Paws Up for Wednesday – Writing Then and Now

I included a brief discussion in my latest Klepto Cat Mystery (to be published later this month) about the days of the encyclopedia. Do you remember when salespeople came to your house to sell your parents a set of encyclopedias to help better educate their children? You could buy them on the payment plant. I loved those books—the pictures, the places, the ideas, the information. And I used them in my writing work for many years—remember I started my freelance writing career in the 1970s. I wrote my first article and my first book on a manual typewriter—eventually graduating to an electric typewriter. Around 1989, I acquired a Brother word processor—the precursor to the computer. Wow! What a wonderful invention!!!

And all along the way I referred to those encyclopedias for my research and, of course, the offerings at the local library.

I wasn’t one of the first to buy into a computer and that new thing called the Internet, but when I did, what a life-changer—or should I say a career-changer. For example, it took me five years to research and write my iconic book, The Ojai Valley, an Illustrated History. Now I’m turning out 8 to 10 books a year. Would that even be possible on a manual typewriter and the old manual researching and printing processes?

Your way of reading my books has changed, too. Most of you read your books from an iPad or Tablet or your phone. And many of you reading this are remembering how it was before the advent of the computer and the internet. Does anyone still have a set of encyclopedias? I still have one of those giant dictionaries that we would sit on at the dinner table as small children, in place of a booster seat or high chair.

Yes, I’ve been writing for publication–as a business–for nearly 50 years–WOW–and I’ve had a cat at my side all along the way.

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