Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Creating a vision of your writing future

Photo by Wesley Fryer
I'm in Colorado Springs, where yesterday I was lucky enough to hear a keynote presentation by futurist Thomas Frey. Frey is Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute, and Google's top-rated futurist speaker. His job as a futurist, Frey says, is to "help turn people around and give them some idea of what the future holds."

Frey's speech was targeted at business types, but much of his message applies to writers. One of his charts illustrated how digital media is rapidly displacing print. In the future, Frey said, society is going to become less text-based; keyboards will start to disappear (that may be already happening--think of how the touch screen is replacing key pads on Smart Phones). People are also going to have increasingly limited attention spans. (I worry about that one).

Rather than being controlled or frightened by the future, we should embrace and help shape it, according to Frey. He discussed various ways to create and implement a vision of the future. Those who successfully manage that change process, he said, will prosper and control the future. He called those people the "Futuratis."

I like to think of the TKZ is a colony of potential Futuratis. As Jim and Clare discussed in their posts this week, we're already grappling with the e-publishing revolution, trying to find ways to navigate through new, uncharted waters. My take-away from Frey's speech was this: instead of simply responding to trends, we need to build and implement a vision of the future. By doing so, we can impact the very shape of the future itself.

I stayed up late last night reading Frey's book, Communicating with the Future, and started thinking about my own vision of the future. I decided I've spent too much time reacting to the present, rather than mapping out my own vision of what the future will hold.

Have you created a vision of your future as a writer? Do you think you have what it takes to become a Futurati?

7 comments:

  1. A couple of years ago, on my birthday, I set a goal that the next 10 years of my writing life would be my best and most productive. I set a new weekly quota and got back to directed self-study on parts of the craft. That's my future.

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  2. Your vision statement sounds powerful, Jim. I'm still working on mine! I heard one top author state that one has to "decide what kind of writer you're going to be." And then go out and do it.

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  3. Kathryn, you and Jim are inspiring me to do set a future up in my mind...a big picture goal. At the moment I spend too much time trying to juggle the present!

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  4. The present is swallowing me alive.

    Often I look forward and see a successful writing career coupled with an equally successful narration career, but full dedication to either or both remains just beyond the tips of my fingernails.

    When the waves crest I can just see it before I dip beneath murky darkness, and rising its scent courses over my synapses and I know its there...hiding in the shadow beyond my grasp...almost within reach....just a couple more big pushes...hard to move with this weight pulling me back...getting slapped back down...

    Grrr....just need enough energy for the next big push and then...Whamo!

    ...or Splato!...but hopefully not.

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  5. Splato? Basil, you're describing my reality too, lol! Clare, I also need to work on a bigger picture, and get my head above the day-to-day challenges.

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  6. I believe my style of storytelling will not be viable in the near future. I tell epic tales. My current project is five volumes, totaling well over 400,000 words. However, experience has shown me that people will not read that many words. An example is on Facebook. When I post a status of more than about a dozen words, I receive comments saying, "tl;dr" that means "too long; didn't read." I am not sure I can adapt to telling my kind of stories in fewer than a dozen words.

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  7. Lester, perhaps you could consider releasing the epic serialized in small chunks on digital media.

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