Pay It Forward: Sharing Your Story on Medium

Even when a pesky projector and your imposter syndrome don’t want you to

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Image of a light skinned femme on the left with purple and grey hair, dark eyes and red lipstick. Right is dark grey with white writing that says “Pay It Forward: Sharing Your Story on Medium with Cakelin Marquardt”. Oh hey, that’s me!

I gave a talk this past Tuesday for Madison Women in Tech on writing for Medium. The space I was hosting in had a deceptively simple projector setup. I’ve heard from other developers that tech breaks around us and this was no exception. It logged me out, displaying an IP address with a code and none of us could figure out how to get in. Many buttons were pushed.

Thankfully, my Madison Women in Tech co-organizer Hilary was there and with a can-do attitude whipped out her laptop. Which was very fortunate, as I was definitely in more of a can’t-do or can-don’t place. We all got in a circle looking at mine or hers. A much less stressful way to present if you are, like me and several billion other humans, not into public speaking. Still, I kind of felt like it didn’t count. I’m never the level of prepared I want to be and wonkiness like this follows me around like a less cool groupie.

At one point, it came up that I’ve only published on Medium once and I felt like a bit of a fraud. I explained it away as wanting to share as a beginner, to convince myself as much as anyone else. Really I’m not always sure what’s holding me back from posting there more. I think it’s feeling done enough to ask other people for edits. Working on asking people for things or help is one of my 2019 goals. Since it’s already the summer solstice, I’m hoping my asking skills are on an exponential trajectory.

The delay in publishing could also possibly be that I am intimidated by applying to publications. There you go, y’all can throw half my whole presentation away 😂. I’ll put it on SlideShare just in case:

I was lucky in that I had a delightful audience full of complexity and feedback. WiTsters (Women in Tech members) are great! I also got some Meetup messages from people who would miss the talk and were interested in slides, links or a future talk. Including from a fellow spoonie, which I’m always excited about.

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Originally published at on June 22, 2019.

Written by

I write for machines and humans. Developer, biochemist, disabled, Buddhist, queer. Into policy, poetry, data rights, cognition research & tech diversity.

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