Years ago, the writing industry was quite different than what it is right now. I wrote and edited locally for many years, but after seeing a “need” article from a national travel magazine, I sent a query, and lo and behold! They asked me to write an article on spec for the magazine.
At that time, we were living in New Orleans, and upriver (towards Baton Rouge) there was the small community of Lutcher/Grammercy. The people of the area built huge piles of logs shaped like pyramids on the Mississippi River levee, and then on Christmas Eve, they lit these, making enormous bonfires to guide “Papa Noel” to their homes. Over the years, people continued to build the traditional pyramids, but some began to experiment with other shapes for their bonfires, resulting in full-sized plantation homes, ships, and other fanciful ideas. There were a large number of these bonfires, and they stretched for several miles along the river. People worked on them for months, building them in such detail that before Christmas Eve, people could go into them, climbing staircases and riggings to the great delight of all. The concept, to this day, is as charming as the people who live there!
The magazine and towns loved the article and the many pictures I sprinkled throughout the piece, and the article produced a nice check for me. The reason I am bringing up my first national success is because things were done so differently decades ago. All correspondence was through snail mail; the photos were taken from 35 mm slides. Nothing was fast or instantaneous, but it still worked.
Today, I work almost exclusively online, sending email with attachments by the speed of light all over the world. My pictures are digital, and I edit them at will. I talk with my clients over skype or google, and edit/write in the cloud so all involved have immediate access to what I am producing. This was impossible 30 years ago; today, anyone writing finds that technology makes many things happen quickly.
Personally, I think this is a good thing. Overall, we writers are forced to keep up with new technologies and have the opportunity to work with clients worldwide. Today, a writer can work from the side of a mountain in Montana for a client based in Singapore–a pretty nice gig! Reminiscing about the old days is fun, but our new reality is even better.