ChatGPT: A New Tool in My Creative Writing Journey

The last couple of months have been pretty exciting. I left my 2nd job at the public library (which I very much miss) and began to revel in the simple pleasure of two days off in a row. That meant spending one day doing all of life’s maintenance tasks and the other day enjoying leisure time. It felt a bit decadent. And I began to explore my abilities as an editor and found my confidence growing.

Amid that, after hearing about ChatGPT for months, I was feeling very angry that it existed. I hadn’t even wanted to sign up for it because I didn’t want my email associated with it. I was a writer!!!! A creative!!!!

But I dipped in one toe. I asked it silly questions like, “Can you fix my life?” and of course, it could not. “How can I meet Hugh Jackman?” It told me to buy a ticket to a Meet and Greet. Uh… no. But then, one day, I asked it to give me the plot of a bestseller, which gave me a very interesting story. I didn’t like all of it, but I liked parts, and suddenly I realized that ChatGPT was really useful as a prompt generator. Here, with ChatGPT, after a long fallow period, I had a prompt that sent my creativity soaring. I am almost 7,000 words into this book, a genre I’ve never written in – mystery/thriller/romance. It’s fun; the only thing holding back my progress is having time to work on it.

I know Artificial Intelligence can be badly misused. I have heard how it can replicate a voice and scam a loved one into sending money. I have heard about all those charlatans writing 100% A.I.-generated novels and making a killing. I know it could potentially eliminate my very purpose for existence. Who needs a writer or an editor when ChatGPT can provide both services? But knowing all that isn’t going to stop it.

Change is inevitable. Looking ahead, I saw this massive A.I. wave of change crashing down on me and knew either I could let it bury me, tossing me underwater until I drowned, or I could learn to ride it and, with some luck, come out of the barrel in one piece.

Suddenly I wanted to know more. So I searched Udemy, and there were courses there to teach you how to use this newfangled technology. Ever since, I have been in a flurry of dementia-delaying learning. It is a playground that leaves me marveling each day at the possibilities around me. My initial naiveté that it held all the wisdom of humanity has been replaced with the wisdom that it holds all the knowledge of the Internet, which is a vastly different thing. It definitely needs human supervision.

Even so, I feel like I have been waiting my whole life to have this tool at my disposal. It feels like there is no vision I can’t explore – no idea I can’t communicate. Sleeping is challenging some nights because of the possibilities ping-ponging through my brain.

I have so much more to learn. I wish I had enough disposable income to do nothing but explore this new technology and the creativity it is unleashing. I am still terrified of it. There is so much evil that can be done with it. But I am also fascinated.

Of course, the scammers, the liars, the cheats, and the posers will find a tool like this infinitely valuable for creating the illusion that they have talent. Those intent on A.I. misuse or those lacking A.I. ethics have the potential to harm society without regulation. But those with talent will find the A.I. writing tools valuable in unchaining them from the drudgery of research, and it will give them leaps in creative directions they might not have otherwise undertaken.

I still have some learning to do, but I am well on my way to becoming a Priestess of A.I. What a hoot.

The Facts?

A quick update on the book… the major editing is done. Now it’s being proofed. The next step in the process is to edit and improve the synopses for each book in the trilogy and follow that with a killer query letter — one that makes the agents beg to read my manuscript.

Just in case nobody wants to read my stories, I am beginning to work on plan C. Plan A – Screenwriting. Plan B – Novel writing. Plan C – ?? I enjoy the place and people I work with so much, that it would make sense to try to increase my hours there. Over the next year I plan to get a couple of certifications that will allow me to teach some classes, and I have an idea that would add a new service to our fitness studio. Hopefully I will manage to keep a roof over my head somehow.

Of course, after the election I may have a harder time doing that. With one candidate, it’s likely I’ll be stripped of access to healthcare. I will likely have to quit a job I love, one that benefits society, in order to find a meaningless, corporate job whose sole purpose is to make rich people richer but that provides enough hours to give me insurance. Or I will just have to be a 52 year old woman without insurance, and hopefully I’ll get sick and die quickly, so as not to burden my fellow citizens.

I’m doing my best to fight the anxiety, but I can’t deny that I am terrified about Tuesday.  One thing I’ve gained is compassion for the people of Germany. I used to wonder how they could have let it happen and judged them for their apathy. I get it now. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how loudly you scream.

Though, according to political scientists, Trump is actually closer to Mussolini than Hitler. And, he can’t truly be called a fascist because he doesn’t control his own military. However, what they also pointed out was that the same fertile soil that grew this authoritarian is the same soil that grows fascists. That we could see Trump fade away only to be replaced by something much, much, much worse.

One thing we definitely need to correct this situation are journalists who report the facts. Though, on a side note, it’s frightening to see the same people who go rabid about the 2nd amendment yet are all too willing to abolish the 1st amendment. I guess they only love the parts of the constitution that fit with their worldview. And what better way to hang on to that worldview than to silence anyone who disagrees with it.

Anyway, right now, if you are a conservative, you watch and read news with one set of facts presented by people who agree with you, and if you’re a progressive, you watch and read news reported by those who agree with you. So, you can have one event, and two people can believe completely different facts about it.

For example. In the last day, Trump has relished in telling the story of how Obama screamed at a Trump supporter in his audience. He said, “Obama today spoke in front of a much smaller crowd than this, by the way, and there was a protester. And a protester that likes us. And what happened is they wouldn’t put the cameras on him. They kept the cameras on Obama. And I said, ‘That’s strange.’ You saw it today on television, right?

He was talking to the protester — screaming at him, really screaming at him. By the way, if I spoke the way Obama spoke to that protester, they would say, ‘He became unhinged! He became —’ You have to go back and look and study. And see what happened. They never moved the camera. And he spent so much time screaming at this protester and, frankly, it was a disgrace.”

That’s Trump’s view of events. And the problem is, because it came out of his mouth, his supporters believe him without question. They don’t need to look it up. It doesn’t matter how many times you point out the facts, they will always just scream back, “Is to! Nanny nanny boo boo!” Just like now after Trump said the FBI had found the mother lode of Hillary emails, it makes no difference that the FBI says there’s nothing there. Trump said it, it’s true.

Now, just so you can see for yourself, here’s what really happened:

Unhinged? A disgrace? If it wasn’t so frightening it would be a little funny how almost every single one of Trump’s accusations against his opponents highlight his own flaws. I consider encouraging your supporters to attack protesters and offering to pay their legal bills is unhinged and disgraceful.

Yet, conservatives only saw Trump’s version, because that’s what places like Fox News covered, and everyone else saw both versions. The point is, when 1/2 of Americans are getting one set of “facts” and the other half is getting another, how do we ever figured this mess out? We won’t. We’ll just keep fighting each other while the 1% cleans up.

I don’t know what to say anymore. This entire election has become mind numbing. Soul numbing. Everything numbing.

When we can’t even share the facts, how do we share a country?