Track Changes

Posted on 16 March 2011

Eileen Pollack’s article “Track Changes”  in the March/April issue of Poets & Writers (sorry, no link; only available in print) discusses the lost “physical art” of writing — the good old days of using manual typewriters and carbon paper and mimeograph and ditto machines.

She also mentions the Apple IIe, a computer my family had in the early/mid 80s (we didn’t get another computer for well over a decade). I occasionally typed stories on that computer, which required a lot of patience and floppy discs. But mostly, I played Lemonade Stand, a game that involved studying the weather report to determine how much sugar/lemons/advertising to purchase for the day. Overall, however, I ignored that computer and preferred to remain even further behind the times by using an old manual typewriter and then an electric typewriter before the personal computer thing really took off.

Anyway, I digress. From Pollack’s article:

By eliminating the discrete physical activities that used to be required to research, draft, edit, print, copy, publish, and market a novel, the digital revolution has created a seamless link between producing a book and selling it, with the result that even those writers who once would have been insulated from the commercial pressures of publication now feel compelled to participate in that process and take into account what might sell before they sit down to write.

She also says a few things about writer websites that may strike a chord for a few people (no comment on my end):

If you are like me, you can remember the exact moment you allowed these two processes–writing and marketing–to infect each other: the day you granted permission to a tech-savvy friend to set up your Web site … you became afraid that if you didn’t set up a Web site, you might get left behind.

I recommend checking out this article, whether you once struggled to write your novel on a manual typewriter or can’t imagine being a writer in the time before Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts.

In the meantime, I’ll be working to keep my fiction process as separate as possible from any marketing efforts…which means I’ll be signing out of this blog for now. But I’ll be back this week with a post sharing an embarrassing early writing attempt (on that manual typewriter!). A reader also requested I return to Deep Thought Thursday; if I don’t get one up tomorrow, then maybe next week. Those Deep Thought Thursday posts surely do nothing whatsoever to market my writing, so at least there’s that, right?

Photo: net_efekt


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