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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Force-Marched To High Tech: Web Design & Digital Cameras

Here at Arizona Inspiration, my goal is to share my experiences in the writers journey which, surprisingly, takes me down a lot of non-writing roads.  Today that road is about technology.  Specifically web design and digital photography.

One of the universal struggles that writers have is finding time to write amidst all the other things demanding a chunk of their time.  That's because, at least for most writers, stories do not come quickly (though I have spoken to a rare few writers who can churn out a draft in 3-4 weeks).  And finding several hours a week to write, on top of research, marketing, church, family, day job and a multitude of other commitments is very difficult.

One of the things that is essentially non-negotiable for a writer in this day and age is that you must have a web presence.  How else will you make people aware of your books? Sure, there are in-person engagements, but the bulk of book-hawking occurs online.

Among other things, that means you need a website.  That forces the writer into the decision:  do you hire someone to design your website for you, or do you design it yourself (and therefore take more time away from your writing)?

Despite the fact that there are multiple web designers who offer reasonable packages, sometimes, the financial situation is such that you need to go DIY.  Long story short, that means I'm embarking on a six month mission to take a series of courses that will enable me to learn to design my own website.  And while I am very early in that process, I can tell you that I absolutely understand why people opt to pay someone else to create their website.  Just as a novel is a huge investment of time, so too, is designing a website.  But I'm looking forward to learning new (and hopefully marketable) skills.

Now, on to the next technology issue: the digital camera age.

Obviously, graphics are an extremely important aspect of any website.  I consider lack of graphics to be one of the weaknesses of this blog.  Seeing that my books are Arizona themed, I want to use some Arizona photos on my website. I don't take a lot of photographs, but when I do, I always go to my faithful and true Canon EOS Rebel 35mm camera.  Here's where the story gets painful.

I hadn't taken film in for probably around a year.  But this past Friday, I took four rolls of film to Walgreens for development and to have them put on CD so I'd have digital copies. 

I very nearly had a heart attack when they quoted me a price for the job.  Evidently, the camera and retail industry is determined to force-march everyone over to digital cameras.

I'm not against digital cameras (even though I've never used one in my life). But I am against having my beautiful, wonderful, faithful companion of nearly 20 years, my old Canon EOS Rebel, retired due to no fault of its own.  This camera STILL works beautifully.  It grieves me to give it up.  But I simply can no longer afford to develop 35mm film.

Why am I telling you this?  Partly because I'm in the midst of grieving over my Rebel.  But also because this is yet another example of the curveballs that get thrown at you as you journey the difficult path of the writer.

Certainly, in the end, once I learn to design websites, and learn how to use digital cameras and embed videos, it will be to my advantage.  And I look forward to learning new things.

But it's not without cost.  My writing time takes another hit.  And that always freaks me out.  I wish I didn't need sleep (sleep wastes valuable hours I could be creating) but alas, I'm just a mere (tired) mortal.  And I just have to trust that these things happen in their season and that my tech time, and my writing time, will come when, where and how they are supposed to.

Now I must begin the task of researching digital cameras.  If you have a favorite, please tell me about it.

1 comment:

Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

You'll enjoy the digital camera when you get it. So amazing to see instantly what you took a picture of and if it's a good one. Yes, the techie travels can be daunting, but they are worth it.