The idea of not being able to back up my work every two sentences terrifies me. I’ve got copies on the cloud, on my friend’s computer and on a handful of USB sticks which I spread between work and home just in case of some unknown disaster. That probably isn’t entirely necessary, I know. In fact, with document recovery being so great on modern computers, I’ve never had to use one of my backups in all the years I’ve been writing. I hope I haven’t jinxed it.
But keeping digital copies of our work isn’t the only way that writers benefit from technology. There are countless ways that tech makes our lives easier, more productive and, for some people at least, more profitable. There’s e-publishing, blogging and the ability to query agents without having to print a single sheet. But for me, the single piece of technology that I am most grateful for is the good, old-fashioned spell-checker. Not only am I the high emperor of typos but I am also an absolutely terrible speller – don’t tell anyone, it’s my dirty secret! In fact, that little red line has already appeared several times by the time I finish this second paragraph.
There are still a handful of writers out there who swear by the old-fashioned methods. They like to hand-write manuscripts and query in hard copy. And I think that there’s definitely something to be said for the aesthetic qualities of such methods, but practically speaking, the benefits are far fewer and the eco-nut in me doesn’t much like the idea of going through all the paper either.
What’s your take on the subject? Are you embracing the digital age or are you hoping for a return of the good old days?