How has technology changed the writing world?

I have always been a tech geek, from before there was any tech to be geeky about.  My father was an engineer and in his spare time he was always working on some kind of electronic concoction.  Control boards, diodes and other tiny parts often cluttered his work bench in the basement.  So it was no surprise that I would become fascinated with these things as they became more commonplace.

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As I entered college, the first of the publicly available personal computers started to hit the market and I had one.  The sleek, cream case of the Macintosh was a large leap from the Tandy I had hooked up to an old TV in my bedroom during high school and the cool, colorful discs were a huge convenience as opposed to the boxes full of punch cards I had to deal with in computer science class.  This was portable information to me.  At a time when I had become more serious about my writing, having the ability to carry my work on a disc seemed fascinating and joyous.  No more backpacks full of edited notebooks.  No more broken pens at the bottom of said backpack.  Now I could neatly carry my work in a pocket and no one was the wiser.

Now, things are more portable than ever.  Discs gave way to thumb drives, which gave way to cloud drives.  Now a writer can literally conjure up his entire bookshelf of work on his phone.  Run into an agent in an elevator?  No worries, let me forward my manuscript from here right now.  Can’t remember what you had named the butler in your third book five years ago?  No problem, search for it on your iPad.  There it is.

The advent of technology in the writing world was a boon to writers in my eyes.  Information at your fingertips 24/7, now there is no need to run to the library to do research for your historical work of fiction.  It’s right there, ready to use as the muse visits you.  Need to get some suggestions or ideas for your current work?  There are hundreds if not thousands of crit groups online to help.

And if that’s not enough, we can now publish with the push of a button.  Design your own cover, too, if you choose.  The choice is entirely yours.  No need to submit hundreds of entries and wait for months and months for another rejection when you can upload it to any number of eBook sites clamoring for new work.  Technology has opened a veritable oyster of possibilities that just wasn’t heard of years back.

Of course, with writing already being a solitary lifestyle, the lack of having to go anywhere makes the life even more so.  In once having to go to the library or bookstore, you would meet any number of people with similar interests.  You can still meet the same types of people, tenfold, on the internet, but nothing beats speaking to someone in person and let’s face it, there are times that human contact is necessary and needed.  Pressing palms, as we once said, is a necessary evil in any business transaction and if you hope to see your work progress on the market, you have to make appearances whether you like it or not… unless you have Skype and then, well, that’s your choice too.
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