When I began writing seriously in 1989, just mastering the use of a computer as a writing tool was looked upon with admiration. I started with a small Mac, then a “pizza box” variety, then the huge blue iMac and finally a laptop.
Along with the progression of computers, I’ve learned much in the field of writing itself through on-line courses and websites at little or no cost and with easy accessibility.
Besides the actual writing, which used to be the main concern, there is the changeable nature of the publishing industry. Many longstanding publishing houses have been bought out or incorporated by others, or have folded. The self-publishing industry has evolved into an acceptable if unwieldy entity. What used to be the realm of specialists has become available to the individual writer.
There’s much to learn, and the information is at our fingertips. If we wish to self-publish an e-book, we need only search the internet for information and/or take a course on the subject, and our book is out there. One of the results of this freedom, which is being explored by royalty authors as well as unpubbed writers, is that of quality and standards. Are these standards changing too? How will these changes affect the written word?
One of the most challenging changes for me is social media. Although many people are currently and justifiably pleading with the general social-media-obsessed public to put away their devices in favor of eye-to-eye contact, there are good sides to social media. Like many other things in life (food, drink, entertainment, etc.), we must master them instead of allowing them to master us. Use the good; stamp out the bad.
I have “met” many interesting people through social media who I would not have met in any other way. For an introvert, the idea of connecting with a couple thousand people via my blog is much more acceptable and practical than trying to reach people in person.
Will we ever learn all there is to learn? Of course not. Is it worth the effort? I believe it is, whether to improve our skills, promote our work and that of others, or to keep our brains busy. My hero is my mother, who at 91 years of age uses her iPad for internet searches, you tube, reading, listening to music, checking the weather and keeping up with family. More power to you, Mom, and thanks for the example. Life is a-Twitter with possibilities.