I am a writer who loves to write, but earlier this week, I sat in front of my laptop nearly reduced to tears while I worked. My technology was confounding me. Slow internet connection. Devices buzzing. Too many apps to create an efficient workflow. Technology, the great equalizer, had become technology, the great paralyzer.
And you want to know the really crazy thing? A day or two later, when things had calmed down only by a fraction, I thought it would be a really great idea to sign up for a whole new technological project with the kind of steep learning curve that puts roller coasters to shame. I was so, so close to hitting install and plugging in my credit card. But I hesitated. And then I came to my senses. Not that I won’t ever take that plunge, but not now.
One of the reasons I hesitated was this funny article over at the Washington Post that I saw streaming through my Facebook feed first thing Thursday morning: “Thank you for reading. Please, for the love of all that is holy, help me build my personal brand.” I particularly liked these lines:
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Because writing, as we know, can be rather un-technological all on its own. It’s the platform building, the networking, the publishing, and all the rest that makes technophiles out of us. And as Seth Godin wrote on his blog just this morning, “Yes, you can architect content and sites and commerce to get a click. But you might also choose to merely make a difference.”
Reminds me of a little a nugget of wisdom, I stumbled on from a Tedx talk by Angela Ahrendts, now Apple’s senior vice president for retail and online. “The more technologically advanced our society becomes, the more we need to go back to the basic fundamentals of human communication.” A strange sentiment for the VP of a technology company, but apparently it’s what drew CEO Tim Cook to Ahrendts in the first place.
It’s good advice for writers, too. The publishing industry is in flux. New platforms are constantly emerging. The siren call of social media threatens to distract us. We fret over page views and retweets. And if we aren’t careful, our stories go untold, our ideas untapped. We are so plugged in that we aren’t connecting with readers or even ourselves.
Most of us who are writers came to the craft because we love words—but not just for words’ sake. We love them for the ways they say things to others, for the way they reveal our hearts and help us explore mysteries
Today, whether we are using technology or not, let’s use our words to connect with others.
Here’s one idea: print this card on some heavy paper or cardstock (I designed it just for you), cut it in two, then fold each one in half. Now, take a minute to write on the inside just how much you appreciate someone. Stick it in an envelope (or make one using this template), and pop it in the mail. That’s how you bring words to life old school! 🙂