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Motivation Monday: The Technology That Binds Us
From:
San Francisco Writers Conference San Francisco Writers Conference
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco , CA
Monday, March 23, 2020

 

Carla King, SFWC’s Independent Publishing & Technology Track Leader

by Carla King

Today we experience a profound wonder and appreciation for the technology that binds us to our very humanness. It’s difficult to imagine isolation without it, and I have to cast my mind back to the delay factor that we lived with before the internet.

Back in 1995, when I started blogging, the immediacy of feedback on my writing was jolting and a little scary, then thrilling and inspiring. As my blog matured, I came to appreciate the emotional connections that it fostered. I made real friends all over the world, many of whom I’ve met in person.

Carla King's American Borders Dispatches

My 1995 American Borders Dispatches

Do you remember waiting for letters from friends and family? Mailing manuscripts, placing ads, and traveling far for even the simplest meetings.

Today, all these things are easily solved with technology, so for Motivation Monday I’d like to celebrate some of my favorites for writers, and hope to motivate you to try them.

Blogging

Blogging is such a very easy way to publish your own writing. You can assay or try an idea or an approach to a story. You can publish an essay, poetry, flash fiction, character sketches, and book reviews. You can provide how-to information, inspiration, or report on something that happened to you. There is plenty of crazy stuff going on right now worth writing about, and your prose can become an outlet for your ideas and experiences.

Wordpress Blog

You have lots of choices in blogging platforms, but these are my favorites:

Facebook

Last week I watched the Indigo Girls’ free concert and chat on Facebook. They were streaming on Instagram too (owned by Facebook). During the concert I got a WhatsApp message (again, owned by Facebook) from friends who live in Thailand to see if I was around. I was, so we got on a WhatsApp video call for a talk and virtual hug.

My favorite Facebook feature for writers is Facebook Notes, which is a real publishing platform. Publish stories to the public, a group or a list of friends, such as a writing group, as the Notes feature allows comments just like Facebook posts.

To create a Facebook Note, start with the More tab under your banner, then click Notes. You can freewrite here or paste in text. You can also add an image.

Zoom

Zoom is pretty awesome for right now. I’ve used it for a couple of years to videoconference and screenshare with clients, to give workshops, and to help my parents figure out problems on their laptops (which, as you can imagine, is pretty hard, because it’s already hard even when I’m sitting there with them).

Last week I offered free online seminar on self-publishing to the writers on my mailing list. Sixty-four writers showed up, eager to learn how to finish their manuscripts and publish.

Carla King Zoom Meeting

Yesterday I got on a Zoom call led by the founder of my Women Adventure Riders group on Facebook just to say hi and be less lonely and bummed out about all the riders meetings being cancelled.

Zoom offers great video quality, screen sharing, a chat room, and is very easy to use. The free version is robust enough for most.

BetaBooks

BetaBooks is my favorite place for sharing my writing with collaborators, critique partners, peer reviewers, writing groups, and early readers. Don’t have early readers? They’ll try to help you find some.

The founders developed the platform to solve their own problems trying to collect reader feedback: losing track of feedback, issues with multiple formats, tracking reader progress, and helping out you-know-who who can never manage to open your file. It also consolidates the feedback in one place.

There are lots of cool features, such as you can opt whether or not readers can see each other’s feedback.

BetaBooks

Try it for free, invite your readers to BetaBooks and you’re done. You’ll see why it’s worth the $149/year subscription.

In summary

In summary, here’s what you can do now, this week, to connect with your community:

  • Create (or revive) your blog
  • Share stories with your Facebook community
  • Get critique partners to help with your book on BetaBooks
  • Initiate face-to-face meetings for work, family, or play with Zoom

Isolation may not be as difficult for introverted writers as for other personality types, but remember, those others have a lot of idle time on their hands and are looking for interesting things to do, to read, to watch. So I think now is a great time to be brave and share our writing.

Thank you, technology workers

On a personal note, I come from a technology family and over the years have combined my writing with technical skills to work as a technical writer and systems administrator, website editor, and new media publisher, and I know the heartbreak of a failed system. My dad is a retired field engineer from IBM. In the past years my brother Jeff has moved from a high-level position at GoDaddy to Facebook, and likewise, Jeremy from Walmart Online to Pinterest.

Frank King and the IBM 1401 Team at the Computer History Museum

My dad Frank King (4th from left) and the IBM 1401 Team at the Computer History Museum

I know what it means to have the beeper go off in the middle of the night because a mainframe computer failed on a production line. To miss my brother every Thanksgiving dinner for eight years because he’s got to keep an e-commerce site running on Black Friday, and to see the other immersed in technology and human solutions to prevent bad experiences on Facebook and Instagram.

So finally, as we thank the essential workers who are keeping the grocery store stocked and the packages delivered, let’s thank the technology workers, too. There are many unsung heroes keeping the servers up, so thank you. Thank you for keeping us connected as we stress the capabilities of your systems. We really need you right now.

Keeping the servers up

Thanks for keeping the servers up!

The San Francisco Writers Conference and the San Francisco Writing for Change conference are both produced by the San Francisco Writers Conference & San Francisco Writers Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The SFWC Director is Laurie McLean.  For registration help, contact Richard Santos at registrations@sfwriters.org. For SFWC sponsorship and scholarship opportunities, contact Barbara Santos at Barbara@sfwriters.org.  The SFWC website is:  www.SFWriters.org

 
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