Career: Writing and Technology


Teachers did not take my writing seriously until I learned to type. Because of my handwriting, all through elementary and middle school, I was considered “careless,” a mere producer of “chicken scratch.”

In this regard, the 24 character LCD screen found on electronic typewriters in the 80s gave me my career, but also my writing life.

Do you remember that feeling? Of typing out words on a display, hitting enter, and the sound of the cup wheel hammering out words on a blank page?

You may, you may not, but I still remember it. Every now and then, when I press enter at the end of a line, I still expect to hear that sound: the cup or carriage wheel hammering, instead of just a silent blinking cursor on the next line of a fully digital page.


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Years later, I became more interested in ways to free up the writing mind, and one of the books I read was by Natalie Goldberg, who wrote about using a Sheaffer cartridge pen to freewrite because she could feel the weight on the ink on the paper. I did that dutifully for years, filling up journal after journal with whatever thoughts came into my mind. I would go back and read them over, underlining parts that I thought were interesting, then type up those thoughts on a computer and keep them.

Then I would burn the journals. (I was a pretty dramatic guy when I first went away to college.) 


And so I go to graduate school, and yada, yada, yada… get degrees, creative and academic publications, tenure, but still struggle with knowing how to write… especially now, where I’ve written thousands upon thousands of words on Facebook and Twitter, learned to manipulate the likes, the immediate feedback of an audience.

But that feedback has a price, as getting that much immediate feedback has changed my writing life in ways that I’m only starting to understand.

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