[Electric Speed] Wordle spin-offs | Do you read the manual first?

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

Are you the type of person who reads the manual or tosses it aside?

My husband and I couldn’t be further apart on this issue.

When we moved into our new place this month, he was faced with an unfamiliar washer/dryer set. I say “he” and not “we” because he does all the laundry and I’m not even sure I’m allowed to do it.

After a week elapsed with dirty clothes piling up, I realized he was paralyzed. He couldn’t find the washer/dryer manuals. But this is a common appliance, right, not rocket science. Just push some buttons, what’s the worst that could happen? The clothes get washed a little less or a little more than you’d like.

That is not how he sees it. He wants to be armed with official guidance and proper instruction. Thank god he did find the manuals somewhere, and I knew without asking because his mood went from sour to ebullient. And I now have clean clothes.

My approach is trial and error, to figure out things on my own. I encourage writers to do the same with a writing project, an email newsletter, a brand-new social media platform: Go experiment! Don’t be afraid! You can’t do it wrong. You can recover from any mistakes. Learn as you go.

But not everyone enjoys that, and it’s taken me a while to recognize and respect varied learning styles. If you think you need a manual or if you want a manual, then you should find one. Eventually, though, we all have to dive in. Achieving mastery—over laundry or writing—requires experience.

Jane

P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
Why Your Amazing Writing Group Might Be Failing You


P.P.S. In the last issue, I mentioned a podcast that offered to help writers identify their comp titles. Important: You must listen to this podcast episode to hear about your comps if you submitted a request.

P.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.)
Love Wordle? Here are spin-offs to enjoy.
I assume most of you have heard of Wordle by now (and if not, you must not be into word games).

Since there is only one Wordle puzzle per day, you might be left hungry for more. Don’t miss these offerings.

Dordle: Guess two mystery words instead of one
Quordle: Guess four mystery words
Octordle: Guess eight mystery words
Latin Wordle: Exactly what it sounds like
Nerdle: Like Wordle, except it’s numbers and math calculations
Heardle: Name that tune, based on 1-second increments
Semantle: Guess the word based on semantic similarity (devilish)

A directory of free design resources
Unblast is a rich and fun site to explore that offers templates/mockups for print, fonts, web illustrations and graphics, and much more. However, be aware: the dominant file formats on this site are Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. If you use Canva for most of your design work, it will accept Illustrator files, but not Photoshop. For a workaround, you can import Photoshop files into the free Photopea online editor, then export as a format that Canva accepts, such as PNG.
Furniture finder
Buying a new home or moving often necessitates new or replacement furniture. So I was delighted to find this furniture finder website. While its stated purpose is to help you avoid overpaying for furniture, it’s also a great brainstorming tool and alerted me to brands I didn’t know about.
Writers can spend a lot of time staring out the window (in a good way)
If you don’t have a good window for times when you need to sit and quietly think, then try Aurora. It mimics looking out a train window. Or it can be a nice, meditative break, especially when you feel stuck or just need to calm your nerves.
 
Build Better Critique Groups with Lisa Cooper Ellison. $25 webinar. Wednesday, April 20, 2022. 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern.
NEXT ONLINE CLASS
April 20: Build Better Critique Groups with Lisa Cooper Ellison
A healthy, vibrant writing group can increase your creativity, productivity, and motivation. But not all groups or group formats are helpful. Even groups brimming with enthusiastic, supportive members can stall your progress if what they offer clashes with what you need. So how do you find a writing group that matches your goals, skill level, and the stage of your writing project? This class will examine the different kinds of writing groups writers can form, how these groups support different stages in the writing process, and how to find—or create—the group that’s right for you.
Your turn: drawing tablets
In the last issue, I asked you to tell me about your drawing tablets and tools. The favorite is clear! Heres what you said:

  • After a lifetime using a PC, I recently purchased an iPad Pro (with second generation Apple Pencil and Paperlike screen protector) in order to use Procreate. Why? I was inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s inspiration, when she said that being creative in one field adds to creativity in another, not subtracts. Also, I have two cats who love dabbling in oils, watercolor, and ceramic clay themselves. The iPad Pro seemed like a good, portable solution. —Lakota Grace
  • I bought myself an iPad, Apple Pencil, and the Procreate app for my hand lettering business. I couldn’t afford the pro model, but it has still been the best investment for my small business. —Vanessa Rasanen
  • My parents bought me a UGEE M708 Pen Tablet for my birthday ages ago, and it still works as it did when I first received it possibly twelve years ago. They may have updated the model or something, but that’s what I use. —George Elmer
  • I use an iPad Pro, with a Paperlike screen cover. It adds a ‘drag factor’ that makes it feel much more like drawing on paper, instead of gliding over glass. I use an Apple Pencil as well, mainly for writing and illustrating my children’s picture books, and occasionally using it to brainstorm story plot threads. I do all this on Procreate. —Matthew Goodall

Next question: Do you have a smart home device you can’t do without? A light switch? Thermostat? Something else? 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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