I remember when the only utensils I had in my grasp were an ever shrinking spiral of paper and a wooden pencil. That method of writing lasted for several years, and then laptops started to become more common.
I remember my first dinosaur–an old clunky brick of a computer that took so long to boot up, by the time I was finally able to type my ideas down, I had forgotten them. The battery life only lasted up to two hours, the thing weighed twenty pounds, and it was prone to crashing. My saving grace was a miraculous piece of plastic that could somehow store my inklings and transport them from computer to computer. I loved my floppy disk. All in all, I had about fifteen of them, all filled to the max with pictures and pages of my imagination.
Now, I’m writing this digitally on a MacBook that has a battery that will last eight hours and boots up in less time than it takes to brush my teeth. I am the proud owner of an eight gigabyte flash-drive and an external hard drive–two things that it seems will be impossible to fill with my writings alone.
I still yearn for the familiar stroke and sound of graphite on paper even though it is much more efficient to type my thoughts and ideas down. I know that other writers out there suffer the same thing. It’s because we are in-between children. Technology has progressed impressively over the last decade. Now, you can write entire manuscripts on a cell phone! This is a new era of writing.
I remember feeling a sort of identity crisis when I couldn’t decide of I would rather write my stories or type them. I knew that I could organize more with digital works, but since my old dinosaur had crashed so often as a child, I was wary.
My problem was that I felt like I was betraying the two things that had gotten me so far in life–pencil and paper. I know that there are others out there who feel the same way. Sometimes, I can’t help but jot something down on paper.
After trying to keep my stories confined onto the pages of notebooks and spirals–forever smudged and ripped and ruined–I finally embraced the digital splendor of non-brick laptops. I still carry a notebook around for those times that I don’t have my computer and I’m compelled to write, but I’ve begun to finally belong to the new era of writing. After all,
“Time does not change us. It just unfolds us.” Max Frisch
So how about you? What do you think of this new era?