Sunday, December 03, 2006

Books ain't going away

Book sales are climbing, despite the advance of online publsihing. Well so they say. I don't personally buy as many books. When I was in my 20s I used to buy 2-3 a week, and 3-5 magazines. Now I buy books in binges, for gifts (even for myself) about every 3-6 months. I've cut back about 70-80%. And magazines are down to 3-5 every 3 months. Now I'm no longer single, I have kids and I'm in my late 40s, so things are different. I've changed, and so have my habits. It's not just the Internet that has changed my ways, but it's a factor. I also don't send much mail. Most - almost all - of my writing is electronic and well, the computer is king. If I could carry the computer around as easily as the printed word then I think I'd just about stop buying books - except as gifts, I guess. I need the functionality of the book, not the book per se.

However I do treasure old books,and am loathe to let go of any of the thousand or so we have around the house. A really nice hardcover looks and feels right, and old tomes can be enjoyed in the hand in a way that the screen can't match. On the other hand when I want to read I do prefer to read online. Call me strange but the ability to call up references online, to cut and paste quotes, to add comments and to change font sizes at a whim are 'killer' advantages for me. Now as a 49-year old I'm probably odd in those habits, but how about the kids "growing up" online? What will they expect, books on their gaming consoles?

Forbes has an intersting article on this subject here.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Still slack.

Still slack after all these years. Well I have been busy at work! I have found some old manuscripts which I'll be scanning and re-writing - but that will take time. 2 plays and my unfinished novel - appropriately named The Endless. In the meantime I'm still blogging away.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Occasionally I see a word that just has to be used, somewhere - anywhere. Today's word is palimpsest. According to Wikipedia a palimpsest is a document that has been wiped clean and used again (comes from the Greek to 'wipe clean', roughly speaking). Cicero and his fellow Romans used wax-coated tablets that - you guessed it - could be wiped clean and reused. Sounds like a technology we could (re)use today. Historically speaking palimpsests are especially useful when we are able to decipher what was written before. One 'original' document may have overwritten a previous version, like the Christian churches scrubbing out and writing over pagan beliefs (if not adapting them to suit their needs). It's a window into the past.

Blogs - useful or not?

This Wharton article can be summarised as describing a dichotomy formed from blog-readers (who believe that targeted reading in areas of speciality adds usefully to their own knowledge) and the blog-disbelievers (who don't recognise the credibility of bloggers and prefer the 'verified' accuracy of the established media). Take your pick. I'm biased. I write 'em. But I write because I love writing; and it leverages my personal learning agenda to research a topic and then write about it. That it is publicly accessible is a small yet significant bonus to me. If people read my work and get something out of it, great - I like to help. I also read blogs myself to get insights into other people's lives, interests and passions. I don't believe or embrace everything I read - certainly not in the established media, let alone the blogosphere - and I check the veracity of anything that matters with other sources. It's not rocket science, folks. It's just another channel. If you ignore or disdain that channel, so be it. It's not my loss, it's solely yours.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Yeah yeah I know

Yeah yeah I know - I really should follow my own advice and write more often. Sometimes it just doesn't happen... however I have updated this site!

Monday, September 18, 2006

My advice

FWIW, my advice is simple....
  1. Write everyday. Doesn't matter what it is, just write. You'll get better if you just practice
  2. Use your tools. Don't hesitate to look up a definition. New words are new tools
  3. Get feedback from a wide range of sources and take note
  4. In fact take notes all the time - carry a pen and paper or a PDA, something to jot down ideas
  5. Write about what you know, or what you want to know
  6. Research widely. Get to know your sources and your topic
  7. Get out and about, see things, do things and write about them... whenever you can!

Writer's Links

Spend a few hours reading these links, then start writing. Easy. Read Aristotle's Rhetoric online at MIT, free. It's a classic and remains influential to this day. Try, see what you think. It's extensive, anyway. Don't spend too much time hanging around reading, though. Why not write for kids? Or go freelance? Check out Googles' writing resources. You still aren't doing any writng, are you? Why not procrastinate here? More links, from Rutgers. Will it never end?

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