It is perhaps a strangely intriguing item to consider that many of the present generation may never wonder how the internet has affected the writing community, simply because they have never been a part of a community without the internet. These cutting-edge scribes have never known a world where magazines and newspapers ruled the print world, and the realm of fiction was dominated by novels in hardback and paperback at the local bookstore.
Yet, indeed, there truly is room to wonder how the internet has affected the writing community, because over the years there have been some profoundly significant advances in how writers communicate, work, earn, sell, and publish over the digital medium. Many of these points of progress can still be seen today, and a few of them should remain for decades to come.
Although the importance of face-to-face meetings with editors and in workshops is not to be underestimated, there was a time when correspondence was limited to letters and arrangements at a cafe, for example. Even with the advent of e-mail, communication was a bit faster, but key to understanding how the internet has affected the writing community is to perform searches on Google and discover the many hundreds more markets, forums for discussions, and educational opportunities available on the web. In combination with social media like Facebook and writer-member sites like associatedcontent.com, the amount of resources available to a modern-age writer is truly amazing.
Whereas, in the “old days,” wordsmiths had to pound at a typewriter for hours then send a manuscript in by postal mail to a publisher working with equally inefficient means, nowadays not only can documents be composed entirely by software and sent to a publisher in an instant, but some content aggregate websites like Helium, Associated Content, Wikinut, Bukisa, or others allow an instant upload of a piece of work, without the overhead work of any editing or approval. The interesting element is that traditional publishing still exists; in this way, all of the avenues to writers that were available before still are, but now would-be authors have additional choices, including self-publishing if they would like, and being in charge of their own marketing, or even offering their works in a downloadable version. Creativity now reigns in both the creation and the distribution of content.
When telephones and subscription journals were the primary form of hearing from an outside observers, a writer had to find a needful publisher and submit inquiries. Even with the advances of television and radio, rarely did such mediums offer tremendous opportunities for professional writing unless the aspiring author was truly ambitious. But in studying how the internet has affected the writing community, perhaps the most astounding, important advancement in the writing market is simply how many more markets there now are, and how easily they are accessed. Everyone with internet access is now instantly available to everyone else, including thousands of publishers and their thousands of contributors. All a writer has to do is literally perform an online search for current markets and the opportunities present themselves readily.
The incredible progress made in how the internet has affected the writing community cannot be underestimated, and as the publishing world continues to tweak its industry standards to accommodate such rapid growth, the outlook for writers will only continue to remain positive and optimistic.