Agent Andrew Zack has an interesting look back at the way things used to be done in the publishing world in his post: The Problem is Volume. It's a long post, but well worth a complete read-through.
I've long thought the same thing. Think about it. Back in the 40's, everything had to be banged out on a manual typewriter, and if you've never used a manual, it was slow and arduous work. (Ayn Rand wrote Atlas Shrugged - 1096 pages worth - on a manual typewriter, just to give you a glimpse of that lady's drive to write.) When I was fourteen, I began writing a book using my grandmother's manual typewriter, and hour after hour of plunking at keys that would jam and stick is no walk in the park. (I'm not as old as that sounds. Really. We were just poor and it was all I had until I got an electric typewriter for graduation.)
But I digress...
My point, and Mr. Zack's as well, is that once upon a time writing and submitting was a very difficult thing to do. Nowadays, though, it's easy. Anyone can write a book, and anyone can send it shooting along the internet waves to arrive at its destination in mere minutes. This means any given agent or editor is swamped - all the time - and your manuscript has to be that much better to float above the dreck.
In a way, it's a depressing thought. You've got a glorious piece of work to send, and when you do, you have to worry whether it'll get lost in the flotsam and jetsam of the wild waves.
In another way, though, you can take heart in the fact that you can do this writing gig at all. That you don't have to sit day after day typing away, changing sheet after sheet of paper, and discarding a whole page because you transposed the I and the E in 'receive'. (Or only slightly better - use erasable bond paper, which allowed a writer to erase mistakes and type over them, but also smeared every time you touched it. Don't get me started on white-out.) You have technology to thank for the ease of your work now.
Gotta love technology. *happy sigh*
Not that I don't, in some sick way, miss the sound of my fingers clacking out a story, and the zip of the return as it slid across the page bringing me down to the next line, or the smell of typewriter ribbons and white-out.
Have you ever used an old typewriter for writing your stories, or are you strictly from the technological age?
Sunday Update - Week 25
4 hours ago