When I was little, I remember my dad pacing the living room floor, dictating, as my mom typed his words on our old electric typewriter. It was a big, humming machine and the keys made a satisfying chunk sound. The manuscripts were typed, edited, typed again and then mailed off to magazine editors. After my dad passed, my mom sent me the 30-year-old copies of Ranger Rick and Owl that held the evidence of their hard work.
Way back in 1994, I started a newsletter about local music in my hometown – The Perimeter: McMinnville’s Premier Music Publication. I typed the articles on our high-tech word processor, then carefully cut them into columns and pasted them onto graph paper. I hand-lettered the masthead and had a local print shop make 50 copies. A few issues in, my family got a PC, outfitted with Microsoft Publisher and a dial-up internet connection, and my production value went up considerably.
Last week, I helped a single mom, with not much work history but lots of life experience, draft her resume. We emailed back and forth, discussing different ways to describe her skills and tell her story. We changed fonts, reworked the design, and uploaded to her LinkedIn profile, all with a few clicks of a button.
Kitty Ireland remembers typing her first resume on a rented typewriter at the public library. Reading her post, I was reminded how hard getting our ideas out into the world used to be. Crafting a good story, one that deftly explains who we are and what we can offer, is still hard work. But the mechanics of story-telling have definitely gotten easier.
(This post originally appeared on July 30, 2014)