The “Old Days” versus “Today”

I have to laugh when new writers or students state that “writing is hard.”  Compared to the old days, writing is easy today.

In the old days one wrote with a manual typewrite and carbon paper.  At best, the writer had an electric typewriter or an assistant who would type up handwritten notes.  Of course, I didn’t have any writer friends who had those kind of resources.  Like me, they hammered on the keys, cursing at the errors as they grabbed the liquid whiteout and flipped the papers in the typewriter, blowing on the blobs of white so that it would be dry before retyping, pressing HARD multiple times to ensure it went through all the copies.

When I look a particular 1963 dissertation that had over 5000 participants that entailed an endless array of charts and diagrams, I’m in awe of that student.  Of course, it also makes perfect sense that there were no publications after graduation.  The burnout must have been incredible.

Today one writes with a computer. 

Of course, there are other electronic tools such as the iPhone, iPad, or dictating one’s creative words into the computer using a program like Dragon (a program I have yet to make time to learn and cursing how much easier life would be if I’d just put in the time to learn it!).

In the old days, if I wanted to change a character’s name . . . well, I just didn’t.  The same was said about considering changing hair color or length, eye color, or other details that would require pages of retyping.

In the old days, once the sentence structure was laid down, it didn’t change, even though I knew it should be changed.

In the old days, as I typed up final drafts, if I had a sudden inspiration for a slight change in the plot, well that change ended up in a different project or was just forgotten.

Today’s writers, those who have never experienced using a typewriter, have no concept how easy is to make changes, both large and small to their writing(s).

When I hear writer’s bemoan writer’s block, I have to laugh.  Seriously?  Today?   Yes, I used to suffer from writer’s block because I wanted to type out those perfect sentences.  I didn’t want to spend hours of retyping because of rewriting issues.

Once I got a computer, it still took me several years before I learned that I didn’t have to write those perfect sentences or write in my head while I tried difference word choices.  Instead, I could play with words on the page and easily delete or change that which I didn’t like with a tap of a few keys.

Today, there is no writer’s block.  Today, there’s only not doing.

Writing today is not difficult.  Writing in the old days was.  Today, I have no real excuse not to be writing.  Even when driving, I could be writing by dictating.  Now that’s progress.

In reality, I have no excuses for not writing.  None.  Nada.  Zilch.

Bad, Diana.  Bad, bad, bad, Diana.

About Diana Stout

Screenwriter, author, former English professor
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Procrastination, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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