Monday, February 9, 2015

A Writer's Life With/Without Computers

I recently had some computer problems. Thank goodness the annoying pop-ups are gone, but a fix can lead to other adjustments when programs get reinstalled or changed. You probably know what I mean. It's a love-hate relationship sometimes.

This got me thinking about how dependent I am on my laptop for writing. Personal computers made great strides in the 1970s, but few of us had them. I did my creative writing at school with a pen or pencil back then, but it wasn't easy. I admire those who love the longhand method. The margins of my papers were often filled with notes. I used to draw a line through whatever I wanted to delete, and used arrows and shorthand markings to hopefully remember what I meant when I would later type or rewrite neatly. This would be for a report or essay assignment. Imagine if I had wanted to write a novel! 

How did novelists do it back in the old days? Maybe they had told their stories so many times that they practically knew them by heart. Maybe their dictation flowed flawlessly from mind to fingertips at a typewriter. Maybe they didn't get as much critique feedback or editor's notes as writers seek today. 

I don't know what their compensations would have entailed, but I'm grateful for that dang modern convenience that makes my writing life easier--even if I have to put up with it's problems. Happy writing!

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