Lifestyle Thoughts

The Pros and Cons of Using a Typewriter

4 minutes to read

So, you’ve acquired a typewriter. If you’re a certified wanker then you’ve bought it yourself from one of the various places you can get a typewriter. If you’re a normal human being than you’ve been given one, like me. What do you do with it? Should you do anything with it? Let’s discuss.


No Connectivity

Big shock! Wi-Fi wasn’t around when they invented the typewriter, and most models don’t come equipped with a network cable. There are very few reasonable ways to transmit the first great 21st century novel off the machine that aren’t retyping the whole thing. While IBM did produce a model with a floppy disk drive and screen, this idea would probably be more alien to the average typewriter user than a decent standard of personal hygiene.


Typewriters use ink-soaked ribbons that cost around $10 a pop, meaning that if you’re a starving artist – or trying to give the impression of being one – this is a real hitch. You can re-use ribbons and switch from black to red, but there are still operating costs you won’t suffer with a laptop.


Not a light piece of machinery. Very difficult to carry a typewriter around. Some come with carry cases but many don’t. Lugging a typewriter around will help you understand the true meaning of the word ‘lug’, which is not one that get used often.


Typewriters are – hot scoop – very noisy. You cannot bring it to the library. You cannot use it on the train. You cannot use it to bash out some late night light bulb moment because you will wake your girlfriend and she’s already shitty because you’ve been going on about the primitive beauty of this piece of machinery from the mid-to-late 20th century for days.

It makes noise when you get to the end of a line. It makes another noise when you start a new line. It makes noise like humans generate carbon dioxide. A laptop does not have this problem.

You are a Piece of Hipster Trash

Try telling your friends that you are the proud owner of a typewriter. Critical response: mixed-to-negative. This is good if you’re trying to write the first great 21st century novel and haven’t experienced hardship/prejudice/true derision from your loved ones, but not so great if you want to be viewed as somebody with achievable life goals. Do think twice. It’s not alright.

Something that could have been done on a laptop.


No Connectivity

If you, like the average internet user, enjoy the odd Wikiwalk or plumbing the depths of Youtube, guess what? That won’t be happening. The typewriter will stubbornly refuse to indulge your extracurricular interests. It cares not for RnR.

No Blue Light

Blue light keeps you awake at night. This is why lots of people who read on their phones or write on a laptop have difficulty sleeping. Luckily, many typewriters do not have this feature. They don’t have many features. However, the fact that it will not keep you awake after use doesn’t mean that it won’t wake everybody else up while you’re using it.

Writer’s Block

Writer’s block is usually caused by a couple of things.
1. You aren’t very good.
2. You’re trying to make a character do something they wouldn’t.
3. You have nothing to write about.
4. You haven’t figured out your angle.
5. You keep trying to edit shit when you should just be writing it.

Typewriters assuage this last issue. You cannot delete whole sections of text. You cannot delete anything, really. All you can do is write. And seeing the writing appear – be rendered physical, or whatever – pushes you to write more. Soon, the act of bashing out your great 21st century novel – possibly about a young person with the same initials as you exploring drug use and a sea of meaningless sex in the big city, huge shock – becomes compulsion. You’re releasing endorphins because you’re moving more. Maybe. I dunno. I’m not a scientist.