Home > Writing and Poetry > The Cost of Convenience

The Cost of Convenience

While considering the entire concept of convenience and the areas of our lives to which we utilize it, I stumbled across one hitherto unrealized, at least by me.

I know the convenience of the computer within the writing arena. I also know of  the labor and cost savings of being able to submit electronically or by CD disc. And heavens know how marvelous it is to be able to ignore snail mail and communicate with near instantaneous response by e-mail and twitter. So much of the business side of writing has been made much less cumbersome and costly than ever before in history.

Yet, what conveniences have come to assist the average writer with the actual task of putting word to paper in the most effective and professional way?

This was the question the came to mind. There are the usual reference books, which can be used should spell check not suffice. A good  thesaurus is absolutely a must, one as complete as the writer can afford when the hunt begins. A casual stroll through the pages can often spark word strings for use in a pesky  passage in that story that just hasn’t come up to par yet. Then there is the ever-present and critically necessary dictionary. These two not-so-small conveniences we often overlook because of their familiarity and the long history we have with them.

The very convenience and cost savings of a word processing program is incalculable in its own way. Now that reliable writing programs can be attained for free as well as tracking and scheduling software, the writer can step up the pace of his/her work to accommodate the necessary obligations without the paranoia of forgetting a “status query” date. These small niceties can save as much writing time as submission costs. It’s one of those little marvels that we’ll probably soon take for granted, too.

And what about all those networking groups we belong to? Don’t they also grant us the convenience of sharing knowledge and contacts with those peers we’d otherwise never have known about?

The ability to go to a publication’s website for guidelines and communications has taken so much tedious work out of our day. And that we can read one/more back issues of a magazine allows us a free chance to study that possible market as a home for one of our own pieces. If we chose not to use that opportunity, we need not cry when we bomb out in that submission court.

When I look around at my world away from home compared to as it stands at home, I shudder. Since I don’t have a laptop to keep me current wherever I go, I must make do with a notepad and pen, someone else’s dictionary and thesaurus, and begin something new to work on later.

The real problem arises when I think of all those little conveniences that I have begun to taken for granted as, I have no doubt, many others have as well.

Yet, I cannot help but take a long pause at that very reaction in myself. I cannot help but ask, “Have we sacrificed too much in the name of progress in the industry?”

Back in the day of the classics penned in the last 400 years, the writer, regardless of genre, took the necessary time to think hard about the words that would be laid down by quill or typewriter under his/her name. Paper was very costly back then. A good quill was treasured along with quality ink. A broken typewriter was expensive to repair and took time away from the art. Typewriter ribbons were expensive and hard to find.

For make no mistake, good writing was considered an art form back then (not the business it is now). Even though Faulkner, Melville, Hemingway, Browning, etc. recognized the need to sell their work, they didn’t shortchange the reader. Their best words comprised the work presented for review. They wrote with all the conviction necessary to tell the tale they felt showed an intriguing, attention-holding image; an image that the reader would keep in their hearts/minds for years.

Sadly, I doubt many of us approach our work that way today. Perhaps more of us, myself especially, should take advantage of the library and those classics more often. A refresher read of a few of the masters might put more perspective and vitality into our writing.

And perhaps we’ll discover more of those little conveniences taken for granted or constantly abused in the course of our writing life.

Just maybe we will relearn how to take the time that our conveniences have saved us and invest it in the time taken to choose our words with such great care that years from now someone will ask, “How did (s)he ever come up with that marvelous metaphor?”

I look forward to exchanging some of my unused words with those who have some that they’re no longer using. 

A bientot


–Now, about that new sticky software that helps sort out all my sticky notes around my desk. How exactly do I attach those notes  to the program?–

Categories: Writing and Poetry
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: