Sometimes I wonder what kind of writer I’d be in the time of typewriters and legal pads. I know that back when I had my first job those IBM Selectrics were a hurdle I had to jump with every page!
I write every day. I write novels. I write short stories. I write blog posts. I write freelance assignments, business proposals and more. I honestly don’t think I’d be able to accomplish the quantity —let alone quality— of my text output back in the days of typewriters, white out corrective liquid and carbon paper. In the dark ages of the pre-Apple Computer era, I chunked, clunked and pecked away at typewriter keyboards, lacking both precision and speed. The computer screen transformed my typing and enables me to write a lot and fast!
What kind of writer would I have been fifty or sixty or seventy years ago?
I honestly don’t know.
Although I’m not a stranger to writing long hand —I often scribble early drafts— my process for refining text relies on copying & pasting, moving words around and reworking (reworking, reworking, reworking) text many times. This is relatively easy with Word or another word processing program on a computer and it was a struggle in and earlier era. The progression from handwritten draft, to typewritten draft, to copy shop and then on to repeated editing, was slow and infuriating.
What kind of writer would I have been 100 years ago?
Frustrated? Perhaps…. Or maybe I’d write haikus?
What about you? What kind of pre-computer writer would you be?