julieandrews: (Default)
I know there are some of you out there who love their Kindle. And some of you out there who have been doing your research and have decided Kindle is the way to go. Maybe you like the wireless access to all of Amazon's bookstore. Maybe you like the look and feel and use of the Kindle. This post isn't aimed at you. You've made your decision, and it's an informed one.

This post is to all of you out there who are thinking now's a good time to buy an e-reader -- for yourself, for someone else. Maybe you're overwhelmed by the options and don't have the time and energy to devote to picking an e-reader. Maybe you've seen Amazon's commercials. Maybe you think Kindle is pretty much THE e-reader to have. Maybe your friend let you borrow theirs for a bit and you really liked it.

Well. Don't get a Kindle.

Reason #1 --- Your library might very well have e-books. But the odds of them working with a Kindle are very, very, very low. By buying a Kindle, you're excluding yourself from the privilege of borrowing popular titles for FREE from your library.

Reason #2 --- Google E-books have just landed. That is huge. If you get a Kindle, you won't be able to access any of these books on Google's store. Not the ones you can buy, not even the free ones.

It boils down to this: If you buy a Kindle, Amazon wants you buying all your books and magazines from them. That you've even paid money for the device is a bonus for them. You know all those companies that give away printers or sell them for 30$? And then turn around and try to sell you toner cartridges for 50$ or more? That's Amazon and the Kindle. Don't buy into this! Literally!

Have you heard of EPUB? This is the format that most devices will read. It's very nice. If you know a bit of HTML code and download some software, you can even go in there and edit things if you wanted or needed to. But the Amazon Kindle won't read EPUB. Not unless you've downloaded a program to convert the EPUB to a format Kindle can read. And sure, you can do that, but why should you have to? (And this does not solve Reasons #1 and #2 above, as those use Adobe Digital Editions to handle the rights and permissions. You'd be into actual cracking and hacking territory to work that out.)

I love my Sony Reader Pocket Edition. But I'm not going to tell you to buy one. Because I don't care what reader you buy, as long as it's not a Kindle. To help you decide, I recommend going into Borders or another store that will let you try out some different brands and models. And then consult this list. If the e-reader you've chosen is on there, you're golden. Those devices will work with Google's store, and they should also all work with your library's ebooks. If your library uses Overdrive, I know they will. If your library uses something else, you may want to ask the library to be sure. Don't be shy; librarians love questions.

Now I'm off to Amazon to buy some physical books and some toys and whatever other thing catches my Christmas shopping fancy. :)
julieandrews: (Default)
More advice!

After Clarion

* Now that you have time, make more notes. Write them up as personal journal entries, just jot things down, or fill your blog with report after report, or some combination of all of the above. Do it while things are still fresh in your mind.

* Keep in touch with your instructors, and especially with your classmates. Now you have time to talk about all the stuff you didn't have time to talk about before!

I might have had more advice here, but it hasn't even been a full year for us, so we're still learning this After Clarion bit. :)
julieandrews: (Default)
This is aimed at Clarion Diego, but most of it is probably relevant to Clarion West and Clarion South and possibly other intensive writing workshops as well.

Before Clarion

* Tell your friends and family you'll be incommunicado. I found that some of them didn't really get it even after I tried to impress it upon them. This means telephone, Email, online chat, Skype, popping out to a restaurant if you're local. If you desperately want time to spend with friends or family during Clarion, you're going to have to plan it in advance, and be willing to give up something for it. One suggestion is to give everyone the address to a blog (it doesn't have to be your main blog) and promise to post updates now and then. Even if it's just 'Alive. Writing. See you in August.' Then you just have to post one thing for everyone to feel they've had some contact with you. And they can leave as many comments as they want.

* Pack less than you think you need, especially if you're flying. San Diego has stores. The CVS is pretty convenient. If you find you need snacks, drinks, toiletries, beach supplies, you can get them there. I actually bought the notebook and pens I used at Clarion right there at the CVS. Do you want to lug three or four pairs of shoes back home with you, or would you rather pack one or no pair of shoes and a whole lot of signed books? You're going to be going home with books, and you'll also probably want to go home with copies of people's comments on your stories. All that stuff starts to get heavy. And with airlines charging for all checked bags.. ugh. Though keep in mind you can mail a box of things home if you find you've acquired too much.

Click here for more Before Clarion advice! )

At Clarion

* Unless you're really sick, attend every workshop session. Try not to be late, but if you are late, it's better than never. I would advocate going even if you haven't read the stories to be discussed that day. You'll probably still learn a thing or two. And maybe admitting you haven't read the stories will guilt you into not making it a habit. And I really mean this bullet point. Don't choose to skip the session so you can write. Don't skip it so you can sleep. Be there. Tell yourself you can go back to writing or sleeping in a few hours.

* Spend quality time with your classmates and instructors. By 'quality time', I mean time where you can talk. Going out to the movies was fun, but don't make it a habit, as it's 2 hours when you're not writing, reading, sleeping, or talking. Quality time can be one-on-one, a small subgroup, or the entire group. As long as you're talking. And it can be about anything. It's as much about bonding as it is about learning. These are your colleagues and potential friends. Do it at a restaurant, do it on the beach, do it in a dorm room, wherever.

* Try to write a story a week. Don't kill yourself though. Every other week can still work pretty well. Do get one out early, one out in the middle, and one out near the end though. You'll get the perspective of different instructors and your classmates will have a chance to tell you when you're repeating yourself, or when you've grown. I finished 3 stories for critique plus one other for a special project. I had been aiming for 6 and I still would've liked to have done 6. I just don't know if I could have.

Click here for more At Clarion advice! )

As you may have discerned, Clarion is all about priorities and balance. You can't attend everything and read everything and write six stories and hang out on the beach and eat and sleep and in general, not die.

What I'm saying is that everything I've listed above is important. Do your best to incorporate everything in there, but how much and when is down to the individual. Don't be afraid to readjust throughout. Don't settle into a habit that's not working for you.

Here's some bonus items.

* Take notes. You may decide you don't have the time and energy for long blog posts, but you'll probably want notes of some sort. I never regretted taking notes. Just wish I'd taken more! Take notes at discussions, at workshop sessions, at meetings with the instructors, in a free moment when you want to write down everything you've done or seen or heard or thought about...

* Take pictures. This Clarion will only happen once.

If you've got questions, feel free to drop a comment. I know some of my classmates read this lj from time to time as well, so probably a few of us will chime in with an answer.

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julieandrews

May 2014

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