Digital Writing Marathon… Oh the Possibilities

Digital Writing Marathon… Oh the Possibilities

I have been thinking about the Digital Writing Marathon that our Tech. Institute went on yesterday as part of Diana’s TWIP. After having been on dozens (I tried to count yesterday) of marathons, I’m trying to bring some perspective to the concept of adding technology to the marathons. What are the possibilities and what are the consequences?

My mind immediately jumped to the possibilities of truly incorporating technology into writing marathons. I was thinking of doing a virtual marathon where people use Google Hangouts in different places, across the world, agreeing on a time to write and then a time to connect. I am going to make this a goal for next year with my creative writing class.

Another option would be to share just text without the video or audio. Connect using Google docs. You could do this simultaneously or just over a given time with. Does a writing marathon have to be synchronous?

We had discussed doing a completely virtual marathon by traveling to places via technology. Taking virtual tours of cities and spaces and then writing online. We could use a map app and add writing at each virtual space. Google maps works for this, but it is clumsy. Finding the perfect app for this type of work would help make this a workable idea.

As for our marathon, I took a pad and pen and my iPad. I wrote in my pad at the first stop. After listening to Darin’s essay which he composed on his Mac, I wanted to use my iPad to type. I realized that I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with my thoughts. So at the next stop, I found an app called Click and Write. I took a snapshot of my environment and then wrote about it. The problem with this was that my iPad died 2/3 of the way through the marathon, so I lost what I had written and when time came to share, I couldn’t. I noticed that Emily also had a battery problem. Power is always a concern with digital as is connectivity.

If we did launch a truly digital marathon, I think it would have to be with people who embrace technology and we’d have to map out places with wifi and power sources. I think this would take a bit more planning, but it would be neat to try a variety of marathons.

We could use the digital marathon concept to link up with people in the rural parts of Nebraska who want to be a part of our marathons, but who cannot travel. Maybe we could have one group agree to be digital and take on digital members from wherever. This is a definite possibility. I think that experimenting with different modes and mediums could make digital a fruitful part of the writing marathon model. I know that some will balk at the idea of incorporating digital mediums into such an organic experience, but it doesn’t hurt to try, right?


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