I miss typewriters.
I began my writing career in the 1960s punching keys on a portable Smith-Corona.
I found that writing on a typewriter forced me to focus.
If I didn’t concentrate, I’d have to retype the entire page, maybe even an entire chapter.
No cut and paste.
No easy deleting or rewriting.
It was the best writing tool existing at the time, and I loved it.
Computers circa 1990 made me lazy as a writer.
Having written 80+ books so far, I obviously learned to write on them.
But I found my mind a wee bit less concentrated. A part of me knew I could easily rewrite, delete, move things around. That’s cool. That’s efficient.
But I missed the intensity of typing.
So I started looking at typewriters.
I knew actor Tom Hanks had a collection, and I knew he bought from certain stores.
I started looking for a typewriter. I wanted to try it again.
Look what I found –
Astrohaus is a company offering modern day typewriters – portable computers with old style keyboards, small screens, and only one function: to let you write distraction free.
They call their e-machines “Freewriters.”
I bought their Traveler version a year or so ago. I love portable tools, gadgets. The Traveler folds in half, making the e-typewriter even more portable. I’ve been using it and loving it.
A month or so ago Astrohaus announced a contest. Their email said:
1. Pick an author (any author) whose voice you think would best represent the Freewrite brand.
2. In 100 words or less, write why you chose that author.
3. In 100 words or less, write a product description for our Smart Typewriter (Gen3) in that author’s voice. Be creative. Think outside the normal e-commerce box. This description doesn’t have to read like a normal bulleted product description; we may even prefer that it didn’t. Immerse the reader in story, while still helping them understand what they’re buying.
They said the winner would receive a new Smart Typewriter (Gen3).
I already had their Traveler, but the contest sounded like a fun challenge.
So I entered it.
Here’s what I sent Astrohaus:
The author I chose:
Jack London. I chose the famous “Call of the Wild” author because I’ve always loved his writing style, riveting stories, and resilient characters. Jack wrote of people and animals struggling to survive. They didn’t always win (“Martin Eden” ended a suicide) but they sure gave it a fight. Jack would use anything to help him write more efficiently (he wrote 2,000 words every day). He’d grab the Smart Typewriter. He’d also get the Traveler, so he could carry it on his sailing trips to the South Seas and record his adventures with cannibals, pirates, and John Barleycorn.
The product description in my interpretation of Jack London’s style:
Sunrise. Ghosts walk. The storm ripped the sails. Decks broken. Men bleeding. Shaken. Dead. We now drift. The sky is calm. Birds flutter. Waves slap. It reminds me of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It took 45 seconds. Hell under a minute. Gasping holes of smoking nothingness where life once pulsated. The saving grace was my Smart Typewriter. I could record history. It’s the same on board this floating coffin. I can still type. I can write what happened to Captain Jacob right before the white bolt of electric fire struck our ship and turned rugged men into apparitions.
I didn’t expect to win, and didn’t, but the exercise was fun.
If you’re looking for distraction free writing, consider one of the e-machines from Astrohaus.
Or just get out a pen and turn off your phone.
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