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1. Invisible boundaries and social media - C.J. Busby

A few weeks ago, a young American first-time author, Kathleen Hale, unleashed a bit of a social media storm by publishing a piece in The Guardian about the increasingly vexed online relationship between authors and bloggers. The article (here) which ran in the Saturday magazine, detailed how she became obsessed by one of her online critics, a blogger called Blythe Harris. When Hale engaged with Blythe's criticism's of her book (despite the many, many warnings she received that authors should not answer back to bad reviews), Blythe and many of her fellow bloggers apparently turned on her and Hale found herself labelled a BBA - a badly behaved author. For Hale (and I should emphasise that we only get Hale's perspective on what happened here), Blythe was wilfully malicious, ruining the reception of her book, and using her clique of friends and fellow bloggers to trash Hale's reputation. In return, Hale details her own increasing obsession with Blythe - an obsession which rapidly moved from what she termed 'light stalking' (gathering any and every detail she could from Blythe's online presence) to what by any standards is just plain stalking - using subterfuge to gain access to Blythe's real-life identity, workplace address and home address.



It's a sorry tale, and I'm not going to rehash the Hale case here, but it did make me think about the business of social media, writers, bloggers and boundaries. Authors, as Hale notes, are encouraged to get online and have a social media presence, but their natural audience, book bloggers and fans, seem quite often to resent authors turning up on their turf and, as they see it, throwing their weight around. A while ago, as a bit of a newbie author, I brushed up against a similar controversy when I noticed an online discussion on a book blogger's site about one of Ben Aaronovitch's Rivers of London series.



I'm a bit of a fan of this series, and was interested to see that the author had stopped by and commented, explaining where some of the features the blogger was discussing had come from in the writing process. It was (I thought) a perfectly polite contribution, and not in the least critical of her analysis, simply adding a bit of background information. But it caused an immediate storm, in which I was very slightly caught up, having added a comment of my own about the strange ways the writing process worked. For some of the following commentators, writers were simply not welcome on a book blogging site - they were guilty of abusing the power they had as authors to dominate a space that was not for them. Book blogs and fan sites should be considered a space for fans and book lovers to freely express themselves and not somewhere authors should feel free to gatecrash.

It was all resolved fairly amicably - Ben Aaronovitch backed down with a bit of grumbling, and I apologised profusely for being new to all this and not understanding the rules of the game. But the Hale article did bring this experience back to me.

What both examples make clear, I think, is that engaging in discussion with other people on social media is now the easiest thing in the world to do, but that it's also potentially perilous - what seems to be a simple opening gambit in a conversation can quickly become a reason for several people you've never met to decide they hate you. And thinking about why this is, made me realise that it's partly about the lack of social clues we have online.

Picture this: an author walks into a cafe, orders a coffee, and then realises that at the table next to him are six women, clearly friends, all discussing why they don't really like his new book. He would have to be completely mad or utterly self-obsessed to lean across and say, "Excuse me, ladies, that point you've just made is very interesting, but as the author, I'd have to say you've misunderstood my intention...." More likely, he'd hide behind a newspaper, or slink out. It's not his place to push into a group which is clearly bounded by longstanding interactions and mutual exchange of opinions. On the web, though, it's hard to see those boundaries, easier to think this is a discussion open to anyone who happens to wander past.

We've probably all had the experience of adding comments on a forum discussion, only to have what we've said utterly ignored as the next commentator simply replies to the one before you, and the next one carries on as if you never said anything. It feels like a snub (it is a snub) - but if this were real life, the group discussing this burning issue would be that bunch of students who always occupy the table in the corner of the canteen, looking daggers at anyone who even thinks about sitting next to them - and we wouldn't be in the least surprised if they ignored our comment. (We'd almost certainly never make it in the first place.)

Would you interrupt the conversation?

As social animals, we have built up over generations the ability to detect the smallest social clues about other people and groups around us. The kinds of interaction we engage in with other people are largely determined by our previous interactions with them, their status as friends or family or work colleagues. Even with total strangers we can use visible clues like dress, body language, expression, context, to judge what is or isn't appropriate. All these help us to 'see' the boundaries that we would be transgressing and the trouble we could be causing if we were to be, for example, inappropriately intimate or aggressive or opinionated.

The trouble with social media is these clues are just not there. We've only had access to this multitude of potential conversations with strangers  for a very short time, and people appear on it as little more than speech. Speech which is devoid of accents, of voice, of clues about who this person is. It's like wandering in a dark fog, listening to many voices all talking at random - but the people behind the voices are invisible. So we have to make guesses about what kinds of people they are, and whether we are gatecrashing through an invisible boundary, or striking up a conversation with someone genuinely interested in talking to us.

Those speaking to each other on a forum, a blog, on Goodreads, can appear as simply a bunch of individuals interested in the same topic, a bunch of reasonable, open individuals who would welcome a newcomer to their midst. Sometimes that is exactly what they are. But sometimes, the invisible boundaries are as fierce as barbed wire, and we cross them at our peril.

The way invisible boundaries are so difficult to negotiate sometimes makes me want to give up on all forms of online interaction. Like Liz Kessler, who posted recently about social media on ABBA (here), I have considered just ditching all of it in favour of interactions in real life only. But, in the end, I don't, because so far I've managed to negotiate those boundaries more or less unscathed, and in the process I've 'met' some really brilliant people (some of whom I've gone on to really meet).

The fact is, most people on social media ARE open, engaged, reasonable and friendly, and, if you transgress an invisible boundary, they are usually polite enough to just inform you gently that you're in the wrong place. But I do think it's important to be aware that just because those boundaries are invisible, doesn't mean they are not there - and when you find a clear notice that says "Authors (or whoever) are Not Welcome Beyond this Point", it probably pays to respect it.




C.J. Busby writes funny, fast-paced fantasy for children aged 7-12. Her latest books, Dragon Amber, is published by Templar.

www.cjbusby.co.uk

@ceciliabusby







0 Comments on Invisible boundaries and social media - C.J. Busby as of 11/6/2014 1:01:00 AM
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2. Blogging Freehand

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I’ve been online since April, 1995. Quit my job at HarperCollins, bought a modem, unwrapped one of those AOL starter disks that were ubiquitous in the middle of that decade, created an account—screen name LissaNY—and I was off and running. After my free trial ran out, I think we had something like five hours of dialup a week? Ten, twelve at most? Does that sound right? Whatever the cheapest package was.

Not long after that, Scott’s company (DC Comics, subsidiary of Time Warner, which bought AOL) gave all employees a free AOL account with unlimited minutes. His screen name was StratNY, in honor of his Stratocaster. I spent a lot of time on that account, reading the pregnancy and new baby boards, waiting for Jane to arrive. She was two weeks late. By the time she was born, I had a network of invisible friends—many of whom are still friends to this very day. One by one, we delivered our babies and moved to the Baby’s Here, Now What? board. After a while, we jumped to a listserv—this big group of us who’d had babies within a four- or five-month window. Nineteen years later, more than a dozen of those women are still chatting via email every single day. On Facebook, too, but mostly on the list. We’ve met in person, in various configurations, numerous times. Our babies are in college now.

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There was a big schism on the listserv around the time Jane was 18 months old. A lot of women left, and I’ve lost track of most of them. I still remember things they wrote, though, back in those days. I remember the names of their kids. When Jane was diagnosed with leukemia at 21 months, a big group of the women who’d left our original list joined forces to send us a giant box of treats from Zabar’s. Several friends from the original list visited me in the hospital, traveling from New Jersey, Boston, and even Chicago. Another woman we knew on AOL, though I don’t think she was part of the listserv, died of complications after childbirth, so horrifying, and we all made squares for a quilt for the baby. I guess that would have been before the schism, because I remember one of the departees, a New Yorker, being interviewed on the TV news about the group effort for the quilt. They shot footage of her sitting at her computer, typing a post to our group. It was such a novelty then, newsworthy, all these strangers behaving like friends. I’m not sure the reporter was convinced we actually were friends.

We are, though.

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Somewhere in my first few months of being online, I began poking around the education boards. People were already asking us where we planned to send the baby to school. School? I was still trying to master the art of burping her. I flailed around a bit, reading about private vs private and whatnot, and then suddenly I discovered the homeschooling boards and our lives were never to be the same. Home Education Magazine was active on the AOL hs’ing boards back then—moderated them or something like that—and I remember Helen Hegener being a presence. And Sandra Dodd, whose kids were pretty young at the time, but she was already speaking with conviction and wisdom. Pam Sarooshian was another voice who stuck out. I seldom chimed in, I was mostly reading while nursing my infant, but boy howdy was I taking notes, mental and otherwise. I subscribed to Growing Without Schooling magazine and ordered a bunch of back issues to boot. To my mind, GWS prefigures homeschooling blogs—all those parents writing in to share details about their families’ learning adventures. I always cite John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, Charlotte Mason, and Sandra Dodd as the big influences on my ideas about home education, but probably the greatest influence was GWS: reading dozens of letters by parents in the trenches about the myriad ways their kids were learning outside school. That magazine was a revelation. OH I SEE, was my overwhelming response to the first issue I read. I GET IT. THIS IS FOR US.

I made a friend on the AOL hs’ing boards, Pam, whose son had the same birthday as Jane. We were in close daily touch for years, and when Jane got sick Pam sent the most amazing gifts for the hospital. A little box of things from nature—driftwood, beeswax, beans, seeds—pieces of nature Jane could touch and smell from her bed. We still have it, all those beans and twigs intact. There was a vanilla bean, too, inside a corked tube; I remember how its lovely scent would rise above the smell of betadine and latex. Pam also made a little comb-bound, laminated book full of pictures of road signs. Her son loved street signs and she thought Jane might enjoy them too. She did, she read that book—I almost said “to pieces” except it was so well constructed it, too, is still intact.

janeinhospital

A year or so later, I found yahoogroups and joined a whole bunch of homeschooling lists. Friends I made there, too, are still with me. Like, really with me, besties. One of them became Huck’s godmother. Eventually email lists became discussion boards (and fraught with endless drama), and bit by bit some of those faded to silence as many of us migrated to blogs and, later, Facebook. Other boards are still active, and I’m the one who faded away. I moved here, to my little homestead on the internet. January will be ten years. I built my first website the summer before I started the blog, so that’s ten years ago exactly.

Blogs brought new friends. Most of you who comment regularly here are friends given to me by Bonny Glen. Sometimes I go back and reread a friend’s blog from the beginning, if the archives are public. What heady days those were! Sharing with abandon, forming blog-rings so we could hop from one to the next in a long, delightful chain. I miss blog-rings! The little “previous | next | random” links at the bottom of the page. I was crazy about that “random” feature—it was like a teleporter. Click! Here I am in someone’s kitchen! Look, she’s making a pie!

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I was thinking about the early days today because I had it in my head to write a post called “Things I’ve Learned About My Online Life.” Number 1 was: BLOG FIRST. (I never got to number 2.) This struck me because I’m realizing I turned my old writing pattern upside down, and it’s got me feeling unsettled and less productive. In the early days—years—I used the blog as my transition from Mom time to Writer time. Writing about the kids (i.e., about momming) for 20 minutes helped me shift from one mode to the other. By the end of a post, I was fully in writing mode and could turn my attention to the next chapter of Martha or Charlotte. It was a pattern that worked beautifully for me, through many novels.

Now my online time is splintered between many activities—editing, researching, banking, socializing, writing, blogging, taking classes, watching compilations of 80s commercials (you know, important stuff)—and I’ve begun to feel wistful about the simpler days of yore. Olden times, when I was astonishingly productive, writing posts for not one but as many as FOUR blogs (Bonny Glen, Lilting House, daily notes, private family blog), two fat historical novels and several early readers a year, dozens of freelance articles, and thousands of words a week in discussions of homeschooling methods and philosophy. Good gravy, that was a lot of writing.

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WordPress tells me I’ve published 3,081 posts here at Bonny Glen. That tally includes Lilting House, too, which I folded into this site when ClubMom shut down. I can’t begin to guess how many words that is, especially if you add in the lengthy replies I used to make in the comments. Hundreds of thousands. (ETA: Scott, doing some quick math, reckons I’ve posted upwards of two MILLION words here. Yow.) Enough for a book, several books probably. I have it in mind to collect some essays from the site for a book on tidal homeschooling at some point, a mix of new content and old posts. The trouble is, whenever I start to work on it, I find myself wanting to turn each new essay into a post instead—blogging spoils you with the instant readership, the immediate connections. Writing about tidal homeschooling without all of you chiming in in the comments feels so lonely!

And yet I’d like to persevere and make it happen. Sometimes I think the book I’d like to write isn’t about homeschooling—it’s about the online life, about these text-first connections that become real relationships. Or, well, what I’d really like is to write both books. I got my first baby and my first modem in the same month. (Practically.) I don’t know, have not experienced, motherhood separate from the internet. There’s a story there. New parents now give thought to the Google-factor when naming their babies; some parents buy domain names and lock down gmail addresses even before the child is born. That’s practical, I get it. But I realize I and some of my friends—some of —occupy this narrow, unique sliver of parenthood: the space belonging to the parents who got online first. We didn’t know (or hardly experienced) parenting without the internet. But we grew up without it, and we remember what a world-shift coming online was for us. We may have as many friends online as off. We’ve watched each other’s children grow up through the word-pictures we sketched on discussion boards and elists, the photos we pepper our social media feeds with, and—integrating words and pictures—on our blogs.

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Blog first, I’m telling myself. Not with agenda, not toward any purpose other than chronicling the adventure and integrating the two dominant sides of myself. The mother, the writer. “Blogger” is such an unlovely word but it strikes me that it more than any other identifier unites those two parts of me. My blog pulls all my pieces together. It’s the home ground I return to after venturing out into new worlds. I suppose I should have thought up this post five months from now, on its tenth anniversary. But if I’ve learned anything from blogging, it’s: Write it down today, while the thought is fresh. Scheduling a topic for later turns the post into an assignment, which dramatically lowers the odds of its eventual completion. (I really am working on getting that habits post up, though!)

There! It took me all those words to figure out what I needed to know. Blog first—that’s the thought I began with. Blog fresh—that’s what my brain was trying to puzzle out. Blog lightly, in a manner of speaking—not in the sense of avoiding deep or serious topics, but without that sense of pressure and polish that rules the rest of my writing life. So now I guess I’ve gone and written a New Year’s Resolution five months early, too. Blog freehand. How funny this is—I didn’t even know I needed to give myself a talking-to!

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3. Blogging Mistakes

Don't make these mistakes on your author blog. 

http://annerallen.blogspot.com/2012/09/top-10-self-sabotaging-mistakes-of.html

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4. YALC and the Beauty of Bloggers - Lucy Coats


Last Saturday I found myself in the company of Wookies, Jedi, sundry Game of Thrones characters, Spidermen, ogres (male and female) and a raft of other bedecked and be-axed cosplayers. I also had the pleasure of meeting some of the many wonderful YA bloggers I chat to and follow online. Yes, this was the mad and crazy glory that was the UK's first ever Young Adult Literature Convention (mixed with lashings of ComicCon). The Daily Telegraph deemed it a hit - and barring a few gripes about the nightmare queues, the heat, the lack of seating, the audio-fails and the heaving walls of bodies blocking the way to the book lecture stage (all dying to have their photo taken with Marvelmeister Stan Lee), I loved every minute. The whole thing was dreamed up by Booktrust and our very own Children's Laureate, Malorie Blackman, and I think we should all stand up and cheer her to the steel rafters that only just kept the roof on Earls Court (the noise was ear-tingling). Much has been written about the brilliant panels and workshops elsewhere, but I want to focus on something else. Yes, those book bloggers.

With much of the newspaper industry (the Guardian being an honourable exception) giving less and less review coverage to children's and YA books, the book bloggers are our enthusiastic champions, and we need to recognise the HUGE amounts of unpaid time and energy they put into reading and then writing about our neck of the literary woods. They tweet, they discuss, they get the word out there, and I think we owe them all a great debt of gratitude - including our very own Awfully Big Review team, of course!

The post-conference 'For the Fringe' party (organised by the indomitable Sophia Bennett) was a marvellous mix of authors and bloggers - @YaYeahYeah, @Serendipity_Viv, @JessHeartsBooks, @Splendibird, @RachReviewsAll, @carlybennett, @lynseynewton...er, in fact far too many to name-check them all here  - and the level of knowledgeable bookish chat was off the scale. To meet so many enthusiastic readers was a shot in the arm for all the authors who were there, I think - and I was kept busy scribbling down new blogsites and book recommendations as well as chatting till I thought my tongue would drop off.

Another thing I discovered at YALC was The Siobhan Dowd Trust in action. Actually, I discovered it before I even got there, while I was still on the tube. Overhearing a group of teenagers enthusing excitedly about their favourite authors (quite a lot of screaming) was another shot in the arm - and I later discovered from their librarian that they were from a Manchester school, and that their trip had been funded by the SDT. They weren't the only ones either. I found more while listening to one of the panels. They were the ones at the front, grabbing the microphone to ask intelligent and insightful questions of the panel members. This is the wonderful thing about the SDT - they give bookish kids opportunities they might not otherwise have had.

Altogether, YALC was a real eye-opener. The power of books and reading to inspire was demonstrated on a grand scale there - and while some may have felt that ComicCon was not quite the right place to have it, personally, I thought it gave the whole thing added 'buzz'. I really do hope it happens again in 2015 - I'm already planning an Egyptian costume. Be very afraid!

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5. We Are Living in a First-Draft World



The late David Markson did not have a computer. In March 2004, Laura Sims told him that there were things written about him on blogs. He replied:
NO, I've no idea what a Blog is. BLOG?
Sims sent him print-outs:
Hey, thank you for all that blog stuff but forgive me if after a nine-minute glance I have torn it all up. I bless your furry little heart, but please don't send any more. In spite of the lost conveniences, I am all the more glad I don't have a computer.

HOW CAN PEOPLE LIVE IN THAT FIRST-DRAFT WORLD?

They make a statement about my background, there's an error in it. They quote from a book, and they leave out a key line. They repudiate a statement of fact I've made, without checking, ergo announcing I'm a fake when the statement is 100% correct. Etc., etc., etc. Gawd.

I have just taken the sheets out of the trash basket & torn them into even smaller pieces.
 From the wonderful little book Fare Forward: Letters from David Markson, edited by Laura Sims.

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6. Online Contests

One of the hardest parts of the writing process for me is finally submitting to agents. This entails crafting the dreaded query letter and subjecting oneself to the agony of rejection and waiting. For some lucky ones, query misery lasts a few days or months. For others, i's a much longer process, at least if the writer is pursuing traditional publishing, which I am.

One wonderful alternative to querying are online contests. Mind you, they won't let you off the hook of writing a query letter. In fact, in most of them, a query is essential. In most contests, the point is to submit a killer query or pitch or first page, or all three of them.

I've been on Twitter for a while, and every few months, I heard calls for #PitchMadness, #Pitchmass, #QueryKombat, and The Writer's Voice, among others. Every time I saw them, I vowed to inform myself a little better for the next time I had the chance to enter.

Well, I found out The Writer's Voice had a entry date on late April, and I put it on my calendar with various reminders. I entered. I have to say, I didn't escape the agony I had experienced with querying because, you see? There were almost two hundred entries for this contest, and only 32 spots for the agent round. Four coaches would pick their team of eight writers who had submitted their query and first page.

To my utter surprise, I made it into the rafflecopter pre-selection that trimmed the entries down to one-hundred and fifty. The day the coaches were announcing their teams--by commenting on the entrants' blogs--I was a nervous wreck. That night at nine, I had prepared myself not to make it to the next round. To my surprise, I made it! Elizabeth Briggs and Krista Van Dolzer chose me to be part of #TeamRockstar. They helped me hone my query and first page, and on the day of the contest, I ended up with three full manuscript requests. More importantly, I met a lot of wonderful people, from my team and the other teams, who cheered me on and inspired me with their own stories.

Right now, #QueryKombat is taking place, and honestly, even if I don't make it to the next round, I've already learned so much from the querying process! I have a better query right now and I'm more confident with my first chapter. And again, I found a wonderful community online that makes me feel less alone during this difficult times of waiting and waiting and more waiting.

Brenda Drake hosts several contests every year. I also participated of The Writer's Digest Middle Grade First Chapter Contest and #YAHugs, of which I also was a finalist. The common denominator in all of these contests has been the support of fellow writers and agents.

Here's the link to a success story from a contest. I invite you to jump into Twitter and take part of the opportunity these contests offer. For some, I've had to tweet my pitch in no more than 140 characters. And guess what? After much trying and experimenting, I was able to, and I also secured a full request this way.

If you are on Twitter, look me up. My handle is @YamileSMendez and I tweet about books (of course), diversity in books, and now with the upcoming World Cup, I'll be tweeting a lot about soccer. Now it's your turn: tell me, have had any experience with online contests? Share it with us!

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7. A Gold Medal Mind: My interview with Dr. Jim Afremow

dr. jim afremowTo run and race your best it’s critical you’ve got the right mindset. Dr. Jim Afremow has made it his mission to help runners and athletes of all sports hone their mental training. Just as important and the physical workouts, an athlete’s mind can create a champion or turn into one’s own worst enemy. I wanted interview Dr. Afremow both because I respect his body of work and level of expertise and also because, let’s be honest, the psychology of our sport in straight-up fascinating! Often time elite athletes have trouble putting into words exactly how they get into gamer mode…so read on to hear a mental game’s coach put words to the ability:

JIM AFREMOW, Ph.D.

 

 

1)    What got you started in athletics, and what were your favorite sports growing up?

 

I grew up on sports and physical activity primarily through my father who appreciated the importance of having an active lifestyle. He especially enjoyed hiking, mountain climbing, and participating in Masters track and field. As a youth, my favorite sports included track and field, soccer, and golf.

 

2)    How did you foray into becoming a mental games coach and working on the sports psychology end of the spectrum?

 

Sports psychology provides the perfect opportunity to bridge two of my passions: sports and psychology. I have always been fascinated by human behavior and how all of us can learn to reach our greatest potential. I earned a doctorate in sports psychology and a Master’s in counseling, both at Michigan State University.

 

3)    You work with a variety of athletes in different sports, but in working with runners what are some of the most common mental hurdles they struggle with?

 

Mental toughness is equally import to physical strength when it comes to shining in sports. Adversity strikes all athletes in different ways at different times. Runners must learn how to stay focused and confidently move through any kind of setback, such as a mental block, performance plateau, prolonged slump, or injury. They must also develop ways to reduce off-field issues or concerns that interfere with their training and races.

 

4)    Confidence is a big one with runners and racing, and confidence tends to ebb and flow, be it after bad workouts or ongoing injuries. What are some of the techniques you use to help runners rebuild and remain confident in themselves and their abilities?

 

Confidence is a beautiful thing! Confidence in yourself and your athletic ability is critical to performing your best when it matters most. One strategy for boosting your confidence is to remember a particular occasion when you triumphed over a difficult challenge and write about how you made it happen—memory is the prelude to memorable performances.

 

5)    Race day nerves tends to be another big one, what are some of your suggestions for keeping your racing nerves in check?

 

First and foremost, understand that pre-performance anxiety is how our body readies itself to perform at its peak. So, recognize anxiety for what it is―that’s how humans are made. If you know that, it helps to normalize race day nerves. My new book The Champion’s Mind presents scores of practical tips to help you harness anxiety and use it to your advantage.

6)    In running and in athletics in general what is something you feel is an especially crucial mental component in being your best, if not THE best?

 

Have a big-picture goal and chip away at each and every day. “When you’re good at something, make that everything,” said tennis legend Roger Federer. All it takes is all you’ve got!

 

7)    What’s your favorite mental tip for runners to race and run their best?

 

During competition, the key word is “performance” because if you focus on performing (rather than on any results or other extraneous factors), then you’re totally in the present. Being in the present and staying purposeful lets you “own the moment” and maximize your abilities.

 

8)    What was the greatest lesson or piece of advice you’ve been given either from a mentor, teacher, or athlete that you’ve applied to your work?

 

One important lesson is that we either win or we learn. Forget about losing and focus on continual improvement. Give yourself credit where credit is due and celebrate what you did well. But then if you didn’t do as well as you wanted, say, “What did I learn from this that’s going to help me perform better next time?”

 

9)    Tell us about your book, your services, and your website?

 

The title of my new book is, “The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive” (Rodale, 2014). The Champion’s Mind explains “what” athletes can do to champion themselves and “how” they can do it. That is, how athletes can fine-tune their game mentally and emotionally to consistently perform at their best. If you want to discover how great you can be and how much fun you can have in your sport, don’t leave the mental game to chance or circumstance.

 

So, I provide individual and team sports psychology services for personal excellence, peak performance, and team success. Although my private practice is located in Phoenix, I work with athletes from all over the world. Important topics include confidence, concentration, composure, communication, and commitment. All athletes can and should learn how to think like a champion. For more information, please visit my website: www.goldmedalmind.net.

 

10)Ultimately, what is your goal in being a sports performance specialist? What gives you the most sense of pleasure and fulfillment?

 

To help people reach their true and full potential in sports and all other demanding endeavors. To help people grow as athletes and as people. Champions think gold and never settle for silver or bronze. They understand that personal best is their ultimate victory. Why settle for anything less?

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8. Blog Tour Tips

How to arrange and conduct your blog tour. 

http://marielamba.wordpress.com/2012/03/25/blog-tour-tips-on-planning-your-journey/

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9. Kidlit Blogs

Kidlitosphere Central contains links to a wealth of children's and young adult blogs. 

http://www.kidlitosphere.org/bloggers/

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10. Picture Books

Author George Shannon blogs about all things picture book. 

http://georgeshannon.wordpress.com/

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11. data-driven strategizing for tiny libraries

I really need to upgrade this version of WordPress but I only remember when I am making a post and so I am busy. I did take the time, with other VLA members (Heidi! Helen! Sarah!) of redesigning the Vermont Library Association website. It was a great project, still a little bit in process, but I learned a lot more about responsive design and working with a team of engaged and interested people. Last weekend I went to Lexington MA to speak at the Cary Public Library. Not my usual routine, I was a guest speaker at a brunch talking about blogs. No slides, just talking. I talked about the history of this blog–15 years old this month–and other things I’ve done as a blogger. It went well. You can read the talk here: Blogs, Blogging and Bloggers. Scroll to the end to read a list of good book/reading blogs I put together. Ah, blogs!

Cutler library stats

This past weekend I went to a strategic planning retreat for one of the local small public libraries. They are in the unenviable position of needing to make some changes without really having the cash or the staffing to do those changes. The head of the board asked if I’d come in and talk about… making tough decsions, what other libraries are doing, that sort of thing. I came in to talk a little bit about Libraries I Have Known and spent about 45 minutes with a combination of local library anecdotes (I got a million of ‘em) and some data-driven talk.

The Vermont Department of Libraries puts out a terrific Giant Spreadsheet every year with a lot of information about all of Vermont’s libraries. I’ve talked about it before. However, it’s more data than most people want to deal with, which is perfectly okay. I took the giant spreadsheet and used some Excel filtering and added some averages and summaries and was able to create a much more modest spreadsheet which basically said “Show us how we’re doing compared to other libraries our size” For this project, I took all the libraries that had within 400 people population-wise and found the most salient information about those libraries (budget, circ, per capita funding, programming &c.) and then highlighted where this library fell on the matrix for these values. It didn’t take long, but it was fiddly work. At the end of it I think I had a really useful one-sheet for the board (above) and a few smaller spreadsheets so they could see where the numbers came from. It was fun. I’d love to do it for more libraries. I work in-state for pizza and Fresca (and mileage if I have to schlep someplace). Look me up.

0 Comments on data-driven strategizing for tiny libraries as of 3/31/2014 11:13:00 PM
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12. Runner #CoreandCake Party! A core routine chased by loads of cake

Let the #CoreandCake Party get going, Runners! :) I’m going to start by showing you a quick core routine that you can do post-run. It’s short and sweet but effective at hitting those important core muscles, so there’s NO excuse for not doing it because you can whip it out fast.

I’ve got some picture demonstrations for a few of the ones that might be trickier to explain. Truth: I actually did a video but I think I’ve already grown tired of my chipmunk voice, so opted for the stills. ;)

Here’s how it works, there are group of exercises. Work up to doing three sets of each group, do all the sets for each group before moving onto the next group. Try doing this (or at least SOME core work) three days a week.

Group A

reverse crunch roll in core exercise
1) Reverse Crunch Roll-In’s — Set of 16

2) Ball Crunch — Set of 30
*Note: for the middle set, I like to mix it up and do the crunches alternating side to side.

Group B

alternating ball reach
1) Alternating Ball Reach — Set of 30
* Alternate reaching opposite hand to opposite foot; 30 total, so 15 each side

split crunch scissor
2) Split Crunch Scissors — Set of 16
* Start laying flat, as you reach up to center with the ball bring your left leg up towards the ball. Lower back down then bring your right foot up to the ball. Repeat.

hamstring ball pulls core exercise for runners
3) Hamstring Ball Pulls — Set of 8 for each leg
* This move works in three phases, and similar to the BRIDGE EXERCISE DEMO I did but up on the ball. Start with one foot on the ball and back flat on the ground, lift your butt up so you’re doing a bridge on the ball, then roll/pull the ball in towards you. Roll out, lower your back down to the ground out of bridge, then repeat. Then switch to other leg.

Group C

1) Push-up — Set of 10-15 (Modify on your knees if you have to.)

2) Chair Dips — Set of 10

BAM!! You can’t tell me you can’t bust that out in 10-15 minutes at most. But the benefits to your running are incredibly important:

* Strong Core = Efficiency. Build up your core and ‘weaker’ muscles so you’re able to hold better form as you run. Maintaing proper form, even as you tire, will keep you more efficient…read as faster.
* Strong Core = Less Injuries. You got it, most injuries are a result of an imbalance that result from a weak muscle. Fix those so you don’t wind up injured and not running at all.

Oh wait, we forgot the OTHER major benefit, you do your core and you get cake too! ;)

#CoreandCake Party Phase 2…

core and cake
Nom.
run for cake
Nom.

eating cake

Cake sees no speed. Runners of ALL levels working hard get their cake! ;)


Nom.
eat cake sweats in the city
Nom….check it out, #coreandcake goes #SweatsintheCity style in my Ezzere Run Your Fortune Tee!!

Check out the AWESOME Lisa @ RunningOutofWine because she’s celebrating all the #coreandcake goodness over at her blog too!! :)

Thanks all your runnerchicks and runnerdudes for coming, now go get YOUR #coreandcake on too! Don’t forget you can tweet/insta/social media #coreandcake all day, seeing hardworking runners devouring their just desserts always makes me smile. ;)

1) How often do you incorporate core work into your routine?
2) What’s your favorite kind of cake, or any dessert?
3) Have you partied down with Lisa yet too?? If not…you best head on over NOW!! :)

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13. America’s Next Top Running Shirt Model

Get ready 2014…we’ve got some BIG things coming!!! #artyrunnerchick #runningshirts #bigplans #makeityouryear #runforyourdreams

arty runnerchick shirt

Stay tuned, Runner Friends, I’ve been busily working away on a few exciting projects…I can’t wait to share!!

Enjoy the last night of 2013…kiss that old year good-bye and kick it to the curb because a New Year is on the horizon and YOU CAN make it one heck of an awesome ride run! ;)

——-
NEWEST Running shirt!!
Runner’s Strip Comic Movie Shorts!!
Running MOTIVATION
——-

1) What was a high point of 2013 for you?
Moving closer to my sib’s and being with them for the holidays.
2) What is something you’re glad to kick to the curb with 2013?
Hopefully stupid leg injuries and being REALLY inflexible.
3) What are you looking forward to in 2014?
I’ll quote AM/PM…”too much good stuff”
4) What is a running goal for you this New Year?

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14. Children's Poetry Blog Hopping!

Happy Poetry Friday, all! The poem I'm sharing today isn't my best, but it's near and dear to my heart. See the end of this post for a link to today's Poetry Friday round-up.

In case you missed it, in her last post, April tagged me in the brand new Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH). I'm writing this post in advance because of other commitments, so I haven't yet seen Janet Wong's CPBH post, also scheduled for today. I hope you'll hop on over to the PoetryFridayAnthology.blogspot.com and/or PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com to read it when you're done here.

In April's Sept. 6 post, she introduced Mortimer as the CPBH meme:

Mortimer, from morguefile.com
And she also explained how to participate in the CPBH:

1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme.

Pretty simple.

I've tagged two fellow children's poets to participate in the Children's Poetry Blog HopLaura Shovan, a children's author and poet-in-the-schools who blogs at Author Amokand Tabatha Yeats, author of nonfiction children's books as well as poetry, who blogs at The Opposite of Indifference. (As you'll see below, Tabatha is hosting today's Poetry Friday round-up.) Be sure to hop on over to read their CBHP posts next week. Laura will share hers at Author Amok on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and you'll be able to read Tabatha's at The Opposite of Indifference on Friday, Sept. 27.

Now for my three (actually four) CPBH questions:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
3) What poetry forms do you like best?

And here are the answers:
1) When was your first poem published? Would you share it with us?
I began writing poetry when I was in sixth or seventh grade, and my first poem was published when I was in high school (I won't tell you what year!), in Crystals in the Dark: An Anthology of Creative Writing from the Chicago Public Schools. I was immensely proud to have my writing in this collection (which you might guess, since I still have my copy of the book. J)

However, I had to resist the urge to edit the poem as I typed it up. Here it is, in original form:

My Sanctuary
If I could find a place far away from the world and its sounds,
Distant from the din and clatter of civilization;

Far away from pollution, politics, and people,
Away from worry, death, sorrow, and pain;
The only place that I could think of where I would be
       undisturbed, tranquil, and at peace,
                                                             is within myself.

© Carmela A Martino. All Rights Reserved.


image courtesy of morguefile


I went on to have several of my poems published in our high school yearbook,. After that, though, I pretty much gave up on writing poetry until many years later, when I began writing for children. Which leads into my second question:

2) Who was your first poetry teacher?
In high school and college, I studied poetry only as a reader, not a writer. While I did participate in some workshops on using poetry techniques in fiction at Vermont College, I didn't take my first poetry-writing class until 2002. That's when I attended a four-week workshop by poet and author Heidi Bee Roemer, "The ABC's of Children's Poetry." I learned so much from Heidi in that short time. The weekly assignments challenged us to write poetry in a variety of forms. And that leads into my third question:

3) What poetry forms do you like best?
The poems I wrote in junior high and high school were usually either free verse or rhyming couplets. It wasn't until I was in Heidi's class that I dared experiment with other forms, including triplets, quatrains, limericks, terse verse, and shape poems. Thanks to the confidence I gained in Heidi's class, I went on to have a terse verse poem published in Pocket's magazine, and a poem in two voices published in Chicken Soup for the Soup: Teens Talk High School. Since then, I've tried my hand at list poems, found poems, diamante poems, sonnets, and just about any form that strikes my fancy. Heidi's class, along with poetry-related posts by my fellow TeachingAuthors, and inspiring posts by members of the Poetry Friday community, have opened me to new poetry worlds.

That's it for today. Now hop on over to the Poetry Friday round-up at The Opposite of Indifference .


Happy Writing!
Carmela

11 Comments on Children's Poetry Blog Hopping!, last added: 9/20/2013
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15. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: Andrea Sowers

Andrea or Drea (either is fine!) Sowers, Joliet Public Library (IL) – Teen Services Librarian

Where you’ll find me…. Online: Twitter: YALibrarianDrea Blog: www.bookblather.net

When I’m not working, I… playing geeky board games, reading, writing, knitting, taking pictures, or just catching up on shows/snuggling with the puppy & kitty.

My favorite things to do online include… play games & chat

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? Information that can help our members’ job easier/better.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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16. Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!

.
Howdy, Campers! You have just a few more hours to enter our latest book giveaway (details below)!  AND today we celebrate not one, not two, but three things! Rosh Hashanah, the new Children's Poetry Blog Hop, and Poetry Friday (hosted today by Laura Shovan at Author Amok)!

My PF poem is below.

Thanks, Laura!
*   *   * 
1) Let's start with Rosh Hashanah.  Happy New Year (both the Jewish New Year and the New School Year) to all!  After I put the finishing touches on this post, I going to walk to the end of our pier and toss bits of bread to seagulls and fish as part of a Jewish New Year ritual called tashlich.

My picture book,
New Year at the Pier--a Rosh Hashanah Story
(Dial),
is beautifully illustrated by multi-award-winning illustrator,
Stéphane Jorisch.
We're both thrilled that our book won the
Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for Young Readers

(essentially the best Jewish picture book of the year)

2) And now on to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop.  Having heard of other blog hops, poet Janet Wong and other kidlitosphere poets have decided to start a Children's Poetry Blog Hop (CPBH) for...who else? Children's poets.

I nominate Mortimer as CPBH's meme:
Mortimer, from morguefile.com

To participate in the Poetry Blog Hop, simply:
1) Make up three questions you've always wanted to be asked in an interview about children's poetry and then answer them on your own blog;
2) Invite one, two or three other bloggers who write poetry (preferably children's poetry, but we're broad-minded) to answer any three questions that they make up on their own blogs (they can copy someone else's questions if they'd like)
3) In your post, let us know who your invitees are and when they're are going to be posting their own Poetry Blog Hop questions and answers...if you know the dates.
4) You do not have to use Mortimer, the CPBH meme. 

That's it!

I've invited author, poet, and web mistress extraordinaire Carmela Martino to the Children's Poetry Blog Hop (it sounds like a sock hop, doesn't it?) Carmela will be posting right here at TeachingAuthors.com on September 20th.

On the same day, the marvelously creative author, poet and poetry supporter Janet Wong promises a surprise twist on the blog hop theme.  Find her guest post at PoetryFridayAnthology.blogspot.com and PoetryForChildren.blogspot.com on September 20th!

Okay...here are my three questions:

1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
3) Please share one of your poems with us.

And here are my answers:


1) What children's poem do you wish you had written?  Include the poem or link to it.
There are so many!  The first that pops into my mind is Deborah Chandra's "Cotton Candy" from her book, Rich Lizard and Other Poems (FSG)

I met Deborah years ago in Myra Cohn Livingston's master class in writing poetry for children.  Deborah's a stunning craftswoman and looks at the world in madly original ways.  And, as you're about to read, her metaphors are spectacular.  

COTTON CANDY
by Deborah Chandra

Swirling
like a sweet
tornado,
it spins itself
stiff.
A storm
caught on a paper cone.
I hold it up,
the air grows
thick and
sticky
with the smell of it.
A pink wind
made of sugar
and smoke,
cotton,
earth crust,
delicious dust!
poem © Deborah Chandra. All rights reserved

2) What's your process?  How do you begin writing a poem?
Sometimes my process is to start with a word and I spin out from there.  Sometimes I find a poem I admire and imitate its rhythm, meter and form.  Sometimes it's a feeling.  I ask myself, what are you feeling today?  What is true?  What is authentic? And sometimes it's just, you have ten minutes.  Write the damn poem.  (I don't actually use the word damn because, as I'm sure you know, children's authors and poets don't swear.)

3) Please share one of your poems with us.

Here's a Rosh Hashanah/tashlich poem
first published in Jeanette Larson's book,
El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros: Building a Culture of Literacy in Your Community


SAYS THE SEAGULL
by April Halprin Wayland

 
Shalom to slowly sinking sun
I sing in salty seagull tongue.

But who're these people on my pier?
I sail, I swoop and then fly near.

They're singing, marching up the pier
I think they did the same last year.

A father gives his girl some bread
she scans the waves then tosses crumbs.

I dive, I catch, I taste
and...yum!

I like this ritual at the pier.
I think I'll meet them every year.

I screech my thanks, and then I hear
"L’shanah Tovah!  Good New Year!"

note: Shalom can mean hello, good-bye and peace.
Copyright © 2013 April Halprin Wayland

 Walking up the pier for tashlich in my hometown.
photo by Rachel Gilman


Thanks for stopping by TeachingAuthors today--but wait! Before you head off,  be sure to enter for a chance to win a copy of Lisa Morlock's terrific rhyming picture book, Track that Scat! (Sleeping Bear Press). 

posted by April Halprin Wayland

14 Comments on Happy Children's Poetry Blog Hop, Happy New Year, and Happy Poetry Friday!, last added: 9/8/2013
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17. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: Jennifer Rummel

voya photo

Jennifer Rummel, YA Librarian, Otis Library (Norwich, CT)

Where you’ll find me…. I’m on Pinterestmy Blog, and Twitter

When I’m not working, I… read a ton of books, across genres and ages, play with my puppy. I’m a die hard Celtics fan. I like to bake and do crafty things. I relax at night by watching TV – my top three favorite shows: Castle, Elementary, and Big Bang Theory

My favorite things to do online include… right now I’m addicted to Candy Crush. I love browsing Pinterest for things to bake or crafts to create. I love reading twitter and blogs to catch up on the latest book news.

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas – It drew me in and refused to let me go. I devoured the book and I’m still thinking about it days later.

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? My passion for reading and sharing ideas for great services to teens.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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18. Meet the 2013-14 YALSAblog Advisory Board: mk Eagle

mk Eagle Holliston High School (Holliston, MA) Librarian

Where you’ll find me…. Cooking or eating something delicious

When I’m not working, I… am probably asleep. I may or may not have a hard time saying no.

My favorite things to do online include… playing Diablo III, reading feminist blogs and keeping up with television fan communities.

Last awesome YA book you’ve read… The Sleepwalkers, by Gabriel J. Gates.

What you want to bring to the YALSA blog? I’m always trying to bring something just a little off-kilter to the blog.

The YALSAblog Advisory Board’s function is to support the Member Manager to ensure that the blog is relevant, innovative and meeting member needs for information about YALSA and the young adult librarianship profession. The Advisory Board participates in the maintenance of the blog and works within the guidelines for the site as set by the YALSA Board of Directors. The Advisory Board also serves in an advisory capacity to the Member Manager of the blog and assists with the collection of content for the site; generates ideas for direction and content; helps obtain, analyze and use member and library community feedback about the site; assists with marketing as needed; and writes for the blog when requested by the manager.

Are YOU interested in writing for the YALSAblog? Check out the blog post guidelines and protocols, and drop us a line at yalsablogmanager@gmail.com with your post ideas!

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19. Time Management Tuesday: Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, And Don't Do It

Once  upon a time, long, long, long ago, I worked in an office for three extension professors. I was their lackey, to be perfectly honest, and I always had way more lackey work to do than I had time.

We would have meetings in which one professor or another, or sometimes all three, would get all excited about this project or that, and one professor or another, or sometimes all three, would say things like, "Why don't you get started on that, Gail." We'd all go our separate ways, I'd "get started on that" and never hear about it again.

I've never made any claims to be brilliant, but I'm not stupid, either. Eventually, I learned to guess which projects they were asking me to work on that they would never follow through on, and I just didn't do them. Not because I was a layabout, but because I just couldn't. I had to do all the things that they were going to follow through on, and there was too much of that, as it was. I cannot recall ever running into any problems because I've my decision-making. In fact, I even told one of the professors I did it. What upset him was not that I was doing it, but that I could do it--that they were coming up with plans they weren't following through on and doing so in such a way that I could predict what they weren't going to do.

Predicting what we're not going to do is something we should be doing for ourselves.

A case in point: Last year I had this exciting plan to start an environmental blog to help market the Saving the Planet & Stuff eBook. It was going to be set-up as if it were the official blog of The Earth's Wife, the environmental  magazine in the book, and it was going to be written in the voice of Walt Marcello, one of the characters. He is not a stereotypical environmentalist, and he has a strong voice with a push-the-envelope sense of humor. I was going to have him comment on environmentally-related news stories and there would be a blog roll of environmental websites. It would be easy, I thought, because I wouldn't update more than once a week or so, and, because I would be using recent news stories for content, I wouldn't have to do much research. It was going to be marvelous. People would love it. I would have lots of readers, and, as a result, sell lots of eBooks.

Well, fortunately it took us longer than expected to publish STP&S, giving me time to become more rational about that plan. First off, the likelihood of any new blog getting much attention these days isn't very great, forget about it developing a big following. Just as there are more books being published than the market can bear, there are more blogs being published than blog readers can read. There's way, way too much competition now in almost every subject. So that would be a big strike against that project. In addition, I already spend a lot of time on this blog, more than most writers do. (I don't consider myself a writer who has a blog. I am a writer and a blogger.) Updating nearly every day with sometimes short essay-length material is a lot. In addition, I'm already maintaining a second blog at Goodreads. (I just discovered I can link to my individual blog posts there from outside, though you may have to belong to Goodreads to read them. Don't know about that.) That blog is only updated 2 or 3 times a month, but still, I am already maintaining two blogs.

A third blog would take up valuable time and energy without providing me with much benefit, since I couldn't seriously expect many more readers. This was definitely a case where I could predict that I either wasn't going to follow through with this project, or I was going to follow through in a poor manner. I decided not to do it.

However, some of what I wanted to do with that new blog I can do here, which is why you can now see an Environmental Sites & Author Blogs section on my blog roll. Once a week I'll be doing environmental posts that fit in in some way with writing and/or reading. We'll see if this has much impact on the marketing of Saving the Planet & Stuff.  At the very least, it will be far, far more time and energy efficient for me than starting and maintaining an entirely separate blog.

So maybe what this Time Management Tuesday post should have been called is Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, Don't Do It, And Do Something Else Instead.


1 Comments on Time Management Tuesday: Know What You're Just Not Going To Do, And Don't Do It, last added: 3/7/2013
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20. Flannel Friday Fiesta! A Civilian's View


Flannel Friday is fast approaching it's second anniversary. As the auspicious day approaches, participants in Flannel Friday are sharing what this movement has meant to them. Sharon over at her blog Rain Makes Applesauce is gathering the posts of participants. All are worth reading.

I myself am not a flannelist anymore. Or a prop-meister. Or a storytime provider. I once was and enjoyed that part of my work more than I can say. But even as a manager, I love and appreciate the efforts in the field of storytime and early literacy and the great places people are taking them. So, though I am not an active participant and really just an observer, let me still share with you what these intrepid folks and their blogs have meant to me and my professional life.

The blogs that participants are encouraged to start have often blossomed well beyond sharing flannel stories and patterns. Many of these new bloggers have expanded their content with thoughts about their work, programs, children's services and issues swirling around youth librarianship. When I celebrated the linkiness of my life a few weeks ago, it was also a homage to FF folks who have jumped into the blogosphere with both feet and enriched my thinking and work life so profoundly.

The FF community also led me fully into the world of Twitter. Many of these bloggers were the first tweeps I followed and chatted with. They have become a community of friends that I rely on and learn from.

I am in awe of the founders of (thank you, thank you) as well as the participants in this amazing grassroots effort. You have affected a sea change in youth librarianship and connectivity.

Big fireworks for you all!

Image: 'Fireworks 04'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/53139634@N00/472327992 Found on flickrcc.net


1 Comments on Flannel Friday Fiesta! A Civilian's View, last added: 4/7/2013
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21. Google Reader to be put out to pasture

Can you see this post? I’m hearing that some folks can’t get my site to load. Has been a problem all day; we’re looking into it. I’m bumping the Ballet Shoes post yet another day until I’m sure the problem (whatever it is) has been resolved.

Meanwhile, noooooo! Google informs us Reader’s days are numbered. Those of us who rely on a good RSS aggregator to make the web manageable are crushed—there’s no better feed reader than Google Reader.

Some alternatives, none of them quite perfect (but I’m confident someone will rise to fill the void):

Feedly—this is probably what I’ll wind up using. Not quite as streamlined as Reader, but it offers many options for customizing the look and function. In “Full Articles” mode, it’s a decent Reader substitute:

Feedly screenshot

 

(I subscribe to way more book blogs than are visible in that list. I think it only shows the top twelve.)

If you click on the gear icon, you can toggle to different layouts: mosaic, list, magazine-style, etc.

You can export your subscriptions at Google Reader and import them to Feedly, or simply connect Feedly to your Reader account, which is what I did. For now Feedly runs off Reader’s API but it is going to “seamlessly transition” to another source before Reader bites the dust in July.

A Feedly plus is that it has mobile apps as well, with syncing between your desktop, iOS, and Android devices. And if you connect it to your gReader account, it’ll sync with that, too, as long as gReader lasts.

You can share posts from Feedly directly to Facebook, Twitter, G+, Delicious, and other platforms. Diigo isn’t one of the preset share options and I really hope you can add it manually—haven’t figured out how yet but it’s early days—because Diigo is how I share links in my sidebar here. I suppose I could switch back to Delicious if I have to.

Here’s Feedly in “magazine” view:

feedlyscreenshot

 

Other options: Bloglines (what I used before Google Reader came along). NewsBlur (after a certain number of subscriptions, there’s a fee). NetNewsWire for Mac. The Old Reader. Pulp (a paid app for Mac). Flipboard for iOS devices (no good for me, as I need a desktop interface).

What’s your poison?

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22. Where I'm pondering: are blogs going the way of the dinosaur?

I've been a bit quiet here; working on the first draft of Linc's third adventure has me a little occupied (enjoyably so, I must add). I do still enjoy reading other blogs, and checking out funny cat pictures and other Facebook distractions....

Yesterday, Murderati announced it's wrapping up the blog. Blogs come and go, but this one has been around a while (7 years, I believe), and one I followed. So it'll be weird to watch it go. It did get me thinking--and this has been brought up elsewhere before... 

Are blogs a dying art? I use the term art loosely here, but you get my point. Are Facebook, Twitter, etc. taking over as places to have a conversation? Murderati cited this changing marketplace, because of course these writers started the blog to gain an audience to sell books to.

Do you read a lot of blogs anymore? You're here, so at least your reading this one, but have your habits changed with this changing web-o-sphere?

7 Comments on Where I'm pondering: are blogs going the way of the dinosaur?, last added: 4/4/2013
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23. Blogging Exhaustion

Are you running out of things to say? 

http://janefriedman.com/2013/04/22/reasons-to-keep-blogging/

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24. ALA - Let's Get Together Yeah Yeah Yeah



With ALA slamming up at breakneck speed, I feel the need to make sure I connect to each and every one of you who come to Chicago.  Logistics tell me I'm nuts. But then again, it's worth the try.

Although there are some great social events in the offing, I think another youth services blogger and readers of blogs and twitter -peeps gathering would be fun to do especially if you're thinking of being at the Newbery/Caldecott awards banquet on Sunday June 30 at the Sheraton or the speeches after! It struck me that lots of us would be hanging around this premier youth services celebration, so...

....if you plan attend the banquet or just drop by the speeches after the dinner (there are chairs set up and you can listen to the speeches free and gaze upon the glitterati in the audience!), we can do a meet-up!

Traditionally, at the conclusion of the banquet, a receiving line with the honorees takes place right after the speeches outside the hall. There is always a cash bar. It's a great spot to gather and chat late night (caffeinate early to be up late!).

So consider this for your schedule and say hi!

Post N/C Youth Blogger/Blog Reader/Tweep Meet-up
Sunday June 30
Sheraton Chicago banquet area
10:30-11pm-ish start (or whenever N/C speeches end)
 

8 Comments on ALA - Let's Get Together Yeah Yeah Yeah, last added: 6/20/2013
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25. Blog Post Blunders

It's best if you avoid these blogging mistakes and mis-steps. 

http://www.yourwriterplatform.com/blog-post-blunders/

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