Screenwriters, Want a Pared Down Writing Experience? Meet the Hemingwrite Digital Typewriter
If you're a screenwriter wanting a new way to tackle that script, you might want to take a look at the Hemingwrite, an open-source digital typewriter that combines the old distraction-free writing experience of analog with the cloud-based efficiency of the digital age.
Electronic typewriters are not a new technology; they've been around for 30 or 40 years. Hell, there are even those conversion kits that transform old typewriters into digital ones using some circuitry and an iPad. However, the Hemingwrite not only offers cloud technology for easy accessibility, but it works right out of the box requiring nothing more than to push the on button.
It's features include a 6" daylight readable, high contrast electronic paper screen, 4+ weeks of battery life, mechanical keyboard switches, status bar, folder navigation (you can work on three documents at once), Wi-Fi, and cloud storage. Essentially, the Hemingwrite gives you the bare minimum in order to keep you focused solely on writing -- a recreation of pre-computer writing conditions. For instance, you can backspace and scroll through your work, but there is no way to cut and paste text. The creators explain that, "The intent is to force you to just keep going! If you aren’t happy with what you just wrote, you can write it again."
Really, it sounds like the Hemingwrite is not meant to be your be-all-end-all writing tool, but rather a stepping stone in the process; a platform for just getting your script ready for some real, hardcore editing.
Okay, I know that something like this will be met with a lot of skepticism and eye-rolling -- possibly because it seems to be taken a little too seriously by its creators. (Do writers need a distraction-free writing experience? Yes. Is a digital typewriter, or any tool for that matter, going to give them that? Probably not.) If you're able to be distracted you will be, regardless of what you're writing on. Plus, there are quite a few methods and free apps that help keep you from being distracted as you write -- writing by hand, turning your Wi-Fi off, as well as apps like SelfControl and Freedom.
The thing that drew me to Hemingwrite is not the promise of keeping distractions at bay or looking cool writing on a typewriter (because I won't -- no one will). It's the simplicity of it. This is why I write my first drafts by hand, because I don't want to look at a bright, busy screen with a million icons and windows all over it. In fact, I seriously considered following in George R.R. Martin's lead and writing on a DOS machine. Aside from that, it looks like fun!
The Hemingwrite has already been fully funded on Kickstarter, and if you move quickly, you can get one for the late early bird price of $369, otherwise you're looking at $399. If the price sounds steep, it kind of is. However, if you're a fan of typewriters it may not seem all that expensive when compared to the price of real vintage (non-collectable) analog ones -- especially considering the fact that it has digital and cloud technology to make things easier on the back end.
For more information, check out the Hemingwrite Kickstarter campaign here.