I remember sitting one Christmas Eve day, pencil in hand, writing a blog. No kids, no blaring music, no Christmas reruns. The tranquil silence was broken only by the ticking of a clock. Outside, all was white. An occasional snow flake angles down to earth. Ah, such peaceful solace….
Why the pencil? And why the silence?
Because the blasted electricity was off, that’s why! Plus my computer had blacked out on me. So it was back to my humble beginnings. I had written my first book with pencil and paper, deliriously ignorant of all the mistakes I’d made. Since then the more knowledge I’d gained, the more I had realized that would be the last time I’d write with pure abandonment.
For my second attempt I started writing on a manual typewriter, the contrivance of choice, to pound out my stirring prose. Oh, I remember the bottles of whiteout I drained trying to fix typos, and the slightly a skewed alphabetic characters after re-adjusting the paper and retyping the letters.
Then came the electric typewriter. Wonderful gadget! And much nicer to use. Imagine, all one had to do to return the carriage was to push a button. No more of that manual stuff. However, I swear I still bought enough whiteout to gain controlling interest in the company.
Hmm, maybe it would help to know how to type. Not to mention … spell.
Next came a new invention called the personal computer. More and more of my fellow authors bought one and dove right in, composing their books on odd-named brands. I, on the other hand, waited almost three months after buying mine before gathering the courage to type on my new Kaypro instead of using it as a glorified flower stand. What if I hit the wrong key and lose something important?
But one significant factor hit home. No more cockeyed symbols or having to use whiteout!
Buckling down, I faced the screen and typed. By evening, I had written the first chapter of what was to become my second published historical, Love Only Once. When I started to shut off the computer, I lost it all. Frantic I called my salesman, and he helped me restore my document. Right off I learned not to pass out in such situations. Most of the time, all is not lost.
Now, we writers are laboring in a whole new field where it’s even easier to craft the book of our dreams using built in spell check, thesaurus, and a dictionary. And let’s not forget the Internet, be it for good or bad. But don’t overlook the fact that many of us began our careers on antiquated machines.
(Anyone can view these items at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.)
We weren’t born with a silver computer chip in our mouths as the younger generation. Even self-promotion has changed and is made easier by Cyberspace. That is, for someone who knows how to build web and blog sites.
Both projects are daunting to those of us who cut their writing teeth on typewriter keys. But to be successful, do it we must. Then there’s e-mail lists and electronic newsletters. Phew! When would a person find time to write?
But, in the end it all boils down to one extremely important question. Does anyone want to buy a case of whiteout … cheap?