So You Wanna Be a Writer? How to Find the Perfect Keyboard for You


Ahh keyboards. We know them, we use them. We occasionally marvel at them. Why does the paint erode so quickly on certain keys? Do I really use the keys ‘A’s and ‘S’ so much compared to all others? Whatever the case, keyboards are universal, but sometimes they can be painful.

You know what we’re talking about. Keyboards that are slow. Keyboards that are awkward. Keyboards that take away all the pleasure of writing, and make you lament anytime you type.

This is a big deal for anybody anywhere, but its a particularly big problem for a writer. For writers spend every day, day in and day out at the desk typing away, so hating a keyboard is hating life.

On the other hand, when a keyboard is a pleasure to use? It’s surely a heavenly experience. The touch of the keys feels like liquid velvet. The tap of the keys sounds like heavenly choirs.  The ACCIDENTAL USE OF CAPS IS? – still irritating. But all up? Great keyboards are great.

So, what things do you need to understand when seeking out the perfect keyboard for writing?  Let’s look now.

1. How Does It Type?

It’s all about the thwack. A good keyboard has some great thwack. If you’ve used a great keyboard you will recognise why it is great. If you haven’t there’s a few things to look for.

The keys should be a good mix of dense and springy. With enough give to make typing easy, but not so much as to leave your fingers feeling like your navigating a swamp of plastic keys.

They should be big enough to ensure you can type accurately‚ but not so big it is a struggle to glide your hands across the keyboard.

2. No Really, How Does It Type?

First impressions are important, but the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ is true. And you’re not book buying – you’re looking for a keyboard here!

You may be really happy with the way your keyboard types. Fabulous. But if it sounds like rainfall on a tin roof? You may quickly become the most unpopular person in your office – or if you work remote – the local cafe.

And actually, even when you are just by yourself typing away, a really loud keyboard can be a huge pain. It can be frustrating, jarring, and leave you avowed to find a typewriter, a fountain pen, or hell even some quilt and parchment – anything to avoiding having the use the device that sounds like a fighter plan firing off a few rounds every time your write ‘Haha’.

3. Does It Seem Like It’s Going to Break Easily?

Nobody is suggesting this keyboard should go fired into space or sent deep underwater.  But if it looks so weak and flimsy a strong breeze might sent your SHIFT key into the next state?  It may be a good idea to go ahead and move on to another model.

Ultimately, every keyboard can encounter an issue now and then like a loose key or some dirt built up between a row of letters, but this is something that might develop far down the line. Look to buy a keyboard that will be good today, and not give you any problems tomorrow in this vein.

4. How Are the Computer’s Specs?

While technically separate from a keyboards operation, in practice the performance of a computer will always impact your enjoyment of using a keyboard. Speedy and modern computer that is quick and responsive to your typing? Then it’s clear skies ahead!

Using a computer that was first released during the Bush Administration? – no…no…no THAT administration, the one before it,  back in the early 1990’s. – then that’s going to be an issue.

Your computer will lag, your typing will not be instantaneous but take forever to go from keys to screen, and it’ll peeve you off mightily.  You don’t need to have a super cutting edge computer to be able to type as a writer, but it does need to be quick enough to allow you to type and enjoy uninterrupted.

5. Do I Want/Need a Mechanical Keyboard?

Many serious word sleuths swear by the use of a mechanical keyboard. For those yet to come across this setup‚ the name is a big giveaway. Each key on the keyboard is mechanised‚ with each individual key housing beneath the visible key a complete and individual switch. This as opposed to regular non-mechanical keyboards that don’t feature such a construction.

As a result of this‚ many users of mechanical keyboards feel it delivers a more tactical and enjoyable experience. From the responsiveness of the keys to a user’s fingers‚ to the sound each keystroke makes‚ and more. Similar to how a manual car provides a different experience to an automatic vehicle.

The online world is full of lengthy exposes and crisp comments – e.g. ‘LOL! You don’t use a mechanical keyboard? N00b’ – debating the relative merits of mechanical keyboards.

What won’t be debated is

  1. They are made differently from ‘regular’ keyboards
  2. They are more expensive accordingly
  3. Many enthusiasts swear by them

Should you find yourself happy with a conventional keyboard? That’s OK.

Should you be OK with a conventional keyboard but feel you’d be happier with a mechanical? That’s OK too.

At the end of the day‚ love or loathe one type of keyboard over the other‚ we can all agree: sometimes the ‘right’ keyboard is a matter of personal fit. Speaking of…

Did We Just Spend 800 Words Discussing Keyboards?

Despite the cheeky tone of this article, finding the right keyboard is actually really important. If you are a writer, regularly writing to deadline, you know: every minute counts. And more specifically: every second counts!

A keyboard that is a pleasure to use will see you type quickly, efficiently, and be one you enjoy using. Meaning you won’t be too sad to being your day using it, and won’t be just desperate to get away from it once work is done.

Ultimately, that’s why finding the right keyboard is important.  To save time, enduring your comfortable doing your job, and are more productive as a result.

Ed Kennedy is a journalist and ghostwriter from Melbourne, Australia. Contact Ed via on Skype or LinkedIn.

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