After years of wanting one I finally bought a typewriter. Did I tell you?
[after all I couldn't hang on to my occasional job taking handwritten notes for students if no one could read them] I just liked the idea that I could add some retro style journaling to a page whenever the mood struck me, without having to faff about printing anything out via a laptop.
For one thing its travel case is not one of those chic leather things that looks like dainty luggage. No.
I daren't really take its hulking big black plastic attaché case anywhere with me for 2 main reasons:
- it's bulky and heavy ... but worst of all ...
- rather than looking like something that wouldn't be out of place being carried by Audrey Hepburn ... this one looks more like the kind of case that people in films use to deliver dirty money, drugs ... or guns.
Think I'm exaggerating?
... what I got was cheap which, when you can't test it out beforehand, was a pretty important factor in deciding which to bid on. And some of those cutie-pie pastel vintage ones go for £50 and up, up and up into the hundreds on ebay!
[BTW: if you look at the descriptions on those kind many are sold merely as 'shop display' or for 'styling' purposes ... just to make shops/homes look fancy and retro. Not to actually use!]
So I bought one for just a couple of £ [plus P+P] ordered a new tape, made James WD40 its stiff bits, cleaned the shell ... and now, following my recent workroom redecoration, I've even found an ideal space for it in the alcove:
lots of junk journal 'bits' packs for sale here since you asked.]
And I don't mind admitting, it's taking some getting used to.
It's not like I've never used a typewriter before, I have. I even vividly remember borrowing an electric one to fill out my university application form. Back in the 1920s. [Or at least that's how old it makes me feel to admit that.]
And so ... in light of these teething problems I thought I'd share a few tips, pros, cons and observations I've gleaned from moving back into analogue mode.
So, if you've been debating with yourself over whether to buy a typewriter or not ... maybe something here will help you decide.
First up, let's get the Health & Safety information covered before we go any further ...
1. If your finger slips while typing on a typewriter ... it can get stuck beneath one of the keys. Ask me how I know ...
It was the 'N' key since you ask and there are still traces of my nail varnish under it to prove it.
And, unless you have very thin fingers, this will rarely happen on a laptop.
2. When you type all the way across to the right hand side of the page on a laptop nothing happens. When you type all the way across to the right hand side of the page on a typewriter you might just wonder why everything on your desk has mysteriously moved to the left ...
You know those penny slot machines in the arcade where the pennies get pushed gradually toward the edge? Yeah ... it's like that. The carriage will shuffle anything it comes in contact with across your desk. Again, ask me how I know ...
OR else ... you might wonder why you can't type any further along ... why the thing won't move any further even though you're not at the end of the line. Then you'll realise it's because you're too close to a wall/cupboard and the carriage can't pass through solid structures. Who knew?
If my mistakes save just one person the embarrassment ... it'll be worth it. Kind of.
3a. Unlike with a laptop ... you don't have to obsessively save your work every few minutes on a typewriter .
There's no such thing as crashing a typewriter, so - barring a freak and mighty gust of wind - whatever you type will always be there, in front of you, in black and white. Without having to actively save it!
So you can stand down those twitchy Ctrl + S fingers for a while.
3b. Neither do you have to poke a typewriter every few minutes to prevent it going into hibernation mode.
When you get back from making that cuppa .... the typewriter will still be on.
4. Your new old typewriter may not have an exclamation mark key.
Mine doesn't and neither does a friend's. Clearly people had less to exclaim in the past!!!!
And so ...
... you'll either have to find a way around it [eg. using an 'l' or an 'i' or something like that] OR else you'll just have to lower your personal excitability levels.
And finally ... in case you're still in two minds about whether to get one or not, here's a practical pointer that might just help tip the balance ...
5. When your desk is a complete mess with zero free space ... a typewriter beats a laptop for resting your lunch on:
I've got a couple of cards - featuring typed sentiments - to share in the coming days and once my journals are finished and/or photographed ... I'll share those too.
And if you've been havering over getting a typewriter ... I hope my 5 tips were all of some use to you. Although I suspect not ... ;-)
And if you're an experienced hand [preferably one that isn't stuck beneath a typewriter key] at the typing game ... how about sharing your own top tips and ideas in the comments?
You're also welcome to link up to any blog posts you've written about your own tippy tapping experiences, any projects you've made using one, or anything you can think of to add to the conversation.
I want to hear from you! [If you can make yourself heard over all this key-thumping and pinging that is!!]