Tag: freewrite

Freewrite, by AstrohausThough I haven’t heard from Astrohaus yet — come on, guys! — I still think often of the Freewrite (link) and how much I’d like to put one to the test.  If you haven’t read about my desire to acquire one, check out the (link) to an entry where I talk about it.

In that entry, I mentioned the Freewrite was originally called the Hemingwrite.  I love that name, and I’m sorry they changed it, though I know Hemingway doesn’t have the same cachet he used to.  Which is a damned shame, I’d like to say, because “Big Two-Hearted River” (link) is the single best piece of fiction ever wrought by the hand of man.  And, no, I’m not engaging in hyperbole there.  If I ever write something a tenth as good as “River,” I’ll die happy.

Freewrite is a perfectly good name, but why “Hemingwrite” in the first place?  Well, it turns out it was called such a thing for two reasons: 1) it was meant to be used in the same manner in which Hemingway wrote his own fiction, and 2) because it was specifically designed to resemble the Royal Quiet De Luxe Hemingway preferred.

Ernest HemingwayThis latter is one of those funny things, because the day I discovered the Freewrite, I had been looking at old Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriters as a cheap, simple, portable writing option, both because the Quiet De Luxe was (and is) an excellent typewriter, and because I’m a Hemingway fanboy and it seemed like a cool thing to do.

As far as drafting goes, it’s an interesting approach.  Because typewriters are necessarily different than word processors due to the limitations of physical keys striking a piece of paper versus a screen where a cursor can be clicked anywhere for instant editing, writing has to be done in perpetual forward motion.  Sure, you can backspace and XX over a false word or two, but for the most part a writer writes, then comes back to the text later with a red pencil.  Composition and editing/revision are separate steps, which is exactly what the Freewrite does.

I’m more interested in this thing all the time.


Freewrite, by AstrohausA writer needs good tools.  There’s no two ways about it.  Some can be quite simple: a good desk, a comfortable chair… that sort of thing.  It gets more complicated when it comes to writing instruments, because questions proliferate.  Do you like to work longhand, or with a keyboard?  Do you like notebooks or journals?  Do you prefer a laptop?  And setting has a bearing on this, depending on where and how and when you prefer to work.

For some years I used a MacBook Pro, and I was perfectly happy with it.  Eventually I switched to the iMac I currently use, though I liked the freedom of movement afforded by the MacBook.  However, here’s the thing: I don’t really need a backup machine so much as I need a well-designed and portable writing platform.  The barer-bones MacBooks are attractive, but they’re too small for my hands, and even then they’re really more device than I require.

I looked at Chromebooks, which people seem to like.  I wasn’t impressed.  They’re okay, and I suppose it would be all right to use one, but I’m not one hundred percent thrilled with the experience I had when testing them out.  I started seriously looking for a vintage Royal Quiet De Luxe, because all I really, really need is something for recording text.

But then I found Freewrite, and got curious.