Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed

While attempting to declutter my office–to make room for more necessary things–I came across a box of cassette tapes of workshops given by some of my favorite authors.  There was a time when I did not get in my car unless I had a cassette to listen to while driving.  Times have certainly changed for me because now I get in my car for silence.  The beautiful, though temporary, silence.  That box of cassettes got me thinking about what else has changed for me as a writer.  I began writing in the early nineties–not that long ago, I know–but I work so very differently now.  See if you can relate to any of these obsolete activities.

  1. I knew librarians not only at my branch but other branches, too. I often asked for help locating material for a topic I was researching. (Well, I still know my local librarian’s names but they don’t point me in the same direction they once did).  Back then, the source for research usually started with one of the big sets of encyclopedias.  Now libraries don’t carry these bulky sets. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I typed on a typewriter that had ribbons that needed to be replaced when the ink ran dry. We were poor (which is why I had an old typewriter) so I always rewound the ribbon and gave it a second, sometimes third, life before I replaced it. Read fellow author Sheila Claydon’s experience about typing her first manuscript.
  1. I befriended the copy store staff. I even had an account because I made so many copies they gave me a discount. Don’t forget we didn’t have multifunction printers in our homes.  Copies of chapters for critique groups, contest entries, and manuscripts had to be made at a copy store.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I befriended post office staff. In those days manuscripts had to be mailed along with an SASE (self-addressed-stamped-envelope). The post office staff always inquired on what I was writing and mailing out, and I put one or two of them in my stories.
  1. Another thing I did was wait for the telephone to ring. Email wasn’t invented yet so writers either got a rejection letter by mail or an offer by telephone. This hopeful writer waited by the telephone, not the mailbox. Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I never had to think about book promotion. This is a state I miss most about the early days of my writing career. I just focused on writing.  What a novel concept.  Seven Ways Writers Lives Have Changed
  1. I had a drink. If a rejection letter did arrive I would have a cocktail such as a frothy, salt-rimmed margarita and I called a dear friend for moral support and to commiserate with. Oh, wait. I still do that.

Popular romance author Leigh Michaels shares the nostalgia of her first home office (clickhere).  How about you?  What has changed in your writing life since you first started writing?  Share in the comments below.


Creative Spaces — Guest Post by Christy Birmingham

Creative Spaces

Ah yes, creativity.

I have come a long way since I played with my dolls as a young girl as I taught them what I had learned that day at school.

Today, I am proud to call myself a freelance writer and an entrepreneur. While many of my days I sit on my black leather chair and fill word documents with sentences, I know I am a part of something so much greater. I am a part of a creative process.

At the end of an hour, I can see complete paragraphs on my screen. Add another half hour or two later in the day and I have a new poem to publish on my website. I write down information and ideas that have potential to teach and inspire readers. What a powerful, fantastic role I have as a writer! Best of all, I love what I do.

I start with a blank page most days. I fill the page with words that I string and tie up with a ribbon of punctuation. I proofread, edit, and publish. I do all of this, often, from the desk in my home office.

My writing space is a place where I work on technical articles as well as crafting poems. My desk is the hub of activity in my home (it is a home, not a house). I read emails there, write posts for Poetic Parfait, and conduct research for articles.

My writing area has many unique items. It is likely unique from other writers because of the thank-you cards and notes from clients that I display on my desk. The notes remind me of work I have done that people enjoyed. I read the notes to motivate me when I need a push to start my next assignment or reminder of how far I have come.

Creative Spaces -- Guest Post by Christy Birmingham

Christy Birmingham meeting deadlines and creating poetry in her space

You see, this space was not always a work area. I had office jobs and did well, but a dark period brought turbulence to my life. My work soon became about healing myself, rather than working in an office. After soul searching (that soul was hiding for some time), I made the decision to write as my career. I do not look back, but instead look to my desk and gaze out the side window in my home office.

When I turn my head to the right, I see out a large window into the backyard. I see trees, birds, and a neighborhood cat saunters by at least once a day. I often look outside as I write a poem, gaining inspiration from blue sky or the sound of the rain against the windowpane.

I always have a few articles on the go. I consistently have deadlines to meet and searches to conduct for the next client. I write posts for my site Poetic Parfait, where I share poetry and music. I write articles for several sites and private clients, as well. 

I often have a cup of tea nearby. My readers know I love chocolate! I often have a chocolate bar or bag of M&Ms nearby. As I reach for the M&Ms, I often get a surge of inspiration – so having chocolate on hand is crucial! 

The chocolates and tea are comfort for me as I constantly strive to strengthen my writing techniques and me. I am beginning work on a poetry book. I hope to share that soon. Publishing a book has been a dream for so long and I would love to make it come true. We can accomplish a lot when we are positive and have focus.

What is my advice for writers? Write, even when you do not feel like it. Set time aside every day to write at least a few hundred words. If only ten of those words are worth publishing for your article, poem, or short story, at least you can end the day with a sense of accomplishment. In addition, the more you write, the more refined your writing style becomes. I truly believe that and follow that strategy. 

Bio: Christy Birmingham is an avid freelance writer and blogger who lives in British Columbia, Canada. She writes extensively about social media and technologyChristy is also the proud owner of Poetic Parfait. The site is the playground for poetry, music, and smiles. New faces are always welcome!