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••• The International Writers Magazine - 23 Years on-line - A Writer's Life

Strategies for Writers Facing the Challenges of the Digital Age
• Indiana Lee

In a lot of ways, earning your living as a writer is a dream career. It’s not something that you stumble into by chance. If you’re a writer, odds are, it’s because you love it. After all, it’s a calling and a passion.

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Image Source: Pixabay

That doesn’t mean that a writing career is all hot fudge sundaes and sunshine There are challenges, however, particularly in our digital age. But what obstacles, exactly, can a writer today expect to face and what strategies can they use to overcome them?

Protecting Your Content

Without question, the World Wide Web has become the ultimate marketplace of ideas. The amount of creative and informational content available at the mere touch of a button boggles the mind.

But it also raises urgent and important questions concerning intellectual property rights, questions which can be particularly vexing for creative professionals like you. After all, one of the best ways for writers to instantly reach a massive audience is to publish their content online, whether on their website, blog, or social media pages.

The problem, however, is that digital content is often rife for theft. In a matter of seconds, bad actors can copy and republish your painstakingly crafted material without proper attribution or, worse, by claiming your content as their own.

This is why being proactive and vigilant in protecting your content is so vital, especially if you plan to publish your material online. For instance, you may choose to trademark your digital properties to protect the original content you publish. At the very least, this can provide timestamped documentation of when materials are published, which can give you legal standing should the theft of your intellectual property result in a lawsuit.

Screen Fatigue

In many ways, the internet is the wild, wild west of content production, sharing, and misappropriation. But the purloining of all your hard work isn’t your only worry as a writer in the digital age. The work itself can take a significant toll on your physical and mental health if you aren’t careful.

For example, you may well find yourself suffering the aches and pains of long days spent writing on your laptop. You’re likely to experience back, neck, and wrist pain simply due to the ergonomics of hours spent hunkered over your device.

In addition, you have the inevitable assault of the digital screen’s blue light rays on your eyes and you’re probably going to experience dry eye, eye strain and fatigue, and even chronic headaches. 

The good news, though, is that there is a host of techniques you can use to mitigate the physical impacts of long workdays in front of the computer. For instance, you can ensure you’re taking frequent breaks to rest and stretch your back and neck.

Additionally, installing blue light filters on each digital screen and incorporating frequent eye exercises into your writing process will help prevent eye strain and long-term damage.

Above all, it’s important to create a dedicated writing space that helps to foster both your comfort and your productivity. This should include a sturdy writing desk with a monitor stand that will allow you to position your screen at eye level to ease the pressure on your cervical spine.

In addition, you’ll need a good, ergonomic desk chair, one that supports your lower back and can be adjusted to ensure you can reach your keyboard without straining your shoulders or wrists.

Optimizing Your Tech

One of the most significant challenges of a writing career in the digital age is that you’re not just tasked with your primary work. Instead, to build a long and lucrative writing career, you’re going to have to build a robust digital presence. And that means you’re going to need to be communicating with your audience in a vast array of digital forms, from social media to email to blogs. 

This can be both stressful and time-consuming because, like it or not, any writing you do, whether public or private, will reflect on you, your talent, and your career. That’s a lot of pressure, but it’s an essential component of a professional writing carer today.

The good news is that the same technology that requires you to be “always on” as a writer can also help you significantly by amping your productivity as well as your writing performance. For example, tools such as the Grammarly Web Editor can make your writing process much more efficient through real-time monitoring of your text to facilitate conciseness and grammatical accuracy.

Similarly, the Google Suite includes tools such as Google Docs, which make it easy both to edit and to collaborate on texts in progress. You can not only securely share your Google Docs but you can also track revisions, annotate materials, and even incorporate the Grammarly tool. If you are working with an editor, such document-sharing capacities can dramatically speed the drafting and revision process.

Perhaps even more excitingly, these technologies also open up immense possibilities for collaboration among writers. Indeed, digital writing technologies may well free writers from the solitude that has traditionally characterized the profession, enabling creative professionals to explore new sources of inspiration, new creative media, and new methods for creative production.

The Takeaway

Life as a professional writer can be very sweet. After all, writing is, above all, a labor of love. But that does not mean that the career is without its challenges, particularly in the digital age. With the ascendancy of the internet, the threat of intellectual property theft has only increased, especially for creative content producers. At the same time, the physical toll of hours spent working with technology can be profound, particularly in an era in which writers are expected to build deep connections with their audience by maintaining a robust online presence. The good news, however, is that it’s possible to protect your work by being proactive, including trademarking your digital spaces. Similarly, by creating a dedicated writing space and equipping it with the equipment you need to be comfortable, healthy, and productive, you can avoid many of the physical harms that writers in the digital age face. Best of all, thanks to today's technology, you have more tools than ever before to make your writing process more efficient, more inspired, and more innovative than ever before.

 Indiana Lee © Indiana Lee 2.1.22

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