I have no idea how to sum up 2008, except to label it an eye-opener. It was the year our son Cory was deployed to Afghanistan (he's currently serving the last half of a 7-month tour). It was the year I published Dead Witness, my second manuscript that I began in 1991 and finished in the mid-nineties. It was also the year I started this blog and collaborated in the creation of EveryDayBloggers.
My husband and I honour our son's commitment in Afghanistan, but as a mother, I am sometimes immobilized by fear. What keeps me going is knowing that so many mothers before me have gone through this and survived. And I am a survivor.
As a published author, holding my book in my hands for the first time was definitely surreal. Yet despite being an experienced writer, I was not prepared for what being published entailed, nor was it what I expected. The marketing required was frightening. The knowledge needed was endless. The stone walls I hit were frustrating. As for how I feel now, I'm still in the middle of marketing and promoting Dead Witness, so it's too soon to tell.
Yet, as I look back on the last eight years, I'm amazed at how far we've come. And, like everyone else, I'm curious as to where technology will take us next. Will I keep up? How many times have I taken great pains in learning a new program only to discover soon afterward that it was now obsolete? Can an internet of endless information change not how I search for answers but how I discern the distinction between information and knowledge? Is the axiom that if it's on the internet it must be true more questionable than ever? Am I correct in feeling slightly paranoid?
I'm no psychic. I can't even imagine what's coming next. What I do have is faith in human beings. Every week I'm invited to partake in a new discussion on writing. Every other week, my presence is requested at yet another online workshop on learning more about my craft. I'm surrounded by writers who want to learn.
There is a distinction between knowledge, information and education. And while I'm bombarded with an endless connection to information, I still need to decipher how to use it. For instance, it's not enough to do a google search on Grammar. There are 2000+ websites. I can't read every one of them. So, how do I apply what I read to the creation of concise and structurally correct sentences? If I simply copy the information, am I still learning? Will I be able to narrow my search in such a way that I accumulate enough knowledge to adequately build a credible story? And can I accomplish all this without getting lost on the information highway?
I don't know. All I do know if I'm going to keep probing. Because it's not enough to thank my lucky stars for the Internet; I need to learn how to best use it.