The Hemingwrite is a portable typewriter that features a large e-ink display and the ability to upload your work to the cloud via WiFi. It’s also a unique device whose Kickstarter campaign has been getting considerable buzz. Here’s why.
The Hemingwrite’s aluminum body, retro mechanical navigation switches and big red power button will certainly grab your attention, although arguably, not in an appealing way as the design looks like the brainchild of a failed 1950’s science fiction writer. There is no paper to feed and no ink ribbon required. Think of it as a paperless word processor. The 6-inch, e-ink display includes a front light to help illuminate the screen when it is dark, and also has a handle to help make the four pound typewriter easier to carry.
Only time will tell to what extent the Hemingwrite will be received as a writing tool. The startup that created Hemingwrite is calling it “the Kindle of writing composition.” The Hemingwrite’s main selling point is that it is intended for writers living in an age filled with distraction. And with this in mind, the Hemingwrite is both brilliant and unnecessary.
“A writer writes.”
It is difficult to say who coined the phrase, but Hemingway probably said it himself on more than one bloviating occasion. And although the spirit of the phrase is dear to every aspiring writer, the experience of distraction and procrastination affects all writers, regardless of their level of development and accomplishment. The process of writing is also made more challenging given all the social media apps that vie for our attention. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms, every writer using a computer today is constantly tempted by distraction. On the other hand, a writer writes and a good writer who wants to avoid distraction will do so.
That said, Hemingwrite is designed in part to serve a younger generation of writers in training who, while seeking to avoid the temptations of social media, are no longer interested in leather-bound journals. They are also known to have shorter attention spans and are easily interrupted by any number of digital pings, notices and instant messages. If Hemingwrite can help teach these younger writers to focus on the writing task at hand, then the Hemingwrite is the perfect tool for them.
Still, with an asking price of $499, it is hard to justify buying the Hemingwrite when a Chromebook or HP Stream both retail for $199. Sure, a laptop does not offer the distraction-free experience promised by the Hemingwrite, but they do offer the chance to research one’s material, which can be a very powerful tool for any writer.
Regardless, there is something cool about Hemingwrite. The hipsters will love it, and will hopefully not end up becoming a decorative bookend for their vinyl collection, which they have sandwiched in between their dust-covered Crosley turntable.
Ultimately, if you really want to avoid distractions, start by turning off your cell phone. However, in this day and age, that may be asking a lot.