In ten years, how will writing change? I imagine, firstly, we’ll be able to write more efficiently. I wrote this thought on my smartphone while waiting for an oil change, this before entering thrift store, this after not finding anything, and returned to my computer for this final draft. That flexibility in 2008 would have been great! How might that look in 2028? Let’s ask ourselves, via this open letter, how we can build better writing tools!
My biggest hindrances in the writing process are time and process.
We’ve always had portable writing tools to enable us write sentences on paper anywhere. Typing longer passages is almost more hassle than it’s worth. Laptops are portable, sure, they’re just not flexible enough for capturing mundane moments, ubiquitous enough to stow away during trips through interesting parts of town, or streamlined enough to type some thoughts before returning to reality.
Smaller technologies like smartphones and tablets help.
There are just elements of my writing process that rely on certain computer processing, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
Comparing 2008 to now, the writing process is easier. Will it be even easier in 2028?
I can spontaneously type some thoughts while my car warms up, dictate the melancholy of seeing the remains of Al’s Music while driving, and write about learning from other people’s mistakes while riding a Sears escalator for perhaps the last time.
Still, the processing time is my other big hurdle.
Uploading photos is easier now than even 5 years ago, it’s just easier to edit with a mouse, and prepping the post before publishing is easier on a multi-screened computer because of the multiple variables involved. What if this were all easier? Social media apps show it’s possible. They’re just not “there” yet.
What if publishing to any website were easier than it is now?
Would we see an increase in amateur journalism? With practice using newer technology, I could write concert reviews during boring moments, or write about conventions like PAX on-site. Sacrificing certain creature comforts, like typing on a keyboard at our home computers, could help any of us write “on the field.”
There’s just more to it than just adapting to the newest trends.
For me, typing is faster than pressing screen buttons, privacy enables concentration for longer sentences, and if I’m writing then I’m missing out on experiencing the moment I’m attempting to capture…
What could we do now to enable writing to be easier for the future?
Should we, as writers, invest more effort into finding or building new tools? Should we figure out how new writing hardware or software could help the writing process? Should we experiment with different writing formats?
Or should we forget about writing all together and move on to video essays?
There is something to be said for catering to audiences. If everyone’s watching videos, should we gravitate in that direction? I still think there’s still enough value in the written word, unobscured- unaccompanied.
So, how will literature look in 2018?
Anthony, 31 Years Old
Inspirations: Considerations of possible journalistic changes to “Al’s Music, Fire.”
Related: The companion piece to “Ten Years Ago VI.”