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Name: modgurl
Location: Singapore

New mom. New woman. Born in Singapore. Raised in the World Wide Web.
Saturday, December 27, 2014 @ 11:45 pm
Writing With Typewriters

Dear Blogger,

I've been writing letters to pen pals with a typewriter for quite some time now. Actually... Only about 4 times, but that was because I've been too busy to reply letters.

What did I want to talk about? Oh yeah... Typewriters. In this age of instants, why would anyone want to write a letter? Let alone, type it out with a typewriter? All I can say is, it's about the experience. It's very much like drinking coffee in Starbucks when you can get cheaper (and sometimes better-tasting) coffee at your neighbourhood coffee shop.

Nowadays, everything that is vintage is kind of cool. Everybody has a laptop and a smartphone. But does everybody have a typewriter? It's that kind of cool. Also, typewriters invoke this image of intelligence and creativity. They're almost synonymous with prolific writers. In fact, one needs some level of intelligence to use a typewriter efficiently and effectively!

Thanks to Microsoft, we no longer have to think twice about spelling. The autocorrect or spellchecker will do it for you. It's a great invention but I have to say it makes people more illiterate than before. With a typewriter, there is no spellchecker or autocorrect. You either think before you press those keys or you get a correction fluid handy and manually "erase" the misspelt word with the correct fluid and type the correct word. The second option can quite frustrating after awhile. Moreover, the finished letter makes you look like an idiot with all that correction fluid plastered all over the paper.

When I first used my typewriter (I have 2; an Olympia Carina 3 and a Remington Ten Forty), I spent a lot of time adjusting to the pace of typing on its keys and correcting my spelling errors. It was quite a humbling experience for a self-proclaimed speedy typist.

Firstly, typewriter keys may look like the common computer keys but they are not gentle to the fingers like the latter. I literally punched the keys with my middle fingers to get the ink stamped legibly on the paper. But that could also be that the keys were a little faulty. My point is, unlike the soft, almost-require-no-strength keyboards on my Macbook, typewriter keys need a little more finger muscle.

Typing is also noisy. Unlike the quite computer, the noise that typewriters make, especially the vintage ones, can be quite disturbing at first. However, once you get the pacing right, it can be quite charming like a melodious music.

Secondly, as I've mentioned above, typewriters do not have spellcheck or autocorrect. As such, I consciously had to make myself think about what I want to type before I press those keys! In the beginning, a 2-page letter would take me 3 hours and several sheets to complete. On a computer, it would probably take me less than half an hour, plus envelope!

Then, there is the ribbon. In a printer, replacing the printer cartridges is super easy and can be done in a few seconds. For a typewriter, it requires patience. A lot of patience if I'm changing the ribbon of my Remington Ten Forty. It's not as easy as lifting up the cartridges.

After using typewriters several times, I've begun to appreciate the effort and time spent. It's no longer about wanting to finish something fast. It's about the quality of the content. Maybe that's why writers of the past have written some of the greatest and classic novels.

I've typed out 4 letters today, with minimal corrections I might add. All lovingly typed with much thought. On lovely paper some more! That reminds me. I need to invest on elegant stationery. Anyway, I look forward to more typing for other uses. Cards, labels, scrapbooks?

A photo posted by @modgurl on


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