to my Baby Blue De Luxe and Olympia.








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