Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

IWSG #6 July: The Next Decade????

I've stopped counting days that we've spent staying at home since the pandemic began, for us in early March. We still wear our masks and observe social distancing with family and friends. We're not quite ready to go out to a restaurant or grocery shop. We are in at least one of those vulnerable groups who live cautiously, at least for the immediate future.

So, that's why when IWSG's question came along this month, I kind of groaned.

Optional July 1 question - There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

How can I look ahead ten years to the 'changes in the industry' when I don't understand truly how I, as a writer, have been affected by the past decade? So I'll start by looking back ten years:

  • RESEARCH: I rely so much on the internet for research into historical and other settings. For example, yesterday I watched a YouTube video that took me on a walk through a crowded, open air market in Cairo, Egypt. If I need to understand the psychology of a criminal, Google it.
  • WRITING SKILLS: I was an early adopter of technology, back in the 1970s, and I love learning new things. Today, though, I no longer head to the library first or subscribe to writerly magazines. Instead, I leap onto the keyboard, in search of my favorite writing gurus. I subscribe to far too many newsletters and enjoy online writing challenges, including this monthly post for IWSG. OK, I'm privileged with too many devices -- and I can sync them.
  • WRITING ITSELF remains pretty much the same. I dream, draw, and freewrite, then outline (somewhat) my way into stories. Sometimes on paper, more often on the computer. I do insert pictures into my drafts (visual writer) to keep me anchored in this story world. I still print out drafts to go over them again and again.
  • PUBLISHING. Way back in 2012, my first little self-published book of short stories came out. Four novels later, I remain quite happy to be an older-than-average indie writer. The publishing 'industry' has shrunk; technology keeps changing the 'how,' with competing resources increasing like mama's chickens, Amazon's gifts to indie writers like me still mean access to readers. Who could imagine back then, readers would one day  read my book on their iPhone???
  • MARKETING. Aargh. I'd rather be writing. Even traditional publishers ask their writers to do more. But we indie writers have many options that include building our own blogs, setting up readings (just not now), being active in professional associations, and developing a social media profile that is consistent and connected to our readers.
So what's coming in this next decade for writers, up to 2030? 
  1. I hope to still be alive and writing -- still an indie writer.
  2. Technology will ramp up in ways we cannot imagine, even in just ten more years, so we need to stay 'in the curve' of learning.
  3. Who we are will continue to be shaped by events around us. As writers, we may need to be more disciplined to not fall down the rat hole of unending distractions and change. 
  4. We have choices. Our passion, commitment, and the stories we write influence others. So, the themes we choose, our heroines and heroes, can influence others. Writers offer more than a reflection of life around us.
Do you remember reading Orwell's 1984?

What writers have you read that changed how you view the world? That challenged your understanding of life's potential?

What books will you write in the coming decade?

Stefan Keller (Pixabay)


The Insecure Writer's Support Group, is led by intrepid and fearless Alex Cavannagh, and with the help of this month's co-hosts: Jenni Enzor, Beth Camp (that's me!), Liesbet @ Roaming About, Tyrean Martinson, and Sandra Cox. The IWSG offers many resources to help and encourage writers at all stages. Why not join in this wonderful community of writers?

And remember our current mantra: Stay safe, wear that mask, and practice safe distancing --- and, perhaps most importantly, cherish each day!

NOTE: I don't normally do this, but since you actually read this far . . . David Gaughran, one of those writing gurus referred to above, just released his 4th edition of Let's Get Digital: How to Self-Publish and Why You Should. It's free as of today (July 1st), so you could check it out 

66 comments:

  1. You approached the question the same way I did--looking back. It's amazing how so much in our lives has changed since 2010. Technology is zooming past me as I write this comment. I try to keep up, but sometimes I wonder if I can. Stay safe during these weird times. Glad to hear you wear a mask. Hubs & I do, too. Nothing political for me. I do it to be safe & protect others. Thanks for cohosting this month.

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    1. Thank you, Diane. Not sure how we can learn from the past when technology keeps zooming ahead. I just sewed my first five masks for me and hubs using weird fabric. Got to find fun where we can!

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  2. Hi,
    I have to admit that even though I consisder myself a technology freak, when it comes to writing I reasearch first before I go to one of the writing gurus on the internet. The way I see it, we're all faking it. By that I mean we're all trying to find our way through the forest so I'd rather find my way by reading writing journals, writing books, etc.
    Thank you so much for co-hosting, Beth.

    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

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    1. Hello, Pat. Thanks for visiting. My husband approaches writing intellectually. He thinks, plans, plots, and thinks again. Then he writes. I'm more intuitive, perhaps like you, 'finding our way through the forest' by writing first. But we have such a wealth of resources today. Pretty amazing! And thank you for being involved in the A to Z Blog Challenge.

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  3. Your take on this question is spot on, Beth. Everything you expressed, I could relate to. We've had a long run at this writing business, and that's given us a great perspective. We should explore this topic more.

    Thanks for the excellent co-hosting job today!

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    1. Thank you, CLee, for visiting so early, just minutes after my post went live. You must live on the east coast! And thank you for being so active on IWSG and encouraging so many writers. May the coming month be good to you.

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  4. I thought this was a hard one, also. At my age (my avatar is me decades ago), ten years is a big deal! My best friend has become my skin doctor. So, your ideas sound great, Beth.

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    1. Good morning, Jacqui. Now I have to go read your post and check out your avatar. Did you notice all those gray hairs on my photo? Ten years ahead is a very big deal. I hope we all have the courage to face what's next, a natural part of living, yet I still want to write every day! Be well.

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  5. It would be great to be able to get rid of distractions.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Chrys. Yes, especially 'real life' distractions!

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  6. What a lovely post- candid and familiar!
    I too rely on Google for most things now, which does take the pleasure of research out of it, somewhat!
    www.nooranandchawla.com

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    1. Thank you for visiting. My favorite 'real' research experience was staying in Scotland for just a month and getting 3 !!! library cards. Oh, their library had so many books I wanted to devour . . . at least with internet, we can bookmark pages and return again and again.

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  7. Thanks for co-hosting this month, Beth. I think we're related. I'm one of those people who would be sad if I wasn't able to get online. I even google recipes these days.

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    1. Hello, Joylene. Thank you for visiting and making me smile. I've just begun researching recipes and made a fabulous dinner tonight with couscous, shrimp, zucchini, and basil sauce!

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  8. Thanks for co-hosting, Beth! I think the internet has opened up so many opportunities for writers. The first manuscript I submitted I sent in a box. Now you can submit online for free. I've also found some great youtube videos to help me experience the settings of my work. The thing is to not go down the rabbit trail and forget to get back to writing! :)
    Thanks for sharing such an encouraging post!

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    1. Hello, Jenni. Yes, I remember those boxes of pages sent off with such hope. Luckily, the writing calls us back, yes?

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  9. Oh, this was wonderful, Beth. Heartwarming, chilling, and every point as vibrant as the day is long. Thanks for the inspiration, and for co-hosting!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and commenting so positively. I'm glad you found it helpful. :)

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  10. Hi, Beth! Thanks for co-hosting today. I hope that you are having lots of fun visiting members and reading their posts. I envy your syncing ability. I eventually figure it out ~ LOL I keep forcing myself to learn new technology because the internet has empowered people who wish to write. A book that changed how I view the world and challenged my understanding of life's potential is "Please Understand Me" by
    David Keirsey and Marilyn Bates and drew on the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator. This was a very unusual book for me to read, but it really impacted me and gave me insight into myself, my husband, and the people around me.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and for recommending "Please Understand Me." I was able to check this out (a real book I can pick up at the library curbside during pandemic) at my local library. Looking forward to reading it!

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  11. Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    Nice retrospect of the changes in time. I can't imagine having to go back to doing all research at the library. I'm very grateful for the Internet. This was really encouraging. I hope you continue to cope well during this time.

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    1. Hello, Toi. Each day seems to bring a very different kind of challenge. My hubby's favorite line is, "I want to live forever . . . and so far, so good." That's kind of how I feel during pandemic. That's what I hope for all of us during pandemic: "So far, so good." May the coming month be good to you as well.

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  12. Thanks for a very thoughtful response to the question, Beth. Our paths seem to have been running in parallel all these years!
    Thank you for co-hosting today ;)

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    1. And thank you for stopping by. I do like to think of parallel paths. Maybe it will help in coming up with a story for IWSG's dark matter!

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  13. Great post, Beth. You're right about how the Internet has opened up things. Just yesterday I was writing a scene with a magical snake in it. I just googled all my questions about snakes as I went. It was awesome and so fast. Thanks for co-hosting.

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    1. Hello, Natalie. Yes, I love the technology, but part of the gift is you asking those questions directly related to your scene. I use that same strategy, once even for a poem about a hag fish!

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  14. Often when online I feel as if we're all stumbling around in a modern day 1845 California, stumbling over gold nuggets and fighting off squatters left and right. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Looking back thoughtfully seems to be one of the better ways to move forward! Thanks so much for co-hosting today, Beth.

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    1. Thank you for visiting and stopping by. Interesting comment. Three of my books are set in the 1840s, so I do enjoy falling back in time. But while we humans remain pretty much the same (still complex), the technology has transformed and will continue to transform our world. Who said if we don't understand the past, we're doomed to repeat it?

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  15. Thanks for co-hosting! I agree about how the Internet has made research so much easier, though we still need to vet our sources, and some things we can still only learn about through physical books or microfilm.

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    1. Hi Carrie-Anne. I liked your comment that 'some things we can still only learn about through physical books or microfilm.' Just want to add: And, by actually hands-on! just read a wonderful book that featured horses, and the story's details were shaped by the writer who grew up raising horses. The level of detail added authenticity to the story.

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  16. Great post. I can sign under every word.

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    1. Thank you, Olga, for your positive response. I'm glad my thoughts connected with you.

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  17. I am so glad I made the decision to jump on the technology train very early on! Thank you for hosting this month!

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    1. Thank you, Doreen, for bringing a memory and smiles for I remember demonstrating computers to a group of managers. I couldn't get the darn computer to work. Only after the meeting was over did I discover that computer wasn't plugged in!

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  18. I don't know what I would do without the internet for research. I can't imagine how long it would take to look up all the things I want to know at a library. I might have to switch to fantasy just to survive.

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    1. Hi, Tamara. Nothing wrong with fantasy . . . but I still love libraries. All those possibilities. All those books.

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  19. To be sure, technology has made some amazing advancements, especially in the self publishing arena. On the lighter side, Google research is a lot of fun, especially when I fall down the rabbit hole and find the most interesting, obscure things. But as Orwell's 1984 predicted, there's a dark, bleak side as well, that is manifesting itself even as I type.

    Thanks for the link to David's book. I'm looking forward to reading it.

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    1. Thank you, Lee, for visiting and commenting. I wish we didn't have to think about those 'dark, bleak sides' as well. Sigh.

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  20. That was a helpful informational post. You are miles ahead of me.
    I don't think I ever read 1984, but I've seen the 1956 film version twice--once when I was a kid and this past week. Orwell has been on my mind a lot of late and my wife and I have been watching a lot of those types of films.

    These days I tend to think in years, but hope in decades.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. Hello, Arlee. Yes to everything you said, especially that last sentence. Allen and I also think in years and hope in decades. I remember reading 1984 for the first time in a library, sitting there and simply crying. Well, hopefully we both have 'miles to go before we sleep.'

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  21. Technology and I are frenemies I think. Our relationship is not entirely healthy, but I rely on it so much! Good post. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

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    1. Lovely thought, Samantha. Frenemies! I too rely on technology, but for me, the technology currently supports my writing -- it doesn't replace it. And that's OK, isn't it?

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  22. I love the way you approached this month's question. We do have choices to make and it's going to be a different kind of decade ahead of us, or at least the prologue of 2020 seems to be.

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    1. Thank you, Tyrean. I really do hope our decade ahead will be very, very different from today . . . at least starting January, 2021. We still will face the fallout of the pandemic for far too long, though.

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  23. Interesting post. There will be changes. Happy IWSG.

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    1. Thank you for visiting, Juneta. Let's hope for changes we can keep up with -- and good changes.

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  24. Good Post, Beth. I hope I'm alive too in the next 10 years. I think we are closer and closer to the mentioned book, 1984.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Cathrina. Maybe a comforting thought is political change is like a pendulum, swinging right and then left, balancing out over time. I too am hoping for positive change ahead on so many levels.

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  25. The marketing stuff still seems daunting to me. Thanks for reminding me about David's book.

    Thanks for co-hosting IWSG this month!

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    1. Hello Chemist Ken. Yes, I really would rather write than market, but as an indie writer, I have to face down that 'daunting' challenge. I find David Gaughran's work helpful. Also, I truly do try to complete one (just one) marketing activity each day.

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  26. Thank you all for visiting and commenting. When I volunteered to co-host this month, I never expected this outpouring of positive support. The posts I read this month have been fascinating, full of insight and new ideas. Thank you all for being part of IWSG! May the coming month be very good to all of us!

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  27. The marketing is painful when all I want to do is write. But I also want people to read my writing, so marketing I go... ;)

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    1. Yes, and please keep telling us what marketing you're doing, how effective it is, and which are your favorite strategies!

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  28. At the moment life in general seems hard to predict so in terms of publishing I can only imagine.Thank you for Co-hosting this month, I hope you have enjoyed it. I too am trying to enjoy the small things in life right now. Best wishes.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by, Suzanne. Being a co-host led to a lot more engagement -- which I'm enjoying very much. I agree about the small things being more meaningful, though I confess that I can't always keep up with phone calls. Just not used to lots of 35-minute phone calls!

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  29. Marketing is a big pain in the butt. Technology sure will advance fast and keep up we must.

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    1. Thank you for the smile, Pat. Hope you can work through that 'pain in the butt' and persevere. So, what's your favorite marketing strategy?

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  30. Wow, a lot of changes took place the last decade and will take place during the next one. Thanks for the insight into your processes, Beth. You seem to have figured out the most productive and enjoyable way to get your work “out there” and you are proof that indie authors can be professional, dedicated, and amazing!

    A book every two years. You rock! Thank you for the mention of the e-book about self-publishing. As of today, it was still free on Amazon and I grabbed it. As you know, I could use it. :-)

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    1. Hello, Liesbet. Are you having fun being a co-host? This was my first time too. I really enjoyed the reaching out to IWSG folks and hope you did too. David Gaughran consistently gives useful into; I hope his book helps you as well. Have a great July on the road!

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    2. Hi Beth! Not quite on the road again this month. We are still trying to figure out what’s next and when to leave New England. This was my second time as an IWSG co-host. While time consuming, it’s always nice and interesting to connect with other authors and bloggers. :-)

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  31. It's a good exercise to look back over the last decade, before we look forward, in order to try and ascertain where we're at. However, moving forward, who knows what the next decade will bring? It's a fluid industry and things change constantly.

    Marketing? *sigh* I'm not there... yet.

    Orwell's classic is one that I still need to read. There are many others too.
    Changes I would like to see? From an educational perspective, I’d like to see more of a three-way collaboration with authors, libraries and schools. It would go a long way in helping to combat the literacy problems in our country.

    Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month!
    Stay safe.

    (I saw that David Gaughran's book was free... and downloaded it.)

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    1. Hello, Michelle. Thank you for stopping by. My mother-in-law used to say, "Who can see the future?" So maybe that's an added responsibility for us to do our best each day to be voices for those who cannot speak, share in case others can benefit, and keep pushing our own boundaries in that quest to tell our stories. Yes, I agree about that collaboration between authors, libraries, and schools. The teachers in our district are thrilled when authors visit, and (luckily) our libraries here are quick to support readings and creativity in many forms. May you have a good month!

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  32. A good trip back in time Beth. Yes, I love that you can do a virtual walk through a place you want to write about. Google had definitely helped so much here.

    1984 is still required study for my Year 12s. They start off hating it, but end up loving it. It's really come to pass now in 2020. He was just a bit early.

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    1. Thanks, Denise, for visiting and for loving 1984. I never really dreamed I could be a writer, but books like that did light the flame. Too bad history has to repeat itself.

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  33. Thank you Beth for an inspiring response to this month’s question, and fun too.
    Hope you’ll be out and about soon. Are you in New York ?
    Take care and keep up the writing.

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    1. Good morning, Susan B. Until I met my husband, I'd never traveled any further east than Phoenix. So born in Hollywood, grew up along the west coast (including Seattle), now happily settled in Spokane, near grandkids. Guess that's pretty far from New York, though I do love the Metropolitan Museum there. Yes, the suitcases are rattling. Oh, isn't it time to travel? Be well, and I hope your own writing projects go well.

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