Click here to read about Jane Austen's spelling and grammar habits.
And I thought I was bad at spelling.
After reading that article, I'm imagining what a pain it was to write back in Austen's day. No computers. No spell check. Everything by hand. I even feel sorry for those who had to use typewriters. Did the absence of computers and typewriters in Austen's era help or hinder the quality of her art?
Help--I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but it annoys me when I have to cross out words on a piece of paper. It's sort of like spoiling the art I'm trying to compose. It's also the perfectionist in me saying HELLO, HERE I AM. Why do I cross words out more than I commit them to the page? It happens because I'm used to writing on a computer where I continuously self edit as I go. Without the computer, I'd have to learn to choose my words more carefully before I actually write it down. WHAT? I'm shuddering just imagining it. Perfectionist or not, I think this "writing before thinking it through" concept is an obstacle for many writers. Rather than type one idea out 100 different ways like I do, authors like Austen had to plan and develop their thoughts before putting it to paper. Otherwise, what a waste of paper, and I'm sure the hand cramps weren't fun. So, could thinking more ahead of time lead to better writing? I think so. It may seem like a no brainer, but I could definitely use the practice. Perhaps I should go a day without using the paper but aiming to get as much writing done as I normally do. (I will post of the success/failure at a later time).
Hinder--I don't know about you, but having the internet always at my disposal can be a huge distraction. It's so easy to read just one more news article, one more blog. I depend on the internet for my entertainment. Writing on my computer is sometimes just as distracting as if I were trying to write at a football game or a concert. How much time is wasted by internet distraction? I've noticed if I'm struggling to find the right words it's easy to click open the web and listen to a youtube video or go on facebook. Not a good thing when there's work to be done.
How else could the lack of computer technology help or hinder writers? I'm sure there are plenty to say on both sides of the argument. What say you?