10 reasons why writing is easier than ever

Last year I established an organisation called Writing2day. The aim is to inform, educate and resource writers from a current perspective on the craft of writing. We are beginning to fulfill our mission statement.

So, with the thought on writing today, I offer the following bold statement that ‘writing is easier today than ever before’.

Here are the reasons. 

1. In past times the writer was limited by proximity to the publisher. Now we have global access to publishers on a daily basis thanks to the internet. You can write from a desert Island, submit your manuscript, view your rejection slip, market your book, watch your Paypal balance increase, and see yourself nominated for a major prize all from the comfort of your seat under your own palm tree. Just make sure you have a solar charger!

2. Past writers faced that frustrator – the deadline. Hacking away at a typewriter, they watched the clock tick by relentlessly. They had to add time to sort the pages, bind them in some way, find an envelope, address it, hopefully have a postage stamp, trek to the post offiice…argh, it’s closed and they didn’t have a stamp. Now, we casually sip our 10th cup of coffee, put our feet up, wait until the deadline hour and press ‘send’ on our email dashboard, confident  that it is received by the editor in the self-same moment.

3. Many years ago my friend gave his paper manuscript to his friend for an appraisal. The book had been years in the making. She moved home and lost the script. He lost heart and never tried to rewrite it. With multiple memory options – hard drive, memory sticks and cyberspace we have confidence that out creations will see the light of day, no matter how long we set them aside. mm, now where did I leave my memory stick?

4. Before the advent of the PC, I wrote a short story for a national magazine. I used a typewriter that had a little window in which you could see text scroll like an electronic ticker tape. When I went to spell check, it took forever, and yes, you guessed it, I was running against the deadline and the mail closing. My story made it into the runners-up only. Why? Because it contained three fatal typos that no professional writer should make. With grammar and spell checkers, we are freed from that all too easy oversight that ensures work ends in the editor’s trash can. But don’t depend on it two much!

5. Our writing forebears faced that inevitable life challenging trip to the library to conduct essential research in mid-winter, only to find it closed because the eager writer, so engrossed in giving birth, forgot it was a public holiday. Or what about an enthusiastic authorsaurus shivering in the garden shed, pecking away at typewriter keys, fingers frozen and a drip from the end of his nose? Now when the weather is bad or it is a public holiday – we can ‘Google’ it in the comfort of our own home, or while taking advantage of free heat at Starbucks.

6. Our prehistoric cousins had considerable setup costs and expenses. Pens, pencils, ink, sharpeners, notebooks, envelopes, stamps, train or coach costs to the publishing house, meals on route, oh, and a typewriter, ribbons, the frequent repair costs – more coach fares. Most homes now have at least on desktop PC and often several laptops, even a Notebook or two, or even a Smartphone and so writing today has a zero start-up cost. All we have to do is get using our fingers!

7. Oh to be a published writer! The oft heard cry of our writing forbears. They had to wait at least six months for a reply, and often it was a rejection slip. Since they could only submit to one Publisher at a time, it often took years receive a positive response. My friend gave up after twenty rejections. We don’t have to wait for the Big Houses to approve our worthiness as writers, since self-publishing has become a respected and often successful route to becoming read authors. Don’t let yourself down in the rush to publish – polish your piece.

8. In the olden days, our grandparents grew beards, had babies, gained the distinction of age and generally pined away as they waited for their book to see daylight. We on the other hand can write, edit and publish a book in as short a space as a month, then market it and sell it without ever leaving the comfort of our home.

9. Isolation was the lot of our prehistoric scribblers. Locked away in sunny Morning Rooms if they were lucky, or damp, cold garrets if they weren’t. Our scribblersaurus grandparents longed for human consolation on the one hand and cursed unrequested intrusion on the other. We however, struggle not so much with writing, but with our addiction to the thousands of followers that enter our writing space every minute of the day. I have two friends – Facebook and Twitter…I am never isolated and I welcome intrusion all too easily. Oh, for my garret days again!

10. Today, 27th April 2011, the very last manual typewriter will be produced in Mumbai, India. I repeat, ‘Writing today is easier than ever before’.

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6 thoughts on “10 reasons why writing is easier than ever

  1. Great perspective and just the positivity I need as I stare into a full in-tray, procrastinating on t’internet!

    Yes it’s still damn difficult to get your work out there (or at least, out there and read) but we can all do well to remember it used to be a hell of a lot harder.

    And just imagine how it was before the invention of the typewriter? Fancy a calligraphy pen and an ink well? Cheers for reminding me it’s not all doom & gloom!

    1. Hi Andy. Good to hear from you again. I’m glad the post aided your perspective. Yes, imagine what it must have been like for poor old Will Shakespeare…cold, cheap paper, thin ink, cracked quills, ink splots…oh, and a Theatre full of consumptives coughing the Black Death over him? Suddenly the fear of taking down a thromboid from sitting on my derrier too long seems irrelevant.

  2. If I read my AOL news correctly, the last typewriter factory in the US closed it’s doors yesterday. I wonder if India will sell that last one or if it will wind up in a museum.
    I’m so proud (yet embarrassed at my age!) to say that I used typewriters WITHOUT screens for some of my elementary school papers.
    This post certainly makes me grateful for all of the luxuries we’re afforded these days, but oh! the rate of obesity and heart disease! Maybe if I march in place at my desk while I click and send at the midnight hour, I’ll reap the benefits of technology a little longer than the average “Tech Potato”.
    Thanks for the perspective!

  3. Thanks Christina. Microsoft (I think it’s them) have beta’s some software where you stand and move around with your webcam on…it interprets a set of learned movements that actions your emails…I had to laugh…you’d be so far from your laptop for the cam to see full body, that you wouldn’t be able to read the mails or see what the computer had done with them. A speedy way to clear the mailbox then.

    The first story I ever wrote was on a toy typewriter where you twisted a dial to change each letter…phew, that was hard work…but I remember it until now.

    I reckon we all probably do as much movement as we need…Hmm..says me, convincing myself.

  4. It’s not just the writing process that’s easier – it’s the planning and the plotting stage too. My ipod touch comes with me when I walk the dog, and with a flick of a switch I’m dictating my thoughts and ideas to listen to later. That gets synced to my laptop, and I sit and write where and when I can.

    My dog takes no notice of my ramblings, although I have got many notes which finish on a shout of ‘Rosa, this way!’

    1. Hi Noel. Thanks for the comment. You are streets ahead of me with technology and I find your way of keeping the writing flow goiing quite impressive. Maybe you would like to write a guest blog for me on how and ipod touch can increase productivity and reduce downtime? Thanks so much.

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