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Friday, August 13, 2010

I love/hate technology

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. Those of us who write historical novels, are comfortable in a world with less technology. The pace of the day was slower in Medieval times, the seasons gave a rhythm to life. My farmer ancestors knew spring was for planting and the birth of livestock, summer for caring for the crops and livestock, the fall harvest. And winter for rest and repair.

While this life sometimes sound simple, there are drawbacks. I really like my hot shower in the winter, and the cool one in the summer. Thank you, technology.

I don’t think I’d be a novelist without technology. When I was teaching history, people used to say ‘you know all these stories, you should write a book.’ But I’m not the world’s best typist, so without technology of a word processer, I’d not attempted it. Imagine typing a novel on a typewriter? No cut and paste to move sentences or scenes. No spell check. Any correction or addition might mean retyping the whole page.

An now most manuscripts are submitted electronically so no more trips to the post office and mailing the manuscripts.

So there are some good things about technology.

But there are some bad things. At least for me. I really hate it that I learn how to get the most out of a software program, only to have the company go and ‘update’ it so that half the things you used to do are not the same any more. So do you up grade or keep the old system as you’re under contract and don’t really have time to go through the learning curve with the new software?

And I’m sorry, my mind does not work like the mind of the person who designed those little icons. I’m sorry, I can read, what’s wrong with ‘print’ instead of a picture? Technology is great as you can save many pages of manuscript without storing it under the bed. But when your system is upgraded, will it still be able to read your old mss?

I always have trouble with the formatting – there is always some trick you need to get the pagination and headers and footers just right. And then when it looks OK on your computer screen, will it look the same on the some other machine? It would be nice if all software could talk to each other (especially here at my day job where there are three systems that don’t completely talk to each other).

So technology has helped me as a novelist, making it easier to produce a manuscript, to send it off, and now even be published in electronic format. But the down side is anyone with a computer now thinks they are a novelist, and flood the editor and agents with their manuscripts.

With a big sigh I’ve accepted technology. What other choice do I have? But the next time I hit the wrong key and delete what I meant to keep, I’ll still hate technology.

How about you? Have you ever ‘lost’ something electronically? Do you have to have the latest software? What you like or hate about technology?

NOTE: in fact I hate technology so much that I was unable to load any pictures in this blog, in spite of the fact I always have before. So it took three times longer to try and add photos and upload this blog than it did to write it. Sometimes, I really HATE technology.

6 comments:

Sally said...

I feel your pain so much so that I slid into that marginal area of knowing certain progams, phones, DVD players and was refusing to upgrade and update . . . UNTIL I overheard my teenage son lamenting to friends about "others" who they had to work around because they didn't keep up. 'Light Bulb' moment, I don't want to be one of the 'others' that frustrates (especially) the younger, techno savvy, generation.

My new motto: Have manual will travel.

Terry Blain said...

Just FYI after posting this, I had to have IT come down and fix a problem here at work.

I know the programs, but not their internal working (sigh).

Jackie Allen said...

Oh, yeah, I can relate. I just discovered that the laptop I bought two years ago has a camera so I can see my darling grandson on Skype. Of course, I love that technology. Jackie Allen

Susan Macatee said...

I'm with you all the way! I always hated typing on a typewriter. College papers were pure hell, so I would have never attempted to complete a novel on a typewriter. But I also have problems whenever I have to learn to do something new. For instance, I belong to a group wordpress blog where I post regularly, but missed my spots last month. When I tried to post a blog today, I couldn't find the little icon I used before to upload a picture, so I posted without one, because I didn't have time to figure it out.
I definitely have that love/hate thing going on.

Kathy said...

I remember having to type a paper on the typewriter. I hated it I'd rather write it out instead of trying to type it. A typo and you had to find a way to fix it. It was a pita to say the least.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I love that tee shirt that says, "I'm a writer. You do the math." I am so not good at math or technology. Fortunately, my husband is a whiz, so he has bailed me out of lost files and many other disasters.