To be a writer in 2010 means five things: You have a cell phone. You have high-speed Internet. You have a Web site. You know how to research online and make the most out of Google. You’re promoting your work/self on some sort of social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
Photo by Ingrid Punwani
This is how the world is working right now. It’s at a breakneck speed, and you need to keep up if you want to expand your network, get your work noticed, and learn to write and communicate in the latest forms on the latest platforms.Let me tell you, though, it is freaking exhausting. You have to constantly update everything, which takes time away from when you could actually be writing. And if you’re on Facebook or Twitter, you have to vigorously filter messages sent to your e-mail—or you’ll have to sift through mundane messages like, “I’m heading to the beach” or “I ate too much at lunch.” (Not you, Ashton Kutcher. Never you.) I find it hard enough to update my resumé, Web site and the few profiles I have online.
I have, however, found technological wonders that make my writing life easier. One is my HTC smart phone. It is my cell phone, yes, but because it has Microsoft Office Mobile software, I can load it with documents I’ve got to edit or finish writing. Then I work on them while I’m on the subway or streetcar or waiting for an appointment. When I get home, I sync them with my laptop and—ta-da!—some of my work gets done away from the office, without my having to lug a laptop everywhere I go! It’s so accessible that I wrote half my book this way. You don’t have to get the same phone, but trust me when I tell you that writing with pen and paper is great until you have to transcribe everything.Writing on my laptop also saves me time. I have templates for information that I send out regularly, such as my resumé and cover letter or stats about my blog, etc. It saves me from having to type out the same things over and over again. Plus, my laptop makes revising my writing assignments for various Web sites, newspapers and magazines so much easier. I can even save different versions of my work.
Of course, technology can lure us away from our writing, too. Surfing the Internet or watching YouTube isn’t “working” or “researching” despite what you may be telling yourself.Most days I can be found hunched over my laptop at my rolltop desk at the bottom of my bed in my one-bedroom apartment. From the time I get up to pretty much 7 or 8 p.m., I am texting,
tweeting, html-ing, editing and, sometime in between, writing.
This is what writing looks like in 2010. It may not seem like an especially productive writing life, given all of the work we do on top of our writing. But if you are writing to deadline and getting paid on a regular basis, you’re doing all right. And if part of your typical day happens to include tweets from Ashton Kutcher telling you all about his day, then all the better. C U L8r!