Guest Post: Random Thoughts about being a Luddite

Written By: Jackie Weger - May• 12•18


Luddite: a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology.

Guest Post by AB Plum, but we in eNovel just call her Barbara.

Samsung’s Family Hub 2.0 smart fridge. It doesn’t cook.

Living and writing in the shadow of Google in Silicon Valley, it’s tough being a Luddite. No smart phone or AI fridge or self-driving car. But. I’m definitely aware I’m not a puritan-Luddite. I would give up my firstborn child to keep my computer. Which leads me to think—a painful state at times—how computer technology has changed my writing process over the past couple of decades.

For the record, I owned one of the earliest IBM PCs. Wow! I was a technological innovator—an early adapter. I used the PC exactly as I’d used my IBM Selectric. Using floppies and learning anything about DOS gave me hives. The cost for that PC verged on astronomical. My husband worked for IBM and received a 10% discount on the retail price. Logic demanded using the damn thing to justify the outlay of dollars. If it had been smaller, I might’ve gone to bed with it—like “smart”phone users do in 2018.

1946 Olympia Typewriter

One of my first PC projects? Co-authoring a romance novel with a friend living 3,000 miles away. She typed every word on her 1946 Olympia—a typewriter she inherited from her father after his stint as Commandant at West Point. The Internet was not even a glint in anyone’s mind in the mid 80’s. So, I sent her my printed chapters, and she sent me hers by snail mail. Word count was tedious—especially since I wrote out my scenes in longhand and subsequently transcribed them into that amazing PC. It took me five years of using computers to track customer calls to graduate from writing fiction in longhand to inputting content directly without notes.

Quite often I read about three or four or hundreds of writers claiming they write 10K words and more a day. That’s probably more times than I breathe 24/7.  These mega-writers then turn out a book a month. Why not? They type faster than the speed of light. They also say they have their books proofed and edited multiple times. Somewhere, in the back of my Thomasina mind, doubts lurk.

Read all of Barbara’s book FREE with Kindle Unlimited

My writing output falls short of 10K words daily. Why? Simple. I no longer have to produce at such high levels. When I worked in the fast lane and created marketing materials for AI and multimedia technologies, I often had to turn out many documents in hours. Without a computer, I’d never have survived. Now, I can decide if the world continues or falls off its axis if I write at a slower pace. I don’t live in the past or swear life was better in the past. Admittedly, I miss going to the public library, but I love the portal of hundreds of libraries via the Internet. At least I’m not surfing the net on my smartphone. Yet.

Barbara Plum writes dark, twisted psychological thrillers as AB Plum. She lives off the fast-lane exit in Silicon Valley, where she indulges in low-tech walking and aerobic dancing to offset hours of butt-in-chair syndrome.  Read all Barbara wants you to know about her HERE.


Thank you Barbara Plum for this guest post. Many writers will relate because some of us create slow and type at the pace of a turtle. Or in my case, a slug.

© 2018. Jackie Weger says:  Comments Welcome. Be nice.  If you can’t be nice, be articulate. We love for you to add to the discussion. Here’s a bit of sass: I always say that to authors because author complaints are rampant about one or two word reviews. Next an author takes the time to compose a blog, and guess what: Two word responses. La.

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  1. Rosie Dean says:

    I first did computing at school – we used a stylus to punch holes in computer cards. Then we posted the cards to Imperial College (London) to be processed. One miss-punched hole and the program fell over! It was then posted back to school, and I had to correct the faulty card and post the lot off again. Yes – things were slower in those days!

    I am, totally in awe of your output falling short of 10K words daily. GASP! I’d be happy with 10k words a week.

  2. Robyn M Ryan says:

    My magic moment came when one of Atlanta’s first-version Macs landed on my desk at work in 1984, with the comment “You’ll like this better than DOS”… no kidding!

    Kids today just don’t understand how hard it was to rewrite or correct ANYTHING without retyping most of the manuscript. The Mac allowed me to be a better writer….

    But why in the world would I need a TV-thing on my fridge or a self-driving car? 10K words a day? I dont even THINK that many words in a day, 🙂 Great post ~ lots of good memories!

  3. Great post, Barbara. I loved reading it. 🙂

  4. Yes, I also wrote my first novel longhand on pages in a loose-leaf binder. Since then, I’ve written almost entirely on a computer. The internet is a great resource for research.

  5. Julie Frayn says:

    I first used a computer in the early ’80s when I was working at a sign company. Went from hand-burnishing letters (remember Letraset anyone) to typing them into a portable Mac. Loved that thing. Took it home on the weekends to ‘work’ (actually, it had missile command on it. Fun!). But portable was different back then. It was an elongated cube, 12x12x18. Weighed a ton. And no internet… How things have changed.

  6. I also remember the days of writing on typewriters – may they never return! 🙂

  7. susanmtarr says:

    I have never worked in any industry where I needed a computer or even needed to know anything about computers. I seemed to have skimmed through on an alternative light shaft. My first writing was longhand in a small notebook (very discreet) then with one of those word processor things that came with erasing tape. Now that invention was surely brilliant. Being a stickler for accuracy had me use all my tapes before I got past the first chapter. So back to the long hand. I never learned typing. I still use just one finger per hand (I just checked) but 10k per day? Fffttt! I aim for nothing so am never disappointed. The sun will not fall from the sky. The world will continue spinning. Smart phones will soon be impregnated in willing ears, if that makes sense, and so on…

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