In 1987, I replaced my electric typewriter with a Smith-Corona dedicated word processor. I soon found myself in awe of its capabilities.
No longer did I have to retype an entire page every time I needed to correct a typo or change a few words. No longer did I need to keep hard copies of everything I’d ever written; I could simply store such documents on floppy disks.
A few years after that, I bought an Apple Macintosh Performa, which offered me even greater convenience. I bought an iMac after that. Then I bought a PC laptop. I then bought a Mac PowerBook to go with the PC.
Today, one of those laptops gets turned on shortly after I wake up. It stays on well into the evening. I generally have two browsers open at the same time. While completing various writing assignments, I periodically check for updated information on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media sites. I couldn’t imagine going back to relying upon an electric typewriter.
Yet, as much as I’ve come to value all of those capabilities and resources, I can’t say that technology has improved the quality of my writing one bit: whatever improvements have occurred there have come from within me.
As professional writers, we have to recognize that although technology is very useful, it is not a substitute for creative talent or the knowledge and insight gained from our professional experiences.
As long as we remember that, we’re able to embrace useful technological tools without feeling that our livelihoods are being threatened. We’re also able to make thoughtful assessments as to whether or not the initial hyperbole that often accompanies such innovations deserves merit.
Rich Buse (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Milwaukee native. He currently resides in the Dallas-Fort worth area.