Blogging Combines Publisher and Writer Roles into One

Word Processing System

A writer friend mentioned on a listserve today that she plans to blog every day this month as part of the 2012 Blogathon, a contest set up by reporter and editor Michelle V. Rafter. “Is anyone here participating in the 2012 Blogathon?”

So, in a moment of inspiration, I decided to join her.

The idea is to make blogging a normal routine. The daily grind will ensure discipline while educating me about what kind of schedule will work going forward.

Daily writing won’t be the most difficult part of the challenge; it’s the daily publishing part that seems unimaginable. There’s no copy editor, fact-checker or editor here at my desk, so I have to take on those roles in addition to writing.

The idea that I can write something, type-set it as I write thanks to WordPress software, and then distribute my copy around the world by clicking on a small “publish” button? That’s what’s freaking me out. To me, the writing process is in one part of my brain. I have to turn on another part of my brain to figure out how to present the written word afterwards.

Younger people don’t realize what a big change has taken place in the media in the last three decades. Today, everyone has to learn skills that used to be divided among many. Taking the time to craft a text carefully and then passing it on to experts for presentation is a luxury we no longer have.

In that way, I miss the old days.

Except for the technology. I remember learning how to type on an old Underwood typewriter with sticky keys.

When I began my first job out of university, computers existed, but they took up entire rooms.

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My first job out of university was at Canadian Federation of Students-Services. We had an old Wang word processing system that filled a third of a room and had to be slammed a lot to print.

It wasn’t until my third job that personal computers entered the picture. There was one computer in the office and I was the only one who ever used it–and then only for mass mailings.

The idea that you could write something, type-set it using cool software and then distribute it around the world by clicking on a small “publish” button is something I wouldn’t even have imagined in those days. Don’t even mention the cloud.

If I were more up to date, I’d text this article on my Blackberry, which I only have because my husband bought an Iphone and was planning to get rid of his old phone, which I took.

I still miss my old brick of a cellphone. I’m very sad to see that the world seems to be moving away from RIM’s product. The security and durability of the Blackberry appeals to me way more than joining the world of Apple.

Haven’t got a pad yet, although I like the feel of those. They remind me of my old etch-a-sketch.

So here I am, a Luddite in a world of technology. Trying to figure out how to SEO, trackback and all the other new communication skills that everyone needs to participate in these new virtual communities. Participating in the Blogathon should help with that.

Ironically, I’ve also offered to reformat my Vital Verdun website so that the events and articles can be printed out on the front and back of a single piece of paper for a neighbour who doesn’t like reading on a screen. If I can do it efficiently so that it looks good, perhaps I’ll produce an old-time community newspaper as a mini-portion of my business.


For more information on the 2012 Blogathon, consult Michelle’s website at

To encourage Marijke, my blogging contest buddy, refer to


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Tracey Arial

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Tracey Arial

Tracey Arial helps Canadians grow with notable nonfiction and urban agriculture.

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  • Marijke says:

    Great start Tracey and thank you for the shout out.

    I learned how to type on a manual typewriter at home, but then my mother forced me to take “Personal typing” when I was in Grade 9. She said that I never would know when typing would come in handy. That’s when I encountered my first electric typewriter. She turned out to be right (imagine that!). When I dropped out of college, where I was studying nursing – yes, I went back and my RN is legit – I landed a job as a secretary, where I had to learn how to use one of those new-fangled IBM Selectric typewriters. Oh, my friends were jealous. Change the ball, get a different font. AND, you could erase if you had those paper eraser thingies to put in between the type and the ball.

    Don’t forget the Telex machine. That was a nightmare in itself, as far as I’m concerned. But now, I’m very comfortable in front of my keyboard, but I too, have moments of angst when I’m about to press “publish.” No matter how often I read and review what I’ve written, once I publish it, I find at least one error – and that is on a good day.

    Good luck with the month of posting. I’ll be visiting to see how it goes.

    • Tracey says:

      Oh my gosh, you’re right. The telex machine! And that pre-photocopier thing with the bright blue ink and the big roller. I don’t even remember what that thing is called, but I do remember loving it because it eliminated those black carbon sheets that used to get ink all over your hands!

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