Some folks love it, some would rather leave it — but it’s here to stay.
As we all know, the invention of movable type in the mid-1400s revolutionized the world in ways Johannes Gutenberg never would have imagined.
Remember Jo in Little Women, taking refuge in the attic to write and emerging with ink-stained fingers? Louisa May Alcott would have fainted dead away at the the ease with which I compose on my laptop.
Mark Twain was the first writer to submit a typewritten manuscript. Today, many publishers will accept only electronic submissions.
When I was a kid, I used to write with a pen on notebook paper. Though I had an old manual typewriter similar to the one in the picture and spent many happy hours at it, my serious writing (and I was serious about it!) was done with a Bic. Preferably, a green one.
I’m not a tech geek. My landline phone (is there any other kind?) has a cord. I use a paper road map rather than try to figure out how a GPS works. I don’t even know how to work the satellite TV. Nevertheless, I consulted Bible Gateway during my Bible study this morning; this afternoon, among other things, I read my email; critiqued a chapter for an e-friend using track changes in Word; discussed via email the merits of entries — each of which was submitted electronically — for the Middle Grade/Young Adult category of the Out of the Slush Pile/Novel Journey’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame Contest, with a fellow judge; looked online for photos to illustrate the post when the winner is announced on October 11; along the way, I got lost in a blog about traveling in Turkey; sorted out my Firefox bookmarks; and composed and posted this article.
All this seems pretty new-fangled to us Baby Boomers, and I sometimes feel a little proud of myself that I’m able to navigate in this bizarre electronic world. But how about the shower I took this morning, with hot and cold running water, or the curling iron I used to fix my hair afterward? My home’s electric lighting, the stove I cook on, the refrigerator where I keep my pasteurized milk cold, and the car I drove to church? All those technologies were new at one time, but now we take them for granted.
Writers write. They always have, whether they used a stylus on a clay tablet, a fountain pen on foolscap, or a computer with voice recognition software. We record facts, thoughts, feelings and opinions. Writers ask questions, suggest solutions, warn of impending dangers, prognosticate the future. We produce poetry, dabble in drivel, entertain, offend, and instruct.
It’s never been easier to be a writer, nor to publish your work. (I’m not talking about getting a contract with Random House, I’m talking about making our writings public, as I’m doing with this blog post.) The words we produce flood the planet.
Why do we do it? Do we actually think we’re accomplishing something?
If you’re a writer, why do you write? Do you find today’s technology a boon, or a distraction? Is this the best time in the history of man for a writer to share his work? or the hardest time ever to break into the business?