Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Old Process of Writing

Columbo (TV series)Image via Wikipedia
Today I'm at home and not feeling very well. I'm fighting off a cold. I hate getting sick. It's very annoying. But it does give me an excuse to watch DVD's of my old favourite television shows. Today I chose to watch Columbo and some Murder She Wrote. Yes, cheesy, but I like mysteries. And it's amazing how many big television stars had guest appearances on the show.
What I always find interesting is the use of technology in the shows. I love it when William Shatner shows Columbo the brand new VCR he has. It's the size of a small fridge, taking up an entire counter. And the new room size computer systems -cutting edge technology that everyone will soon have.  I love it in one episode where a new answering machine  is stuck in a desk drawer. When a call comes in the secretary opens the drawer, switches on the reel to reel and then answers the phone. I also loved the one with the new fangled typewriter with the ball instead of a carriage. Columbo is fascinated by carbon paper. It's so funny when you look at how far we've come.

Today on Murder She Wrote Jessica Fletcher is introduced to a new computer. You know, the ones with the really loud keyboards with the green writing, with every file listed as A> or C>. And of course the floppy discs, the ones that looked like 45's.  She bemoans writing on a computer, scared to lose her story. But I think a few seasons later she makes the transition because she knows that she has to keep up with the changes in publishing.

I have to say I am an old style writer for the most part. I love fountain pens and journals, writing long hand for first drafts, and then a Smith Corona typewriter for the second. And then finally I will go to the computer for the third draft. I think it has something to do with that hands on feeling. I was always told to cut down on the time it takes to write by writing directly into the computer, but for my own writing I've never been able to make the complete shift over to that method. I write straight onto a computer for my clients, but for my own creative style, it's the old process of writing all the way. I even downloaded a typewriter sound for my keyboard to connect me with the feel of the old keys, but that didn't quite do it. The only thing that is a problem now, is that ribbon for my typewriter is getting more difficult to find. But as it was with vinyl, it will never completely go away.

I know that many writers are of the same ilk, and that I'm not alone, but it's nice on a Sunday afternoon to relive those good old days before CSI and all the DNA mystery shows,
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