I’m sitting on an airplane writing a blog after putting aside a novel about a writer obsessed with writing (John Irving’s LAST NIGHT IN TWISTED RIVER). Once I’ve composed this entry, I’ll return to revising my last novel. The snippets I write for Facebook, Twitter and general e-mail add up to a lot of words per month; the character and plot profile I’ve created for my newest novel is already thirteen pages long.
I look at the computers and e-readers in the hands of my seatmates and I see the truth. Writing isn't dying. It might exist in new formats, but it’s still very much alive in our work and in our hearts.
Truth be told, the unwritten protocols of social networking are boosting writing output instead of killing it. “Netiquette” cautions us to show in writing that we care about each other first..to carefully establish by-the-word relationships, before we sell our ideas and our products. We ‘approve’ our followers and control our ‘likers’ so we’re comfortable writing to an ever-growing circle of friends and acquaintances. We're a gigantic group of international Pen Pals who get to talk to each other in real time.
No, I’m not worried about the death of writing. My biggest concern with all the composing going on is whether I can beat out the crowd and create an original phrase or two. I better hurry up and write…or all the fresh wordings will be taken!