The new frontier lies not beyond the planets, but within each one of us.
–Pierre Elliot Trudeau, Biodynamics
Civilization is a movement and not a condition, a voyage and not a harbor.
–historian Arnold Toynbee
There are three basic skills that students need if they want to thrive in a knowledge economy: the ability to do critical thinking and problem-solving; the ability to communicate effectively; and the ability to collaborate….[We need parents who] elevate learning at the most important life skill.
–Thomas Friedman, New York Times (11/21)
Critical thinking, problem-solving, communicating effectively, and collaborating; all essential skills for writers as well as students. And if learning is the most important life skill, writers have to be perpetual students as well as teachers.
Technology’s Gifts to Writers
The ability to string words together that have the desired effect is a gift as well as a craft. Writing that delivers the value the author intended is a gift to readers worth more than what, if anything, they pay to read it. But technology is also giving priceless gifts to writers, among them the opportunities to
- learn about anything on the Web instantly.
- keep up to the minute on new developments.
- write about more subjects.
- making your work immediately accessible to readers around the world.
- find agents and publishers.
- promote and profit from your work and your services in a grow number of ways.
- communicate in the media your audience prefers.
- collaborate with people around the world.
- create and maintain communities of writers, fans, and people to help you.
- accomplish these things without leaving your desk.
How to Thrive in a New Universe
The advent of technology was the Big Bang of a new universe that continues to voyage outward at an accelerating rate. Nobody’s in charge of it; no one knows where it’s going; and no one understands what it means. Publishing is a rapidly spinning planet in the media galaxy of that universe.
What does this mean to you as a writer? How can you plan a future that’s as full of uncertainty as it is opportunity? What do you need to do and have to thrive as a writer?
You need to
- develop the crafts of writing, storytelling, and communicating online and off.
- have literary, publishing, and financial goals that keep you passionate and motivated.
- be a contentpreneur who keeps generating new work, balances commerce and creativity, is responsive to the markeplace, and takes responsibility for your success.
- keep figuring out the fastest, most productive ways to use technology.
- build the communities you need.
- build your visibility while test-marketing your books.
- promote your work and yourself.
- stay committed to your future.
What an exciting time to be alive! Discover your future on the frontier of your unexplored potential. Find the stories and ideas that you must share with your unique voice, and give them to the world. And endowed with the gifts technology provides, you will thrive in this amazing new universe.
The Eighth San Francisco Writers Conference / A Celebration of Craft, Commerce & Community / President’s Day Weekend, February 18-20, 2011 / Mark Hopkins InterContinental Hotel on Nob Hill / Keynoters: Dorothy Allison & David Morrell / Pitch your book to agents and editors from both coasts / More than 50 breakout sessions / 100 presenters / Indie Publishing Contest / www.sfwriters.org / email@example.com / blog: http://sfwriters.org/blog / twitter: @SFWC /
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/San-Francisco-Writers-Conference/112732798786104 / free MP3s at www.sfwriters.info / open to anyone: a day of in-depth classes on Monday, February 21st