Starting a blog was a real challenge for me. That may sound strange to those of you who started learning how to use computers and their various programs while you were still in preschool, but I’m not one of them.
I talked about how I began my writings with a pen on notebook paper. I guess that’s not so bad because I know writers today who still like the feeling of putting a pen to paper. It just takes an awful long time to do it that way. And in my case, after I wrote it out by hand I had to type it out on a typewriter. Remember those? The result was often pages that were hideously gunked up with errors covered with white-out or mistakes that I didn’t see. Sometimes I decided I needed to switch things around and I would retype the entire manuscript again before it was ready to mail. (Yes, regular old snail mail, but that’s a whole other subject.) Typewriters did get better and more advanced over the years, but they still left a lot to be desired.
This is beginning to sound like the kind of story my grandfather would tell: “I had to walk to school every day, five miles, through the snow, uphill, both ways, shoeless.
Anyway, my first computer was the first personal computer (PC) ever produced by IBM. Now if that gives you a hint of how old I am, so be it, but please keep it to yourself. That was back in the years of the floppy disk, and it was a real pain. If I recall correctly (and I might not), I had to insert the 5.25-inch floppy disk and boot up. Then I had to eject that disk and put in the one that contained the writing program, which was better than doing it by hand, but still pretty terrible.
Somehow, there was a way to save what I had written; probably on yet another disk. Eventually, it was possible to add a second disk drive, which simplified it a bit, but it has been so long ago that I don’t remember the details and it does feel like it is ancient history now. If you want the details, you can read all about those first PCs on Wikipedia. There has been amazing progress in computer technology since those first years.
I digress. My point is this: being a writer is a challenge and it requires being enrolled in a personal continuing education program that never ends. There is research to be done and methods to explore that enable us to connect with the readers of the world. Also of importance are the networking and social opportunities available online and in our communities where writers can go for encouragement, writing tips, career help, and moral support, such as this blog and many others.
There was a time when I was content to use my computer just to write, to play games on it, to send and receive email, and to research topics when necessary. That’s still okay for some people, but as writers, we cannot stop there. Being a writer means to be constantly learning, not only in what we write about, but about the tools we use to enhance that writing and promote our careers.
I’ll never get rich doing this, but I will continue to write and to meet all the challenges that come with being a writer, because it is what I feel called to do.
Now if I can just figure out how to work my new phone I’ll be happy.