A few days ago NPR did a story on “How E-Books Will Change Reading and Writing.” I don’t think I’ll ever attempt a Twitter novel or a cell phone book (um, I can barely text “hi how r u?”) but I agree that technology is affecting the way people think, and thus how we read and write. Actually, Twenty-Somewhere was partly an experiment to tap into that — could I write short, fun episodes for the web? I could, and I did. But I’m glad to say that 20SW turned into something much more, at least for me.
20SW reminded me that writing should always, always be fun. If I’m not laughing along with my characters, or naming inanimate objects after them (my iPod Touch is Reggie!), then how can I expect readers to enjoy them or care?
20SW helped me realize that right now, I am more in tune with and affected by issues that people face in their teens and twenties. There’s so much that happens during those years, good and bad. I’ve always thought it was a pivotal time (hello, being an RA?) so why not use my writing to convey that?
Best of all, 20SW became a way for me to connect with people. One friend emailed me to say she’d absolutely cracked up at my jokes (which was a great boost to my self-confidence ’cause I’m not that funny of a person). One friend chatted with me about how to make certain aspects of the story more believable. My mom told me she thought 20SW was the best writing I’d done (at least that she’d read). Lots of people just nagged me (in the best possible sense of the word) to put up more episodes already. (Sorry!)
Each of these interactions really enriched the process of writing 20SW for me, and brought me closer to people in a way that I definitely didn’t expect. Maybe those people didn’t all feel the same way, but I know for a fact that a couple of them did. That more than anything else makes 20SW special to me.
Technology might be changing the way we read and write, but as long as reading and writing still have the power to change us, I think we’ll be okay.