[Electric Speed] Old and brilliant author interviews | Little-known Zoom tips & tricks

Digital tools and resources for creative people
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Electric Speed from Jane Friedman
A note from Jane

Recently I started reading She’s a Beast, a newsletter by Casey Johnston. She’s a weightlifter who is also a professional writer.

I love her newsletter because—even though my interest in weightlifting will likely remain scant—she discusses the many myths surrounding exercise, fitness, and what women should look like. Reading her is also a delight because of her voice: she is being fully who she is, with confidence. But without sneering—she has some grace for everyone who wanders.

Johnston was recently quoted in a piece in the Atlantic on how the fitness industry considers beginner-level exercise a niche, which is totally nuts when you consider most of us are beginners. Early in her weightlifting journey, when Johnston herself tried a popular beginner’s program, she realized that she wasn’t yet strong enough to lift a barbell, even without any weights attached.

Of course I can’t help but see comparisons to writing. Beginners often try to lift the equivalent of a weighted barbell when they should start with small hand weights. Ordering yourself to sit down and write for a full hour is in fact a rather advanced exercise. Attempting a multi-POV, multi-timeline novel is a heavy lift if its your first try.

Be all means be ambitious. But give yourself a chance to succeed with small challenges. They build confidence and stamina.
Jane

P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
The Vital Difference Between Plot and Story

P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter. Keep scrolling!

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Jane’s Electric Speed List
Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. (I am not paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)
Add special fonts when using Twitter and Facebook
Have you ever noticed that the cool kids on social media have names that appear in a different and artsy font? Sometimes you might spot a typewriter font, a cursive font, or special characters. How did they do that? Here is the secret!

The Typewriter Font Generator generates text you can copy/paste into social media and still retain the formatting. That same site can also generate bold, italic, and strike-through text for Facebook. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive font selection for Facebook specifically, check Facebook Fonts.

Thanks to Nicole Klungle for the tip!
Zoom tips and tricks even I did not know about
This Twitter thread is a gold mine of features and settings in Zoom that you don’t see used that often. The big one for me? Being able to use your slide presentation as a virtual background. That means you can put your live talking head right on your slides, at any size and position you want. Browse all tips.
A YouTube account full of old and brilliant interviews
Manufacturing Intellect is a YouTube channel with a mission to "rescue and preserve the greatest intellectual voices and bring them to you." The channel’s homepage helpfully categorizes interviews, with "authors and literature" at the very top (yay!). You’ll also find playlists devoted to directors, artists, and musicians. H/t David Perell.
Letter to a young songwriter: excellent insights
This is an "old" article, but it was new to me when I read it. While it’s ostensibly about writing songs, I think it applies to writing anything. Strive to be prolific, write the worst you can, avoid trying to be original, and click through for the rest. (It’s a quick read.)
 
Memoir Beginnings with Lisa Cooper Ellison. $25 webinar. Wednesday, May 18, 2022. 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern.
NEXT ONLINE CLASS
May 18: Memoir Beginnings with Lisa Cooper Ellison
Youve been working on your memoir for a while now, but an agent or critique partner has said youre not starting in the right place. How do you know where to start and what to include—and evade the backstory traps that slow down your manuscript? During this 90-minute class you’ll learn what the first 50 pages of your story must accomplish and how to choose the best opening—plus strategies for incorporating backstory.
Your turn: convenience foods
In the last issue, I asked you to tell me about your favorite convenience foods. And many of you are quite healthy! Heres a selection of what you said:

  • I love frozen mixed vegetables. I only use what I need, so it cuts down on waste and it saves me a lot of time because I don’t have to trim and chop. I buy organic when I can. —Jeevani Charika
  • Momofuku Soy and Scallion Noodles or Spicy Noodles have become my go-to for a quick light lunch or dinner. Cook in 4 minutes, and add a handful of roasted broccoli florets and a tablespoon of chili crunch. Delicious! —Judith Henry
  • PopCorners, I can’t stop eating them. The kettle corn variety are my favorite. —David W. Gates Jr.
  • Good Foods Organic Avocado Mash: each box has 16 little containers of avocado with a bit of lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Nice to have on hand because they don’t go bad the way avocados can. —Carol Michel
  • My favorite convenience food is rotisserie chicken. The convenience is endless. Great with a steamer bag of veggies, or whip together a sandwich or salad or toss in a tortilla with taco ingredients. We freeze the bones to make a great soup base. —Diane DeMasi Johnson
  • Frozen chopped onions. And I might as well include the similar others: cubed butternut squash and sweet potato. —Tammy Cox
  • I really like the smoothies from Revive Superfoods. I’ve had a subscription with them for nearly two years now and it’s been an easy way to add more veggies to my diet without much thought or effort. —Jessica Snyder
  • Peeled hardboiled eggs are my favorite super-quick protein that feels like a real food. —Kelly Turner
  • Do smoothies count as a convenience food? If so, I have a serious peanut butter smoothie problem. —Dina Santorelli
  • My convenience food is corn tortillas. I can use them to make tacos out of virtually everything, from leftovers to frozen burger patties to scrambled eggs. —Roland Denzel

Next question: Do you have a favorite writing-related podcast? Hit reply to this message to let me know, or share on the Discord server for Electric Speed subscribers.
 
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"At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential."
—Marshall McLuhan
Jane Friedman
Created by Jane Friedman
I report on the publishing industry and help authors understand the business of writing.

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