Writing a Book on Whatsapp -- Andrew Crofts
Although it is quite possible to keep writing during lockdowns, quarantines and the various other restrictions we are currently living under, Covid has made it hard to spend face-to-face interview time with people. If you are planning to write a full-length book with someone, it is possible to do the necessary talking via Skype, Zoom or whatever else you are comfortable with, but not as good when it comes to getting to know them and their voices thoroughly.
Needs must, however, and so I suggested to a new client who did not want to wait until after the plague times have passed before writing his book, that we utilise Skype for the purpose of him telling me his story.
“Let’s use Whatsapp,” he suggested and I did my best not to panic, only ever having used Whatsapp to communicate with my wife and children, and the occasional friend who has managed to gravitate there from text messaging.
“I’m not sure that I know how …” I started.
“It’ll be good,” he assured me, “I will just leave you voice messages.”
I reluctantly agreed, not wanting to appear unadventurous, and assuming that I could always find help with the technology later, if required. For the next twenty-four hours my phone pinged every few minutes to tell me another message had landed, and has kept pinging sporadically after that. The total is now well over a hundred and fifty voice messages and still climbing. Some of the messages are no more than a minute or two long, some stretch to ten minutes or more. The client knows his subject so thoroughly he doesn’t require me to prompt him with questions, he simply lets the thoughts flow as he has them.
It certainly isn’t a technique that
would work for everyone – most people need a great deal of coaxing and
encouraging before they are able to talk openly and freely, but it seems like a
neat adaptation of existing technology for the very specific needs of these tiresome times.