The old-fashioned way

We all know that the world has advanced in technology and communications in gigantic leaps and bounds, and I for one am thankful. As a writer, I have gone through several progressions that have made my writing life easier. In a previous article I talked about writing everything out by hand and then typing my articles on a progression of typewriters, and finally moving on to the difficulties of learning how to write on a computer.

Making the transition from hand writing to computer writing was not easy for me. Writing sentences by hand is slow, but it gives one’s mind time to think about what is going onto the paper. Writing onto the computer screen seemed strange at first. Thank goodness I got used to it quickly. The greatest benefit was being able to delete and/or correct words and move entire paragraphs around with a couple taps of the keyboard. The process helped me to get more of my ideas down on paper and finalize them for submission to magazines.

Now I’m going to bore you with the old-fashioned method of submission. Back in olden times (which in this case is about 1980), there were several important steps to do. First of course was that the manuscript (ms) was proofed and presented according to the editor’s guidelines. (Still a very important step.) If it was more than five pages, it was to be mailed flat, so there was always a supply of large manila envelopes at hand.

Most editors wanted a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) enclosed with the mailing to facilitate the return of the ms when it was rejected. The writer absorbed the mailing costs both ways.

I eventually bought a small scale and obtained a chart that told me how much it would cost to mail x number of pages and how much it would cost for an editor to return them. So I needed a large roll of stamps on hand also. It was either that or stand in line at the post office to have the materials weighed and stamped. And then, given the delays in mail delivery and the fact that editors and their assistants often had to wade through piles of unsolicited materials, I would wait, and wait, and wait for a response.

Then all of a sudden, or at least it seemed like it to me, came the World Wide Web. Wow and Holy Cow! It’s a whole new world out there at my fingertips. Having the resources of the internet for research, communication, and networking changed the lives of writers forever, and it keeps changing. I can now query an editor or send a manuscript from the comfort of my office. It’s quick and easy.

The one thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the wait to find out if my work will be accepted or rejected. Might as well get used to it; that will never change.

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