I pursue a better understanding of archives work, jazz style.

What’s with the typewriter?

It’s easy for me to feel intimidated when reading other people’s blogs, particularly blogs by archivists with more experience than me.

But here’s the thing about blogs: they give the impression that they’re written rapidly, off the cuff.  I’m sure most of them are.  But no reader can know for sure how long the author has spent on a post.  I have been working on this particular page for several minutes now, revising and re-writing as I go, leaving no trace of the words I discard.  But by all appearances I could have just sat down and dashed this out with no effort.

I decided that I would write blog posts with a typewriter, in one draft, to see and to show what ideas look like in the early stages of their development.  As a result I expect that my posts will lack polish and focus and never measure up to the standards of a peer-reviewed journal.

This is a calculated strategy not only to keep me honest (and motivated to work harder on my professional writing) but to challenge readers: if you were to write out an idea in a first draft, without using the cursor to select and delete text, without cut-and-paste, without even the backspace key on a computer keyboard, what would it look like?  Would you have the courage to share it?

Besides, I enjoy using a typewriter.

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3 responses

  1. Welcome to the typosphere! Look forward to reading your blog.

    January 12, 2010 at 5:25 pm

  2. greetings from a fellow full-time archivist (and a daily typewriter user, too)

    May 6, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    • Thanks – it’s good to know there’s at least one other archivist out there who still appreciates these lovely things.

      May 11, 2010 at 9:06 am

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