Did you have your events cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic?
Good news! There are many positives you can gain from building digital communities and attending virtual events.
For Marianne Chan, the Filipino-American author of All Heathens, virtual events allowed her to work with people she wouldn’t have otherwise had an opportunity to meet. They were not only from all over the country, but also from different parts of the world like the UK and Spain.
One of the notable people she worked with was the Singaporean author of The Experiments of the Tropics, Lawrence Ypill. He is a Cebuano poet; someone with roots from Marianne’s hometown in Philippines. Working with someone so close to home and whom her target audience of Filipino-American writers could connect to was a huge bonus for her.
Chat rooms are another positive of virtual events. They are a great way to see what your audience is feeling about your work in real time and connect with them.
Keith Kopka, the author of Count Four, noticed an increase in the rate of correspondence via emails during the pandemic. When you can’t meet people in person, he noticed that they responded faster than they would had they been less isolated.
People are also reaching out and trying to find more community in the digital. So being able to build these friendships and connections that would hopefully come to fruition in person someday has been a really interesting side effect of the pandemic.
For very rural writers like Julia Bouwsma though, social isolation was nothing new. Being able to relate to a world that was experiencing it, and watching people find sideways to build communities to come together was very exciting.
Virtual events were also a first for many rural writers. They could participate in more readings and events than they usually did.
So until the pandemic ends and we meet physically again, let’s relish these positives of virtual events and build a community that will help us propel our journey forward!
Shafeeka Hafeez grew up escaping into a world of books where she discovered a love for writing and a fascination with trees. When she’s not taking up a new marketing skill, or typing out a blog post, you can find her Googling the best therapy for abandoned cats.
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