This post is about a recherché topic that I think almost nobody but myself and a few other word-wizards could give two pennies about: the endless (that is, 99% settled and only applicable to snobs, hipsters, and the chronically writer-blocked) war between typewriters and computers.

I know you’re thinking, Wait, that war has already been won. I’ve been using a computer since I was eight years old! And I’m one of the oldest people I know!

I understand, but unless you’ve faced the prospect of Instagramming all day or wasting hours upon hours of valuable typing time looking up abstruse and irrelevant articles on Wikipedia (that is, “research for the novel”) instead of getting work done, you may not realize the appeal of the typewriter. It’s in its disconnectedness. In its permanence. In analog.

In fact, the appeal of the typewriter is in the shutting off, and not being able to delete.

Writing vs. Editing In Real Time

There is something to be said for not being able to select and delete the shitty paragraph you just wrote. It has to stand. So make it good.

A typewriter also makes you go slower and actually type deliberately, because there’s no spellcheck or autocorrect for all your typos. You have to be more deliberate, which makes you think harder. And good writing comes from good thinking. Slowing down is important.

Writing vs. Scrolling

We’ve all been there–and for many people, it’s a daily occurrence, or a several-times-a-day occurrence; that is, just staring at the screen, scrolling, clicking, reading (or sorta-reading), viewing headlines, passively, not unlike flipping channels on cable, back when that was a thing. Older folks might remember some 3am insomnia, finding nothing but infomercials and then drifting off in the blue light.

Now there is endless programming to watch at 3am (I’m partial to Bob’s Burgers or The Office), but it’s more pernicious when, during work hours, one finds oneself in the same state of mind–or, to be more accurate, no state at all. The mind isn’t really working, it’s just viewing. And that’s not writing.

Well, you can’t do that with a typewriter. There’s no internet, there’s no scroll. It’s just you, the page, and the keys, and, if your’e strong enough to leave your phone in the other room, you have to work. Seems trite, but it’s not.

Writing vs. Researching

Similarly, people can fall down a rabbit hole of internet research, where much time is spent–and lost–viewing page after page after page of useless information. (And, by the way, this is not a product of the internet, as writers were warning of the dangers of research rabbit holes back when you had to go to the library–it just had to do with people reading too many books instead of writing.) Really, it’s about procrastination.

There’s nothing you can do about procrastination, other than to just not do it. But damn, a computer makes it a hell of a lot easier than a typewriter. And we haven’t even mentioned video games.

A Specific Tool

Nevertheless, a typewriter is only a tool. It can maybe get you out of a writer-block jam, or can give you some inspiration when you need a new perspective on a piece or a project you’re working on. It’s not a platform, and it won’t solve your problems. I have a typewriter on a desk in my office that I’ve used very few times, because, at the end of the day, the computer is about one hundred trillion times better.

Think of a specific tool, such as a cheese knife. It’s good for a specific reason, but not for everything you can do in the kitchen. And I mean, you realize that after making edits, you have to retype the whole fucking thing, right? I mean, hell no. Still, some writers I know still like to use longhand, and that’s great… for them. My preference is the computer, knowing that I can always pick up the pen, or hit the typewriter, if and when I need to, as backup. Otherwise, it’s just not functional.

Or Call Mandel Marketing

Now, if you’re thinking to hell with both typewriters AND computers, and you want professionals to do the writing for you, then go ahead and give us a call or contact us — we can help you with that.