Once upon a time, if you wanted to be a writer, you had to dust off your typewriter and stock up on ribbon and correction fluid. Or, even more arcane, pens and paper. It took physical, not just mental, effort to complete a manuscript, edit it, and then RETYPE or rewrite the entire thing. And then you had to physically mail it places.
We all know that the advent of computers and email accounts means that it is so much easier to be a writer. Write something once and boom, you can save it, edit it, and email it to every inbox out there. It's making for more writers.
But does the computer make for better writers?
I'm sitting at my desk working on part 2 of my latest serial. (OK, I was. Now I'm writing this. Must stop letting myself be distracted by Blogger.) As I wrote a paragraph, I decided the second sentence worked better as the last so I clicked and dragged it in to place. MUCH better. And that got me thinking...if I had been typing or handwriting my work, would I have made that change, scribbling in the margin or ripping the page out of the typewriter and starting fresh? Would I have kept going, making a note to fix it the next time through? Would I have forgotten about it? What if I changed my mind and wanted to move it back?
I write exclusively in Word, with the exception of crooked fragments written in a bedside notebook in the middle of the night. I can't compose on paper because I am a better writer for having a fluid medium with which to write. I try not to edit as I go, but for me, composing is a dynamic process. I write things down as they flow and then sit back and reorder them so that they work.
My computer makes me a better writer. I honestly don't know if I could complete a novel if I didn't have the technology.
What about you? Do you compose on the computer or long hand? If you use technology, do you think you would still be the writer you are if you had to use paper or a typewriter?