Last month’s update was a bit grim. I am definitely in my feels as the deadline for listing the house approaches. We just need to finish the stairs, fix the back door, and then we will be listing the house and moving to my sister’s in Idaho. It has been very chaotic and trying to sell our collections has been daunting. I haven’t even managed to get through adding all the vinyl items for sale, ran into issues with international shipping, and have to re-think promoting. I literally have two bookshelves of books I need to list but I haven’t the time while I am also trying to work full-time, apply for jobs, network, promote, do dog training, self-care to prevent burnout, prioritize storage vs. immediate need items, and pack. Definitely feeling a lot of feels. But the biggest feeling is being overwhelmed.
Despite all that, I had a notification pop up last week to prep for promoting the Dreammakers Challenge Q4 wrap-up Annual planning in December. I cried, y’all. Because planning and goal setting is a huge part of who I am. It is integral to my being. But I vowed I have no room for any more events until we get settled at my sister’s. I told myself I can still do my own planning because by December I should be settled. The big pressure with the challenge is promoting and I do not have the bandwidth for it. But then I thought perhaps I could encourage others to promote the challenge for me and get a discount? I am noodling with that idea. Maybe something like “get two referrals and get the challenge half off.” or get 25% off the cost with each referral. That way we create a buddy system (because goals are so much better with a buddy helping to support you.) and then it helps take some of the marketing off my shoulders.
So, I’d love your feedback on this idea. Is it something you would be interested in participating in and would help promote the challenge? Or should I just do my private goal-setting this year and stick to the no events until I’m settled? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. In the meantime, on to this month’s question of the month. It’s a good one and one that I might upset people with my answer.
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting!
Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post. And please be sure your avatar links back to your blog! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.
Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
Remember, the question is optional!
October 4 question: The topic of AI writing has been heavily debated across the world. According to various sources, generative AI will assist writers, not replace them. What are your thoughts?
I think that AI in its present form will definitely not replace any professionals. But it will allow lots of professionals to do their jobs better and more efficiently which may mean fewer jobs for some people. The key for those who want to stay in their roles is to learn how to use AI efficiently and effectively to help you do your work. This applies to me as a project manager, as a marketer, and even as a writer. It is a continuation of the automation debate. Despite all the automation coming to retail and food services, they still cannot find enough workers. So let’s talk about how AI has been used in the writing industry but hasn’t led to fewer opportunities yet, how it may be evolving, and how you can explore and learn more so you don’t get left behind.
Have you ever used tools like Word spell check, Grammarly, or even ProWritingAid? You have used AI. I remember the hubbub about how these types of tools were going to steal jobs from editors and 20 years later I still laugh at the thought. We have more editors working than I remember seeing in 2000 when I was considering it as a profession. The editing industry has certainly had a ton of upsets in the last 20 years, but top editors are still making a lot of money providing editing services and every day new editors are joining the workforce. Why? Because despite my training as an editor, using ProWritingAid, Grammarly, and Word I still hire an editor for a lot of my work. These tools can help, but only as well as the person who uses them can understand the suggestions. If a new writer uses these tools and accepts all suggestions the work loses its voice and feels like a tech manual. 20 years later and all these tools manage to do it help make work better, but they don’t take the work from others. The author who doesn’t have a budget to hire an editor wouldn’t “find a way” to pay for it if these tools didn’t exist. They simply would either A. Get stuck in gatekeeping hell submitting and never knowing why the work was being rejected B. Join critique groups or do swaps to get the service for free because they cannot afford it or C. Publish with the errors anyway because they don’t know any better and in certain genres the readers don’t care as much about the editing as they do about the story (Looking at you, Fifty Shades!)
Now, let’s explore some other ways that AI has already infiltrated the industry regularly. Do you hire a graphic designer or marketer to handle your marketing content or do you use a tool like Canva, Bookbrush, or Pxler? For some of you, you hire someone off Fiver to do your designs and those people use those tools, which is how they are able to charge such low prices. I’m a marketer and I abuse the crap out of these tools. Before they existed I used Adobe tools and it took me a lot longer but it was my job so I did it. I didn’t get as good a content or as much but my company wasn’t going to hire three more marketers to get more product. They just made do with less product. And if you do not have access to this, you might hire a marketer to do it for you if you have a budget, but odds are you don’t. A lot of authors cannot afford Bookbrush so use free Canva or they use Pixl.
A person’s budget will decide their tools more than anything else. We have seen that in other professions. It will be the case for writing as well. There are some great storytellers or world builders who cannot write to save their lives. But we do not fault them for using tools like Dragon, Scrivener, or Trello. I imagine AI will be a tool that will be a great aid in helping nondescriptive writers or perhaps be able to help with more realistic dialogue. I know that I have been using AI in project management, marketing, and copywriting and have been training it for almost a year now it still has a long way to go and will likely require a lot of training and editing so it will not be stealing jobs anytime soon and likely (just as with automation) will not steal jobs. It will create new jobs.
Case in point, when I graduated college a lifetime ago, marketing was mainly made of up “visual people and word people” and most of us learned both sides but favored our strengths. I can edit video, and audio, design ad/spread/and web layout, write ad copy/ web copy/ content, and have continued to develop that “whole marketer” mentality and learned data, SEO, web design, online advertising, and more. But nowadays there are very few who graduate college with a general marketing degree. They specialize in areas like digital marketing or content development. If you look at job boards, you do not find “general marketer” ever. Now it is demand marketer or Brand marketer or if you focus on the data side, marketing operations manager which is a whole other specialization. They niche down even more to social media managers or videographers.
Technology creates jobs, it doesn’t take jobs. AI is this generation’s automation and if you embrace it and learn it your job opportunities will only expand. But if you stick your head in the sand and decry it then you will be like the many composite artists who decried photo technology. Still able to find some work doing different things but mostly just looking silly and maybe making less money than you could’ve if you’d learned the new technology.
That being said, I will add the caveat that I respect and understand the fears and frustrations many creators have that their work is being “stolen” through using it to train AI. I do think we need to have clear rules and regulations around how it is trained. I know a lot of companies who are interested in closed AI systems to protect the content that they are producing and I think that if you are creating anything that will be used only in a gated access point I would not use an Open AI system. For example, I don’t mind using AI to give me 20 ad copy ideas for me to edit to promote content online. However, I do not use it to brainstorm course content. I appreciate that artists who post their content online and then find an AI version of their work being used in a commercial process are furious. I also think that the current artist protections of “if it is recognizable to the average person” is not a fair enough rubric when dealing with AI. But we also have to keep in mind that all artists’ work is informed by our environment and the content we consume. It is the reason that writers have a lot of questions when we meet other writers who say they do not read. How can you write well if you do not read? You can be a great storyteller because you are likely consuming other forms of storytelling like TV, movies, and audiobooks maybe. But writer? Eh. It’s weird. AI is learning from consuming content. The quality of the content matters. If the content is gated, it should be paid for and probably follow different regulations for payment like how we do with the cost of a book for resale vs. the cost of a book for a library, vs. selling to a single reader. Copywriting and trademarking are going to carry much more weight and the prosecution side will become a nightmare, I’m sure.
Curious to see other author’s thoughts on the matter? Don’t forget to check out other stops on the blog hop.
Until next time,
Keep Reading and Writing!