Technology for Writers: Heaven or Hell? by Wendy H. Jones
I have been thinking a lot about technology recently. In today's society we spend a lot of time using technology. This can be even more true as writers. Even if the entire book is written by hand, at some stage it will need to be transferred into a document which can be sent to agents or editors. Technology can transform our lives in so many ways. It is ingrained in our lives in aspects we could never have imagined in the past. The ways we us technology are too numerous but the main ones which I, and many others use, are:
- Social Media
As writers we may all have different computers, be they PC or Mac. I am certain we all have one product in common - Microsoft Office. This is one of the most versatile software programmes around. If you don't use this this you may use one of the equivalents such as Apple's suite of office apps. These not only provide a platform to write books, but also allow us to do presentations or keep our accounts. When they work well we do not know how we can live without them. I know I certainly couldn't imagine how I would cope. However, sometimes things go wrong. Word has a horrible habit of inserting formatting where you least imagine. This can play havoc when converting files for uploading for printing and publishing. Regular updates to these products means major changes. Major changes to how you do things that is. Just when you thought you knew what you were doing, bam, that is no longer the case. Frustrating and a huge time suck as you learn everything again.
Blogging is one of the most exciting ways we can use technology. Writing them helps authors to get their work known and to work in partnership with others. This blog is a superb example of just how good this can be. Blogs can be written quickly and then thought about, tightened and sharpened before being released to the general public. When things go well blogging is a joy. However, when things don't go quite so well? When I started today's blog I put the title in, downloaded a suitable image, then it all went pear shaped. I could not for the life of me upload the image as my computer was not showing the correct folder. After a forty-five minute telephone call with Apple support it was fixed. A code in a sub folder and corrupted and needed replaced. Apple were amazing but it still took a huge chunk of time out of my already packed day.
Social Media is humongous in today's society. It is practically impossible to live without it, especially if you are a writer. This is a way to network, receive support, give support and generally get your name known. It can be enjoyable, you meet new people and can use it to appropriately advertise your books. But, and this is a big but, it can also drain your time. Setting limits is crucial if you want to leave time for the actual writing. This is one rule I need to remind myself of regularly.
We all use the internet for research. Again, I am not sure any writer would be able to do without this. If they did then it would mean a lot of trips to the library. One caveat, and I know all writers are careful, make sure your source is credible. There is a lot of useful information out there, and a also a lot of rubbish, if not downright lies.
This brings me to what started my train of thought in the first place. The last three of these, and many other of the main uses of technology, require WiFi. Things go swimmingly as long as WiFi is working. I recently went to Spain for a week on holiday. There was no WiFi in my apartment complex unless you went down to the bar. An entire complex + poor router = 0 chance of using the internet at all. Great for a relaxing break. Not quite so good when there are several blogs you need to write and research to do for a book on a deadline.
So I leave it with you. Is technology heaven, or is it hell? I welcome your thoughts.
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Wendy lives, and writes, in Dundee Scotland. She has four books out in the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her YA Mystery, The Dagger's Curse, will be published on 10th September, 2016 by Books to Treasure. This is the first in the Fergus and Flora Mysteries. She is also a public Speaker and can be contacted for speaking engagements through her website