How has writing changed over the years?


We, as humans, have always been story-telling creatures, we feel the need to do so, be it in the form of poetry, music, short stories, novels, etc. Creative writing has been around for thousands upon thousands of years, and naturally, throughout that time; there have been a lot of considerable changes. The changes range from tools to platforms, and from the process to the technology and so much more.

Read on to find out more about the rich history of creative writing.

How long has creative writing been around?

Oral story-telling was the very first form of creative writing, with the “writing” part involving the person’s memory, their way of telling it, and their voice. Unfortunately, this cannot be dated back to a certain period, although the written word has been estimated to be around since 3200 BC. Some of the earliest examples of written stories in the Western tradition are the Bible and Homer’s Odyssey; in the Eastern Tradition, the Indian Vedas and Sanskrit poems; in Central America, the Mayan Codices.

Since then, the writers developed a drafting process of their own, where they would retell themselves the story in the first draft and rewrite it the second and third ones. Most writers use the process to this very day and still swear by it!

The timeline of writing tools.

 Writing was already an expensive hobby back then (paper and quill costs were incredibly high). The access to the written word was also limited, the Bible, for example, was one of the very first books to gain popularity, it had to be copied out by hand and manually bound each time. In 1450, Gothenburg invented the printing press (The Chinese are vastly credited to be the first ones to make a moveable printing press). This, however, didn’t make the writing process any easier, the writing was still all done by hand, though now the writers could reach an audience with ease and affordably.  

The late 1800s brought along the invention of typewriters, which made the writing process far easier. It was a novel concept typing out your words directly on to the paper, rather than writing it by hand, having the printing press type and then print it out.

In 1975, the very first personal computer was invented, which changed the game completely! No more wastage of paper, printing could be held off until the writer was satisfied with the novel. The editing and rewriting could all be done on a screen. Rather than wasting a lot of paper for this process.

This PC evolved into the laptop that the majority of us for writing today.

How the internet changed writing?

The internet gave rise to the digital age, which altered life as we knew it wholly. The digital age has given rise to numerous online magazines, social media platforms, blogs, e-books, and so much more! There are so many resources available to the writers of today, whereas writers back then had to rely on their imagination and creativity to create their masterpieces. We have prompt subscriptions, musical inspiration, and even the creative freedom to take inspiration from TV shows, movies, and written works. Scrivener, Grammarly, Freewrite are just a few of the many resources available to writers now.

Social Media has given rise to Instagram poets and writers that have found success by posting their pieces as pictures and graphics to the general public on Instagram. Being a writer in the digital age has its pros and cons, but I think it is way better than being a writer back then. We should all pay respects to those who came before us and paved the way for us.

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