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An honest and engaging article about long effort

July 17th, 2010

I meet so many authors like this one — and I have my own unfinished-and-then-finished novel story.  Susanna Daniel on her tortuous about-to-be-published novel.

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Meditation and unpleasantness

July 14th, 2010

I have been reading about the effect of meditation on unpleasant feelings.  Guilt over not writing is the most common such feeling we encounter in Booklab.  The second is fear of professional ramifications for not publishing enough.  Both feel awful, and tend to lock the sufferer into a cycle of stalling, procrastination, etc.  In other words, the very action that could resolve the unpleasant feelings (diligent writing) doesn’t seem possible.

Enter meditation.  Mindfulness practices (there are so many, including sitting or walking mediatation; deep relaxation; guided meditation; hypnotherapy; prayer; body work such as tai chi; massage) can lead to a mindful approach to unpleasantness.   Learning to notice the unpleasantness, acknowledge it, examine it, ask questions about it (all with a gentle, forgiving detachment), and ultimately work in spite of it can have a wonderful result: the pain usually lessens by itself.

So feeling guilty or fearful?  Try observing it as you would observe a star, or a cloud, or a beetle.  Nod at it.  Pat it on the head, and then settle in to work anyway.  Guilt or fear may be present, but they aren’t important.  Gradually — at least for me — they lift by the very act of writing, not because I fought them or pushed them away, but because I admitted them and allowed them to visit my workspace without disrupting anything.

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Scriptorium Schedule, July 5-9

July 5th, 2010

Monday, July 5: 10-12

Tuesday, July 6: 9:30-11:30

Wednesday, July 7: No Scriptorium

Thursday, July 8: No Scriptorium

Friday, July 9: 9:30-11:30 AND 2-4

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Updated Scriptorium Schedule for Friday, July 2

July 1st, 2010

On Friday, July 2, I will hold the 9-11 Scriptorium session at Lauinger Library, but NOT the 2-4 session.

Next week’s schedule will be similar to this week’s:

Monday, July 5: 9:30-11:30

Tuesday, July 6: 9:30-11:30

Wednesday, July 7: 9:30-11:30

Thursday, July 8: No meeting

Friday, July 9: 9:30-11:30 AND 2-4

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Scriptorium schedule, June 28-July 2

June 28th, 2010

Scriptorium schedule for this week, all in the Pierce Room in Lauinger, to the right of the circulation desk:

Monday, June 28: 9-10:30 (I might be there at 8:30)

Tuesday, June 29: 9:30-11:30

Wednesday, June 30: 9-11

Thursday, July 1: No meeting unless noted otherwise (otherwise noted?)

Friday, June 2: 9-11 AND 2-4

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Scriptorium Friday

June 24th, 2010

Hooray! Booklab’s Scriptorium group is a hit.  Lauinger Library’s Pierce room seems like a fine spot, so we’ll meet there again on Friday, June 25.  A map is here. Bring your computer or your paper, enter quietly, and join me for either or both of two Friday sessions, one from 9-11 a.m., and a second session from 2-4 p.m.

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Day 2 of Scriptorium

June 23rd, 2010

Booklab’s Scriptorium group will meet again in Lauinger Library on the entry-level floor in the Pierce Reading Room, to the right of the circulation desk as you walk in. The entry floor in Lauinger is actually Floor 3, and a map is here. Bring your computer or your paper, enter quietly, and join me in focused time from 9:40-11 a.m. (40 minutes later than yesterday). Scriptorium is drop-in and casual. I hope to see some Booklab faculty authors there!

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Booklab Scriptorium Experiment, Day 1

June 22nd, 2010

Yesterday I posted about the summer Scriptorium experiment, where Georgetown faculty are invited to meet me in different places on campus to write quietly during the day.  This is Day 1, and I will be in Lauinger Library on the entry-level floor in the Pierce Reading Room, to the right of the circulation desk as you walk in.  The entry floor in Lauinger is actually Floor 3, and a map is here.  Bring your computer or your paper, enter quietly, and join me in focused time from 9-11 a.m.  It is fine if you come late or leave early as long as you’re quiet about it (a friendly wave or smile is fine).

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Booklab Scriptorium experiment — come write with us!

June 21st, 2010

scriptoriumToday is the first day of summer, and the first announcement of the Booklab Scriptorium experiment, where I post daily a new spot on Georgetown’s campus for colleagues to gather and write.  Scriptorium is drop-in and casual — it will move around as the spirit moves, and it will happen most days, but only when I have a block of time (two hours is usually about right) to go somewhere and invite fellow authors to join me.

You can invite Scriptorium to your department!  You can join us when you need a break from solo toil!

Simple groundrules:

(1) Enter silently.  Even a round of “hello” to several people can be jolting, so simply nod to colleagues if you wish, open your laptop or settle in with paper and begin.

(2) Ask me softly for the focus assignment if you want it.  This will be a written exercise to get you started if you’re having trouble quieting your mind and working.  Although we will observe general quiet, it’s okay to ask me for this when you come in.

(3) Check this blog for the daily site, or see my Facebook page.  I’ll post place and time in both places.  Please do not write and ask where the site is… I love to hear from you, but these are the places for you to look.  Do note the date so you don’t accidentally go to yesterday’s location.  :-)

(4) Scriptorium begins Tuesday, June 22.  The location posts will be up by 8 a.m.

All are welcome with love and gratitude.  Booklab focuses on tenure-line faculty, but others including adjuncts, staff, Woodstock fellows, etc. may also join us at Scriptorium.

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Samuel Pepys at work

April 28th, 2010

PepysI’m rather addicted to reading daily installments of the diary of Samuel Pepys at a web site run by English actor Phil Gyford.  Here is Pepys’s wish for his own work, and so by extension for the authors of Booklab, in his conclusion to his entry for Sunday, April 21, 1667:

This night I do come to full resolution of diligence for a good while, and I hope God will give me the grace and wisdom to perform it.

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GUEST BLOGGER: What Google Books Can Mean For You

February 27th, 2010

Lewis Levenberg, a graduate student in Georgetown’s Communication, Culture and Technology program, works with Booklab from time time, giving us fresh ideas for using the internet and various social media to promote authors and books.  I invited him to guest-post some of his thoughts about digital books online:

What Google Books Can Mean For You

A lot of confusion and controversy surrounds the ongoing saga of the Author’s Guild and Association of American Publishers‘  legal action against Google. Since 2005, these two book-world powers have been locked in protracted argument with the search giant’s books division over copyright and payment issues. This complex, long-term negotiation seems to be drawing to a close, with Google honing in on the rights to expand what they hope will become the largest-ever “digital library.” However, the fact that this vast database of scanned texts is well on its way to becoming the primary reading and retail source for books on the web does NOT mean that authors are left high and dry, only to watch as their work becomes available to view (at least in part) online.

Read more…

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