The Hemingwrite is a minimalist digital typewriter for distraction free writing. It marries the simplicity of writing on a vintage typewriter or word processor with the conveniences of modern technology. Like a typewriter, the device presents the user with a blank writing canvas where they can only do one thing, write. The Hemingwrite adds a premium mechanical keyboard, e-paper screen for maximum readability, and cloud backups for the ultimate in reliability.
The purpose of the Hemingwrite is to aid professional and aspiring writers during their drafting process by keeping them in their creative flow and removing anything that would be a hindrance. In this way, the writer is able to stay focused without wasting energy on resisting temptation to do research on YouTube or catch up on email.
The Hemingwrite is designed to be ultra simple and straightforward. Where other consumer electronics products try to cram in as many features as possible, the Hemingwrite purposefully limits functionality for the benefit of the writer's productivity. It also focuses its feature set on reducing friction for the user. It turns on instantly and does not require the starting of any software. It just as easily works online as offline with local storage. When using the Hemingwrite, you never have to worry about saving, syncing, retyping, or transferring files again. It operates very efficiently with an internal rechargeable battery that is expected to last 4+ weeks with normal usage.
The Hemingwrite was launched in December 2014 via Kickstarter that raised $200k in the first 20 hours of the campaign and surpassed its goal of $250k within the first 36 hours. It has received worldwide attention and has been published in the Wall Street Journal, on Uncrate.com, Core77 and many others, all with grassroots marketing by its two founders and no PR management team.
The Hemingwrite is a purpose-built writing tool for distraction free composition. As writers find themselves seeking a method stay focused in connected world, the Hemingwrite provides an experience of straightforward writing composition combined with modern technology that has never existed in a writing tool until now.
Distractions are a real problem to writers everywhere. There are countless stories of famous writers who go to great lengths to stay in the zone. Jonathan Franzen writes on an old dismembered Dell with the wireless card removed and the ethernet port sabotaged. George RR Martin writes on an old DOS-based computer with WordStar. Other writers use distraction-free apps on their tablet or laptop. The Hemingwrite aims to bring the same simplistic environment of a typewriter or vintage word processor while providing modern conveniences like cloud backups and an e-paper screen in a dedicated, stand-alone digital device.
Friction is the Enemy of Flow
Writing is a difficult task. It is hard to get focused and sometimes even harder to stay focused. All modern writers are faced with the daunting challenge of writing while shutting out the influences of what is going on around them. Creative writers must be immersed in their world, not the one they live in but the one they are creating.
Creative energy is critical to flow yet is finite and thus should be used efficiently for the task at hand. Distractions, unnecessary micro-choices, and even the resistance to temptation leaves us with less energy to be creative, and in this case, write. These points of friction are the modern writer’s enemy.
The design of the Hemingwrite is entirely focused on drafting with as minimal friction as possible in order to maximize flow. There is no word processing software to start nor distractions to close like email or a browser. It is always syncing and saving so you never have to worry about losing work or dealing with auto-recovered documents. There is no spellcheck, editing functionality or selectable fonts. The Hemingwrite is an exercise in feature restraint in order to focus the user on one very specific thing and as a result, increase their writing productivity.
A New Writing Routine
Aspiring writers are frequently their own worst enemy. They are constantly second guessing their writing resulting in a lot of energy spent wordsmithing when they should be drafting. Professional writing teachers tell us to keep going, write and write and write. Volume, for many of us, goes a long way to making us better writers.
The Hemingwrite is a tool that fits precisely within this technique. It is designed with limited editing capabilities in order to push the user forward. Once they have completed their drafts, all of their work is easily accessed on their computer for final editing with seamless backups to their cloud storage provider of choice (Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, iCloud, etc.).
Fortunately, the addition of cloud syncing to the Hemingwrite enables you to move from composition to editing with ease. After you have finished your first draft, simply open up your computer and all of your work is automagically synced. Begin revisions in your favorite editor of choice, whether that is Microsoft Word, Evernote, or Google Docs.
Full size mechanical keyboard – Tactile, mechanical key switches bring the best possible typing experience. Type faster and more accurately with Cherry MX Brown key switches in a full size layout.
High contrast screen – An E Ink screen (similar to the one used in the Kindle) is high contrast and extremely easy on the eyes especially after a long day looking at a traditional LCD. It can be used indoors or outdoors comfortably.
Ultra long battery life – By using the latest in efficient microprocessors and a low power E Ink display, the Hemingwrite lasts 4+ weeks on a charge with regular usage.
Instant on – The Hemingwrite is instantly ready to go at the push of a button. You don’t have to open writing software or close distracting apps. Sit down and just start typing.
Status bars – A choice of status bars can be cycled through with a dedicated keyboard key to provide you with additional feedback about your work. Show your word and character count or start up a basic timer. Blank is also an option for even fewer distractions.
Folder navigation – Work on three active documents at one time. Folders are chosen quickly and easily using the left selector knob. Pickup exactly where you left off.
WiFi connectivity – Connecting to a new WiFi network is simpler than ever before. The right selector knob has three positions to control the WiFi radio: OFF, ON, and NEW. Move the selector knob to ‘NEW’ to have the Hemingwrite scan for available networks. Pick one and put in the password to connect. Once you are connected, move the knob back to ‘ON’ and you will start syncing. Move the knob to ‘OFF’ to turn off the WiFi and save battery. Don’t worry, even with WiFi disconnected all of you work is saved locally to the machine and will automatically be pushed to the cloud the next time you are connected. There is enough onboard storage to hold millions of pages.
Printing - The Hemingwrite includes a dedicated Send key right on the keyboard. Print jobs are simultaneously emailed to you as a PDF attachment which are useful for quickly sharing drafts with writing peers, and are also queued for printing in your account on Postbox. After a one-time setup, your printer is linked to your digital Postbox account to receive print jobs and process them whenever your Hemingwrite is connected to the internet. This is useful for quickly printing drafts that can be edited in paper form.
Designed to last decades
The Hemingwrite is made of robust hardware and updateable software in an effort to make it last as long as possible. Since the product is not racing to be the fastest, smallest, lightest device, it has the opportunity to be a relevant product for many years.
Special care has been taken in the design of the Hemingwrite to make it durable and modular. The case is made out of lightweight aluminum, not plastic. The keyboard is made of the best quality switches that have a 50,000,000 key press life. The firmware on the device can be updated via over-the-air pushes to make sure bugs are remedied and upgrades are easily installed. In the case of part failure, everything is user replaceable with only a minimum set of tools and skill.
Super simple software
There are no settings menus, popup notifications, or toolbars on the device whatsoever. Immediately after the power button is pushed, the Hemingwrite is ready to go. It is just you and a clean writing canvas. The Hemingwrite is designed to be usable right out of the box with no manual required.
Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity
The cloud-connected Hemingwrite saves all of your documents effortlessly and automatically to the online web application, Postbox. From Postbox, the Hemingwrite can be setup to automatically sync documents to any of the supported cloud storage providers like Dropbox, Evernote, and Google Docs. At the same time, an internet connected Hemingwrite is able to do powerful things like process markdown on the fly to convert plain text into a fully formatted document.
Write your first draft on the Hemingwrite, then shift to your desktop or laptop. Your document is automatically downloaded in the format of choice for a seamless transition to editing and then publishing. No more ‘foot transfers’ with a USB key.
Document storage integrations are available for Dropbox, Google Docs, Evernote, iCloud, OneDrive, ownCloud, and the ultra-secure SpiderOak. The user decides where they want to save their work.
The core integrations with Google Docs, Evernote, and others are only the beginning. The software platform will be open and available for further development by the community of users.
For web developers, Postbox provides a secure REST API for third-party applications to interact with your documents when permitted by you. Imagine all of your documents in the ‘B’ folder are automatically saved as a draft in your WordPress blog. This is possible with the Postbox API.
For software developers, the Hemingwrite has an open software development kit (SDK) to further customize the user experience of the Hemingwrite itself. Future third-party plugins could allow deep integration with genre specific editing and publishing platforms like Final Draft (screenplays) or Scrivener (creative writing) and others.
• 4+ week battery life
• 1 million+ page memory
• ~6” E-Paper display
• Full-size mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown keyboard switches available in US ANSI and international ISO layouts