Have you ever considered a mechanical keyboard?

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about computer keyboards….

We recently had our back door repaired and I’ve been amazed at the difference it’s made to my life.

Instead of having to slam the door with a hearty thwack I now can let it gently slip closed with the barest of effort. We had had some dry rot in the frame surrounding the door and this had caused the problem.

But it’s fixed and now I have a question for you: Is your computer keyboard something like my formerly broken back door?

Most writers work at our keyboards many hours each day. Have you ever thought about whether it’s doing a good job for you? I reflected on that question recently after reading a blog post by Joel Friedlander headlined “Writer’s Tools and the Forgotten Keyboard.”

The post examines the keyboards we use and here is what Friedlander says:

If I asked you to describe the keyboard that’s sitting in front of you right now, would you be able to? Did you actually choose this keyboard because it particularly suited you?

I’m betting the answer to both questions would be “No” for most people.

Painters take great care in picking their brushes, musicians can be fanatical about their instruments. The list goes on and on. So don’t you think it’s a bit odd writers pay so little attention to what they are typing on?

He then goes on to explore the benefits of the modern mechanical keyboard. These devices have individual switches with springs and mechanisms for each key. They give more “tactile feedback” while you are typing, and also produce more noise.

I am intrigued enough by Friedlander’s suggestions that I’m considering spending $145 on my own mechanical keyboard. I learned to type on a typesetting machine — an enormous, noisy beast with keys the size of gumdrops. (There’s a photo of one at the top of this post.) I think I’ll enjoy the noise and tactile sensation of a more responsive keyboard.

Perhaps I’ll even get as much pleasure out of it as I do out of my back door that now closes ever so quietly.

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