Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Turned Down a Book Contract

Ok. Not really. But sort of. One of my publishers was interested in a second book proposal on a specific topic and I wrote said book proposal. But when I got to the section that listed the competing books - I ran into a snag.

All of the competing books were really good. Written by good, knowledgeable people. And there were a lot of them. That meant that my little baby, my book, might only ever be a small fish in a big pond. Oh, sure, I would write my heart out and make it the best book I could. But the risks were that it wouldn't be as good as those other books. Some of them said *exactly* what I wanted to write about.

Could I write it better? Maybe. But there is a LOT of effort that goes into writing a long, non-fiction book. And I don't want to write a small stable of mediocre books. I want to write a selection of books that are very good. So that readers can have faith that my books will be well-written, well-researched and at the top of their class. They will be the big fish in the pond.

It's hard to get part-way through this book proposal (one that the publisher pretty much asked for) and say, "this doesn't feel right" because I could use the money. And suddenly I run smack into the words I've always said "I write for money". Now I'm not so sure. I might also write for the love of it, for the sake of a writing career, for the identification with other writers and for the desire to communicate with others.

And that's why I'm turning down a book contract.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Public service announcement - are you backing up?

Let me tell you a horror story.
Last Wednesday I turned 30...
I know it's terrifying, but stick with me. You can hide behind me if you like.
Mom was down visiting - so we got round to the subject of photos of her grandkids, and how I NEVER sent her copies of any of them. Partially because I've got a brilliant camera that takes HUGE pictures, and partially because I've got a habit of saying 'I'll do it tomorrow'.
We discovered the day before she went home that the external drive had died so badly that even after we'd taken it out of the caddy it was so unreadable it was crashing the system we attached it to.
It got me thinking about backups.
And the system we're using now is far better.

All it took was an external hard drive, some file reorganisation, some serious ruthlessness, a tiny bit of techie knowhow (provided by my other half, though, to be fair, the drive that we bought is plug and

First up - we bought a new drive - external, that networks to our router. We ended up with a 320gb Iomega (same guys as used to do zip drives), that plugs directly into our internal LAN.
It also came with software that backs up, but I've now (finally) subscribed to a site online that offers backups. I use Mozy, but I've heard things about Carbonite too.
My laptop backs up to my network drive (daily for my Liquid story binder files - weekly for things like email) - I also run a second, identical weekly backup from the laptop to the file server/older desktop in our attic - plus a once monthly backup of the network drive. Plus I backup my important stuff to Mozy.
One of the things that bugs me about my backup/duplicate system is that if I delete a file, it deletes it from the backup, unless I've moved it first. It means making sure things like my photos are moved to a folder that doesn't get touched at least once a week is kinda important. Once a month I also back up the photos and my finished work to CDs.

It's slight overkill I think, if it weren't for the fact that my laptop is one of the most fluid file stores I've ever worked with. I delete and move stuff off it all the time. I have to make sure the files play nice and are safe, so that's my backup system.
How about you?

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

X-Post: Slackers-Not-So-Anonymous

I put up a post at The Writing Mother Blog about my trip down slacker lane and back. Please have a look! :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Work/Life Balance

The problem with having a bunch of Writing Mothers blogging here is that we're all in the same boat as far as work/life balance is concerned. :) The question I always seem to have is which part is life and which part is work? The waters get murky in this respect.

I mean, is laundry work? Yeah, but it's sort of life, too. And NaNo? Which side of the scale does it belong on when you are a writer? What about visits to the school to volunteer in the classroom? Well, I guess that one is life, but it usually happens during work hours.

Networking? (Either via Internet or coffee with writing friends)
Planning and scheduling?
Housework and shopping?
Backing up the hard drive (and/or otherwise fiddling with the computers)?
Reading magazines, newspapers, blogs?
Participating in your country's election process?
Volunteering for a church or other charitable organization?

Are any of those things firmly in one category or the other? I can't tell.

If the measure of "work" is defined by income produced, then I guess I can say I have a little bit of work and a whole lotta life.

That's not a bad deal. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Good news

Just wanted to pass on this good news.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A female Canadian TV journalist abducted and held for four weeks in Afghanistan was freed Saturday after Afghan tribal leaders persuaded the kidnappers to release her, officials said.

Mellissa Fung, a reporter for the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., was taken hostage Oct. 12 after reporting in a refugee camp in Kabul.

Fung, who was on her first trip to Afghanistan, had been taken out of Kabul by her captors and held in a dangerous Taliban-controlled region of Wardak province, one province west of Kabul.

Read on . . .