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Jane Friedman Electric Speed

In this issue

A note from Jane

About 10 years ago, I was invited to speak at a publishing industry event at SXSW. The format was similar to PechaKucha, where it’s fast paced, with a strict amount of time to present.

When I spoke, I kept things straightforward and focused on publishing trends. After me, several people pitched their new startup. They may have been event sponsors (my memory is fuzzy on this point), but they focused on their own needs, and from where I sat, they lost the room pretty quickly.

I tweeted as much, using the event hashtag.

This was when Twitter still felt new (at least new to me) and I live-tweeted the conferences I attended.

Within minutes, I was approached by the unhappy publicist of this new venture, also in the audience, who told me that I had lost the room too.

It reminded me of a time in high school where I got in trouble for making fun of an administrator—a taunt that inadvertently was broadcast to the entire school body. Later I was admonished by the school’s director, who told me, “I wouldn’t say anything to THIS WALL that I wouldn’t say in a crowded room.”

While I’ve never forgotten her words, it’s not quite a rule to live by. After all, we need the ability to express things in private that we wouldn’t broadcast to the world.

But before writing or saying something critical, even in a small group, I try to consider: Would I wish I had said this differently, or not said it at all, if the persons most affected by it were in the room with me?

Or, better yet: Would I welcome a response to what I’m about to say?

Enjoy the weekend,


P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month: The Differences Between Line Editing, Copy Editing, and Proofreading

P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter—keep scrolling!
Author Accelerator: Would you make a great book coach?


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Sponsorships help support Electric Speed. Learn more.

Jane’s Electric Speed List

Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. I have not been paid to mention any of these resources and there are no affiliate links.

A fantastic tip for Google Calendar users

I’ve used Google Calendar for 10 years and never knew about this shortcut, which I discovered from Kevin Kelly: To search your calendar for a particular date, hit the letter G while on the calendar page. That way you don’t have to click or scroll back month after month. Just hit <g> and then enter the date you want. What a time saver!

Explore and analyze large collections of documents

Pinpoint is a journalist’s or academic’s best friend: unlock stories by uploading PDFs, forms, handwritten documents, audio files, images, or emails—and let computers analyze it all and report back. Note: This is a Google service and requires a Google/Gmail account. You have to request access.

A better way to search for recipes

I like to go on recipe searches via Google, but am often stymied by slow-loading cooking websites and blogs (bloated with images, ads, videos and pop-ups. Happily, I’ve found an alternative: Recipe Search with Typesense, an open-source recipe search engine without ads or images. You can read the cooking directions without leaving the site—yay! H/t Recomendo.

Bernie Sanders mug

Just for fun

According to Jewish Currents: “The mug for a bris, a shiva, a long line at Zabar’s, a protracted and infuriating call with your insurance provider. This isn’t an endorsement of anything other than sitting Like This.”

Master Point of View to Strengthen Your Storytelling with Tiffany Yates Martin. $25 class. Wednesday, February 10, 2021. 1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. Eastern

Next online class: Master Point of View to Strengthen Your Storytelling with Tiffany Yates Martin

On Wednesday, Feb. 10: Having strong point of view in your manuscript is about more than whether to write in first person or third. Whatever your chosen voice, the key to an engaging, vivid story is to bring readers directly into it, rather than leaving them on the outside looking in. Instructor Tiffany Yates Martin will clarify the different types of point of view, and show how to strengthen character, deepen reader engagement, and bring a story to life by developing a strong, clear POV and perspective.
Learn more and register

Your turn: Online learning

In the last issue, I asked if you have a favorite online learning site, with offerings from varied instructors. Here’s what you said.
  • I’d like to add Skillshare (where I am also an instructor: No More I Hate Marketing) and Domestika. Most of the classes are in Spanish, but since I’m deaf it doesn’t matter. They have great subtitles. The courses are very well organized, the instructors are knowledgeable and skilled, the classes are very rich in content, and I always have a ball with the exercises. —Angela Treat Lyon
  • KelbyOne photo courses. I can’t think of a better source of education for upcoming photographers and reasonably priced. Classes online markedly improved my photo skills. When I submit an article for publication, I generally must submit photos. —Barbara Magera
  • The Book Show with Claire Nichols has an excellent episode, “Masterclass with Tim Winton, Arundhati Roy, Michael Ondaatje, and more”, a collection of suggestions from established authors. —Jeff Ball
  • My daughter, who lives in Costa Rica, is an instructor at Strive Courses. During COVID, they offer several online courses from experts in several fields. If you’ve ever wanted to vacation in Costa Rica, this is a great way to do it! —Shari Simpson

Next question: I recently switched from coffee to tea in the mornings, and I’m hoping some of my readers might be able to recommend purveyors of the very strongest and highest-quality black tea imaginable. Suggestions?

Upcoming online classes

👁 February 10: Master Point of View to Strengthen Your Storytelling with Tiffany Yates Martin

💡February 24: Who Am “I” Really? Finding Yourself as an Engaging Character in Memoir with Dinty W. Moore

💻 March 11: Blogging Strategies That Work in 2021 with Jane Friedman (with Writer’s Digest)

⭐️ March 24: Get Better Critiques Now with Lisa Cooper Ellison

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Electric Speed is a free newsletter by Jane Friedman that launched in 2009. More than 35,000 subscribers receive it. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues.
“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.” 
—Marshall McLuhan
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