The Freewrite—and even more so, the Hemingway Edition—is a polarizing device, and perhaps it was always destined to be received thus. In a world of pocket-computers with millions of apps on hand to do everything from control your home's thermostat to calculate the orbit of comets, Hemingwrite is a ludicrously expensive piece of retro technology intended to do only one thing, but do it well: write.
If you feel the need to justify such an indulgence you may sense an uphill battle ahead of you. I, for one, am unapologetic in my perspective. Why spend $800 on a Mont Blanc when a Bic will do? Because I work hard, I can afford it, and I like nice things. Most of all, because I sense the personal value I can find in the object. Hemingwrite is a beautiful tool, in the same sense that a set of finely crafted chisels and planers might be to the artisan woodworker.
I am just old enough that when typing-up reports in primary school, it sometimes happened on an electric typewriter. I am also no stranger to mechanical typewriters; I still have my father's old Adler (though good luck finding ribbons for it). Nevertheless, that same father was also forward-thinking enough to buy me a Macintosh for Christmas back when they were still all-in-one, little beige boxes. I have subsequently been doing my writing in full-featured software programs for virtually all of my adult life. To go back to a device with minimal editing functionality has been a bit of a culture shock. Or a paradigm shift. Or just plain disconcerting. Call it what you will. The bottom line is this: it takes some getting used to, but for certain styles of writing, I am beginning to feel it really is the best method.
I have learned that the modern school of composition favors the separation of drafting and editing into two distinct activities—something I was never previously taught. However, as I use the Hemingwrite more, the new lesson is starting to make a lot of sense.
Much lip service is paid to Freewrite being a "distraction-free" writing environment. Freedom from your web browser, from Facebook notifications and Twitter and attention-demanding email messages are often cited. If I'm being honest, I have never been terribly active on social media, and could not care less about any of that. For me, the Internet has rarely been much of a distraction from writing on a computer. What has been a major distraction, ironically enough, is my own previous writing. When I open a project in Ulysses, for example, with the intention of writing a new section, I often find myself drawn into older portions of the text. I am tempted to read and reread my previous work, making minor adjustments as I go. Last week's Me is my own worst enemy when it comes to unleashing creativity. Hemingwrite frees me from that trap and makes me focus on drafting new material when such is my immediate goal. My computer, with its more featureful editors, is still here, but it is a different tool for a different job.
I had owned Hemingwrite less than two weeks when Astrohaus sent me a charming email notification, informing me I had already crossed the 10,000 word mark. It had seemed effortless. If I were to maintain that rate, it would be the equivalent, in word count, of finishing (if not in itself completing) a full-length novel in about four months. That alone may stand as testament to the productivity this device represents for the crafter of prose.
Hemingwrite makes you want to sit down and Just Write. I cannot think of higher praise.
I wondered how something so small could do so much and I am still in awe as I get used to being able to "just write." No distractions. I love it. Yes, it was expensive but worth every penny of the stress-free, no distraction working time. I am happy to have the Traveler.
Traveler, the writing instrument I didn’t know I needed.
I didn’t realize how often I got distracted when writing. I thought I had willpower. It isn’t just the fact this device can’t go online and access distractions though, there’s something immersive about enjoying the typing process. This keyboard reminds me of the keyboards I used many years ago. It’s satisfying typing on the traveler. I find myself enjoying the entire process of writing. It has also helped me progress, I thought not being able to search up and down in my manuscript would bother me — it’s the other way around. Now I’m not wasting time trying to find perfect words, or reworking a single scene. I’m writing forwards. If I want to look back, page up is all I need. If I need a refresher, I email it to myself and I can open the document in Word. I was sceptical, and now I’m glad I made the purchase.
So, I took the financial plunge and bought the Traveler. And it was worth every single penny. I am wonderfully pleased with the speed I am writing. I got two thousand words in one sitting (my goal for daily writing). I hadn't done that in a LONG time. The scissor-switch keyboard is fabulous to type on as well. I assumed my one issue with the device was going to be the E-Ink delay. The truth is, it actually heightens my speed. It's hard to explain how, but it just does. I use folder "A" for novel writing, "B" for short stories, and "C" for journaling. I absolutely love this device, and I plan to pick up the Smart Typewriter sometime soon!
When Freewrite kept popping up on my social media feed, I thought, "What IS this? What kind of idiot would spend that kind of money on this?" As it turns out, *this* kind of idiot.
Freewrite breaks the outcome dependency writers have developed with the advent of computers. We all believe we should -- and need to -- get it right on the first draft, because the technology is there to make that possible. And we're foolish to think, "Nah, just write." Freewrite is all about, "Nah, just write."
It's the ideal writing tool for touch typists. Ever since buying my first Freewrite, I write effortlessly because I've changed my approach to writing. I don't pay attention to what lands on the page, the focus is all on the words inside my head and my fingers simply transcribe. Freewrite is a necessary tool that reminds me the first draft isn't about perfection, it's about forward momentum, keeping the conduit to creativity open and flowing.
What you've created is the equivalent of a luxury sports car for writing. It fosters speed and maximum output. On a Freewrite, I don't look down as I type. Instead I look up, centering myself in the present moment rather than on the screen, which is what computers do -- they force you to define your world by the screen.
Touch typing on the Traveler is like pressing pats of butter -- it's a delicious sensation. I crave writing on it and I miss it when I'm on my computer working.
In a world of disposable junk, you are building writing tools for the ages. I'm glad I stopped doubting and gave Freewrite a try.
It is just so easy to write and to keep writing with this device. Yes, editing really isn’t something you do with this, which is definitely a limitation. But if you are a person who drafts high volume stuff frequently, this is the perfect tool.
I am someone who writes a lot, but not for fiction. Having an "eTypewriter" nearby (in my case, The Traveler) helps me when inspiration / ideas strike! It's especially great to have multiple folders with numerous individual documents that I can access and move between easily. And, I really love that "send" button , which lets me deposit drafts directly in my inbox as a PDF and .txt. file. Such a great investment!
It is a wordless kind of pleasure I feel as I type, really, a joy! I have the Freewrite Original (3rd generation) and couldn’t be happier. The keys have just the right feel. The front light saves me from having to turn on my light when i wake at 2 am. And it is so beautiful, I am ever drawn to it. Simple, elegant and serves its function oh so well. Thank you!
I love my Traveler. I admit that I have been used to writing AND editing simultaneously, so using the Traveler has required me to change up my process a bit. But it has been worth it! The Traveler really can go anywhere you need it to, and I much prefer pulling it out to jot down story ideas than having scraps of paper floating around. I've found synchronizing with Evernote to be really straightforward. Definitely happy with my purchase.
It has quickly become my prized possession. I take it with me everywhere and it amped up my creativity and productivity x1000! It took me a long time to take the plunge and make the purchase, but I have zero regrets. It is probably the best purchase I’ve ever made for myself.
A worthwhile purchase if you're serious about writing
I love, love, love my traveler! It's fairly simple to use after a brief glance at the instructions, it has incredible battery life, and I can switch between projects with simple click of a button. The only thing I wish it had was a backlight but otherwise, fantastic!
Never worry about saving or syncing again. Freewrite devices automatically sync to Dropbox, Google Drive & Evernote.
E Ink Display
Spend less time staring at harsh backlit screens. Freewrite's unique E Ink display reflects light just like real paper.
Full-Size Mechanical Keyboard
You'll love our supple mechanical keys that make typing with Freewrite unforgettable.
Shop Freewrite Devices
Freewrite is a dedicated drafting device for anyone who writes, without the distraction – or temptation – of browsers, apps, or notifications.
Get in writing flow and develop more prolific writing sessions by separating the drafting and editing processes. When it is time to edit, your drafts wirelessly sync to the cloud for export into your software of choice.
Push your productivity forward and tap into writing joy!