Tuesday, June 5, 2012

I Am A Spoiled Author

I haven't written much material in my newborn "career" (fingers crossed) as an author, so I can't say I've been around the literary block a few times, or have any keen insight into the industry. Hell, I don't even know any other authors, on a personal level. But one thing I have learned...

I am so damned spoiled. Spoiled rotten. If I were any more spoiled, I'd be throwing a fit at my 9th birthday party because last year I got 87 presents, but this year I only got 83. 

*cue audience laugh track*

This revelation mostly comes from comparing the writing process now to what it was several years ago. Let's start with word processing. Before its rise to prevalence on personal computers, the typewriter was King. Yes, many authors still use one - but I never have. Never needed to. The seduction of spell check, easy formatting, rapid editing, copy and paste - it seems too easy, but that's because it is. The thought of manually feeding paper into a machine, the frustration of seeing "teh" instead of "the", but not being able to fix it until you retype the whole page...

What a nightmare for lazy ol' me.

But perhaps the most significant contribution to my lethargy is the internet. In fact, just now, I was quite confident I used the word "lethargy" in the proper context, but just to be sure I ran over to thesaurus.com to verify. No gigantic dictionaries or volumes of encyclopedias sitting around my desk. Everything I (think I) need is right at my fingertips, constantly updated, and free.

I try to think back to the olden days, when an author actually had to research and investigate a subject before putting pen to paper. What a pain. Need some info on ancient Greek customs? Drive to the library. Want to know the distance between two cities in your work in progress? Pull out a map, and calculate it your damn self. Don't have the right map? Go back to the library. And so on, and so on.

Maybe it's just the culture I grew up in, but I think a writing process like that would drive me insane. I might not even be writing, if I lived in such a world without the comforts that I have today. But perhaps authors from the 70's or 80's would say the same thing about writing before the advent of the typewriter. Or even earlier writers shuddering at the thought of publication before the invention of moveable type. 

*Gutenberg fist bump*

And, of course, the recent rise of e-books and self-publishing online have made it possible for me to make my content available without enduring the grueling publication process of landing a deal with a traditional publisher. But I guess the downside to all that is it makes it easier for everyone else, so I'm a smaller fish in a bigger pond.

I guess what I'm trying to say is... Thank you, to all the technological innovations that have made being a writer easier - and kudos, to all the authors who managed without tehm.



  1. You know back in the days when I was in my early twenties (take a chaw of tobaccy), when a mistake was made using a typewriter, you had this strip that had this powdery substance on it that you inserted over the mistake, typed over the mistake to correct it. But when you had an electric typewriter, many of the newer ones had correction tape that was part of the machine that "magically" corrected by backspacing to your mistake & typing over it. (spit into bucket as my thumbs are hooked around my suspenders?) By cracky!