Ever since the Sumerians created the first writing over 6,000 years ago, there have been writers. In the earliest times, writers had nothing more than stone or clay and a chisel or paints to write with. Then papyrus showed up as a medium to write on and the Egyptians became prolific writers. Papyrus took the literate world by storm, as it was the earliest form of paper and could be carried with the writer much easier than the earlier clay and stone. When the Chinese figured out how to make paper out of rice (and others changed the technique later for wood pulp), Paper became incredibly easy to make anywhere in the world. For hundreds of years, putting ink to paper was the best way to write anything down.
Then came the invention of the typewriter. This complex contraption would allow the writer to write crisply and clearly, in straight lines, across a piece of paper stuck within it. The writer no longer needed to write out everything using paper and ink, resulting in a great reduction of writer’s cramp. The typewriter can also hide the bad writing most people have by making the writing legible. The typewriter became the tool of choice for many writers.
Then came the invention of the computer in the 1900s. The computer was originally created for complex calculations and storing data. However, the computer became smaller over the years and capable of a lot more. When the computer was finally for sale to the general public in mass quantities, writers began to take notice of the potential of a computer in their line of work. Typing on a computer was no different than typing on a typewriter except in the fact that you can delete type easily when you hit the wrong button or wanted to change your sentence. Writers could also store information on their computer until they wanted it printed.
Then came the Internet and it’s abilities. Now writers can research, write and send their manuscripts to the editors without having to get out of their chair. You don’t even have to use paper anymore. You can just send your manuscript by email to the editor, saving money on postage.
Today, with computers at their smallest size, lowest prices, and highest computing power ever, computers have become the tool of choice for many writers, but there are still many writers that prefer using the typewriter. So which is best for you? Here are the pros and cons of both the typewriter and the computer to help you make your decision.
Pros: The clackety clack of the keys has been known to help some writers think.
There is no possible way to completely loose your work because it is printed on the paper as soon as you type it.
While some typewriters need electricity, many of them do not. This is great when the power goes out, because you can still write.
The typewriter has a much lower cost than a computer.
You cannot get viruses on a typewriter, unless you sneeze on it.
Cons: On most typewriters, once you make a mistake, you have to start typing the page all over again. I have hear of some typewriters that let you correct mistakes, but I have no idea how that would work or even seen one for myself.
You have to use paper when you type. You use even more when you mess up.
Pros: The ability to delete what you want without having to re-type anything else.
You don’t need to have any paper on hand until you are ready to print out your work. If sending out your work to an editor by email or CD, you do not need any paper at all.
Sending your work or a query by email is faster and eliminates the cost of postage.
You can do research without having to go to the library or find a particular book.
Writing programs have a spell check.
If your computer crashes or the electricity goes off, anything that is not saved will be deleted. You must have electricity to use your computer. If there is a blackout, you cannot work. The only exception is when you have a laptop, then you have a couple of hours more to work on your manuscript until your battery runs out.
To send manuscripts to editors that do not take email or Cds, you will need a printer and paper to send out your manuscript.
If you have your computer plugged into the Internet, you will also need virus and spy ware protection to keep your computer safe. This does not always work, so your computer is almost always open to a virus when you use the Internet. I have seen viruses wipe out files on a computer and you could loose your work.
There is no clear-cut winner here between the computer and the typewriter. For ease of use and the fact that I cannot spell and make many mistakes typing, I choose the computer.