Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Learning Curve Gets Steeper


I am working through the pain of typing this update sort of as a punishment for not blogging more regularly.  The pain is from an inflammation in my wrist that has developed as I switched from my Toshiba (PC) laptop to my new MacBook Pro (which my converted friends insist I will love once I get used to it).  The learning curve is very steep simply because I’m being obstinate.  Since I write for a living I wanted (needed) to adapt very quickly to my new technology so took a few shortcuts… one of which included loading my Palm Software onto my Apple laptop so I could quickly access my contacts… rather than actually learning the new address book software from Mac and doing a proper conversion.  Now my Palm contacts won’t convert (the Palm software keeps quitting ‘unexpectedly’ after only converting four of my 1,800 contacts) and in the process of ‘clicking around’ to find the solution I inadvertently duplicated them so now there are over 3,000!  The repetitive action of clicking that many contacts away made my wrist cease up.

I’m not sure what the lesson is other than my mom’s old fashioned saying, “Patience is a virtue.”  I must say I’m not feeling very virtuous right now but in the future if I’m writing about anything that requires a description of a nagging pain that starts at the wrist and shoots up your right arm, I’ll be able to describe it quite nicely. 

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Old Habits Die Hard


O.K…I promised I would keep you posted on the progress of publishing my first book.  I’m happy to say that we’re in the final edits of @Home in Dubai…Getting Connected Online and on the Ground (I hope).  Thing is… even though I’ve been writing all my life, this is a whole new realm for me and getting used to a particular publisher’s ‘style guide’ takes a little time and effort.  It’s significantly different than writing Associated Press (or Canadian Press) style for journalists or PR releases, or if you’re a business writer, whatever style you follow. 

More than just British versus US Spellings

I grew up in Canada and then lived in the US for 14 years and now, working as a freelancer for an international clientele, I’m used to switching back and forth from British to US English (depending on client preference and target audience).  But, it goes much deeper than that.  See the ellipsis I used above?  I was always used to no space after the…but, my publisher’s style guide specifies a space… like this.

What I’m getting hung up on at the moment is quotation marks.  I honestly didn’t realise (note the ‘s’ versus ‘z’ since I’m writing with British English) that with British style single quote marks go inside of punctuation marks, not on the outside, as I’ve always done.  One other issue that took some getting used to is that the style guide called for only one space after a full stop, not two, like I’ve always done.  And then there are those pesky ‘en’ and ‘em’ dashes.  For some reason, I’m having a hard time getting them to appear properly so I’ve just gone through and removed most of them by re-working sentence structures.

Lessons learned so far

Lesson #1
The important thing is to know what the required style is for the particular genre you’re writing in and make sure you follow it.  It’s certainly an argument for sticking to one type of writing but I sure do like variety so it’s going to be a tug of war for a while, I think.   

Lesson #2
What this experience has shown me is that I like the process of writing a book (and I am getting into the groove of my publisher’s style guide... she's been very patient) and I have the discipline to stick to a demanding writing schedule to get it done.

Lesson #3
No matter how old you are or how much experience you gather, you never stop learning.  That’s one of the many things I love about what I do.  I guess I’m just a lifelong learner.

So… bring it on!

...and watch for the launch of @Home in Dubai...Getting Connected Online and on the Ground, before the end of the year (published by Summertime Publishing). 
www.athomeindubai-gettingconnected.com

Friday, 2 September 2011

Book Review – Corporate Embers and Become in the Corporate World by Debbie Nicol


I’m excited to do this particular book review because it highlights the hard work and passion of a good friend of mine, Debbie Nicol, also known as ‘The Enablist’.  I’ve watched over the last several months (and put my two cents worth in every now and then) as she poured over this labour of love.

As business books go, this one’s in its own category, since it’s the product of a new way of thinking about leadership.  Debbie’s teachings bring her clients (and now readers) through a process where leaders: Reflect, Connect, Collaborate, Innovate and Become.

Corporate Embers is the ‘reflection’ part of the book duo and Become in the Corporate World is the ‘connection’ part, which is actually a workbook that guides you through the steps to finding your own leadership style.  If it does its job, and you are honestly interested in digging deep into your leadership soul, it can be very thought provoking and quite practical too.

Debbie created the ‘embers of the world’ concept itself as an illustration of her leadership style of story-telling around a campfire where the embers flick off the flames and we watch as they float up into the sky; we contemplate the ember (reflect and connect), let it percolate in our heart and mind and then share ideas (collaborate and innovate).  People who share stories tend to connect and learn from each other.  

Corporate Embers is Debbie’s contribution to the corporate world.  She tells stories from her vast corporate leadership experience and offers lessons that could lead to what she believes will be the leadership style of the future.

Corporate Embers is part of a series which will soon include: Traveling Embers,  Nature's Embers, Domestic Embers and Spiritual Embers.