Monday Blog Hop (#bloghop via @CathyLeFeuvre)

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[See this posted on Cathy’s site]

I haven’t had time to look at what others have written for this, if there’s a particular style, and I’ve been working hard on getting to bed early – so – on a Sunday evening – let me do my usual writing style of whatever comes out of my fingers …

What am I working on?

Well, nearly 4 months ago Raising Child in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst came out, sold 2000 copies in its first 10 weeks, and I’m still doing articles, etc. related to that…

I still have a number of half-planned articles, etc. sketched out/part-written, but in the past week I have finally been putting into place plans that have been swirling around my head for 10 years, when I finished my PhD, which I am now planning on turning into a book. There’s several hoops with image rights, etc. to jump through, but finally I have done a version of the book proposal, had an hour long Skype with my PhD supervisor, which has left me with about 40 things to action…

For CODEC, aside from blogs for BIGBible, I’m working on a book review of Digital Religion (eds, Heidi Campbell), and starting to think about how to structure research around digital culture, specifically discipleship in a digital age, with ideas for a ‘big data’ project built around ‘photoshopped selves’ and self-representation of religious types on social media platforms … and I’d love to put my history skills to use taking a more longitudinal look at digital engagement in/by the church.

Why do I write what I do?

The best material I write is the stuff that I find interesting, or I passionately believe that it will help others. Occasionally I’ll write stuff to get it out of my head (especially if I haven’t got anyone to talk it over with) – but that stuff is rarely for public consumption. I self-describe as a polymath (but people aren’t surprised once they find out what one of these is – a person who’s expertise spans many different subject areas… sometimes known as renaissance woman – it considers all areas of knowledge as important – intellectual, artistic, social and physical … and polymaths are often quickly bored!!)… so cover a wide range of topics. My blogs can therefore feel a bit ‘scrapbooky’ as I collect different things, and my mind weaves them together in strange ways!!!

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Well, that’s a big question, and assumes that I work within a particular genre! As we have just said … that’s not quite true for me! Fundamentally, I can see my academic/historian roots coming through in every piece of writing that I do … especially in looking for the source for things. I was disparagingly told that I was “doing meedja studies” whilst I was doing my PhD – I took that and went on to teach it, and that now affects the kind of stuff I’m involved in now. My work typically works more at the ‘public engagement’ level, which is still not that well valued in academia … but paid off with my book. And, on that note…. most books aimed re: children/the internet flash “danger, danger, danger”, whereas mine says ‘respect the space, but embrace the opportunities’!

How does my writing process work?

When I was doing my undergraduate thesis, I would get up around midday, do shopping/gym/socialising, then settle down to work sometime between 6pm and midnight and work through til about 4-5am… Doesn’t really work so much any more, but I still do my best writing on days where I have had the day before off (and got all the household tasks, etc. done), then sleep in without an alarm, do a few tasks in the PJs, maybe go for a swim, then finally get going around 2pm…

As an overall process, let’s talk about the book. I tracked down book titles on Amazon/university library, then sketched out ideas of the kind of topics that I thought I wanted to write about, asked around what others thought was important, focused in on particular books – read my way through those making a lot of notes, and continuing to scribble new ideas. I then dump all the notes into a word file (I played around with Scrivener, but didn’t really get the hang of it in time) – which is usually excruciatingly long. Print off 2 pages to a page … ID what each section focuses all, coming up with what tends to become my subheadings. Move everything around in a file under those subheadings and start to shape out each section at a time, so I can feel a sense of achievement. I will always start with the bit I feel most inspired to work on – as this gets me going, and soon have the pleasing look that there’s a pile of writing in front of me, and it encourages me to keep going. Introduction/conclusions always written last and together. Always bear in mind what I learned from my PhD – what is the job of this section, being ruthless – treating each word as a bar of gold, but also treating each version as a ‘draft’ so the pressure to ‘produce perfection’ is lifted … As I’m more of a starter-chasing after new things, I then have to grit my teeth to finish things … and am seeking rewards that aren’t food for doing this… much of my reward in the past has been to get on with another piece of work, but I’m trying to learn to focus, clap myself, and do something other than work, before starting the next thing…. One day I’m sure I’ll actually manage that properly!

Now – I need 2 other people who write to answer the same questions next Monday – any takers (maybe a couple of #digidisciple(s)? I’ll link from this blogpost once agreed…

Happy Christmas 2013 from @drbexl

Wishing all and sundry, particularly those I know and care for, a wonderful, restful Christmas, and much to look forward to in 2014.

As has become a bit of a tradition for me (and having spent 5 of the last 7 Christmas’ abroad, wanting to do something for Tearfund, and giving myself some time for #adventbookclub), here’s my Christmas e-card!

I love the way the story of Christmas is told here through Instagram images: 

And this one I enjoy because it puts the story of Mary and Joseph into a modern day setting: 

I enjoyed this poem as to why the Shepherds were told (Seed Resources) … and I’m looking forward to see who wins the Nativity Factor this year too!

Come join us for an Online Carol Service, 2pm Christmas Eve (or it’ll still be online afterwards) – from a range of perspectives/voices!

I know Karate….

Apparently … enough to get my yellow belt this morning in Wado Karate. Here’s the syllabus (along with Pinan Nidan):

yellow-belt

 

Been going for a while at Bannatynes – because I enjoy it – although I’m away so much I keep missing weeks and lots to try and remember! Went this morning for the fun/exercise and to watch others in their grading, and the option was there to ‘have a go’ – so I did …. and was relaxed about it as didn’t matter! Ha ..

DANGER: Candy Crush

candy-crush

Wow, who knew anything could be quite that addictive?! I am not into gaming AT ALL – the only one I used to enjoy was Tetris .. and I guess this is pretty much an updated version of Tetris!

I went on ‘for a quick go’ to see what all the fuss was about, and about 1.5 hours later I had reached about level 27, and had spent quite a bit of money buying extra functions – now trying to do it without, but very much stuck on level 29 … and ignoring it for my book!

I do also find that I enjoy Angry Birds on the phone (especially when on the Tube), and find myself buying a handful of extras for that too…

Happy Christmas 2012 & New Year 2013!

HAPPY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS YOU, EVERY ONE, FOR 2013

Here’s a lovely version of the Nativity composed from Bricks, with an appropriate ‘northern’ accent in honour of my move to Durham:

Loving my new home – first time have my own Christmas Tree… though missing my Winchester friends – but thank goodness for Facebook, etc. they don’t feel as far away!

And there’s some helpful guidance from Durham Markets as to how to prepare/cook your Christmas Turkey:

Looking a bit more round the Internet – liking this from Pinterest:

Source: Uploaded by user via Jen on Pinterest

plenty more where that came from!

And I thought I’d leave you with some Christmas Cake – it’s got fruit in it and everything:

Source: flickr.com via Cindy on Pinterest

Book Review: The Woman Reader

This looks like an interesting book – as someone who has buried myself in books for many years…

This ambitious book maps out the relatively undeveloped field of women’s reading habits across time and cultures, all in fewer than 350 pages. It is not an easy task, but Belinda Jack accomplishes it brilliantly. She shifts seamlessly between wide-ranging examples, from the Byzantine princess Anna Komnene, who persuaded her tutor to help her circumvent a parental ban on erotic poetry, to The Peony Pavilion (1598), a popular play whose heroine became an alter ego for the young Chinese women who read it obsessively to the point of exhaustion, prompting some concerned mothers to burn their copies.

Read full articlePurchase the book.

Be immortalised in fiction? (@timeshighered)

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1385501

Great story caught my eye in Times Higher Education this week:

But the University of Dundee has come up with a novel way to reward benefactors: murder them. Fictionally, that is.

As part of Dundee’s attempt to raise £1 million to build a new state-of-the-art teaching mortuary, four best-selling crime and mystery writers will allow the highest bidder to appear as a corpse or character in a forthcoming novel.

Participating authors include Stuart MacBride, whose Logan McRae series uses Aberdeen as a backdrop for “horrific crimes” as well as “much eating of chips and drinking of beer”, according to his website.

Read full story.