Monday, November 8, 2010

Writing in the 21st century

We live in interesting times: internet, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, MySpace, podcasts, You Tube … you name it. Things occur and can be broadcast instantaneously. No longer do we have to wait for the 11 o’clock news or the story in print when we can access it on the internet or get breaking news on our cell phones. And as for the numerous methods of publishing books, it makes me glad to be a twenty-first century writer. I’ve looked back at writer’s lives from centuries past and it makes me appreciate the technologies of this modern era.

So here is a photo review of the writers’ lives through the ages:

1. The Stone Age

Can't imagine what editing and rewriting was like.

2. Dawn of Civilization

3. Medieval times

Writing with inks and quillis on parchment was a huge improvement. Monks spent their lives writing these books. Unfortunately not many people could read the books, so high the global illiteracy rate.

4. Industrial age
Now we've come a long way. There is any number of manual typewriters available and, oh yes, that miracle machine: The printing press. Travel was easier too. There were options of ancient cars, trains, and good old horse and carriage (not to forget bicycles).

5. Twentieth century
It's definitely gotten a lot better: much more efficient manual typewriters, the emergence of the electric typewriter (I dread to think of the amount of papers these used), word processors, photocopiers and finally the personal computer. Agreed large mainframes were around since the mid-twentieth century, but it is the personal computers that really revolutionized the way writers work. But the greatest contribution to the writing revolution: The internet. Amazon became an integral source of book distribution forcing most book retailers to develop an online presence. Self-publishing became an affordable viable alternative to large publishing houses. Ebooks became much more accessible and popular.

But while writing tools were revolutionized, book promotion still primarily involved book tours (that included real travel), book signings, book readings and appearances on radio shows. Good news is, there were plenty of ways to get there.

6. Twenty-first century
Now in the twenty-first century, we've managed to build on the technology of the twentieth century. We still use computers (much faster and smaller, I must say). We have Ipads, thinkpads and netbooks, and all manner of smart phones. We can chat with agents, editors, and publishers by phone, instant message, email and on facebook and twitter etc. The great revolution of the 21st century was not the invention of the internet, but improvment in its use. With the emergence of facebook, twitter, my space and other networking sites, as well as the blogosphere, books can be promoted while sitting at a computer in your pjs. Book tours are quickly being replaced or at least enhanced with blog tours. Podcast, radio promotions without even traveling to the radio stations are utilized a lot. Trailers hit you tube before books hit the market and readers have instant access to writers.

Ebooks are beginning to dominate the market with Amazon Kindle, and Nook and you name it. Self published book can become best sellers because marketing is so much easier. Paper waste reduced (hopefully).

With all the technology that has enhanced writing and marketing over the centuries, aren't you glad to be a 21st century author?


Farrah Rochon said...

Love this! There are definitely advantages to writing in this new technology age. There are some things I'm not all that jazzed about, but of all those time periods, I'd definitely want to write in this day and age.

Phyllis Bourne said...

How cool! When I'm on deadline, I let my looks go and kinda look like that caveman.

Charles Gramlich said...

I'm most glad I started really writing after the personal computer came out. I can't imagine even "Typing" all the stuff I've written, with all the errors and changes I make.

Jewel Amethyst said...

Thanks Farrah.

Phyllis: Lol

Charles, I took typing classes as a teen, using the manual typewriters. The amount of wasted paper was phenomenal, even with white out and typing eraser (which you weren't permitted to use during classes). It was frustrating to say the least.

Liane Spicer said...

Love the historical tour!

I'm with Farrah on this: ambivalent about some things but glad overall that I'm writing in these times.