Chat Rooms

I should have been editing my novel or at least creating a cover for it, but, I needed a break so thought I would check out Forward Motion, a forum for writers.

I read the latest comments in the Indie sub directory, then accidentally clicked on Chat Rooms.

First, my browser said I needed to refresh, then it told me I had to report the error. Of course, I read the instructions on reporting errors, and decided against that. So I refreshed again, and got a chat room.


Real live people typing in a little window. Another little window listing who was visiting the room. Below the windows a field for me to type in a comment, and a button to send it to the first window. Fascinating!

I thought of all the code behind the buttons to make the program work. My mind raced with the different ways I could code the same thing; which is a left over reflex from a career as a software engineer.

They noticed I was there, and said hi.

I replied and they answered. I even recognised one of the user names from Holly’s writing site. I noticed my hands shaking, and worried I misspelt the words, so read my comments again. No, the spelling was OK.

That blew my mind. It was midday here, and I guessed it had to be night time in USA. What a rush. Talking to people half way around the world.

I decided I should leave them to talk without me watching.  After all they did not know me from Adam. Or Eve. So I said goodbye, but was not sure what to do next. I felt a panic attack coming on, but found a little button that said “Leaving Room” or something like that and clicked it.

Fascinating. Just fascinating. I calmed down and thought about what happened. I could do this. The roof did not fall in. The computer did not emit smoke. The screen did not turn black or blue. Time did not stop.

I found a second chat room, about writing, so visited it. And recognised two of the user names. We exchanged greetings, and I waited for one of them to ask a writing question. They didn’t. You know that feeling when you walk into a room and everyone stops talking. You, of course, think they were talking about you. I felt I was intruding and needed to leave. It was easy to get out the second time.

First, chat rooms have probably been around for years, but it was the first time I visited and participated.

Second, the potential. Like minded writers discussing writing. People who understand the difference between being an author and being a writer. No more leaving home and hurrying to a meeting of local writers, only to find they all wanted to chat about anything but writing.

I am hooked. Now I have to think of some questions I can ask next time I visit so I don’t come across as a dork.

I can see future meetings of Indie writers visiting the chat room at some nominated time to discuss what we are working on, latest changes in the publishing industry, new sites to list our books, scams to watch out for, etc.

Than again, we have web sites already that cover all these areas. And blogs.

So, what is the use of a chat room? Just chatting to like minded writers?

Do you use chat rooms? Why? Or why not?


4 comments so far

  1. Texanne on

    Chat rooms often fly by me, or I don’t know the rules, so make mistakes. It’s rare for me to be in one place for more than 7 or 10 minutes at a time, so asynchronicity (is that a word? spell check thinks NOT) works better for me.

    But it is cool to be online and communicating with someone so far away–and all at once, too!

    Good of you to bring this to my attention. I didn’t know there were chat rooms at FM! :)TX

    • djmills on

      I though of ways to use it. One way is as a think tank, working on a plot. One writer could suggest a situation, and other writers could suggest twists, or further conflict. But the problem would be getting the HTTS grads to all log into the chat room at the same time, considering the variable times around the world.
      Still, we have that on Holly’s site in the workgroup threads. It is just a slower process over days, rather than via the chat room taking minutes.

  2. Angela/Curiocat on

    I’m not really familiar with chat rooms either. Google has a free chat if you sign up with their email where you can speak in real time. I wonder if something like that can be used for more than two people?

    I really haven’t looked at Forward Motion that much but it would be nice to have chat rooms connected with HTTS.

    • djmills on

      Yes, I see the possibility of HTTS students discussing plots and throwing out ideas in real time, but, we can do the same thing on the HTTS boards. It is just slower.

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