Old School Ideation

I don’t use my typewriter very much, but when I do it’s because I’m desperate. The Royal is dusted off on those days I’m simply incapable of stringing words together.

Hey, it happens to everyone.

I find that bad writing – I’m talking really bad, incoherent writing – is difficult to rewrite on a computer screen. I’m not sure why, but if I were to guess, it’s because programs like Microsoft Word, with their beautiful typefaces and perfect margins, make my awful stuff look too pretty. Writing that bad doesn’t deserve to look so good.

Enter my Royal. Everything I bang out on this baby says, “Don’t worry buddy. I’m clearly a first draft. Look at this ugly typeface. Look at how the “e” doesn’t quite line up with the other letters. Don’t take me too seriously. Don’t like that last thing you wrote?  Go back and cover it with a bunch of Xs! Who cares?”

Because my typewriter produces such a sloppy product, working on it is liberating. More importantly, it keeps me working.

I am not a terribly disciplined writer; I don’t have a regular writing schedule the way many others in this field do. So when I do manage to carve out some time for personal writing, I had better write something. My typewriter helps me when I find the time but lack the skill.

Almost every session I have with the Royal produces some kernel of an idea I can later develop. But even if every word I write is garbage, my typewriter is always there to console me.“Don’t worry buddy,” it tells me. “We didn’t make much progress, but didn’t we have fun?”

And a typewriter is as portable as an iPad!

2 Replies to “Old School Ideation”

  1. You’re onto something here, Mike. There’s nothing quite like clacking away at the keyboard of an old fashioned typewriter. Indeed, I have the very same model Royal you have there: light as a ton of bricks. Great pics, btw. —Juan

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