Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Would You Still Write, if You Had to Use a Typewriter?

Woman Seated beside Underwood Typewriter.  Photo Courtesy of Library of Congress. Permalink: http://lccn.loc.gov/2003654903Huffington Post reported earlier today that the last typewriter factory in the world (located in Mumbai, India) was shutting down later this year.

They’ve since run a correction, citing a letter from an employee, that while production is down, they are nowhere near closing their doors. And, in fact, there are other factories in the world (located in China, Japan, and Indonesia) still creating these beautiful machines.

The story made me wonder how many people today would try to bang out a masterpiece if they had to do it on a Royal Upright, an Underwood (pictured at right) or even a Brother electronic?

Would you?

I remember speaking with an editor a few years ago at a convention about how computers had really changed the publishing industry, not from the viewpoint of helping publishers, but hindering them.

The fact is (and I’m paraphrasing the editor here) that owning a computer and printer makes it so easy to write prose, print it out, and mail it off to a publishing house, that every Tom, Dick and Harry who got an idea for a novel (or trilogy) is writing one and sending it off.

Publishing houses are inundated with manuscripts (many of which, according to the editor, should never have been written)!

I’ve been writing since I could hold a crayon…and a typewriter — even the ancient Royal upright that we had at home when I was young — was an improvement over wax, despite cramped fingers and wrists by the end of a page or two.

I LOVED the electric typewriter I got for my 12th birthday (thanks, Mom and Dad)!

Would I still be writing if I had to use that ancient Royal? You bet.

How about you? If publishing houses required that manuscripts be submitted on onion-skin paper, typed on an upright…would you still do it?