22 February 2010

Types of Writers and their Technology

by Carrie Bailey

Like Homo Erectus, one of our ancient ancestors, writers use different tools to get the job done. Whereas we might have found Grog, the inventor of the sharpened rock, sifting through the quarry for just the right shade and shape to kill his next meal, the writer has been buried in an avalanche of technology to designed to aid them.

Oh yes. Grog had it easy. Maybe he woke up in the morning and asked, “Grog go to quarry A or quarry B?” Although, it probably sounded a lot more like, “Hurmph?” Now, I can allow that it was a difficult choice for our common ancestor, but Grog might have decided to stay in bed if the choice were to buy online or from the umpteen stores all precisely the same distance away.

By the way, pens are always on sale in store A when pencils are on sale in store B. Don’t try to escape that fact by ordering online, because there exists only one truth about mail order: the cost of shipping and handling rises in direct proportion to the sale on the item. That’s why it’s called “handling,” because we can’t handle selling it for any less. I know this absolute truth because I sell stationary on Ebay.

This technology overload has resulted in the following types of writers in existence today.

The iAuthor

He actually has a USB port under the removable pad in his thumb. Currently, he and all his counterparts do still run on Java. Often found clicking away at his laptop in upscale coffee shops, he ceases writing at five-minute intervals to answer his phone, update his online calendar, locate a previous draft on his external hard drive, update his software . . .

Some of us envy this writer, because he oozes professionalism whenever he isn’t under the table untangling his cables.

His secret: he can’t spell without spell check.

The Journalista

She uses a computer, but it’s her magnificent personal library of self-published work that defines her. When you go to the office store for three ring binders and find bare shelves starring back at you, you can be certain she was there first. Clever bumper stickers, which she’d never publically display on her car, adorn her printer as it is the central piece of her publishing empire.

She maintains total control of all her work free from criticism from conception to consumption.

Her secret: she’s never actually let anyone else read it.

Those Fashionably Late

Ah yes. Quills are out, didn’t you know? They don’t. They’ve got ancient typewriters and they know where to get them repaired, too. Some of them even maintain printing presses in their sheds, but worse: they use them. Right now, someone on your street owns and operates a Comadore 64. Its blinding blue screen and glowing radioactive font evoke all the memories of the great writers of the 1980s.  Great Comadore 64 wallpaper click: here.

If you’ve ever truly loved an author’s work, you couldn’t help but wonder where they sat as they wrote each letter and what impliments they used to accomplish the task.

Their secret: the iAuthor intimidates them.

The Penamilist

Back to basics.

Their secret: they’re married/closely related to the iAuthor.

The Escape Writer

You’re in the woods/coast/on a mountain. Your heavy eyelids droop slowly as the natural wonder around you rustles and creaks a soothing lullaby though it’s midday and you’ve just arrived. Then for the first time in what feels like months, maybe your lifetime even, you inhale deeply-without the instruction of your yoga master-and… the Windows theme sound reverberates as your neighbor opens her laptop. Within seconds, it’s clickity-clickity-clickity-clack-clack as the bluish glow from the screen brings light pollution to somewhere you thought sacred.

You hate her, but only because you hadn’t planned on bringing out your laptop for at least another half hour.

Your and her secret: you aren’t running away from stress or to inspiration. You just drink too many caffeinated beverages.

Trust me. A walk in the wilderness near my house won’t fix that and pick up your trash before you go.

Homo Erectus didn’t have written words apparently. Our earlier Homo Sapien ancestors lived without them, too. Now if you hold that the world existed for only the last 6000 years-as do most of the people who live where only The Escape Writer visits-still, a great deal of time passed before the first early words were pressed into clay.

No right way to write exists. A writer uses what is available, affordable, and what he or she knows how to use. However, before you start pitying our fictionally distinguished inventor of the sharpened stone, Grog, I want you to consider this:

After Grog invented the sharpened stone, he ran home to his clan and shouts, “Hrmmph Uh HUH Gromph Uggh Grr Humph.” For the next twenty years of his life, he retold that same story to generation after generation while seated around the fire.

Writers are first and foremost storytellers, however they choose to accomplish their task.


  1. Great Writing :) I think you nailed them all!

  2. Ah Thanks you guys! Glad you enjoyed it :)

  3. Most enjoyable. :) The big at the end where Grog goes home and grunts his story to his clan is my fav line in the whole post.