Writing On The Web


  Italian Olivetti Typewriter IV 
  Originally uploaded by design911.

I hated to write when I was a kid. I couldn’t do it very well. I’d hold the pencil really tight, press so hard that I ripped the page, and my hand would cramp up before the first paragraph was finished.

I never really outgrew that problem. My handwriting stinks as anyone who has seen it can attest to. And I can’t stand to write with a pen or pencil.

The typewriter was a godsend when I finally took typing in high school. I was never a great typist, but at least I could write without physical pain. But I never got particularly good at whiteout and tape to fix the errors I made on a regular basis.

It was the computer that really opened up writing for me. I could easily edit. I could write the way I wanted to; stream of consciousness followed by edits, lots of them.

I’ve written with a word processor on a computer almost exclusively for the past 25 years. I’ve used WordPerfect and Word for the most part. I mastered WordPerfect in undergraduate school (reveal codes!) and partially paid my way through grad school teaching my classmates how to use it and Lotus 1-2-3.

I’ve written so many documents in Word and WordPerfect over the years and I know these programs like the back of my hand.

But something odd has happened to me lately. I don’t want to write in a desktop software application anymore and I don’t want to save my documents to a local drive.

I am sure it’s blogging that’s done it to me. But I want to write online. In a browser. I want to save my work in the cloud. And share the work with others both as a publisher and a collaborator.

I have started to use Writely instead of Word and I don’t miss the power of Word one bit. It’s liberating to get away from all those features and funcitons to be honest.

From pencil and paper to the web in 40 years. It’s gotten better each time I’ve moved to a new medium. Thank god for technology.