Writer at Work: The Writer vs. Technology

Two things about me: I can be independent to a fault, and tech and I do not generally get along.

I know a lot of people who would be surprised by the second fact. I’ve been putting together my own websites for years; I am the go-to person for all things computer-y among the 2K9ers; I have excellent Google-fu. But all of that mostly has to do with the first fact.

My dad’s really into computers, so I grew up with them. And when you grow up with something, it’s hard not to pick up the basics. But all the other stuff has mostly been a matter of me wanting to do something, and not wanting to have to ask anyone for help. I wanted a website? I’d darn well figure out how to make one myself. I wanted to look something up? I’d keep plugging in key words until I found the ones that worked best. So all the things I want to do a lot, I’ve gotten reasonably competent at. Practice–it does wonders!

Nevertheless, my mind is still not fond of abstracts, and math beyond the basic plus/minus/times/divide gives me hives, and most tech seems to be filled with abstractions and numbers. Which is why, when I go to figure out how something works for myself and then don’t practice, there may as well be a big hole in my brain that all that info drains out of.

Case in point: A couple months ago I was working on a book trailer for GIVE UP THE GHOST. (Why not get someone else to do it? I did mention that independence thing, didn’t I?) So I sat down with Flash and fiddled and got Chris (who programs in Flash) to show me a few things, and once I got going I set it up with few hitches along the way.

And then I got caught up in other things, and left it sitting for a couple months before I finally came back for some tweaking. And stared at the file on my screen. And realized I had so little clue I couldn’t even hope to google the answer, so I called Chris over for a conversation that went like this:

Me: What’s the command to get one of those dot thingies to come up? I’m sure there was some button I pressed or something…
Chris: Dot thingies?
Me: You know. Those! *points at screen*
Chris: Oh, a keyframe, you just right-click and select “Insert Keyframe”.
Me: Right, of course, keyframes, ha ha ha ha… *headdesk*

(Keyframes being only the most basic part in the whole thing. Kind of like forgetting what that “dot thingie” called a period is.)

Lesson learned: If I’m going on insist on learning new tech, best to get all the work done in one shot, or I’m going to end up having to teach myself all over again.


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Writer at Work: The Writer vs. Technology — 1 Comment

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