Thursday, June 10, 2010

Typewriter Vs. Computer...Bring It On

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I'm a New York Times junkie. I think their articles are some of the best, and I pour over the Arts section online every day. I use their articles in my classroom and I'm constantly trying to talk my main squeeze into getting a subscription delivered to our condo (although the 400 dollar + price tag is a bit of a deterant!).

Anyway, they published an article about a week ago that I've been thinking about.

First of all, before I even begin discussing the article... Why the heck wasn't I invited to this roof top party in Tribeca packed elbow to elbow with authors like Judy Blume? Uhm...heaven!

I know a lot of people have speculated about the world of publishing and what it would become.

The article mentions a world where a writer typed their manuscript, sent it off and received typed responses. When I was hanging out with Jay Asher (uhm...yeah, that sentence was pretty cool to write!), this idea also came up. We talked about publishing now verses publishing then. He brought up the point that if you wanted to publish fifteen years ago, you had to type everything out on a type writer. If you made a mistake, you couldn't go back and hit the delete button. You had to TYPE THE WHOLE PAGE OVER! If you wanted to edit, it may cause you to have to type the entire book over again. Writing fifteen years ago was a lot more work physically (please notice that I did say physically, not mentally). If you were going to write a book, you had to be in it for the long haul and create your book through a typewriter. I remember using my grandpa's old typewriter to create my third grade stories and pulling page after page out when I couldn't get it right. Often, these stories didn't get finished because I became too frustrated.

Although my early attempts at writing may have been on a type writer, I'm now a writer in the digital age. I didn't live in a world where the process to publish was through a typewriter. It has always been a word processor or a computer for me. I have always searched for agents and contacted most through the Internet. My agent and I usually talk through e-mails. The world that Garrison Keillor comments on (and somewhat against) in his article is my world. And in my world, I still believe that I can (and will!) be published. I don't see the end of publishing in site, and I don't plan to give up. I have been inspired by teachers too, I have been rejected by publishers and while I may not have struggled to type my manuscript, I'm still a part of this crazy ride to publication and I have faith in the process, even if it's different from that of the past.

What do you think about the article? What are your views?

And...don't forget to submit your questions (or refer a friend) for your chance to win a sign copy of Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why. I will pick a winner tomorrow!


Christina Lee said...

um girlie, as I recall you are still part of the stone ages b/c you write your story first...on paper ;-) Just had to raz you!

Yeah it IS hard to imagine!

I just got a request for a full (fingers crossed) that asked me to send it by MAIL. Talk about how much the postage was. I think I was shocked (all of my other requests have been by email). But then I thought--this is how it was done even 5-10 years ago!

Vicki Rocho said...

My first "real" job was in a law office. We had to type certain documents on the typewriter and it HAD to be perfect. Very frustrating.

Still, I miss the rhythmic click clack of a typewriter (gimme electric, please...manuals require too much force on the keys!). Something about the tempo was inspiring for me.

margosita said...

That Op-Ed was so infuriating. Mostly I think Keillor is confusing his own old age and mortality with publishing. How could it possibly continue without him?


While it's nice to think of writing as some kind of romantic endevor, the reality is that writing has to be practical. So many people are writing more and reading more because of the internet. Writers wrote on typewriters because it was better than by hand. We write on computers because it is better than writing on a typewriter.

Mostly I hate established authors who can't spare a little encouragement for those of us still trying. What's it to him, anyway, if we build our readers through blogs and Twitter? He did it through radio and now he can pay his bills and write for the NYT.

Lisa Nowak said...

I've often thought about the difference between writing a book now and then, too. I wrote everything by hand when I was in high school, way back in the 80s. I'm a lousy typist, so if we didn't have computers I'd still be doing it that way. I'd rather pay someone to type for me than use a typewriter. And because typing is so stressful for me, it would have been more mentally challenging for me to write a book back then, too.

Taylor said...

Call me an optimist, I still think someday I'll get published. I love Garrison Keillor, but he's getting a bit grumpy and glass-half-empty as he ages.

There will still be a forum for folks who succeed in honing their craft.

I loved the ice cream cone picture of you with Jay!

My questions: how do you connect with other more successful writers? Does it help you in your quest to be published or with your writing or both?

Kristan said...

I'm with you: Things have always been different -- before Garrison Keillor's world, there was handwritten manuscripts that the printers typeset. Before that, there was the oral tradition, and only the best stories were "published" (i.e., survived and were retold). And someday, this too shall pass, and the new thing will be cell phone novels, or direct-to-brain publishing, or whatever. We can't be afraid of change if we want to continue to succeed; we have to embrace it (when it makes sense).