Writing in the Age of Technology

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In this post at Write for Your Life, blogger Iain Broome talks about applications that he uses on his iPad that help him get his writing done. According to his podcast, which you can watch at the link above, the iPad provides an opportunity to write in a whole new way, a way that’s even farther removed from our original medium of pen and paper.

This got me thinking about all the technology that I use to write these days. When I was younger, I was all about scribbling in notebooks. I have an entire dresser drawer full of my notebooks and journals from those early days. But as soon as my family acquired a word processor, I was doing more and more writing through that medium. There is something truly enticing about the snap of those word processor keys and the way it could print directly to the paper like a typewriter or print when you were finished, like a computer.

Lucas Sifuentes, our guest blogger, told me a while ago that he once traversed an entire semester of college with a typewriter for all his assignments. I confessed that I really didn’t think I could do that. I’m a fast typer, but I’m not really an accurate typer. That means that I type very quickly, but the ‘backspace’ key is pretty much my best friend on a computer keyboard. On a typewriter, there is no backspace, there is no room for second chances. I’m sure I could adapt to that eventually, but it would take a long time. I could hope that the charm of an old Underwood typewriter would ease the frustration of no backspace key, but I don’t think the charm goes that far.

Now, of course, there is the iPad. Personally, I have never held an iPad in my hands or seen one up close, but I hear a lot of good things. I hear a  lot of bad things too, but they don’t usually pertain to writing on the device. Even without having ever used it, though, I think I can safely say that I wouldn’t be able to write on it. I don’t even want to venture into the Land of the Kindle for my reading, so I think the iPad is one step too many into technology for me.

What do you guys think? How much technology is involved in your writing? Do you stop at a laptop or netbook, or have you tried writing on the iPad?

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

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