If it’s at all techie, I like to do it myself. It’s my lifelong obsession. Show me a panel of buttons, an array of switches, or a bunch of code, and I’ve gotta learn how to work that thing.
When I was six, I begged for a “dashboard” for Christmas. I tore the wrapping off the cool yellow plastic replica of a car’s driver’s side dash, plopped it into the front of my red Radio Flyer, and sat behind it while I “drove” the wagon, pushing with my feet while I turned the steering wheel, twisted the knob for the windshield wipers, clicked the turn signal down and up, and pushed the cigarette lighter in and waited for it to pop out with a satisfying snap.
When I was nine, I started banging away on an old manual typewriter that my dad brought home from his law office. The keys in graduated rows! The levers! The margin tab and the indent slide! The zzzip, ding! of the carriage return!
Whenever we rent a car now, I drive my husband crazy by pushing every button, turning every dial, and pressing every switch until I know what everything does.
And probably my favorite part of working on a client’s website, yes I’m this crazy, is when I need to dive into the code to give it a cool tweak or feature; it’s so very satisfying to write a couple lines of code to alter the css (cascading style sheet), and see the font size change, or the slideshow expand to fill the screen from top to bottom, neat and tidy.
Working tech is like controlling reality. Kind of.
But this madness must stop somewhere, and it did for me last week when I started to create some new videos to promote Women At Woodstock on Facebook and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, I love making videos. I’ve created many dozens since I started promoting our gatherings eight years ago, and I enjoy the whole process.
But last week, I looked through my portfolio of “video work” and I thought to myself, “Uh, let’s be honest. They’re OK. But they’re not great.” I mean, I’ve learned tons of ways to control transitions, speed, audio tracks, title slides, blah blah blah. But in all honesty, I’m just not that talented at it.
Ouch, it hurts to say that.
So I faced the fact that it’s time to delegate this task to someone else who’s better at it than I am.
It’s kind of like sawing off my own arm, but there it is.
Who though, could I turn to?
Suddenly I remembered a video that Women At Woodstock alum (and fellow techie) Laura E. Kelly had shown me awhile ago; she made it for the home page of her website, Laura-e-Kelly. It was way beyond what I was capable of doing. I went to her website and watched it again. Yeah, way better. Then another sample of her work down at the bottom of the screen caught my eye; “An Author Talks to Publisher,” a snarky video skewering the publishing industry. She created it when her husband, Warren Berger’s first book, A More Beautiful Question, was published. I clicked play, and proceeded to spend the next three and a half minutes laughing out loud. Genius!
I picked up the phone. “Laura, you’ve gotta help me,” I cried.
So I’ve given up on video tech. And I know it’s for the good. Let’s see what happens.