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Nanos and renos - and more study

Sooo ... today is officially halfway through Nanowrimo and my official word count for the month of November is ...



Didn't realise quite how time consuming the renovations would be. After all, I thought, we're not doing most of them ourselves, we're getting tradesmen in. Yeah, there'll be time to write.

Unfortunately, tradesmen ask questions. Often questions we've not thought of the answers for yet. Or the Other Half has thought of the answers but hasn't told me (or he has told me, but they're the sort of things I don't remember. For some reason my brain doesn't retain technical details of wiring, plumbing and dimensions. Give me a punctuation problem any day!)

And then there's my propensity for starting new study topics at inopportune times. I've decided to do my 4th Masters (teacher librarian) subject over the summer and also put my hand up for a short course at TAFE, where I'm working casually. Both are going to be really cool and useful subjects, but I must admit (and the Other Half would definitely agree) that my timing stinks. But it's not my fault that both courses start today!

The TAFE course is only short - about 20 hours - and is going to be right down my alley. "Instructional Design" is all about designing online courses. I've done some of this teaching in Queensland and some more this last term and a bit teaching at TAFE and have studied online myself the past 2 years now (novel writing last year and my Masters online this year). I also seeing it being really useful for hopefully getting more casual TAFE work next year and for getting permanent work again in schools once I've got my teacher librarian qualifications. I should be finished the Instructional Design course by the end of the month. (Oops! Isn't that when Nanowrimo finishes too?)

The other bit of new study is my elective unit for the Masters - "Social Networking for Information Professionals". How cool is that?! For this unit I have to (yes, HAVE TO) have a Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, LinkdIn, Flickr and Second Life account. I repeat, HOW COOL IS THAT??!! When my sister-in-law heard about it (via FB) she responded "Is it called Procrastination 101?" (I think the Other Half agrees wholeheartedly with her).

Seriously though, the subject outline says the unit is all about "the concept, theory and practice of social networking technologies within the context of libraries and work of information professionals, with a particular focus on Library 2.0 and participatory library service. This subject requires students to immerse themselves within a range of social networking enviroments, including the use of blogs, wikis, social bookmarking, Facebook, IM, Flickr, and Second Life, and evaluate their learning experiences throughout the session as both social networker and information professional."

A sudden thought - maybe I should scrap my idea about continuing my kangaroo novel for Nanowrimo and start a whole new novel about a person who gets lost in the world of tweats and posts and virtual worlds ... What do you think?

Nanoing again in 2010

This is my official notification to the world that I'm again going to do NaNoWriMo this year - in fact, starting next Monday.

Yes, I'm crazy, especially since we're also doing MAJOR renovations on our house at the moment and I'm the (for want of a better word) project manager for it. In other words, I'm the one who makes all the phone calls and does the running around. In fact, I should be doing that right now, but hell, I haven't blogged for months and months! Renos can wait for 5 minutes.

Back to NaNo - yes, I'm doing it. Maybe I'll actually make the 50,000 words this November. Maybe I won't. But if it forces me to write even a few more thousand words of my novel, that has to be good, right?

Now the only question is ...  how to tell the Other Half ... :-{


See! Punctuation is important

For those, like me, who pick up the incorrect spelling, grammar and punctuation, here's another one you will enjoy :-)

Grammar Nazis

Oh, this is good :-)

If you haven't seen the Tarantino film Inglourious Basterds (yes, that's the correct spelling - I checked!), then you won't appreciate this quite as much as I did. But if you are irritated by signs like "Photo's" and people who say "give it to him or I", then you will probably still enjoy this clip.


hehe :-)


Just five minutes more

Lately I've been head-down-bum-up reading for and writing a couple of assignments for my Masters course. I had 5,000 words to write in the past 10 days, which of course equates to lots more, because I've always got to edit down. (Wish I’d written 5,000 words on the novel instead * sigh *.) With the two deadlines looming, I'd given up checking out my favourite writing blogs and catching up with online critique groups.

The second assignment was finished in the wee small hours of Tuesday and now I have a chance to breathe. Our power was out nearly all day yesterday, so there was no internet, and besides, I needed to get out of the house for a while! But now I'm home alone for one more day (Boy Wonder is at the grandparents' place for a few days holiday), so I can at last try to catch up on Google Reader. And as always happens when I check through my favourite writing blogs and follow some links, I've found a new favourite. And some good advice.

Deadline Dames has already been added to my Google Reader list. But this post on The Five-Minute Trick was worth linking too. If you, like me, have trouble finding the time to write, then read this post. It’s all about using smokes and mirrors to trick yourself into getting things done, whether it's writing, or exercise (co-oincidentally, the post talks about both), or cleaning or whatever else takes some doing to get started on. It's not that I don't want to do those things (I even want to get the house clean, though my Other Half would scoff at that comment), but starting them is the hard part.

Just five more minutes. Tell yourself.

Oh, and I’ve got to get me one of these. I think it would make those 5 minutes just that much easier.
I confess. I'm a geek. Not quite as geeky as some (like the Other Half who is seriously addicted to all things technological), but definitely geekier than most (like most of the rest of the people I know, who for some reason think I know a lot about computers). And now I'm studying how to be even geekier. At least one day I'll get paid to use my geek-ness in my job. (Yes, a teacher librarian is definitely a geek. You should see some of the awesome web 2.0 stuff being used in education and libraries these days.)

So, two geek-related links today.

The first is to a really fun (and very 2010) project. “Romeo and Juliet” performed on Twitter – by the Royal Shakespeare Company, no less. I think I might have to join Twitter, just because of this. (I’ve resisted until now, because, let’s face it, I’m already an expert at getting distracted by shiny things on the web. I really don’t know any more reasons to procrastinate!)

The second is particularly satisfying, because it confirms something I’d already discovered. It’s a YouTube video about the “Top 5 Best Writing apps” and is both entertaining and informative. It talks about 5 great pieces of software for those of us who are writers and the pros and cons of each. Guess which one gets top spot? Yep, my own awesome discovery, “Scrivener”, which is what I’m using for my novel.

Enjoy! Maybe I’ll see you tweeting at Romeo and Juliet ;-)

Which hat do you wear on e-books?

I'm undecided on how I feel about e-books. I guess it depends on which hat I'm wearing - my writer hat or my reader hat or my (student) teacher librarian (TL) hat.

On the one hand, I see e-books as a logical progression for publishing of both information and recreational reading. As a writer I see huge potential in electronic publishing for my own writing. But as a reader I love the feel of a book in my hand and I love the portability of print - being able to lie on the sofa or sit on a bus or perch on a step or just about ANYWHERE with a book in my hand and get lost in the experience (or being able to sit in the car with a printed copy of a journal article in one hand and a highlighter in the other and make use of the hour of the Boy Wonder's tennis lesson).

Looking at e-books from a teacher librarian's point of view, I see masses of benefits for teachers and students in the easy access to e-books (once you have the appropriate technology, that is). That's a subject I've been exploring in my blog about my studies to become a TL.

Whatever you think about e-books, e-journals, e-zines and the like, they are making a huge impact on the publishing market. An interesting article at Daily Finance on Friday describes how some authors are finding it useful as a (lucrative) way of making their back catalogue available through Amazon and electronic publishers. Worth a read.

What do you think about e-books? For, against, love, hate, curious, couldn't-care-less - or undecided?


Haven't fallen off the face of the earth

No, I HAVEN'T fallen off the face of the earth.

Instead I have been:
  • travelling - (most of January in Tasmania with my family (planning to post about that soon)
  • working - a little bit as a tutor and putting my name 'out there' to do casual teaching (time to start earning my keep this year)
  • preparing for study - for a Masters of Education so as to qualify as a Teacher Librarian. I'm trying to combine the professional, the personal and the passion. What's that saying? "S/he who finds a job s/he loves will never work a day in her life" or word to that effect.

What I haven't been doing is any (creative) writing, but I hope to include that soon in my weekly routine.

So no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. But it does seem to be spinning a little more quickly at the moment and I'm trying to find my balance.

Don't you hate it when ...

... your significant other uses up monthly broadband download limit so that you're on dial-up speed for the final few days.


What I've been reading

Click on the arrows at the bottom of the Shelfari widget to see what I've been reading.

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