Or, rather, the writer that makes the tools, I guess you could say? Let’s get this one thing out in the open right away- you don’t need a special keyboard to write. You don’t. You don’t even need a computer. You can write with a cheap ass pen on the inside walls of your home, and it’s still writing. But, the tools can be nice. They can add something to it, it’s important, in a way that’s difficult to understand. They can ease away the barriers to writing.
Will they make your writing better? No. But if they’re more enjoyable to use, it makes the whole thing just a little more pleasurable. It’s why a lot of writers I know who write by hand get obsessed with pens, and which pens are the best, etc. A lot of writers I know get obsessed with other tools for writing, too. Getting alphasmart neos, or freewrites, or using only typewriters and then using various technologies to scan/upload/rewrite on the computer itself.
I am not immune to such things. Like a musician choosing the perfect guitar, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the tool for creation just as much as the act of creation itself. Is it a trap? Who knows. But I do have a typewriter, and using that led me down the rabbit hole of searching out a way to replicate that experience digitally (but without spending 600$ on some prestige digital typewriter, like Freewrite…that’s just out of my cost point).
So, I took out my old ASUS netbook computer I’ve had for about 10 years, and mostly works. The keyboard is dead, and the LCD screen is dead, but the actual nuts and bolts that runs the thing still work great. Sure, it needs to run Linux now, and browsing online is impossibly slow these days, mostly due to the old wireless card and the fact every website (even simple ones) are now 90% headless AJAX. But that is a benefit, I think, and not a drawback. It limits my ability to go online while writing, which is perfect.
I also set it up so that it’s always on, and has my current WIP’s loaded up and at the ready, right where I left off. If I’m working on several things (short stories, novels) I have different desktops I can switch to easily to move back and forth, and yet keep my focus. The documents are always full screen, etc.
And I knew I had to get a mechanical keyboard. Originally I got just a plan and simple one, that I could replace the keycaps and switches later if I wanted to. And after using it for a year, I tried out OTAMU brown switches, and realized I liked the feel for those for typing, and I saw Akko Dracula keycaps, and knew that I had to get them. So I did!
I replaced the switches myself, and then popped on the keycaps. What a wonderful feeling it was, to actually create my own custom keyboard. One that was gothic and horror themed, perfect for my kind of writing. And I’m glad I got these keycaps when I did, earlier this year in January. They sold out right away, and they’re currently out of stock, and will probably never come back in stock, ever again. That makes this keyboard very unique. No other keyboard has this exact chasis, this exact switches, with this exact set of keycaps. That’s really cool. I feel like how a jedi must feel, building their own lightsaber. The tool is personal to me now, and to my writing, and somehow, that feels important.
And it’s a dream to type on. Now combined with my vintage mahogany writing desk, Lenore, this is the perfect place for me to write. Just sitting down, typing away feels just so nice. I could spend hours working on it, and when I’m off from my writing desk (working my dayjob, for example, on my work laptop), I miss that ease of typing sensation. I have Macbook Pro, which tries to “emulate” a clicky mechanical keyboard. I think they do it in the same way they “emulate” clicky keypresses on the magic mouse- through touch sensitive vibrations. Because of that, even though it seems clicky, it makes my fingers numb after awhile, because of the slight vibrations, and I want to go back to my keyboard and just write, write, write.
Anyway, that’s a bit about the tools I use as a writer. I also have notebooks, and special pens, too. But that’s all for another day.