Writing 101 in a Digital World

Sometimes I forget that you don’t need an internet connection to write.

Yesterday I had some time to write before meeting a friend for dinner, and conveniently had my laptop with me. However, I experienced slight panic for a moment when I realized that there wasn’t a WiFi connection to hook up to.

That’s pretty bad.

I grew up in the late 80s, early 90s. My family had a telephone attached to the wall. We didn’t even have a TV for a time. I know that one doesn’t need a computer or smartphone to write — a pencil or pen and paper will more than do the job (even a brow pencil… true story.)

Yet lately I’ve found writing sessions to be fueled in part by the need to immediately publish something — in line with the philosophy of a tree falling in the forest, I guess you could say. However unintentional, having such a mindset — a reflex of powering up to write down — has definitely impacted how often I write, greatly inhibiting my range of artistic motion.

In my defense, technological convenience is something we’ve so grown used being there to the point that the physical act of writing can feel like supplementary behavior until one can get to the perfect moment in which to fully flesh out an idea.

But if our world was to enter apocalyptic status today, right now, there’d be nothing to connect to, no immediate spread of ideas. All works online would cease to exist. If we were lucky, some publications would have survived any fires, floods, blasts. But we’d truly have to rebuild and create a future on a physical, tangible foundation with our selves doing the thinking, not our beloved machines.

I used to think that being in front of a computer was my perfect sit-down moment — and it still is, in most ways. However, it might be time to redefine the line in the sand, with a pencil or pen and paper, and whatever’s swimming inside. No tabs open, and nothing to reference except for, perhaps, a physical thesaurus, encyclopedia, or other source of study. Back to basics, in the interest of preservation.

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2 thoughts on “Writing 101 in a Digital World

  1. Janice Wilson

    “Getting back to basics” a phrase we apply to many situations has long had an attractive ring to it because we associate it with a certain “integrity” a comforting “go to” as opposed to something that seems artificial or falsely puffed up. The idea of stripping ourselves of the non essentials that pervade and often complicate everything and finding the simpler more direct approach keeps us in touch with something that feels authentic and so ultimately more pleasing. As you point out, we live in a world of technology we might not always be able to count on and so we must rely on that “core, basic knowledge” we have developed within ourselves. No working computer. Paper and pencil please! Back to basics says back to what is stable and can be relied upon.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Linds Post author

      Back to basics says back to what is stable and can be relied upon.
      This holds so much weight — sometimes I look at my handwriting and am shocked at how at times illegible it can appear (to me… hopefully not to everyone else!). If writing just for that, I would like to continue to do so because goodness knows that if some people are having difficulty spelling, then their penmanship is probably not far behind, either. Thank you for reminding me of the importance of that as well.

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