Monday, December 1, 2014

Computers get the blame and the credit!!!

I took this picture. That's My Cowboy's Stetson straw hat
on a strange old stump by my house
Against which I have artistically leaned an old wagon tire.
Winnie Grigg somehow 'Christmas-ized' it.
I took the picture in the summer!
And My Cowboy for sure doesn't have holly berries on his hat.


I probably could get a handicapped parking sticker
based on the quality of my handwriting
IT’S CYBER MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, that was more enthusiasm that really, my muddled head is capable of. Why?

Shall we blame the L-tryptophan in our turkey?

Shall we blame the early morning cooking and the late night talking?

I don’t know what to blame but typing Cyber Monday and all those exclamation marks is extremely jarring and, while it is only 9 a.m., I’m seriously contemplating a nap.

I’m sure Ruthy will be ashamed of me. But I’ll be asleep so I can probably bear the brunt of her scorn.

$2.99 for hours of fun
Anyway, I wrote a new speech.

I’ve been giving one and ONLY one speech, with a few variations, for years. Of course I avoid speaking engagements as much as possible. And, on the rare occasion that they say, “You should come again.” (usually the speech ends with them demanding their money back but once in a while they invite me to return)…

I can always say, “Can’t do it. I’ve only got the one speech.”

Well, someone finally, after all these years, invited me back. It’d been a while so no doubt she forgot how it went…which is better than if it had been seared into her memory for life, I guess!

So I had to write a new speech and what I did was talk about the two questions I get asked more than any others (a possible tie with “I don’t know how you can write a whole book.” Which I get a lot)

The questions are:

Where do you get your ideas (which is usually accompanied by some version of ‘I don’t know how you write a whole book.’)


What made you start writing
6 books for $2.99!!! Deal with the wonder of that!!!

Well, the second question is what I want to talk about today, a small part of my answer. Because for years I’ve gotten that question and my answer was always something like, “It beat dusting.”

But then I got to thinking about it and wondering why DID I write a book.

Four things prompted me to start writing.

Today I’m going to talk about ONE of them.

I got a computer.

Honestly, I don’t know if I’d have ever written a book before computers.

$ pay more than this
for a can of Diet Coke, admit it!!!
The way I write which is to write a scene then revise and revise and do you do that with a typed out page of paper? Think of the work? I just can’t quite imagine it.

I read once that Louis L’Amour wrote all his books as ‘stream of consciousness.’ His son actually told me that.

Do you think he honestly just…started and wrote clear through to the end and handed it in?

My mind is boggled by that.

My books (in my opinion) only come to life on revisions. That’s where my characters gain depth. That’s where emotion comes to life on the page, including humor.

I just keep picturing me with a typed out sheet of paper and…what? Reading off it beside my typewriter while I type a new page.

Then type the same WHOLE page again, revised? And again? And again???

I can’t quite imagine it.

And don’t even THINK about writing by hand. Any editor who received that scrawled up mess would use the manuscript to beat me to death…and no judge would convict her.

So what about you?
Would you be writing without a computer?
I know people who write the first draft on paper with a pen. But then they key it into a computer and start revising.
Anyway, tell me if you think you could handle it. Or if you do write by hand. If you leave a comment, in celebration of Cyber Monday and the computers that make Cyber Monday possible, I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift card….use it for Christmas shopping. Or just go nuts and buy something for yourself.

Three volumes containing 12 novellas, available ONLY at Walmart. In their stores, too, no online. Good luck finding them. My contribution The Advent Bride, available as an ebook is contained in Christmas Wedding Bell Brides. And by a strange and wonderful coincidence my Seekerville buddy Pammy Hillman is in this series, too. (I'm strange, she's wonderful)
Her novella is in White Christmas Brides. All three go to one lucky winner. Or hunt them up at your Walmart stores.


  1. Mary, I would rather write with a computer!

    I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

    I seem to be finally getting over the bronchitis and can't wait to get back to writing although now we are into all the extra activities of Christmas!

  2. Uh, I write it out. Scribble all over the paper. Add stuff. Mark out stuff. Then do some revising as I type it into the computer.

    Then revise the whole thing after it's all in there.

    And this confession is going to get me labeled all kinds of things. Crazy. Silly. Slow. OLD!!
    But that's how it is. (sticking out my tongue)

    There's coffee.

  3. Happy December, Mary and Seekerville!! :)

    I feel like I've gotten "spoiled" by my computer, LOL. Even though I write certain scenes by hand (sometimes) and then type them into my WIP, I cannot imagine writing the entire manuscript by hand - - YIKES!! Makes my hand tired just thinking about it. ;)

    LOVE your sense of humor, Mary - - you must keep your family laughing all the time! :)

    Sleepy Hugs, Patti Jo zzzzzz....

  4. HI Mary,
    You always make me chuckle or laugh, depending on if I have water in my mouth. If I have water in my mouth then I guarantee it's a laugh and the consequences aren't too pretty, spraying the computer and all. But I don't hold it against you. Please continue to make me laugh. And I will explain to my doctor why I can't drink eight eight ounce glasses of water on days when I'm reading Mary Connealy. I'm sure she will understand.

    For WIPs I use the computer, and I say that lightly because half the time I don't know what I'm doing and I'm certainly not using it up to its capability. However, I am using it up to mine, so that's all that counts.

    Once I attended a conference where the moderator asked us to write our name and region in a tablet she was passing around. After I signed it,the woman next to me said, "I know what you do for a living." How could she have possibly known? Did she read one of my non-fiction books or was she a fan of my newspaper columns? All puffed up about being famous, I started to answer, but she beat me to it. "With meticulous handwriting like that you have to be a teacher!" I sat back in my chair and puffed her back saying, "That's amazing." Of course, I'm not a teacher, but I didn't want to embarrass this sweet elderly woman - a former teacher herself - in front the other guests. It wasn't a lie. I'm not a teacher, but it was amazing that she would translate my neat penmanship as that of an educator. I'd never even paid attention to my scrawl!

  5. Computer --I've actually finished short stories on the computer. In high school, I started a story in a notebook (it was going to be a juvenile mystery series) but I didn't get past 5 handwritten pages. =P

    Just a couple hours left in my Julie Lessman book giveaway, if any early risers to Seekerville are interested!

  6. Computers really are a blessing! I remember the days of handwriting all my papers for school. I'm sure the editing process is much more clean without all that eraser dust! :)

  7. I tried to write pre-computer with six kids.

    Ultimate: FAIL!!!!!!!

    Then I got a used Brother Word Processor.... So much better! Research at the library, but so much better!!!

    Then a cousin's son came by with an archaic computer because they'd gotten a new one. I ordered AOL and a new phone line (and worked an extra shift waitressing to pay for it!)

    And then I began. OH HAPPY DAY!!!!! Yes, it was terrible, but I could edit it on screen and research once the little gerbil inside got up enough speed to connect to the World Wide Web.


    What an amazing piece of equipment this is. I don't know why EVERYONE doesn't write books now!!!

    Laughing! And grabbing coffee!!!

  8. TRUE STORY!!!!

    The salvation of Mary's wretched handwriting is that if she judges you in a contest by hand...


    Just read the score and if it's bad? Fix the thing. If it's good? Well, Yay!

    Keeps things simple.

  9. I use the computer but find myself doing too much editing as I go which interferes with my thought process and word flow. I have actually been thinking about writing it out first then committing it to the computer. I figured if I wrote it down first I would be less apt to edit as I go. But then as Helen stated she scribbles all over the page and marks out stuff. I'm not sure which way would work best for me.

    Have a wonderful blessed week!

    Smiles & Blessings,
    Cindy W.

  10. I never would've written an entire book if I had to use a typewriter.

    I learned to type on my grandmother's early 20th century Underwood. It weighed a ton and you couldn't get up much speed. But it was the only typewriter I had until high school. I imagine that typewriter was 50 plus years old when I got my hands on it.

    Don't you wish your computer lasted that long?

  11. Still giggling over your handwriting comments! My handwriting is so bad that once I filled out a paper for one of my students. The next day I got a call from his dad. He said he was sending the paper back because he thought his son got one of his friends to fill out the paper for him (he's in kindergarten) so he wanted to let me know it was in his backpack so he could be sure that I was the one to fill it out this time. Yep. That's how bad mine is. In my defense, I do teach kinders how to write, so I guess I'm on their level, yes?

    Bahahaha! Thank goodness for the ease of computers. Although, sometimes I end up over-editing or end up with 4 versions of the same story and can't decide which one to use. Scrivener makes writing scenes and moving them around super easy, so I don't think I'd ever have been able to finish a book without a computer.

  12. I have terrible handwriting too Mary. I'm glad that doesn't seem to matter much these days. After having worked on word processors and then computers for a while, I tried to go back to longhand. Ummm. No. It didn't work too well. So I don't know, but I agree. I'm very happy for all word processors (including my Alphasmart) and word processing programs (even Scrivener, which I still don't understand). My writing stories in longhand days have long departed.

    I still like to plot on big poster boards, paper and sticky notes, but I feel the pull and tug of that getting on the computer in some way as well....

  13. This is even a more interesting question than pantser or plotter.

    "Do you think he honestly just…started and wrote clear through to the end and handed it in? "

    I am a reviser. I cannot move forward until I revise. Which make the whole writing 1 K or 2 K per day a huge, monstrous...JOKE.

  14. And to answer the other question. Computer for novels. Hand written for short stories.

  15. Hahahaaa, you are so funny!!! Yes, I'd be writing. I wrote my first "book" on a steno pad in seventh grade. Then I started another in a notebook and I never finished it, but when I got a typewriter I tried typing it.

    Needless to say...I definitely prefer computers. I can type faster than I handwrite. LOL

  16. Like Helen, I like prefer to write by hand. There is something about settling in with a fancy pen and a new note pad that just feels right.

  17. Hi Mary, Interesting question. When I started writing (before computers) I wrote all my books by hand. I double spaced on yellow tablets so I could revise in between the lines and then I would cut and tape whole sections in. Love's Miracles was written by hand. Actually all of mine except Current of Love was written first by hand.

    There was a poll taken years ago of big name authors and they were asked if they wrote by hand or computer and amazingly half said by hand. The interesting report concluded that those who wrote by hand had less revisions.

    They concluded it was because writing by hand was slower so you thought things through more before committing it on paper.

    I always loved that report.

    My mother used to type my manuscripts for me and when the first pc's came out, she went to community college and learned how to use it. She then typed my handwritten manuscripts on the computer. I never even learned how to use it until years later when forced to for my teaching job.

    I miss my mom. She was my writing partner. She loved everything I wrote. smile. This month was her birthday month so I've been thinking of her a lot.

    Okay, I've rambled on this morning.

    Merry Christmas all of you.

  18. I know people who started writing books using a typewriter. They have many stories about cutting sheets of paper apart and taping them together in a different order!

    I started writing back in 1991 on a word processor. Remember those? They looked like typewriters?

  19. Kudos to all who can write longhand, I bearly manage my grocery list this way, lol.

    Writing a book by hand? I see the benefit of the slow and thorough thought process Sandra mentioned, but what happens when the words start to flow and you can't write that fast? Seems like something important could be lost in the process.

    Writers and readers both benefit from the speed of computers, so I'm grateful for them. Big time.

  20. MARY, don't compare yourself to Ruthy. I don't think she ever sleeps.

  21. HELEN, I am glad you won the guide to indie publishing.

  22. I still write most of the first draft in longhand, it helps the flow, and I do a lot of printing out and red-penciling on hard copy. But yeah, computers are better for revisions and the final product. And I would never want to go back to putting the entire typed manuscript in a typing paper box and including return postage. Yuck. Things are so much faster today. There are some things I don't like about the modern publishing climate but this is not one of them.

  23. LYNDEE, I have meticulous handwriting too and I never was a teacher. Catholic school in the 1950s. Knuckles rapped. Palmer method taught by nuns.

  24. RUTHY< I had a Brother word processor at one point. Better than nothing.

  25. We lost the power over Thanksgiving thanks to a delightful storm in the Northeast. I was without power from Wednesday at 8:15 p.m. to Saturday, some time between 8 a.m. and noon. I managed to do some final work on my NANO effort on hard copy and by flashlight, which is why I say "Be flexible," and I started Cheryl St. John's book by flashlight. Didn't get to Ruthy's book like I wanted to because I was too busy trying to keep warm, but made the best of it otherwise. One Heck Of A Thanksgiving Weekend. Fortunately, I got some good real-life experience for a future dystopian novel if I ever go that way. Remember the movie with Viggo Mortenson and the cannibals?
    No longer in the dark,
    Kathy Bailey

  26. I'm with you, Mary. Computer for everything!

    When I pick up a pen or pencil, I'm going to sketch or draw something.

    If I had to choose between my Mac and $2000, I'd choose... oh, wait I DID have to choose...

  27. Hi Mary,

    You're so funny I'm surprised you're not invited back time after time to speak to groups.

    My handwriting was so bad as a child that even my grandmother gave me practice books on writing. Now I love to write on my computer. My hands cramp up if I write longhand for long. Those are my top two reasons to write on my laptop.

    Have a great day!

  28. I have been here for a while, but I kept finding typos in my blog. That's what happens when you type a blog whilst loaded with turkey.


    Oh Rats! I just saw one more!


  29. I am dependent on the computer! Of course I occasionally write out notes longhand, but my thinking goes through my fingers and into the keys. I type so fast, sometimes my thoughts have to catch up :)

  30. Wilani, I had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

    I'm sorry you've been sick. I had the worst cold of MY LIFE this year, very early.
    It never turned into anything for which there was medicine (no matter how loudly I shouted at my doctor!)

  31. Mary, what a fun way to start the week and December! Shame on anyone who doesn't want you back multiple times. I love your novels, the humor in them and am so happy for computers for you! I can't write more than a short note by hand that anyone can read, (and I'm not sure about those) so I love computers for that part. And for reading Seekerville. Do you think Walmart will have any of those books left? I want to win them, but i don't....

  32. Mary, your posts make me smile. :)

    I might be writing if I didn't have a computer, but I'll confess that I love using my computer for the reasons you shared. The added work of crafting a book by hand or via type writer? Hard stuff! I think I would get too discouraged by all my mistakes and their need for re-do's. :)

  33. I'd be lost without a computer. I was for a week and I was a mess. The only thing I write is my grocery list and cards. I'm going to have to check Walmart out for those books. I didn't seen them them last time I was there.

  34. I wrote four novels on a manual typewriter at the kitchen table. My daughter said she could always tell what kind of writing day I had when she came home from school by the amount of white-out in my hair.

    Worse, was having to go to the printer to make a copy of the ms, package it up and then stand in line at the post office to mail it.

  35. KAYBEE, for me it was public school, Mrs. McGrath and her ruler, same drill! I was a nerous wreck in her class, but all my Palmer slants and letter forms are perfect, ha! Thanks for sharing. I hope you had a nice holiday.

  36. MARY, very cool that you added the bonus prize! I saw them at my Walmart over the weekend, but didn't have my phone with me to take a photo! But they are on the shelf in my little town of Plainfield, IL! Whoohoo!

  37. I can do both, but typing on the computer is MUCH faster.
    I started writing in notebooks in high school (ripping out pages as I wrote and rewrote), then progressed to typewriters, typing double spaced so I could pen changes between the lines. Nowadays I can type quite quickly and it keeps up with my thought processes. Can't imagine trying to handwrite, as I'd forget what I was thinking.
    I have customers for my typing business who dictate into a handheld recorder. I think that would help me when I'm not near the computer, as I might not forget my thoughts as quickly. In the meantime, I just handwrite on scraps of paper and hope I remember to "transcribe" them onto my computer ASAP....
    The bottom line, though, is that after I'm done all my changes, I print a hard copy and read it through top to bottom, as there will always be more changes to make (but it is much easier to find them from the hard copy as opposed to the monitor).

  38. YES, I admit I would be writing without a computer, and in fact, did, at the age of 12 when I wrote 150 single-spaced pages of what became A Passion Most Pure (some 40 years later) on my trusty Remington. Used that sucker all the way through having babies and into their teens until the place I worked introduced computers. AHHHHHHHHH ... what sweet relief!!

    Now I own a laptop which has become as much an appendage as my arms and legs, so I doubt I could ever touch my Remington again. :)


  39. Helen! You really write it out. I think that is so COOL.
    Not it is NOT wrong. Don't let anyone tell you the way YOU WRITE YOUR BOOK is wrong, because if it works for you then IT WORKS FOR YOU!!!!!
    I am excited to know you, honestly. I love hearing about other writers and their methods.

  40. Patti Jo, my handwriting is just BRUTAL.

    It really should be against the law to have it be so sloppy.

    That's all we need. Another law!

  41. Lyndee said:
    For WIPs I use the computer, and I say that lightly because half the time I don't know what I'm doing ....

    Join the club, girl. You just described all of us.

  42. And Lyndee, congratulations on fooling that teacher. Most of us give that up after high school!

  43. The Artist Librarian, just to make this soooooooooooooo clear to everyone....THEY HADN'T INVENTED COMPUTERS YET WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL.

    I am old!
    NO WAIT! You are YOUNG! That seems more perky.

  44. Heidi, they ARE a blessing.

    Of course there are days.......

  45. Ruthy, you may not have noticed, because of course you're busy, but everyone in the world IS WRITING A BOOK!

  46. Ruthy's write on the handwriting. Many aspiring authors have had their delicate feelings survive unscathed because they have NO IDEA WHAT I SAID!

    Those were the days. I loved drawing on manuscript pages.

    I remember once making a circle out of a whole page and saying, "This is really great. So I know you can write. Go back and fix the other 25 pages so they are like this page."

    I was a huge help.

  47. Cindy W, you'd need to think of the writing out by hand as step 1. Then typing it in as step 2. Don't feel bad about the erasing and editing because that's part of the process.

    As for editing as you go, well, I totally get that. Hard to make forward progress in a story while you're trying to perfect the current chapter.

  48. Helen: you go Girl! I'm a paper scribbler and edit while typing into the computer person too.

    Of course, I love the backspace and Ctrl-z (aka UNDO). My best friends. Without computers? I would heavily invest in the white-out or corrective tape for typewriters. (oh, THAT's why I scribble on paper first...)

    Great, humorous post Mary. Your humor is the perfect foil for a Monday (even a cyber one). I would love to win the books you're offering, but with my luck of late, I might be better served scouring the local Wal-Marts. (yeah... and that won't be happening because I strongly dislike crowds and shopping and we've just entered the crowded shopping season, bleah...)

    Gotta love my computer though. I think the next step is getting one of those thingys that allow you to write with a stylus on the screen and *boom* it gets typed up. Modern tech: whoa! too cool!

    now, back to work. will have to save reading comments till lunch break...

  49. Cara, it's probably a valuable antique now and Grandma let someone talk her into tossing it in a dumpster.

    There's your cheerful thought for the day.

  50. LeAnne, no doubt you were in a hurry.

    I think your story is better than the one I started writing in my head during your first sentence.

    In my version, the father grades your paper then turns you into the principal.

    A disaster for your career, then you go to confront the father and find out he's a widower. Tall, dark and handsome, with sad eyes.

    And you want to help him with his son, and the four other preschool children.....

  51. Piper, not only has my handwriting gotten worse but my SPELLING AND TYPING skills have gotten work.

    I misspell 'the' about 80% of the time and spell check fixes it.

    And once I typed into some online typing test that didn't spell check, to test my typing speed and it was pretty bad!

    History has mercifully erased the actual Words Per Minute...from my memory.

  52. Really, Tina? You write short stories long hand.

    (there's an actual joke and possible a Haiku in that)

    And maybe a country western song.

    He wrote his short stories long hand....
    And he love a short woman a long time.

    (needs to rhyme!)


    Of course you'd be writing.

    I maybe would be too. But maybe not novels. That's really hard to imagine.

    When I get some spare time I might try it. I've heard the physical act of writing awakens creativity. But why is scribbling on paper any more of a physical act then typing?

  54. JILL good for you.

    I like that image.
    A fancy pen and a new note pad

    It appeals to my writer's heart.

  55. I occasionally sign my name on a sympathy card.

    I hope they knew who sent them a memorial!

  56. kaybee...meticulous handwriting?

    Okay that's it! I'm changing today.

    I know how to shape letters. What's the matter with me.

    My next grocery list is going to be STUNNING!

  57. Your power went out and you thought up a dystopian novel????

    Way To Go!!!

    You need to write this FAST they are crazy for them right now. And the last Hunger Games Movie is coming!!! There's a room for you!

  58. Mary Hicks LOL yes, we all choose between stuff and money.

    One of my favorite bits of wisdom is:

    It's amazing the things people would rather have than money.

  59. Jackie, I was a decent student (at least in elementary school, before I met My Cowboy!)

    So my report cards would be straight A's and one D for penmanship. My mother and teacher despaired of me!

  60. Sherri I sometimes get ideas while I'm daydreaming (no doubt at something I should be paying attention at) and scribble out some notes, but that's it for me and handwriting books.

  61. Marianne, NO! They are wise to not invite me back.
    I've only got so many stories in me.

    If I ever get a speaking gig I immediately set out to lower expectations.

  62. Love the adorable pictures, Mary! Now I have a reason to I can take pictures of Iran's old cowboy hat... I really want to put some hay bales at the end of the driveway, but he really hates for me to "waste" his hay like that. Hmmm, if I tell him he consider the bales of hay part of my Christmas present, maybe that would work... hmmm ;)

    Strange and wonderful is relative. Here in MS, you are considered wonderful and I'm considered strange. It's all a matter of perspective! lol

  63. Jeanne T...or maybe we'd all be champion typists and have METICULOUS handwriting, just from sheer practice.


  64. I definitely wouldn't be writing without a computer. Call me lazy. I just wouldn't.

    I do plot my scenes on an unlined writing pad (plenty of room for doodling). I write a snippet of an idea or image, list the POV & GMCD, and go on to the next scene 'til I'm too antsy to plot anymore, then I get on the computer and write them.

    I used to use my AlphaSmart more than my computer. Lately, though, I type faster on the laptop in 15 minute sprints, since my hands are used to the key springs, I suppose.

    Thanks for a fun post and giveaway, Mary!!!

  65. Laney4, I think you see it so much more clearly in print. Good for you for printing it out.

    I don't do it.

  66. Pammy. LOL maybe it's a regional thing!

  67. Natalie, see??? You know what works for you.


  68. Well, Julie the book I wrote at age 12, I wrote by hand, too.

    And I did some short stories for classes in college.....I think. I definitely had access to a computer by then.

    But I never wrote my current books by hand.....I don't think.

  69. Oh... I was so caught up in the cute pictures that I forgot to address the question at hand....

    I've thought about this a lot, and I'm pretty certain I wouldn't have had the patience to write a book before computers. I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study (there's always a study!), but I imagine the percentage of authors who could complete ROUGH DRAFT of a novel without computers would be pretty low... and less anyone think I'm casting stones, I'm putting MYSELF in that category.

    Writers of days gone by who wrote...and rewrote and rewrote... on typewriters and by hand were die-hard dreamers.

    Wiki says Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in SIX WEEKS in 1843.

  70. Oh, Mary, you nailed it! In the "olden days" (think '60s high school) when getting my stories published was a far-in-the-future distant dream, I wrote stream-of-consciousness epic sagas that went on and on and on . . .

    Revision??? Seriously????

    When I first enrolled in ICL's children's literature class in 1983, I typed my stories on an IBM Selectric with carbon paper.

    Then a year or two later I entered the computer age with a Kaypro II. OH WOW!!!! Talk about ancient technology!!!

    Now . . . I CANNOT imagine writing without my laptop and Scrivener. And Word for the final drafts that go to my agent and editor. Scrivener and Word Track Changes are just about the best writing tools ever invented.

  71. LeAnne, that's hilarious about the dad sending the paper back to you, the TEACHER! What a switch! lol

  72. Tina, thank you for this line: I am a reviser. I cannot move forward until I revise. Which make the whole writing 1 K or 2 K per day a huge, monstrous...JOKE.

    There is hope for me after all!

  73. I remember studying James Fenimore Cooper when I was in high school. Sometime back in the 18th century, someone asked him why he started writing.

    He responded that he realized that he could do better than the %$#^! he was reading.

    I agree. I can't imagine doing any writing without a computer.

  74. Goodness, y'all, I don't even write out my grocery list. I have all our "staples" in a note in my iPhone.

    When I run out of something, I lift my left hand (bc the iPhone is attached) and type in the item at the top of the note. When I go shopping, I scroll through the entire list to see if there's something else I need.

    Oh, and mostly, the list is in the same order as it is when you enter my local grocery store....lettuce, potatoes, fruit, cheese, eggs, milk, etc...

    And this is NOT because I'm OCD, it's because I am FORGETFUL!

  75. I am all about computers and spell check! Without it I'd be writing with crayons...which might be fun.

  76. I usually hand write my WIPs because when I use the computer I end up with 3 or so versions in files floating around in PDF/word doc/who knows where land. Although, when it's handwritten I end up with multiple versions too. : /

    Please enter me for the wonderful prizes!

  77. Myra, my first computer was an Apple 2e.
    It was a hand me down with the local school got a newer model.

    This used the old 5 inch floppy disks and had NO MEMORY.

    Get that?
    When you shut the computer off it went back to ZERO.
    Everything had to be saved on a disk and those disks held at most two chapters. So a book would be a BOX of disks.

    And if the lights blinked and you haven't saved recently you lost EVERYTHING YOU'D TYPED SINCE YOU STARTED.
    And yet, honestly, so ground breaking.

  78. Walt I always thought James Fennimore Cooper and peers of his were a testimony to being allowed to write a book if you could afford enough paper and ink.

    The Last of the Mohicans is a 500 page walk in the beautiful woods with occasional burst of running in the beautiful woods.

    And Nathanial Hawthorne? Give me a break. The House of the Seven Gables? 500 pages and trust me, if you read the first sentence of each chapter you WON'T MISS A THING.

    When it finally ended and it sort of had a plot, I remember being surprised 'cuz I could have sworn it was going NOWHERE.

  79. HI DIANA! Diana is in the three book Brides Collections with me and Pam!

  80. DebH....the undo button is so critical to my life I could cry with gratitude.

  81. Donna I have saved the OLD version over the new revised version before.

    It is a TRAGEDY.

    Absolutely horrible when that happens.

    So I get the versions.

  82. I typed my first book -- 400-plus pages -- on an electric typewriter. Made revisions. Then retyped the entire manuscript.

    Since then, I've used a computer.

    The last of my family left this morning...I'm teary and tired. :) Loved having four little ones in the house. Lots of love and laughter!

    Counting down to Christmas...

    Happy Advent!

  83. Hi Mary:

    “It’s misleading to judge the past by today’s yardstick.”

    In the B.C. days, (before computers), very few people could type. You had to learn to type first to make even a typewriter begin to be productive.

    Then later you had to deal with WordStar. No mouse. Dozens of multi-key commands to learn before you could do anything worthwhile. That would be like telling people today that they had to learn Scrivener before they could use their computer.

    Hi Kaybee: I, too, went to Catholic schools in the 1950’s and there were two types of nuns back then: those who used yardsticks and those who preferred yard-long, hardwood, very smooth, pointers. The latter thought kids should ‘get the point’ both literally and figuratively.

    Sandra I, too, miss my mother. Yesterday was her birthday. (Thanksgiving was always on her birthday until Roosevelt changed it to give the merchants more shopping days until Christmas! She never forgave FDR. If she were still with us I would send her Ruth’s ‘Chicken Soup’ book on forgiveness for Christmas.) I sent her a novel, novella, and two plays that I wrote within two years of graduating from college. She never read a word! She just said “she knew my writing was wonderful and that she really didn’t have to read it to know that.” I never showed any of those books to anyone else. If my mother was not interested in them, why would anyone else be?

    BTW: I outlined my books on yellow legal paper with a number 2 pencil. (Back then, one always kept a dozen of these pencils sharpened and ready to use). Then I wrote scene summaries on something called ‘foolscap’ I got at the advertising agency where I worked as a copywriter. From these scene summaries I composed the copy on the cheapest version of a Smith and Corona, portable, electric typewriter. (No electric return!) From those double-spaced pages, I made edits and when I had it well written, I dictated the whole book into a cheap cassette tape recorder.

    So, in a way, I had a computer for those first books. It was a human ‘computer’ who could spell and put in the correct punctuation for me. I did not have much money at the time as a cub copywriter but I knew even then that you could ‘buy’ time to write -- if you made writing a priority.

    I think deep-down all the Seekers would have written books even without computers. It all goes to motivation. (But you all know that.) And just look at how many thousand dime romances were handwritten. I read a genuine dime novel, printed in the 1880's, as I read Cara’s “Love on a Dime” and that author was great! She did everything you’d learn in online writing classes!

    Mary: Please put me in for those three Christmas novella books! (I’ve already read “The Advent Bride” {5 Stars} but I’d enjoy reading the rest. Christmas novellas are my favorite reading.


    P.S. Scrivener III starts soon. Think of it as the write rite of passage.

  84. You write such wonderful posts, Mary! And there's no way I would even dream of writing a novel by hand. No personal computers in high school (mid-80s), so I wrote my papers by hand. Not knowing any better, I thought it was fun, rearranging paragraphs with lines and arrows pointing all over the paper, cutting lines out and gluing or stapling them in the right place, drawing in asterisks with notes at the bottom of points I wanted to add in. Yeah, I had a lot more time then. But then by college (late 80s), there were computer labs with some archaic word processing package that changed my life! The only problem was that they wouldn't let you bring drinks and snacks in and they closed at some way-early hour like 9:00. So when I procrastinated and had to write a paper due the next day for my chemistry and the brain class, out came the typewriter. Worst night of my life, except for the copious amounts of Mountain Dew. Now I've gotten carried away and I can't remember the original question. Does this comment enter me in the drawing? :-)

  85. Hi Mary! While I do all of my writing on my trusty laptop computer, I have a certain fondness for handwritten stuff. I always take notes longhand (holdover from when I was a reporter always carrying a notebook around), and I even remember writing the ending scene of my first novel in my notebook while sitting in a courtroom waiting for the case I was covering to come up on the docket! I used a mechanical pencil, another holdover from journalism school, where I was taught that I should always carry one with me. Why? According to the instructor, you never know when an ink pen may run out of ink or get wet and thus run all over your page, pencil lead can break or not be sharp enough, but a mechanical pencil will never leave you hanging. (Unless, of course, you run out of lead. Think ahead, folks!)

    Have a great day!

  86. Follow up-- I remember handwriting all my papers and stories in grade school and then converting to type-written papers in junior high and high school. I still have many of those hand-written, ten page stories written on cheap notebook paper in my best cursive penmanship.

  87. I am not a writer, but would HAVE to use handwriting is brutal as Mary says!
    Please put me in the Stetson for the giveaways!

  88. What a fun post, Mary. I'm just a little old reader and find it interesting what you good old (or young) writers go through. :)

  89. Hey, Mary!!! I didn't realize you never wrote until you got a computer! I started writing in middle school. I always wrote all my first drafts with pen or pencil in a notebook. I wrote two novels that way before I finished high school. Then I would make revision notes on the page, then type the story. And when I started back writing at the age of 33, I wrote my first drafts of my stories and articles by hand, then typed them on my husband's work computer. But I forced myself to type my first draft of my first novel after high school. At least, I think I did. It's hard to remember. But I didn't become an obsessive reviser until my second novel anyway, The Healer's Apprentice, and it is hard to imagine revising without a computer, at this point. But at one time, it was hard for me to imagine typing a first draft of anything.

    Congrats on the novellas! I have been thinking lately that I need to write a novella and put it up for free, to gain new readers. I just haven't figured out when I'd have time to write it! Maybe if I didn't waste so much time ... but wasting time is my new hobby. I can't give up my one and only hobby!!!

  90. Looking back at my comment, I'm not at all sure it made any sense. It was rambling at its worst! Sorry about that, Mary. ;-)

  91. People always comment on my crisp printing. I was a highly impressionable twelve year old who liked how an architect printed his letters (think words on a blueprint) and decided to write "pretty" just like he did. I guess it's the artist in me.

    My grandmother had beautiful script handwriting and I loved looking at her letters (couldn't read 'em 'cuz they were in German). So, naturally, I've always tried to have my handwriting look beautiful as well...but it's never looked as good as hers. Again, an artist thing, I think.

    I love reading the side handwriting commentary that's been going on.

    And yes, Mary, the undo button-combo is awesome!

  92. Hi Mary,
    Just finished some real shopping and some virtual Cyber Monday shopping! Now I feel I've gotten a bit of a start on Christmas!
    I started writing as a 12 year old and wrote by hand. Then in Grade 9 I took a typing class, learned to type and started typing all those pages out. Took me a LONG time. And I even submitted it to a publisher, who gave me a lovely rejection with encouragement to keep writing!
    But now I'd NEVER trade my laptop for anything!

  93. @Mary - LOLs, it's all how you look at it, right? =D

    Also, good point about authors having to be able to afford paper and ink to write their books, let alone having to try and find publishers afterward.

  94. Happy Cyber Monday, Mary! As one of the proud who've been able to hear your "new" second speech, I can attest that it's sheer brilliance. :) I love how you always connect with people and your humor shines when you're speaking even though I know you hate being up there.

    As for the computer, I wrote everything longhand in high school. Since my journalism teacher made me rewrite my first feature 11 times by hand, I guess I'd have to say I'd still be writing. However, I sure like my computer.

  95. Glad you've got two speeches now, Mary. You'll soon need three so get cracking, okay? Your readers want to know more!

    I wrote my first book on a word processor, which is a computer without the Internet. Though I wrote my first stories around the age of twelve in longhand--not that I ever knew shorthand--I can't imagine using pen and paper to write an entire book. Critiquing ruined my penmanship.


  96. Mary, although I'm a reader, not a writer, I thought back to my high school and college days for this post! I imagine how simpler my life would have been with a computer! No stressed out life with typewriters, writing term papers over and over with those stupid corrector ribbons or whatever they were!!!! Any kind of paper I wrote would have been SOOOOOO much easier with a computer! My stress level would have been very much reduced! Now that my kids are all college grads, I see how they did things much easier than I did in that arena :) GREAT POST!!!!

  97. Tina, I didn't know you had that must revise malady, too! Painful, isn't it?


  98. I'm like you, I can't imagine writing without a computer. It makes you appreciate the classics, imagine how they did it, quite amazing.

    I remember when I got my first computer and sat down to type a letter. I first wrote it out on sheet of paper and then used the computer like a copier to make it look clean. For a while that was the only way I could write until one day my brain made the leap and there was no turning back. I guess it depends how we learn.

    Wonder if the classics would have been better if computers had been available? Maybe they would have lost something or ended up following a canned formula like so many current books.

    Hmm, what do you think?

  99. SANDRA LEESMITH, sending you gentle hugs as you think about your precious Mom and her birthday month. Even though mine has been gone 9 years, I still miss her terribly too.
    Love and Hugs, Patti Jo

  100. I don't write, but I love to read. Some days I want to do nothing but read. I think that would be a perfect job.

  101. Nope, I don't think I'd have revised books without a computer. I MIGHT have written one for fun...not that it'd be very fun trying to read what I wrote, because I get too impatient writing to write legibly, but writing it all AGAIN? and Again? I'd have to REALLY believe that story was worth the Nobel peace prize!

  102. Wow, an awesome giveaway, I would love the chance to win these books!!!
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway and God Bless you!!!

  103. Mary,
    I wrote my first manuscript on a borrowed manual typewriter. I despise writing anything by hand.
    I have a multitude of devises and have used them all. I like my tablet(and not a paper tablet!) because I write on the commute to work.

  104. In the old days I was famous (with friends and family) for my letter writing and thank you notes. Now it's the computer, doesn't hurt as much. I only write cookbooks along with my preacher, missionary and mommy stories. When in Nicaragua and hubby decides to do a man trip (no chics allowed), I would work on the books. You got my heart all excited with this giveaway!

  105. I've always loved computers! One of the great things about computers is being able to instantly send a chapter to my editor in Florida & getting it back quickly.

  106. I have not had the guts to sit down and try and write a book yet. It is in my mind to try but just haven't done it yet. But if I did it would definitely be on computer. No one would be able to read my chicken scratch and my hands would permanently cramp up. Love your books and am excited to have found your blog. Merry Christmas!!!

  107. MC--- I Loved ADVENT BRIDE! I just read it last night! It's Incredible!! I taught for 6 yrs, so I love teacher stories! It's good! It's really, really good!

    I was reading & just enjoying it as a fun, delightful story & then I discover all of these layers. That had to have been hard to do in a quick novella. Congrats!! Great Job!!

    And EBooks are another reason to love computers!! Please put me in the drawing!

  108. I love writing with a computer. I love you can just get something down.

    I remember the erasable pen, the typewriter with one line showing, and writing in pen and using white-out to correct mistakes. Sometimes it feels like cheating using a computer to write.
    Fun to walk down memory lane.

  109. I prefer to write using a computer. This way I can re-read, critique, and re-type.

  110. There were ten people here when I was here this morning. Now it's 109 comments....

    You're paying these people to show up, aren't you???????

    Well played, my friend!

  111. For those of you who trained on typewriters, do you remember how exciting it was to have CORRECTABLE RIBBONS????? You shifted and the white ribbon would let you strike over your mistake!!!!!!

    Oh my stars, I remember thinking HOW COULD THIS GET BETTER????

    And then: The Undo button.


    I, too, love the UNDO button! :)

  112. Oops, Vince's comment reminded me I was supposed to buy a legal sized pad today.
    My Cowboy refuses to put his account books online. All on paper.
    Not sure why, but he just probably doesn't want to battle the internet for something so vital.

  113. Love the walk down memory lane with computers, Vince.

  114. I love all these comments!!!!
    I'm sorry I've been gone. Something came up that ripped me away from the computer.

    And, unlike my more updated friends with fancy phones, once I leave my house, I am cut off from all humanity.

    Well, I've got a cell phone, but I'm told (and told and told) it's a dinosaur.

  115. Meghan oh those last minute papers in college.

    I've had nightmares for YEARS.

  116. Stephanie I love what hung with you from J School.
    You know what I always remember?

    "The best writing is re-writing."

    Isn't that a fun lesson? It just gives me permission to do it, get it done, then fix it later. And I use that constantly.

  117. Stephanie you should go look at those short stories. Who knows what gold is in there, using your more advanced skillz.

    You might have a whole career in short works.

  118. Jackie Smith! We love readers at Seekerville!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  119. I actually started typing stories on an old Remington. Non electric.since I still hand write my stories out I probably would drag my old typewriter out and type it up. Of course finding a decent ribbon might pose a bit of a problem.

  120. Amy C, there is no JUST about a little old reader. You are my HERO! Readers are awesome!!!!

  121. Melanie I've been having fun with novellas but you've got GREAT CONTRACTS that are demanding.

    They have to come first.

  122. DebH, I can see an artist having beautiful handwriting. It makes sense.

    And yet, fiction is one of the fine arts, right? So there's a disconnect....

  123. Hi Susan Ann, I just preordered your book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  124. Lorna watched me give a speech. Now, for some unfathomable reason, she's afraid to UPSET ME!


  125. GO READER VALRI!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Did you ever have to use a MIMIOGRAPH MACHINE!!!!!!!!????

    I got your NIGHTMARE right here!!!

  126. Oh now Mark, how could the classics be any better. (snooze-fest!)

  127. Lillian, do you think that's a job? Because if you find a way, send me an application.

  128. Hey, there, Sarah! Your name's in the drawing!!!

  129. Hi Becke. Have you (has anyone) tried writing with like audio? Like talking your book into a computer?

    I wonder if I could do that? The story seems to come out through my finger tips. But here you are, learning new things!!!!!

  130. Hi Melody, it sounds to me like you love writing. Just because it's short doesn't mean you don't love to express yourself with the written word!

  131. Jana, isn't that the truth. In my Barbour days (Bethany is a bit more together in the same building, mostly)
    I write my book in Nebraska. Email it to my editor in Ohio. She'd send it to the editor in Florida. He's email it to me in Nebraska. I'd revise and send it back to him in Florida. He'd clean it all up and send it to Ohio.

    Pretty darned hi tech.

  132. Hi ACountryCowgirl..........LOVE THE NAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Thanks for stopping in!!!

  133. Awww Jana, you sweet thing. I'm so glad you liked it!!!!!!!!

    Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!

  134. ohiohomeschool...did you know that Michael Nesmith of The Monkees....his MOTHER invented White Out?

    True story.

    And Michael, as a result of White Out, was incredibly wealthy when he signed to do the show, because of his mother's invention.

  135. Tina, I remember the last time I tried to buy a typewriter ribbon.

    It about broke my spirit!

  136. I can't imagine writing a novel without a computer. I don't know how I ever wrote term papers in college with a typewriter.

    Please enter me in the drawing. I would love the books but would especially love the Amazon gift card.

  137. Dear Mary, Thank you for the post and raising some interesting questions.

    I wrote by hand in college. I use a computer now.

    And I love Tina's and your comments about editing. I, too, feel my characters come to life after revisions, but I sometimes worry I sap too much away from them.

  138. Mary, I actually wanted to write but WAITED to buy our first computer. :) That was with Windows 95. :)

    I knew I would't write by hand. But goodness, by hand would be way better than my old electric typewriter!

  139. Lyndee, I'm always telling Mary I need spew alerts. :)

  140. Awww VINCE and PATTI JO, Moms are great and at least we have the fond memories.
    Hugs to you both.

  141. Computer - what did we do before...oh, wait - it was pen and paper.

  142. Sure had to use a lot of white out when there were no computers!

  143. I started writing with a typewriter. I am a terrible typist. So I always had to have someone retype my manuscript. I'm talking children's short stories and articles. I started my first novel on a typewriter and then retyped it on my first computer.Actually I started it in long hand. And after printing it out on a printer with paper that comes out in a roll I put it in a file. Revisions? What is this you speak of?
    Unless I'm away from
    home and get inspire to write something long hand all manuscript words go directly on my computer. Then lots of revisions.
    Cindy Huff

  144. Oh my goodness Mary! You're a hoot! That would be an awesome story though. Can I live in your world?

  145. The computer is so much easier to keep up with the thought process. With a backup system no need to worry about white out and last or unreadable pages,

  146. Computers! getting hard to live without them...
    dkstevensne AT outlook dot Com

  147. Without a computer, no one could read my handwriting. I love email! I could not imagine writing and rewriting something over and over. By the time I was finished no one would be able to read a word. Usually when my husband takes my list to the store, he has to ask someone what an item is because he can't make it out. I am so thankful for computers! Please enter my name in the drawing! Thanks!

  148. I have always had to hand write because I learned that way. Now though I do both. To revise, I print it up and do notes on it then back to the computer. Right now doing a combination of both as I will write when I am waiting on my husband at his VA appointments. Love contests for books.

  149. I wrote many books and poems by hand (when I was about 12 years old). Then some years later college happened, where one has to write concise, quality work full of citations and proper grammar, and it's really hard to keep all those brilliant points in order without being able to cut and paste . . . And that's just 15-25 pages. So my preference is definitely the computer.

  150. I've yet to finish an entire book, but I always started my stories on paper with a pencil. It feels so "connected" that way. Then when I type it onto the computer, I do a sort of edit as I go. I have notebooks of partially started stories, though! I did start one ONLY on the computer and it felt so strange! I challenged myself last month to write 500 words a day (that seems so small compared to you big time authors lol!) and I did that all on the computer because it is so much easier to count words that way! I actually sort of am starting to like it better. I was so productive!

    I'd love to win the books, they look wonderful!

  151. My handwriting can be okay (I taught Kindergarten, too, but we did cursive with them), but if I'm in a hurry, it can be less than pretty! My husband has laughed at me more than once when I can't figure out what I was saying in my story!

  152. I don't know if I'd write without a computer...I don't write much with one.

    But would I even think about it? Maybe.

    My wip started out as an old folder left over from a college class. It wasn't in story form, just pages and pages of jumbled notes.

    At some point I started typing it, but I still have that folder. Some of the ideas in it got nixed, and some of them have made it in.

    I guess hand-writing is for jotting down notes, or scenes that don't have a home yet. The computer is where it comes out in story form.

    I had never really thought about that before.

    I'd absolutely love to be entered for the books. I'm super excited to hear they are at Walmart, because I frequent several of those in various towns. If I don't win, surely one of those Walmarts will have them.

  153. I do a lot of my writing longhand, especially on my lunch break or when I'm really stuck on a scene (sometimes I need to feel the words forming, if that makes sense???). I write on the computer, but I always have to print it out 1.5 or double spaced to proofread and write revision notes (I kill a lot of trees, but I recycle, so it balances out).

    I think a typewriter would drive me crazy (it's so hard to correct mistakes). I appreciate technological advances, but I miss the sound of a typewriter (paradoxical, I know).

  154. I'm not a writer other than my personal journal. I've never been consistent about writing in one though since it was long-hand. I get too bugged if I "mess up" when I'm writing and then I'm frustrated with myself.

    Back in September I was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided that I really needed to be consistent about keeping the journal going during this journey so I started typing it on the computer. I've been being a very good girl and adding my thoughts and feelings every day since goofs can be easily corrected. And the there is always the added bonus of spell check.

  155. I don't own a computer. I still have a typewriter out in the garage. I do prefer using a computer because it's easier to fix mistakes and do other revisions like cut, copy, and paste. I studied word processing in high school and college. I also do lots of writing by hand, especially making lists of books or things to look up on the Internet.

    Please enter me in the giveaways. I'd love to win!