The Undisciplined Writer’s Dream

My childhood memories are sepia toned: I climbed trees with the boys, downed pixie sticks with birch beer, and wore ridiculous pink high-heeled pumps with my pajamas.  While I still like to pair heels with flannel, I’ve pretty much accepted that I’m getting smarter. 

That was until I read Dave Caolo’s post, “Setting Up a Writing Mac.”  He advises dragging that old computer out from the basement and actually using it again – for writing only.  No web browser for convenient procrastination or iTunes for those distracting dance parties (exactly what I did for the last hour instead of writing this post). 

My first electronic love was a prehistoric typewriter that hummed like a mosquito when I plugged it in.  I would type away for hours, pretending to be famous and pumping out the most pathetic plots possible.  When I moved to Jersey, I graduated to the Mac, biking over to the public library if I needed the Internet or printer.  The computer was bigger than the desk it was on, but it served a purpose, and I still have some of the stories I drafted on that desktop.

What do you think about recycling an old computer?  Would your writing benefit from less distractions?


6 Responses to “The Undisciplined Writer’s Dream”

  1. That’s an awesome idea. I wish my old laptop wasn’t shot, otherwise I’d use it for just that. Next time I get a new computer, the old one (if it’s still kicking) will be my writing Mac.

  2. Using an old computer, huh? Well I’m all for it, except the reason that we bought new computers in the first place was because the old ones stopped working!

    But, along that note, whenever I’m in the library (my town library not school), I’m using older computers. And it definitely is a different sort of feeling to sit and write on it… but I wonder if that is more due to the atmosphere of quiet and the smell of books, rather than the older computer.

    It’s certainly an interesting idea.

  3. Here’s an alternate idea: take your oldest-smelling book, and put it in front of a fan aimed at you when you’re writing. Genius!

  4. I think it’s a great idea if the “old computer” still has a little speed left in it. I just bought a brand new laptop just for writing because Black Betty got to be just too slow to be useful. She was a heavy old broad, but a beautifully wide, full-size keyboard. The keys themselves made a wonderful, whispery tickety-tickety sound as I typed. I had that machine for nearly six years and had written so much on it that my fingertips had polished nearly every key face to a glossy shine. I hate to stop using it because there are a lot of memories attached to it (hauling it to the library to write, hauling it to the office after hours to write, hauling it on vacation to write). Maybe I can arrange it artfully on my coffee table as an objet d’art.

    • Kevin, you most definitely should! I threw my old typewriter away years ago, and I’ve regretted it countless times since. I think that the purest sign of a writer is not that they so much as love being published, but they just love the process of writing – even the smallest of sensory details, like the “whispery tickety-tickety” sound of the keyboard.

      • Also, quite an interesting blog you have there! Because this blog is the one I created while still in school, I’ve started another one,, so check it out if you have a minute! I’d love some feedback from a writer as disciplined as yourself.

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