The Tech-savvy Writer Gets It: Do You?

by @thewritermama on March 1, 2012 · 3 comments

These are some examples of Tech-savvy Writers for our discussion at AWP 2012 in Chicago today.

Get this, writers: traditional media is the circulatory system. But new media is the nervous system. And the two work great together.

The circulatory system makes sure all your everything gets nourished. But the nervous system means you get to have the perception to appreciate that nourishment.

When you want awareness about your book, you want the extended nervous system of humanity to know it.

Just make sure you bring the circulatory system along too, if you possibly can.

These writers do. Check ’em out!

Cheryl Strayed

Most recent book: Wild, a memoir from Alfred A. Knopf (March 2012) and forthcoming Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar coming this summer.

It’s never too late to get techy!

Strayed is not the most tech-savvy writer you’ll ever meet, by any means. But remember this, writers—better late than never!

Strayed is appearing at AWP this year and you will be hearing her name a lot in the upcoming months if you haven’t already. She has a feature interview in the latest Poets & Writers magazine and also recently had a feature in my hometown paper, The Oregonian. In a rising tide of publicity genius, Strayed timed the big reveal of her role as “Dear Sugar” on The Rumpus to tie in with the launch of her two new books.

Wild will be released in March (you can pre-order it here) and another book that chronicles her columns from The Rumpus will be released this summer.

Strayed wrote a memoir about hiking the PCT, that’s the backstory.

Strayed wrote the line: “Write like a motherfucker,” for That’s the lead-in story to the backstory.

The end of the story is that more people will read her memoir in the long run because she wrote that top-secret Rumpus advice column.

So put your judgement aside, writers, and see the Internet and technology as your allies, not your enemies.

Learn more about Cheryl Strayed. And buy her books!

Cory Doctorow

Science Fiction writer and activist, Cory Doctorow is one of the smartest people I have ever met. If you are also intelligent, I hope you will follow his proactive, provacative example.

What I’ve learned from Cory is that it does not matter how intelligent you are; it matters what you DO with that intelligence. Your intelligence is either serving your heart or imprisoning it (or something in between). I hope, for your sake, dear writer, that your intelligence is not only serving your heart, but also serving the world.

You can have an ego, that’s fine. Cory certainly has one. But as long as you use your ego in service of the world and others, we are going to cut you a lot more slack than if you just sit around indulging your pride.

You do not have to be perfect, dear writer. Perfection is unattainable and unsustainable. But there is no excuse for self-indulgence and laziness. Got off your rump and write something. Than do something with it. Isn’t that what we’re all here for?

I recommend any of Cory’s books hand’s down (especially to sci-fi fans) because they are so acclaimed and he is so adored by his fans. However, since I am not a sci-fi gal, I particularly like his two collections of essays, Content and Context. Tons of food for thought in there for any writer today and you can listen to them on audio for free.

Seth Godin

If every writer read all of Seth Godin’s marketing books, we would need to have this panel because marketing and self-promotion would be a required class in every writing MFA program in the country. And I know we are doing better but we are not there yet.

So don’t wait for your writing program to get schooled. School yourself. Seth’s books are remarkably accessible and east to digest. You can read them while you are on the bus or waiting to pick up the kids. Just read them!

Godin has saved my career more than once. He is a strong influences in my two recent books, Get Known Before the Book Deal and The Writer’s Workout Coach, both from Writer’s Digest Books.

You can buy them new or used and thank me later. Here’s the most recent list. Read them all is what I recommend.

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