Z= Zeitgeist of the Digital Word in Our Time

We live in some pretty amazing times right now – we have so much technology at our fingertips that we are barely scratching the surface with what we can do with it. That includes the use of technology in writing. I think that for the written word, we are currently in a digital zeitgeist.

In yesteryear, all the way back to the ancient days of 1999 (And maybe even earlier!) blogging began to become a popular way to get our thoughts, opinions, and sometimes even our fiction in front of the public eye without having to go through a middleman. Since then, we’ve only gained more ways to publicly share our work.

Nowadays, we can write a book, find an editor online to help us tighten things up, then immediately post the book online or even have a certain number of paper-copies printed in a short amount of time! While the brick and mortar bookstores and traditional publishers still exist, we no longer have to jump through their hoops in order to be published.

This digital zeitgeist has been a fantastic windfall for the non-traditional writer whose work might not have fit into the specific categories that a traditional publisher requires. Rather than collecting years of rejection letters, the writer can simply publish (and edit and market) his/her own work.

However, the downside to this digital era is that the market is now flooded with e-books – some of which were not quite ready to be published but were rushed through the process in order to get them to the market by eager writers. It’s difficult to sit on one’s own work and either edit many times ourselves or ask someone else to edit our work, especially when there is no one else to hold us accountable for our writing. It’s all too easy to say a book is finished and slap it up on the web. (I know I’ve been guilty of this rush to get my work online.)

Is this digital age a good thing? Is it good that we no longer need the approval of the traditional publisher in order to get our work in front of the public eye? Or would it be better to still have those edits and opinions from the traditional publisher in order to make sure your book is really ready for being published? Is there a middle ground? What’s your opinion?


2 thoughts on “Z= Zeitgeist of the Digital Word in Our Time

  1. I think you need feedback from other people before you publish–whether an editor, a group of book-savvy beta readers, or a book coach. Someone who knows the market and what you’re up against, in terms of competition and expectations can make the difference between writing something other people will read and enjoy, and writing just to please yourself. They can look at it with less-biased eyes then our own, and their perspective can help us realize gaps and holes and problems we didn’t know our story had.

  2. This is a wonderful time to be a self-published author, for those who have patience with themselves and are willing to learn and grow rather than repeating/publishing the same mistakes over and over. Feedback is important. Editing is important. Learning to take a few steps back from your own ego and listen to constructive criticism is excruciatingly painful but crucial. Courses to strengthen weaknesses you identify along the way are also invaluable—copyediting, plot structure, character development, dialogue etc. Hemingway didn’t emerge from the womb, look around and say, “Right. Time to get started on For Whom The Bell Tolls. Should take about a week to write and it’s going to be a big hit.”

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