THE FRANK EXPERIMENT: Introducing Frank

good morning, cyberspace!

FRIDAY, JANUARY 17th, 2020

Exactly one week ago today, I met a typewriter.

He was a beautiful thing, all sharp edges and dusty keys and a mysterious orange goop which clung to his white frame like dried cheese puff powder. He was thick and heavy, with the word OLYMPIA stamped across his front like a badge of honor and a look of extreme shock on his face. (which I’m fairly certain was from having found himself in the back room of a strange little thrift shop without getting broken into a million little pieces, but I digress.)

This was my first impression of Frank, and though I didn’t know how closely intertwined our paths would soon be, I could feel my heart skip a tiny beat just at the mere discovery of him. Here was a typewriter which had clearly seen better days, but which had survived. Here was a machine which, despite all odds, had withstood the test of time.

Here, my friends, was a trooper.

Unfortunately, when I first discovered Frank in that dingy back room, I didn’t even consider the potential of buying him for myself. For one thing, he was an electric (and I am, in the most stubborn of ways, a mechanical typewriter snob [or, shall we say, I was]), and for another, I already had two typewriters at home. I didn’t need a third one. I didn’t have ROOM for a third one. It wouldn’t do to dwell on the impossible, and–in any case–that cheese puff powder was slightly disturbing.

So I left him.

Now let’s fast-forward by precisely one week, shall we?

It’s Thursday, and I’m working–again–and as I pass by one of our shelving units, I notice something poking out on the bottom.

It’s Frank.

He looks a little grubbier than I remember. His case has been popped open and his carriage is uncentered. He looks sad. He looks lonely. He looks like he needs someone to take him home and give him some love. The sight of poor Frank just sitting there rotting on the bottom shelf was enough to break my smol writer heart, and for the rest of my shift, try however hard as I might to forget about him, my thoughts kept drifting back to that sad little typewriter.

He needed me, that much was certain. Sure, I’ve never had an electric typewriter in my life, but certainly there’s a first for everything, right? Not to mention that–the more I looked at him–the more I realized how strikingly similar he was to the typewriter that Frank Navasky was obsessed with in You’ve Got Mail.

(Later, upon further research, I realized that it is NOT, in fact, the exact model used, but it is a similar model, and that, my friends, is quite enough.)

Once my shift ended, I spent the next ten minutes sitting on the floor in the back of the thrift shop, staring at Frank, turning him over, testing his keys, googling whether or not he was the exact replica of Frank Navasky’s typewriter. . . My mom and sister found me there on the floor, and with a conflicted heart, I decided to leave Frank behind.

Again.

My thought process behind this decision went something like this:

  1. as already stated, I already had two typewriters. Sure, Frank needed a good home–and a good scrubbing, mind–but as much as I felt connected to him, I didn’t need him. And I’m trying to cut back on things I don’t need.
  2. Frank wasn’t the exact model used in You’ve Got Mail, and if I was going to get an electric typewriter, I’d probably want him to be the exact model. In case you couldn’t tell, I’m extremely obsessed with that movie (thanks, mom!) and have absolutely no shame about it whatsoever.
  3. my dad was waiting for us in the freezing car to whisk us away to dinner, so I really didn’t have a whole lot of time to ponder whether or not I wanted to adopt a new child. . .

One quarter pounder with cheese and a large fry later, however, and I had finally made my decision:

I wanted Frank. I needed Frank. I didn’t care if he wasn’t the Olympia Report De Luxe Electric. He was beautiful and grubby and wonderful and mine, and he was going to come home with me that very night.

Not to mention the fact that my mom had the brilliant idea to name him Frank after–you guessed it–Frank Navasky (*cough* I wonder where I get my You’ve Got Mail obsession from *cough*), so that was that. Once he had a name, I knew there was no other option. Frank needed me, and I him, and together, we were bound to achieve greatness.

Which leads us to today’s blog post! Welcome to the beginning of a full month of utter insanity, my dearest beans. Welcome to madness.

Welcome . . . to THE FRANK EXPERIMENT.

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^^ this is Frank. Is he not the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?

Blog Divider

THE FRANK EXPERIMENT: A SMOL Q & A

Q1: “What’s The Frank Experiment?”

The Frank Experiment is a lovely little idea I had upon the second day of Frank’s arrival home. I was sitting there, typing on his clackety keys and having an absolute blast drafting my current WIP, when all of a sudden it struck me:

When using a typewriter, there’s virtually no way to go back and rewrite what you’ve previously written. You can’t tinker with the past. You can’t overthink your mistakes. You just have to write. Which leads to A) choosing your words with more precision and care, and B) writing more, because you rewrite, edit, and stress less. It was a mindblowing realization, and immediately I knew I wanted to experiment with this idea.

Could using a typewriter help me draft faster? I am, by nature, a slow drafter. Editing as I go has always been one of my pitfalls to drafting books, and while I’ve tried to get over it in the past and just write, it’s made difficult by how enabling a laptop is to rewriting. Laptops grant much creative freedom while writing, but they can also be crippling to forward momentum. With a typewriter, on the other hand, the only way out is forward, and unless you finish a page, you’re going to have to let that first draft material sit in your typewriter for all to see as they pass by until you have the guts to finish it later.

And that is not a very pleasant feeling, let me tell you.

So what is The Frank Experiment? It’s a 29 day challenge, put forth by my own self, to draft with almost nothing but my typewriter for the full month of February. If you’ve been around the blog for any length of time, you might remember February Freeze Out from last year, and March Hare Madness (#neveragain) the year before that. This is slightly similar, though the end goal is not, as it was in previous years, to have a completed story by the end of it. My goal is to simply see how much more productive I am when using a typewriter, as opposed to when I’m using a laptop.

Now, there are going to be moments when I physically cannot use a typewriter–like when I’m drafting late into the depths of the night, as I’m prone to do when I’m deep in the drafting trenches–because unfortunately, while Frank is extremely fun to use, he also tends to be extremely loud and clackety, which makes writing with him at 11 o’clock at night simply out of the question. SO. During those moments when Frank isn’t available for use, I will be writing by hand. Hopefully. Maybe. This is something I’ve wanted to start doing more of, anyway, so hopefully The Frank Experiment will help me break free from my procrastination and fear of hand cramps and let me use all the cool pens my dad made me for Christmas. . .

Q2: “Are there any rules?”

Not . . . really? Basically the main thing is to just cut back on laptop drafting for the month of February. It’s not that I don’t like writing on my laptop–in all actuality, I LOVE it–but I want to see how different my drafting process looks when I cut out the mediums I’m comfortable with.

Am I faster? Am I slower? Does the story’s tone change? << these are the questions I have, and these are the questions I am hoping to answer by undertaking the Frank Experiment.

If, however, I find that I seriously need to use my laptop–say for portability reasons or if I feel like the scene I’m working on needs some MAJOR help and tinkering–then I’m not going to forbid myself to wait until March just so I can use my laptop. This is, first and foremost, an experiment, and the overall story I’m weaving is more important than what medium I’m writing it on.

But since I am trying to make this as much a challenge as it is an experiment, the rules are basically thus:

  1. draft solely on a typewriter for the 29 days of February
  2. if you cannot use the typewriter, go old-school and write by hand

Boom! We have rules, peasants! someone please hold me accountable to this. . .

Q3: “Will you continue blogging through the month of February if you’re not using your laptop?”

Yes! The point of the Frank Experiment is to cut back on drafting my book via laptop, but I’ll still be using it for other things–such as blogging. And this is good, because my “plan” is to document The Frank Experiment here on the blog for all posterity, so definitely stay tuned for more Frank-ish posts coming your way! (of course, now that I say I want to blog about The Frank Experiment, I won’t blog at all during the month of February, but you know. as of right now it’s the plan.)

Q4: “You keep mentioning the word ‘drafting’. What exactly are you drafting in February?”

Why, a book, of course! My smol little firecracker child, SK, to be more precise. You can find more information on this story here and here, but rest assured that since the plot of this story is highly classified at the moment, most of the details I’ve sprinkled out thus far are sparse and confusing. I’m hoping to get WIP IT! back up and running this year so I can share more about my current projects, but for right now, we’ll just have to live with random pieces splattered across the blog here and there. XD

Q5: “All right, Kenzie. This experiment sounds like fun!! Can I join???”

Absolutely! If you’ve got a typewriter and want to play along with me during the month of February, I highly encourage you to do so! (or, contrariwise, if you DON’T have a typewriter and just want to play around with different writing mediums during the month of February to see how your writing process changes, you can totally do that, too!) As I mentioned above, I’m “planning” on writing posts about my experience with this experiment over the course of February, so hopefully we’ll be able to chat about our ups and downs in the comment sections of those. OR, if you want a more one-on-one experience with Yours Truly as we undertake this grandiose experiment, go ahead and shoot me an email! (you can find my email address over in the contact and suggestion desk) It’s gonna be a fun, slightly terrifying month, I guarantee it!

this is fine GIF
this will be me on the third of February. mark my words.

IN CONCLUSION. . .

I’m insane. This I think we already knew. But one of my goals for this year is to really sink my teeth into the art of writing, and it’s been far too long since I’ve played around with my daily process. So! A writing challenge/experiment it is! To be honest, I’m a little nervous about this. I absolutely ADORE typewriters, but using one to draft the majority of a novel is definitely outside of my comfort zone. I’m hoping it’s something I’ll get used to as the month progresses, though! I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. . .

At least I still have a few days before February begins, right? Aha. Hahaha. Ha. *sweats nervously*



TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!

All right, folks, let’s chat! Are you undertaking any new and slightly horrifying writerly experiments this year? What sorts of tools do you use to write YOUR novels? (and if you write by hand/use a typewriter, definitely give me all of your tips down below. I need all the help I can get at this point. . .) Do you own a typewriter of any sort, and if you do, do you prefer mechanical or electrical? (I’m still on the fence as to which one I prefer. I think I like both for their own reasons, but Frank’s definitely got a special place in my heart right now. . .) and most importantly. . .

ARE YOU GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FRANK EXPERIMENT?

We could totally call it something else. Like February Freeze Out. Or the Oh My Goodness We’re All Going To Die challenge. . . You know, whatever works best for you guys. XD

As always, let us talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time. . .

_flings cookies in the air and disappears_

24 thoughts on “THE FRANK EXPERIMENT: Introducing Frank

  1. Oh my goodness, that’s so exciting that you have a typewriter! That is peak writer goals right there. The typewriter looks so amazing! I wish you the best of luck drafting. Changing up mediums is an interesting idea; sometimes I can get kind of stuck on one particular routine and I feel like I can’t write if I change it, but sometimes I do need to change my routine. Like when I regularly write at three AM, for instance. *shifts guiltily*

    Liked by 1 person

    • MEEP!!! I am so excited to have another little guy to add to my collection… He’s definitely a stinker–he’s got some quirks, as it seems all typewriters do–but I’m really happy I got him!

      Changing up mediums was truly an adventure… I learned a lot–things that I was NOT expecting to learn about myself–and I’m really excited to share all of my findings with you guys!

      WAIT. YOU WRITE AT 3 AM??? How…how do you sleep??? DO YOU NEED SLEEP? ARE YOU STILL ALIVE???????

      Liked by 1 person

  2. AAAAHHHHH, KENZIE. THIS IS SO BRILLIANT AND FUN. Frank is BEAUTIFUL. Your story of how you got him, too, was the greatest thing. I was smiling all the way through. Mainly because that totally sounds like me trying to make a decision. XD

    I DO have a typewriter. Shamefully though…I’ve never used it. I just use it for decoration. TERRIBLE, I KNOW. It’s a 1937 Royal and in perfect condition and I don’t even know HOW. I was shocked when I found it in a thrift shop one day. NATURALLY I had to bring it home. And I love it so very much. It doesn’t have any ribbon in it though, so I’ve never written anything on it. I REALLY should just buy some ribbon for it, sheesh. BUT STILL. I LOVE IT!

    Aaaanyways. This whole idea of writing a story in a different medium is so perfect. And YES. We do get so distracted when the laptop makes it so very easy to erase and change things. I think using something that doesn’t give that option is brilliant. I just love this so much!

    I cannot wait to hear how it goes. I’m rooting for you all the way! :D :D :D

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lol!!! It’s good to know I’m not the only one who him-haws around with making decisions! I’m really really glad I got him, though. I think he’d still be sitting on that dusty shelf if I hadn’t stumbled across him that day, poor guy…

      Oh my goodness!!! I think I might have seen your typewriter in some of your photos??? I have this weird memory of seeing a typewriter on your instagram or your blog or something… Goodness, now I’m going to have to try and find it. XD BUT ASDFGHJKL YOUR TYPEWRITER SOUNDS AMAZING??? And honestly, I understand not using it. Even though I have three typewriters now (two mechanical, one electric), I still don’t use them as often as I probably should. I just find it difficult to draft on them–which will come into play in my TFE recap post. XD BUT! I do think it would be really cool to just draft something small on them, like poems or micro short stories. Or maybe to write letters on! I would seriously recommend getting some ribbon for your typewriter, even if it’s just to see how he types!! Literally nothing can beat a typewriter’s clackity keys!!

      MEEP! Thank you!! Unfortunately, as you will see in my next blog post, I KINDA SORTA FAILED AT THE FRANK EXPERIMENT. XD BUT!!! I learned SO much about myself and my writing process and just plain writing in general, so I think it’s going to be really interesting to see where I go with my newfound information… I’m also excited to write the recap post to let you all know how it went!!! Mwahahahaha! *rubs hands together maniacally*

      ACK! Thank you, Christine!! You are literally the sweetest bean!!! <333

      Like

  3. That sounds so fun! Good luck!

    I don’t have a typewriter so I can’t do the experiment properly, but maybe I’ll try a little bit of handwriting again. I haven’t sat down to handwrite a novel in a long while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It WAS fun!! (if slightly agitating at times. XD) Aw, darn… BUT YES!!! Definitely write by hand! This month has taught me SO much about writing old school, and one of the things I learned was that writing by hand is MAGICAL. 10/10 recommend!

      Like

  4. What a beautiful typewriter…. YOU HAVE TWO NOW?!?
    *cries* I don’t even have one.
    Wow, I like this idea though. (*sniffs* If only I had a typewriter so I could participate. ;) ) Aaaaah, experimenting with writing and writing habits is the best.
    I’m busy this month, but I’ll be cheering you on with your goals!
    *flings confetti in the air*

    Liked by 1 person

    • I actually have three! Two of which I got in antique stores, and Frank I got in a thrift shop. Honestly, if you ever stop in at a thrift store or an antique store or someplace that sells old/used stuff, you might happen to stumble across one for relatively cheap!!! That’s how I got all of mine!

      MEEP! It really is, though!!! I’m so excited to do more stuff like this in the future… And there’s a recap post coming up that’s gonna tell you all about how the month went, so THAT should be interesting… XD

      Oh my goodness, THANK YOU!!! <333 *eats confetti*

      Liked by 1 person

  5. FRANK IS BEAUTIFUL.

    I love this idea of writing solely on a typewriter for a month (I alas, do not have one). I did though randomly start writing a story in a notebook and like…I want it to go beyond my little notebook (a lot of stories get lost in there forever and never see the light of day), but I’m hesitant to take it to my laptop. It’s just been so magical writing it by hand??

    Good luck!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • IS HE NOT, THOUGH??? He is a smol, handsome boi. I love him very much. XD

      Oh my goodness, I experienced the SAME EXACT THING this month!!!! I started writing by hand and I….just couldn’t stop??? The Frank Experiment took a W I L D turn… XD For me, though, there came a moment when I knew deep in my soul that I was ready to go back to the laptop. It was a really strange moment, but I’m thankful that I listened to whatever little voice was inside my head, because I’ve started getting productive again after having listened…

      MEEP! Thank you!!! This month was crazy… XD

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I WISH I HAD A TYPEWRITER. That’s it, it’s going on my Christmas list for 2020. XD

    Frank is so cute, though! And ahaha, your story of how you met him and took him home is THE ACTUAL BEST. CAN YOU NARRATE MY LIFE OR SOMETHING.

    I’ve been thinking about trying out drafting by hand again, actually. I used to, before I bought a laptop, and I’m very curious about what it might change about my writing mindset and creativity and tone. o.o Sadly, I can’t join your challenge because I’ll be trying my utmost to wrap up revisions on my WIP… and that’s not terribly conducive to any method but a computer. :P Hope it goes well for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • GIRL, YES!!! I have a strong belief that every writer needs a typewriter. It’s a must. XD

      OKAY, SO YOU ARE LITERALLY THE SWEETEST SUNFLOWER, OH MY WORD. XD I’ve honestly been thinking about doing more of these narrative non-fiction-y things, because apparently people really like them??? And I REALLY enjoy writing them?? So…huh. Maybe I should start narrating MY life, and then once I get good enough at it, I can narrate YOUR life. XD (free of charge, of course. because you’re the one that suggested it. XD)

      Ooooooh! I would love to hear any thoughts you have if you try writing by hand again! I definitely learned a LOT this month, and though it’s going to be hard to wrap my thoughts into words, I’m planning on posting a recap of how February played out! OOH! Best of luck on your revisions!! Those can always be a bit tricksy, but I have FAITH IN YOU, MY FRIEND!!! <333

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Frank is beautiful, and so is this story. (The will-she-won’t-she about buying him made me LAUGH. #relatable)
    And I hope your experiment goes splendidly! I actually write all first drafts by hand, and it’s really helpful for not getting distracted. Like, you sit there, you have a pen and paper, so what CAN you do besides write? (And doodle. My notebooks have a lot of strange doodles in them…)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Meep! Thank you!! I seriously feel like I need to write more non-fiction-y things like this… You all seem to enjoy it, and I LOVE writing these storytimes, so I guess I have new material to play with. XD

      ACK, THANK YOU!!! It…kind of failed?? But kind of DIDN’T fail, so that’s going to be fun to try and explain… Aha. XD OH MY WORD!!! You write all your first drafts by hand??? That is so interesting! Do you do NaNo by hand, as well?? Do you DO NaNo?? I HAVE ALL OF THE QUESTIONS!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • YES. They’re amazing.

        I…have tried to do NaNo. And i did do it by hand. And i failed. But it wasn’t the doing it by hand part that was why I failed, i don’t think? NaNo is just not the best for me as a writer and I just… CAN’T write that fast. I am definitely the tortoise and not the hare. XD I think a person totally could do NaNo by hand though. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

        • MEEP!

          AHA! This is very interesting! I personally am obsessed with NaNo, but there have been many times where I’ve realized halfway through the month that–with whatever particular story I’m working on–the fast-paced, mad-dash of NaNo is just HINDERING my creativity, rather than boosting it. Those moments are when I have to take a step back and reconsider my priorities and motives.

          DUDE. There is nothing wrong with being the Tortoise!!!! That just means you’re gonna finish first, after all. XD

          Liked by 1 person

    • DUUUDE! Don’t stop spamming my comments!! I’ve missed this, too!! I’m SO behind on answering blog comments, but I think I’m gonna go turn on a movie and just answer comments and chill for a bit and it’s gonna be wonderful and!!!!!! #rambling I can’t wait for you to hear how the Frank Experiment went. It was a disaster of epic proportions! *thumbs up*

      Like

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