Saving Frequently Isn’t The Only Way To Backup Your Writing

This Week In Writing, we take a hard lesson from the latest Twitter/X hijinks. Plus, we look at what “human writing” means.

Saving Frequently Isn’t The Only Way To Backup Your Writing
Photo by Steve Johnson / Unsplash

But first, join me for a live chat on writing this Saturday!

I'm hosting a Medium Day session called The Write Stuff: Writing on Medium and The Writing Cooperative Q&A at 10:00 am EST. The session will be live and give you a chance to get your questions answered!

I'll start the session with a quick update on The Writing Cooperative and what I look for in submissions. Then, the floor is yours to discuss whatever you want. If you have questions on writing, Medium, the publication, this newsletter, AI, my publishing strategy... whatever you want to talk about. I'll give you the best answers I possibly can in the time available.

To sign up, register for Medium Day and then look for my session in the list. There are over 200 sessions available covering all kinds of awesome topics. Here are the sessions I'm excited about:

  • Writing About Movies for Fun and Profit with Eric Pierce, Simon Dillon, Shelia Moeschen, and Sarah Paris (9:30 am)
  • How to Use Medium To Build a Writing Portfolio with Zulie Rane, Sinem Günel, and Amardeep Parmar (9:30 am)
  • The Write Stuff: Writing on Medium and The Writing Cooperative Q&A (10:00 am)
  • Medium Keynote Address with Tony Stubblebine (12:00 pm)
  • From Blog To Book: How These Medium Writers Made That Journey with Kaki Okumura, Benjamin Sledge, Julio Vincent Gambuto, and Harris Sockel (2:00 pm)
  • Rewiliding Your Attention with Clive Thompson (3:30 pm)
  • Against Enshittification: A Plan To Seize The Means Of Computation, Kill The Platforms, And Restore The Old, Good Internet with Cory Doctorow (7:00 pm)

There are SO many great sessions to choose from! The free conference runs from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm EST. You can access everything, including my session, by registering for Medium Day. See you on Saturday!

Elon Musk Proved My Point

If you've been reading my stuff for the last few months, you're well aware of my stance on maintaining control of your content.

The long and the short of it is that I think platforms are dying. Twitter was the first to fall, Substack showed it's on pretty shaky ground, and Reddit was completely shut down by users. My ongoing thesis is that our writing shouldn't only be on a platform we can't control.

Elon Musk proved the point last week.

Longtime Twitter (nee, X) user @music found he could no longer access the account. Musk and Co. repossessed the username for whatever purposes they have in the future. The account's former owner, Jeremy Vaught, was only given a few options to choose from for a new username. Pretty gross.

The situation proves that most platforms are highly problematic for anyone investing time to build an audience. Medium and Substack make it explicitly clear that you own your words, which is great. However, both platforms make it clear that violations of their terms and policies can cause your account to go away. Which I'm all for! BUT, you might not be.

While the @music situation is unfortunate, it highlights that when you use a platform, you abide by its rules whether you know them or not. Twitter/X terms state it can repossess usernames. So, they did.

While an entirely different situation, it's similar to the classic Taylor Swift story. She's rerecording every song she's ever written because she doesn't own any originals. Knowing what's in those pesky agreements is pretty important for creators of all kinds.

Using a platform by posting your content means you're beholden to its rules and decisions. If you're not careful, that can cause a loss of your hard work. It's why I've been advocating for a resurgence of personal websites. Me? I use Ghost.

Medium Shuts Down AI

Last week, Medium doubled down on "Human Writing." I mean, talk about good stuff! I want to read people's opinions in their voices, not something churned out by a robot without any concept of emotion or pacing.

A few days later, Medium's VP of Content Scott Lamb expounded on what makes writing human.

There’s an element of discovery in the process of writing, and of surprise. You find yourself realizing what you think, and understanding yourself differently than before. AI-generated tools can provide surprise, but being surprised by yourself is a different act of discovery that being surprised by what a model returns to a prompt.

There are times I hate the writing process. Hell, you're reading this on Thursday because I simply could not get it together for the normal Tuesday schedule this week. But I also really love the writing process for all the reasons Scott mentioned.

Writing unveils ourselves and creates a way to share with the world. Writing is beautiful and scary and revealing and humbling all at the same time. Writing is how I get to connect with you (almost) every week and how I invite you to connect with me.

AI might have a place as a tool in your workflow, but it shouldn't replace the workflow. That's the method to churn out content. And, let's be honest, no one really cares about content.

There's no doubt that AI is changing the world. But if that change is to one where more human voices are elevated, I'm all for it. Be the complete and authentic you, with your voice and your words.