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  • djbowmansmith

Don't Fight the Machine

Updated: Jul 4, 2021

There are times in everyone’s life these days when we must tackle technology that seems to have a mind of its own. As an independent author, this can be a rather too frequent occurrence. Anyone working for themselves and running a small business will, by the very nature of the beast, find themselves grappling with things they don’t quite understand. Whilst I am all for getting things done, what I have learnt about grasping new technology is this – don’t fight the machine and, be grateful for the information highway.

If you are of a certain age (I mean older) then you may be of the ‘try and try again’ mind-set. In days of old this was a noble, get it done attitude and no doubt it stood our forebears in good stead. Trouble is, technology (I mean computers) don’t work like that. Here’s an example.

I am a wide indie author and sell my books across as many platforms as possible. Kobo Writing Life is one I use and it is a nice platform - pleasing to the eye and easy to use. On this particular day, for some reason unknown to me, the whole thing is glitchy. I can’t get my files to load and for a good twenty minutes, try as I might, I can’t get things to work. I make coffee and sit back in my chair. Suddenly, I realise that the best thing to do would be to leave the whole thing alone and come back in a couple of days. By then, if it is their interface that is playing up they will have it fixed and if it is me – wrong files perhaps – then I will notice the problem with fresh eyes.

Sure enough, three days later – after the weekend – Kobo Writing Life is as seamless as it was the last time I used it. New book loads without a hitch, and I’m onto the next job on my list in 15 minutes. Great.

Similarly, I don’t try to ‘solve’ technical things myself anymore. As soon as I am stuck, I get straight online and search for a solution. There is always someone out there who can throw some light on the issue. And if I’m lucky, they made a helpful video which really speeds up the learning process. So thank you - whoever you are - the many people who put up 'how to' videos. You are a modern-day time saver. Recently I was a little flummoxed on Photoshop. But low and behold - after a few searches I discovered the answer clearly set out in a YouTube tutorial. These days it is just a case of refining ones search to gain the information needed. For my generation this never ceases to amaze. Because here's the thing - in my youth finding something out required a trip to the local library. There would be queues to speak to the librarian and then a lot of searching through books and taking notes. And you could bet your life - the reference book needed was not a book the library lent. Yes, knowledge was hard gained in days of old. So when I am cursing modern life I try to remember how easy it all is really. How much freely available information is 'out there' and all we need is a search engine and a little patience.


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