The vast majority of professional and novice writers use mechanical keyboards using a variety of switch types based on their personal preferences.
Mechanical keyboards are preferred because they provide a tactile experience, excellent response times and just a better overall typing experience for a writer or author.
Are writers fast typers?
Before we continue we’re going to define a “writer” as either any person who writes a lot of content either for professional or personal reasons or an author.
Writers tend to fall into two categories when it comes to typing speed:
- Hunters and peckers – these are 2-fingered typists who either can’t or won’t learn how to touch type.
- Touch typists – these are the writers who can pound out 60 words per minute for several hours at a time.
So, while writers can benefit from being fast typers, fast typing is not a requirement of the job/hobby.
It certainly helps if you’re working in an environment where you have to be able to write several thousand words per day, but that’s typically freelance writers or professional authors and not a hobbyist.
Having faster typing skills can boost the time spent at the typewriter to allow the writer to focus on their creativity.
In fact, some writers’ typing skills are so poor that they hire someone to type their manuscript for them. Or they get their “writing” transcribed from voice recordings. A surprising number of your favourite authors actually dictate their books and have them transcribed.
Because the average human talks at up to 150 words-per-minute while the average human can only type at 40 words-per-minute, so dictation allows you to “write” 4x faster.
Is a mechanical keyboard good for writing?
Yes, a mechanical keyboard is a great choice for a writer because they’re accurate, comfortable to use for hours on end, you can customise the clickiness and speed of the switches on your keyboard and mechanical keyboards tend to last a lot longer than a membrane or rubber dome keyboard.
Is it harder to type fast on a mechanical keyboard?
No, it is not harder to type quickly on a mechanical keyboard. If anything, mechanical keyboards improve your accuracy and also reduce the number of typos you make writing any kind of content.
In my experience, switching to mechanical keyboards is the best decision I’ve made in relation to my writing in years.
I burned through at least one membrane keyboard per year (I write an awful lot btw) but I’m now using my current SteelSeries for 2 years and it’s actually just as good as the day I bought it. I’m considering getting some other mechanical keyboards now but just for testing.
Which switches are the best for writing?
The best switches are considered to be the Cherry Brown and Cherry Blue tactile switches depending on how much response you want.
Some writers prefer to get more resistance from their switches and some prefer far less. But the beauty is that with mechanical keyboards you can keep testing different switches until you find ones that are perfect for you.
Is writing by hand better than typing?
Some writers insist on writing everything by hand and then transcribing it via dictation or typing it out.
The idea behind this is that writing by hand is more “organic” so it adds to your overall creativity i.e. writing things by hand keeps your muse happy.
Some writers argue that writing by hand helps them to avoid the distractions of technology, allowing them to focus and ignore the pings and notifications of their computer.
They report that it suits their creative style, again this being a very individual preference, and scribbling notes helps them to deal with writer’s block as it avoids the auto-correct lines of a hurriedly misspelled word,distracting them from what they want to get down on paper.
And while I support everyone approaching the writing process in whatever way they see fit, there’s no evidence that writing by hand is better than typing.
And that comes from somebody surrounded by notepads and notebooks that he doodles and scribbles in on a regular basis. But I would never, ever dream of writing a book or novel by hand.
I see it as being an enormous waste of resources and time.
Typing not only speeds up the process of writing, the handwritten notes are not required to be typed up once complete, but there is less likelihood of cramping hands. It is easier to keep a track of the word count, if this is a requirement, when typing and is also easier to open up a new page to carry out research.
Work can be saved and backed up without the need for arduous copying – your digital documents can be stored on a removable drive or in the Cloud. Your paper notes can be permanently destroyed by anything from strong sunlight to a glass of water being spilled on them.
Whatever keyboard you choose, make sure that it will be comfortable when writing on for long periods of time. And that could mean considering an ergonomic keyboard if that will help reduce your risk of RSI.