New Year, New (Different kind of) Gear!

​Quite a bit of time has passed since my last post here. One reason for this is that photography vies with another main interest of mine, and that is creative writing. I have been wrestling with the idea for a novel that has been in my head for years now, while files sit unedited on my PC and my camera gets slightly lonely in between shooting sessions. The upside is that I have many pages of notes and the beginnings of a first draft developing on my newest device, the Freewrite, made by Astrohaus.

Now, this is not a gear blog. It’s a process blog. But the very reason I chose to write about the Freewrite is that it’s a machine designed from the ground up with process in mind. The Freewrite is called a “smart typewriter” and was built to be a high-end mechanical keyboard, an e-ink screen with fast refresh, and wireless connectivity bundled into the general size and shape of an old-timey compact typewriter. They went all-out, too. The body is hefty aluminum with a very nice paint finish, a couple of big switches, and a comfortable soft plastic base that works equally well on a lap or a desktop.

Why the typewriter, you ask? Well, speaking for me personally, it is the perfect format for uninterrupted writing. I grew up in a home that was slow to adopt the computer, so as a teen I used a Smith-Corona electronic typewriter for years. All of my early (terrible) attempts at fiction were typed on that machine, and since then I have used several other typewriters, mostly an early electric Brother and a compact manual Olivetti.

Of course, the typewriter has one fatal flaw: your writing only exists as a physical object, a sheet of paper and ink. While I don’t like a computer for composing, let’s face it, once you’ve written something it needs to be on the computer for editing, distributing and whatever else you want to do with it.

Enter the handiest concept of the Freewrite: instant backup to the cloud. I have mine set up to copy my writing to Google Docs, and the Send button on the computer will instantly send a .TXT file and a PDF to my email, as well. This means that, as I write this article, I’m kicked back on my couch with my feet up, clacking away on a great keyboard, and when I want to publish this post I’ll just pull it up on my desktop and copy the text into WordPress and add my image files.

I enjoy that I have a camera that suits my shooting style very well, and until now I didn’t have a similar device that suits my other pursuit with the same kind of alacrity. While the analog version is still enjoyable in the form of the typewriter, the Freewrite acts like a digital camera in that it still provides the experience I crave, but outputs a digital file that simplifies the workflow after you press the shutter, or in this case, the key!


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