I was talking with Jeffery, the cover designer for my new book yesterday, about how great it was that we could communicate online while I was in California last week. He kept sending me proofs. I would reply with my comments, and then I’d receive the next version until we got a cover we both loved. I did it all on my laptop, working at desks or tables in various Best Western motels.
It was so easy to get online. In two keystrokes, I was hooked to the Best Western WI-fi system. The connection never faltered, and I was able to compare cover versions simultaneously on my screen in exactly the colors they’re going to be.
“Thank God for WI-fi,” I told Jeffery when we finally met in person.
“What would we do without it?” he responded.
I quickly flashed on what it used to be like to travel with the laptop. I would carry phone cords and spend a lot of time crawling on the floor looking for places to plug in the phone and the power cord. I often had to sit on the bed with the computer in my lap. I would spend up to an hour seeking AOL phone numbers in the area. I’d get a list, and out of that list maybe one would work. Often the 800 number, for which I was charged by the minute, was the only one that connected– after long periods of static and multiple redials. The connection could end at any second. Wi-fi slowly crept in, but it has only become universal in recent times. Now you can log on almost anywhere, even the Pig and Pancake restaurant here in Newport, Oregon.
Of course, people worked away from home before the Internet and before cell phones. When you were gone, you were out of touch unless you could get to a hard-wired telephone to make a long-distance call. It’s much easier to work on the road now. However, there is a down side. Without WI-fi, I might actually have left my work behind for a while. But is a writer ever off duty? I came back armed with several article ideas. I can’t help myself.
I haven’t forgotten our listings of online sites where we can find writing work. While I was gone, I checked freelance.com and elance.com, which someone had recommended. I honestly didn’t find them helpful for writers. Feel free to look for yourself.
The new book is Shoes Full of Sand, available now on Kindle, coming out in paperback July 5.