Past, present, and future of new-fangled struggles for writers.

“I am trying to get the hang of this new-fangled writing machine, but I am not making a shining success of it. However, this is the first attempt I have ever made and yet I perceive I shall soon and easily acquire a fine facility in its use…I believe it will print faster than I can write…It piles an awful stack of words on  one page…Of course it saves paper.”

The person quoted above seemed pleased with his new-fangled machine. He claims to be struggling with it, and I believe him, as learning anything new is a struggle. He then indicates he will soon master it. Reading the quote again it could be a writer taking his first fling at writing in Word.doc. It does “pile a lot of words on one page” and “it saves paper,” and I do like the line of “print faster than I can write,” although my printer is not that fast. My mind, however, is faster than my fingers on a keyboard. Not a good thing for a person with ten thumbs and no fingers such as myself.

But the person was not talking about Word.doc. In fact he was long dead before it replaced the typewriter, the machine the writer was referring to. The person quoted above is Mark Twain. He was writing of his experience using the new-fangled machine around 1879. Four years later his manuscript for “Life on the Mississippi” was the first type scripted manuscript delivered for publication.

If you are wondering who the first writer to publish an e-book is, then you are as weird as I am.  Alas, my quick search has turned up only nit-picky confusion. Much depends on the definition of e-book. And the world is moving faster now than 1879. It was easier to determine who was first then.  Now so many people are doing the same type of work at the same time, by the time there is a first, it is already history, and something new is being discussed. I am not weird enough to pursue the first any further than this link to Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E-book#2000.27s.

As for me, I am waiting to get a voice activated writing tool so I can dictate blogs and stories. Of course I will have to edit as I go, which can bring as much frustration as keyboard hunting and pecking. Now the curse words I emphatically utter are not seen or heard, but with voice activation I must be careful in proofreading, lest any “damn” should find its way into the story. Each invention brings its own new-fangled struggles.

 

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Filed under e-book publishing, humor, Uncategorized, writing

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