Archive for the ‘writing’ Category.

Inspiration from Mo Willems

I saw a post over at BookLust linking to a Just One More Book podcast with Mo Willems, which I’m listening to right now. (Who doesn’t love Mo Willems?) Her favorite part of this interview is also my favorite part:

JOMB: So – where do you usually start?

Mo: I look at my mortgage, and that inspires me.

And, scene.

Blogging and writing and professional presence

If a blog turned book = blook, does blogging as writing = blighting?

Over at Confessions of a Science Librarian, John Dupuis says that if you don’t have a  blog, you don’t have a resume. Read part 1, part 2, and part 3. Hyperbole? A little — in part 2, he includes a quote from another blogger changing “your blog is your CV” to “Google is your CV,” which probably sums things up a bit better. But I liked (from part 2):

And if you don’t have a professional development plan, I have to say that blogging will help you define and refine your goals and interests. Believe it or not, just writing a little about a lot of different things really will help you figure out what’s important to you.

Exactly! I’d add that thinking or talking about a lot of different things will also help you figure out your priorities, but blogging is a relatively easy way to begin going about it.

I also nodded all the way through Dorothea Salo’s “Writing and Blogging,” which says, among other things:

Blogging took away the rules, allowed (even forced) me to leave myself in my writing, made me conscious of audience, and made me learn to convince. Without those things, I’d still be mired in bad presenting and worse writing.

This reminds me very much of Julia Cameron’s admonition to do “morning pages” and the general standard advice to aspiring authors: Write every day. Although blogging, unlike morning pages, is very much for an audience, it can veer between the brain-dump of “morning pages” and writing that could easily transfer to “the professional literature.” Every bit of blogging serves as that same practice that morning pages provide: Seeing what works for you, what works for your readers, and what works when you come back to it later; finding the nuggets of usefulness among everything you have to say; finding your own voice.

And, coming back to the idea of blogs — or of Google — being “your CV.” The perennial complaint about employers Googling candidates has popped up again, this time on jESSE. (Access the archives, and read the “if wikipedia is problematic, then what do we think about library employers who google their candidates?” thread from February.) The main argument this time is that this enables employers to engage in discriminatory hiring practices by finding answers to questions they would otherwise be prohibited from asking (with the usual side arguments about “how do they know they have Googled the right John Doe,” etc.).

What I first found interesting here was this argument from the original post:

If a manager makes hiring decisions based on a medium that librarians, by and large, universally disparage as an unreliable source of information, then it calls into question the manager’s core competencies as an employer. Does the manager have the skills to conduct a successful job search without resorting to sources of information that are not verifiable (such as facebook or myspace)?

I’d actually argue that it’s incumbent upon managers — especially librarian managers — to gather as much info as possible on potential candidates, including information on how they interact online (although I’d move a bit beyond Facebook and MySpace). How we present ourselves online, especially in our professional interactions on blogs or on lists, has carryover to how we’ll interact in the workplace. I would very much hope that any hiring manager would Google me, because what I have to say online and how I choose to say it translates very closely into what my workplace priorities would be. The OP also asserts that:

Finally, it is also important to note that librarians are going to look hypocritical and ineffectual if they make a stand to protect the privacy of their patrons and ignore the privacy of their employees, even if they are only potential employees.

Here’s what we tell the highschoolers: If you post it online, you don’t have an expectation of privacy. This includes the listserv message excerpted above, which I had deleted out of my email, but found again in about 10 seconds by Googling “jESSE” and accessing the archives. Look, there it is, and if I found it, potential employers (or anyone else who happens to Google that topic, that person, her institution) might well find it as well. What you say online is not private. You can quote me on that, because I’ve said it online, and here it is for all to see.

Here’s one for your collection

Sarah Palin romance novel contest

Sarah Palin is now fielding more than a dozen offers to write a book and 800 requests for interviews. But if a publisher commissioned a romance novel about her instead, how would that novel begin? (No more than five sentences, please.)

Be sure to read the comments… bad… images… seared on brain…

Been busy with NaNoWriMo?

Then, get ready to polish up your work and submit it for the Amazon breakthrough novel award this Feb.

Have an unpublished novel you know Amazon.com readers will love? Enter your manuscript in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for a chance to win a $25,000 publishing contract with Penguin Group (USA) and the distribution of your novel on Amazon.com .

And, is your library doing any NaNoWriMo programming? What a nifty and natural tie-in — if not, maybe next year!

Going to Internet Librarian 2009?

… in Monterey next month? I am, so, if you’d like to meet up, grab lunch, talk over a book idea, or just talk, drop me a line. One of the main reasons I go to these ITI conferences is to meet potential new authors. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to kick around ideas in person, so don’t be shy about taking the chance to chat if you’ve had one in the back of your mind. (Plus, they have really good food there!)

Random writing-related ramblings

This is somewhat old news, but HarperCollins has launched a new site, Authonomy, that aims to be a sort of social slushpile:

authonomy invites unpublished and self published authors to post their manuscripts for visitors to read online. Authors create their own personal page on the site to host their project – and must make at least 10,000 words available for the public to read.

Visitors to authonomy can comment on these submissions – and can personally recommend their favourites to the community. authonomy counts the number of recommendations each book receives, and uses it to rank the books on the site. It also spots which visitors consistently recommend the best books – and uses that info to rank the most influential trend spotters.

We hope the authonomy community will guide publishers straight to the freshest writing talent – and will give passionate and thoughtful readers a real chance to influence what’s on our shelves.

This site cracks me up, partially because the #2 book on their charts right now is titled Vlad the Inhaler:

Full of dark humour, Vlad the Inhaler tells of an eleven-year-old vegetarian and asthmatic hupyre (half-human/half-vampire) who has to overcome cowardice to rescue his friends.

Well, why not? If you’ve ever wanted to spot — or be noticed as — unsung new talent, here’s your chance.

And, if you need some fodder for your Authonomy submission, Debbie Ridpath Ohi today sings the praises of mining your own spam folder for character names. Talk about reuse/recycle!

Alas, poor computer media…

LJ is cutting my “Computer Media” book review column; October’s will be the last. So long, and thanks for reading! :)

Since this leaves a gaping hole in the review literature, I’m thinking of starting a new computer book review blog for librarians. To this end, if you purchase computer books for your patrons, please do me a favor and take this short survey on whether this sort of thing might be useful to you, and what you’d like to see there. (This is a little free SurveyMonkey survey limited to 100 respondents.)

Happy keyboard = happy books

If I had this keyboard, everything I wrote would be happy, happy, happy!

Now THIS is a rant…

Ever get mad at an editor? Read this for kicks and giggles (and profanity; you’ve been warned).

If you write at all

… you might appreciate this post on “MA in ‘creative’ writing.”