I have a fond childhood memory of sitting in my father’s office and playing with the typewriter. I never actually wrote anything important, I just loved pressing the keys and making noise. Seeing the letters appear was like magic to me. Needless to say, I was pretty young at the time. Okay, very young.
Just last month, I asked mom if she still had the typewriter. She didn’t have the one I played with all those decades ago, but she had one my grandfather used. I have it now. It’s much newer than that one I tapped away at as a child. It’s also significantly lighter. I can even still buy cartridges for it, including correction tape.
I played with it, exploring the functions and seeing if it still worked. It did. I also learned a lot in the few minutes I typed, like how spoiled I am as a writer with a modern computer and my word processor. I also learned how slowly I would have to type if I didn’t want to constantly use the correction tape...
It made me reflect on writers in the “olden days.” I can write and edit a novel in a few months with my computer. If I’m having a productive day and really going for it, I can write over 2000 words in an hour. Autocorrect means I don’t have to fix most of my speed typing errors. Most importantly for me, as an author who does not write my book in order, I can jump around and write whatever scene I want at any point.
What was it like for the writers back then, using typewriters, or even writing by hand? We have a copy of a bible that was recently done, written out by scribes on vellum using quills. It took years instead of months. Even the typewriter is an improvement for writers over quill pens, but my speed on a typewriter is only a fraction of what I can do with a computer.
What would it be like having to use a typewriter? How many pages would my draft be, knowing I write by scene instead of chapter or in one continuous narrative? How often would I be making corrections because my fingers move faster than the typewriter can handle. I remember being able to cause jams on the old typewriter.
I appreciate my modern tools as a writer. I won’t forget how much easier things are for me, with spellchecker, grammar checkers, the ability to easily delete typing, and I can jump around as I want in my story. Those writers back before computers were tough and persistent. Would I be a writer without my tools? Yes, I’d probably still write, but not as an author. I’d probably still be writing short stories for myself instead.
Here’s to computers, word processors, formatting programs, and an easier time as an author. And thanks to the typewriter, my reminder of how good I have it as a writer!
We’ve touched on this before, but we’ll say it again. A comfortable and well set up workspace can make your writing career happier and longer. I’m loving the new desk. The thing is, I’m a smaller person. Desks and chairs are designed for someone bigger than me. My chair is not bad, it’s a small task chair, but it’s too high.
Instant solution? Foot rest. It’s way easier than making a desk, I promise. You can buy foot rests from office supply stores, and probably Walmart, but I have time, wood, and know how to use a saw. I still have supplies left over from making the desk, too. I found some simple plans and used them as a template, adapting them for the wood and materials I had on hand.
I was starting to get sore legs, so I needed to do something immediately. This one works really well, but I will be making my proper one very soon with some adjustments. I like less slope and more height, so I’ll be raising the front an extra half inch. I’ll also be sanding mine, staining it to match the desk, and using the protective coating.
This one works well for now, and will keep me comfortable as I work, until my new one is ready. When my new one replaces this one, this one will go to my guy for his office in another room. He would benefit from the better position the footstool will offer him, and he can finish it however he likes, if he even bothers.
So, for free basically, I will have a couple of footstools for us both to keep us happier and healthier while we work. Such a simple solution to my current ergonomic predicatment!
I’ve been experimenting with rewriting my next draft, instead of just going through and editing the document. I have a second monitor set up so I can work with the documents side by side more easily.
I’m finding the story itself hasn’t changed, as I was happy with the storyline I made, but how I tell it has changed a lot. In some cases whole paragraphs are rewritten or left out altogether, and the information is condensed and made clearer.
I’m also writing with more sensory information, placing the reader there instead of telling the tale around a campfire. I’m showing with greater detail how she’s feeling and processing her world, while still sharing the most important thoughts and wants she expresses.
When I was editing within the document itself, I was more likely to let paragraphs through that I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about. By rewriting everything, I have total freedom to refresh all the language that I want. It’ll take longer, but I’ll have less editing on my next draft as well, so I’ll save time down the road.
I also have my new space set up! It’s very comfortable to work in and I have room for the second monitor now, where I didn’t before. I look forward to writing in my new space in a way I didn’t on my old desk.
So, new space, new skills, and soon a new story as well. I’m having fun rewriting the YA novel and getting it out the way I imagined it, instead of in first/second draft form. I don’t know how many rewrites I will need, but it’s getting closer to done each day.
Find an idea that excites you and get writing.
I was researching writing skills and techniques and came across a new one I’m going to try. They recommended that after the initial draft, instead of editing within the document itself, go split screen and open a brand new document. Rewrite your story, using the language you want, and get it out fresh.
I began editing this story yesterday and worked on it a little today, but I decided to try this technique. I can see how completely rewording paragraphs can actually be of benefit, as I’m not tempted to leave sentences that I’m feeling iffy about. I can get the ideas out in new words and really focus on the language and feelings I want to convey.
In the first/second drafts I was just getting the story out. Those two drafts blended together for me. Now that I’m doing the third draft, I want to add in the sensual elements, so the reader feels like they’re sitting around the campfire with the characters, smelling the food cooking and feeling the warmth of the fire.
To get that kind of freshness in the writing, I can see how completely rewriting the story will be beneficial. I write at a high rate of speed, even going back as I correct spelling and grammar mistakes, so I feel this will be time well spent.
It will also be easier if I use two monitors. I’m used to working that way from my practice learning programming, so I can quickly and easily change my attention between the documents, having both visible to me at once in a large enough size to read with one on each screen. He’s getting me a second monitor today, as the others are already in use, so I can begin tomorrow!
Don’t be afraid to learn and try things. You never know what might be a hit for you. I’ve learned so many useful tips already, and each one adds to my writing and my abilities.
As well as writing, I have other hobbies, too. One thing I enjoy is woodworking. I’m still new to it, but I’m having a blast. I already have the tools, mostly, so it was just a matter of digging up some wood and going for it.
Well, my current desk isn’t really designed for writing. It’s a computer desk, sure, but already has another computer on it. It’s a little cramped. I looked online for some free plans and found a whole bunch for various writing desks.
We have been setting up the old barn as my wood shop. That meant doing some dismantling of stalls and cleaning up. It was harder than I thought, as I have a lot of fond memories there, including memories of a pony who died. He was my first pony and my best friend.
After finding plans for a desk I liked, I used some of the wood from his stall and my guy helped me cut it down to the dimensions I needed. It took some work, as we started with rough cut 2x6 and ended with finished 2x2, which are actually 1.5x1.5. I sanded them down and made them smooth. The grain structure of the wood really popped out from the sanding. I also had plywood from my last renovations, so I had what I needed for the surface and shelves.
It took a couple of weeks, since I didn’t work every day and had so much to do, but now whenever I write, I have the desk made of memories to write at. I need to rearrange some furniture to get it in my writing space and that might take a few more days, but soon I’ll be writing more comfortably at my very own hand made writing desk, with wood of sentimental value.
Having a well set up space to work will keep you comfortable and pain free for your writing career. As I get going seriously on my writing, I’m slowly setting everything up for myself as I like it. I’ll post pics of my new writing space soon, but in the mean time, enjoy the view of my new desk!
I’ve been writing stories for myself for years. Now, I’m a published author. No genre is off limits, though I have some favorites.