Tuesday, April 5, 2011

In a World where the Print Industry Falters

--A friend dressing up for last year's Horror Movie Night, put on by SWS.

Barnes & Noble. Borders. Now, there are big names migrating to self-publishing...what is this world we have wandered into? Questions of how much quality writing will exist in the future abound. Pessimistic comments float through web, with only some positive statements to punctuate the fear and voice an alternative answer.

We're all trying to find our way, wondering what the reordering of the industry will mean for our careers. Especially for those of us teetering on the verge of sending out a finished novel -- we can't be certain what the rules will be in the next two to three years. We can't expect the knowledge we've gained over the past decade to apply anymore.

It feels an awful lot like reaching into a full bathtub for a bar of soap. Every time I structure a plan, an understanding, some big news hits, and--Bam! It's like soap slipping through my fingers...

So I am putting together SWS. I've mentioned it a lot, but it's eaten up a great deal of my time. We will be offering classes locally, and hopefully--when we have the funds--in virtual space.

The classes will not only teach writing. They will also present editing, web-research and multimedia skills. I have been shocked how many know so little about basic programs. Further, schools are not offering training in the cloud--what's out there and how do you use it?

The Internet offers so much information for writers to sort through that often, finding what you really want--and knowing that you have found it--takes more critical research than (appears through my experience) to be generally assumed. I have helped numerous students at community college to send emails, save to usb and other simple internet tasks. I have sat with young writers who dismantle the significance of technology in their lives, and glorify computer illiteracy as if an era prior to the Information Age was a Golden Period to be emulated.

I honestly feel that that tract is futile. Intentionally preventing yourself from learning technology because you want to hold onto nostalgia that belonged to a generation before your own, seems disadvantageous to social adaptation.

Yet, this reaction to technology is due to the perceived reduction of social interaction. Rather than integrating technology into daily life in a way that fosters connections, there is resistance to learning how to use the computer to interact. but writing itself is communication, interaction. And for writers to adapt, they must find a way to integrate technology not only into their career, but into those interactions that foster career.

I know, perhaps you are thinking blogging.

But I am thinking of why I am building a non-profit. A setting with specialized instruction and exploration of writing-related knowledge to fuse the real life and the virtual. An organization that offers real-life connections and classes in technology, writing, etc.

Are there others institutions that provide this? Not in my city. Academic discourse only goes so far.

The picture above is from a somewhat successful fundraiser we held last year, a friend and colleague of mine. The participants elected to dress up for the horror movie night, and made a fun experience out of a small fundraiser. To keep afloat, our organization must do many more of these events. But you could say that the fascination with bygone eras and the romanticizing of medieval dress go hand in hand.

Though I am guilty of enjoying costumes myself, and so perhaps that makes me hypocritical.

1 comment:

  1. There's nothing wrong with nostalgia. It can actually be very educational and show us how we go to today. I myself am a very nostalgic person being a '60s/'70s pop culture geek, yet I am so because they were two eras of major change and that even included computer technology (from the exclusive hands of governement to the hands of the people with the PC which the concepts for actually had started with the liberal computer scientists and hobbyists of the '60s and '70s). However, our precious past made possible today's innovation and integration but I do agree: in order to communicate amongst eachother clearly and efficiently, in order to progress both as a society and as individuals within society, we must learn to integrate the technological (along with the social) changes of today into our own lives.