Tech and the Solo Writer

from iClipArt
from iClipArt

I totally believe all this stuff about how we’re heading toward a freelance-driven, work-at-home economy because of technology. I guess that makes me a pioneer, as a freelance writer who uses technology to avoid getting an office job. However, one forgets sometimes that pioneers have it harder than those who come later.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not churning my own butter or dealing with any major hardship. But it has become clear to me that technology isn’t quite up to the speed it needs to be for this to work absolutely seamlessly. We’re close, but not quite there yet. Thus I spend what has become a shocking amount of my time wrestling with machines. You sort-of think we’re at the point of total convenience, but we have some ground to cover in the home office area still. The internet has helped us come a mindblowingly long way from when news reports told us it took two hours to download the paper so you could read it on your computer. But I have spent the bulk of my past three work days engaged in two activities: Shooting very simple video of myself sitting in my home office talking about how to write a book proposal and — far more time-consuming — converting it into various formats and uploading it through various portals so that students on Skillshare can eventually receive basic instruction from me in the new online class I am valiantly trying to teach. (Right now, the first of six video lessons is 54 percent uploaded to what I now truly believe is its ultimate resting place.) When I am not doing that, I am laboriously scanning ten pages of documents so that I can get paid by Time Inc., a company that actually employed me for ten years and thus has loads of information about me, for freelance work I did a month ago. Most new freelance jobs require this level of paperwork, so it’s not unique to that company; but it’s tedious and frustrating nonetheless.

Of course, I’d rather do all of this than work in an office right now.

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