The Techie Writer: Why We Must Keep Up
Quite a lot of years ago I was a teacher of Computers when few people had one of those new-fangled things in their home and much of the world had never even seen one. I could take one apart right down to the bare motherboard and–even more important–put it back together so that it would work. And it was fun, exciting, even!
Not everyone agreed. Most people thought they were a fad and refused to learn anything about them. Kind of the way a few people today are still holdouts regarding smart phones.
My mother grudgingly accepted the loan of one of my computers while my husband and I took our kids on a long summer camping trip to the west coast of Canada. I gave her some easy instructions and left her to put her touch typing skills to work on my computer keyboard.
We returned five and a half weeks later full of stories of mighty mountains and rushing rivers to find that Mom had not even turned on the machine. Many years later a few weeks before she passed away, Mom told me she had made a mistake. She should have learned to use the computer and kept track of her many grandchildren all over North America.
I know now she could have used the computer to write her own story, a story all of her children and grandchildren would have loved to receive. That would have been especially helpful when her eyesight failed leaving her with only scanty peripheral sight.
That experience most certainly taught me something, though. I don’t want to be left behind. I never want to be that person who is more and more left out of the conversation because she doesn’t understand the topic. And for a writer computers and their ever advancing linked technology open the world to loads of useful tools. They are very often the topic.
In the picture above you can see some of my techie stuff:
My desktop Mac computer which I keep updated and which has lasted me for about 4 or 5 years so far holds the keys to my writing career. I can save on Dropbox for an offsite backup, on my desktop for my current files and on a flash drive.
My external USB hub where I can attach backup flash drives as needed and which gives me more USB slots to make my life easier.
My little microphone that my husband gave me a couple of years ago and which is great for doing podcasts and recordings of other sorts as I need them.
My new techie thing this year at Christmas, my LED Pocket Projector, which is so much easier to cart off to speaking gigs. It’s small but seems to project a great image. I still have to master it and haven’t used it out speaking so far. It’s my new technology to get used to just now. I’ve included a link here to a 10 minute video about it.
My answering machine. I know it’s kind of old school but so far I haven’t wanted to switch to a newer system. Anyhow most of my calls come on my iPhone these days.
And that brings me to my iPhone which isn’t in the picture but which took the picture. I can’t tell you how handy it is to take shots which might be great for blog posts: people, scenery, museum stuff, lists or info I want to remember–any number of things which relate to my writing career.
My lamp I first bought with a brighter than normal bulb for beading work but I soon discovered it makes a fabulous desk lamp and it’s been here ever since.
And just on the left side of the shot you can maybe see my very old-fashioned phone. It has a speaker phone setting, redial, and saves numbers (I never use this as I prefer to remember them). I keep this in case the hydro goes off and I can’t charge my cell phone and because I like the feel of the headset against my ear as compared to my smart phone.
You don’t see my excellent printer, little floor heater for those days when the wind seeps in the windows, and my Flip Camera which I’ve used for loads of interviews.
Technology helps us all in many ways, some of which I’ve mentioned here. The reasons I desperately keep up even though my brain often says “Enough!” are varied and many but the main one is I really love doing my techie stuff. Please don’t turn off the electricity and take me back to having to write everything by hand.
When I see the handwritten manuscripts of old and think of those monks poring over their illuminated pages, I am just delighted that I was in the first year of academic students at my high school who were allowed to learn typing. It’s the one course that has stayed with me my whole life. It’s just so much faster than writing by hand. My brain can whip away as fast as it wants because I’m on my computer and using my typing skills to get my imagination sorted out on the page. It’s a different kind of brain drain, you might say.
And so, while I grouse away at the speed of updates that come at me daily, I’m happy to have these tools at my disposal.
Click on the Loyalist Trilogy books below for great historical stories with satisfying endings: