Writing and Technology

Sometimes, as writers, I think we take for granted how our technology, or lack of it, affects how we write.

Think about it: as time has gone on, writer’s have changed how they write. We’ve gone from stories being painted on a cave wall, to a clay tablet and stylus, to paper and pen, to typewriter, to computer and tablets. Sure, some people still use pen and paper or a typewriter, but it’s kind of mind blowing the wide array of options we now have at our disposal.

I got to thinking about this over this past summer, when my laptop started to randomly dump memory. It had done this before over the past four years, but not at the frequency it was dumping memory this time. I started to panic that maybe my laptop was prematurely biting the dust.

My relationship with my laptop is a love-but-more-often-hate relationship. That’s mostly because my laptop doesn’t know how to manage resources properly, and some genius thought it was a brilliant idea to have the fans vent out the bottom of the laptop. I only ever love it when I’m begging it to last a few more months so that I can get some kind of work and save up for a new one. This laptop, in all honesty, should be put out of its misery.

Fortunately that’s changing. I made a deal with my parents, who found a really good deal on a laptop on QVC.  If they bought me the laptop, I’d contribute $10 of each paycheck for a year, so that I could have some sense of ownership. I think it’s fair, and I would have been putting that money in savings anyways for a laptop, or a down payment on a used car.

The summer taught me that my laptop was more than just a frustrating heap of technology. For the first time in a long while, I saw my laptop as a tool, and something necessary for my career path as a writer and document designer. I’m certainly looking forward to not having to decide between watching a movie and doing something in InDesign.

How does technology affect your writing?

3 thoughts on “Writing and Technology

  1. The PC can make me a little complacent at times, and the internet is a blessing and a curse, it’s so easy to get distracted. I use notebooks for some of my poetry though – old technology, you have to have some.

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    • Oh, I agree!

      I use notebooks to keep all my novel notes, but I also have electronic versions just in case I don’t have my notebooks on me. And the notebooks are useful for when I don’t have my laptop around and I want to write more of the story I’m working. Sadly, I was not thinking once, and I lost some of my handwritten notes (that I’ve only now realized they were kind of crucial) so I’m now having to make something up in the absence of those valuable notes

      Mixed mediums can be both a blessing and a curse

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  2. Technology is fantastic. I’m from the generation that grew up as the internet was taking off; I learned how to hand-write bibliographies and look up information in paper encyclopedias and suffered through the horrors of ‘dial-up’ internet. I wrote many assignments by hand until middle school, when I took a keyboarding class and never looked back.

    While I enjoy the very therapeutic nature of writing by hand, the truth is that my hand is not fast enough to write down all the thoughts that are flashing in and out of my head. When I’m sorting through ideas for a story it’s useful to be able to quickly type everything down at once. Also having access to the internet for quick research or word definition is a bonus. The flip side is also the ever-present distraction of the internet: facebook, email, skype. You have to take the good with the bad or have the incredible willpower to disable your wifi…

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