I don’t know if I was born a geek, but I sure fell into geekness when technology started to evolve in the late 80’s and early 90’s. By then I was a grown woman, with a husband and children. Years of secretarial and administrative work meant that when the PC first came out, I was one of the first to use one. And boy, have they evolved since then. Since the early 90’s, more than 20 years now, I’ve had a computer in my home. Much of that time, I’ve had multiple computers. Today, we have one desktop (my husband’s), three laptops (two of which need repair), three tablets (iPads and a Samsung), and three smart phones (all Samsung). I have a closet where I keep spare parts, cables, and keyboards. And I’m my extended family’s “technical support.”
How has that technology helped me as a writer? Well, for one thing, the word processor changed everything for me! All those years of typing letters on an electric typewriter, and retyping those letters because of the typos… I don’t know how I did it without a word processor. Now, I just type and don’t worry about the typos until later. Some of the typos the word processor corrects as I mistype them. Some I have to go back and fix. But it’s a darned sight better than having to retype everything. It amazes me that writers pre-typewriter would have written everything long-hand. Editing must have been a nightmare!
The other thing that technology has done is made my writing portable. I can take my trusty laptop to any place I want – a park, coffee shop, my mom’s kitchen table, my car, the top of a mountain, the beach – to write. I don’t even need a live electric connection for at least two hours. My laptop is complete as it is, and weighs about 1.7 pounds. Easy to tote around. It has a touchpad, and keyboard, and screen. I don’t need any peripherals. I just grab it and go. Could Charles Dickens have done that? Well, he could drag around a stack of paper, and his fountain pen and ink pot, but I’ll bet writers weren’t scribbling in the corners of coffee shops in those days.
But I think the thing I appreciate most these days is my dual monitors. As I age, reading glasses become a bigger part of my day-to-day life. I can no longer see those details that I want to see, or see more than a handful of paragraphs on a page. And if I want to compare documents, or have some research up on the screen to reference as I write, there’s just no room for that. But if I plug in my extra monitor, giving me two monitors to work with, it makes all the difference. I can have my research, notes, or a previous draft up on one monitor, and have my working space up on the other. It is easy to cut and paste and see where I’m going when I do that. I can also keep an eye on things like email by having it open in that spare space, as well. I am so used to dual monitors that when I’m at the coffee shop, I get frustrated by not being able to see everything. If you’re a writer and using a desktop or laptop, you can have dual monitors too. It’s easy to set up, and I can guarantee it will be worth spending the money. I have a Dell 22-inch extra monitor, that cost me about $150 on sale.
I am thankful to be a geek, even though all that technology can sometimes be distracting. We all have our hobbies, right?
What do you appreciate about technology as a writer? Let me know in the comments!
Fairest of the Faire – available now!
Schoolteacher Connie Meyers is suddenly a young widow, her husband killed in a horrific car accident. Heartbroken to find out he had gambled away everything they had, she moves to her sister-in-law’s Midwest home to rebuild her life. A trip to the local Renaissance Faire with her nieces leads to a summer job as a costumed storyteller.
Avowed bad boy and fair performer Gage Youngblood is infatuated with Connie at first sight. Despite his deliberately commitment-free life, and Connie’s don’t-touch-me attitude, he soon has her in his arms, realizing quickly she is also in his heart.
When she is threatened by her late husband’s bookie, he steps into the role of protector, his fate forever sealed with hers.
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