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Archive for November, 2010

I had a wonderful Thanksgiving week with my family, but my kids headed back to college last night–so here I am, back to posting.  As this is a busy time of year for me, I’ll only be blogging twice a week (or less) through December, but hopefully more often in the New Year. I’m still checking other blogs regularly even though I may not post a comment each time I visit.

I’m looking forward to celebrating Christmas next month. Our tree is up, along with most of the traditional decorations, and I’m starting on my Christmas cards and shopping. I’ve also created a musical e-card at Jibjab again this year, and am sharing the link here for those of you who might enjoy a bit of holiday silliness. It will be available until 1/11/11. http://elfyourself.jibjab.com/view/wt4g3TiGT3OVrptJXl19

I hope each of you has a wonderful and safe holiday season.

 

Is your writing schedule affected by holiday busyness, or do you stick to a regular routine no matter what time of year it is? What holiday traditions do you enjoy most? What are you putting on your “wish list” this year?

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In May I had a problem with my computer, and I assured myself I’d back up all my important files on discs or a separate hard drive. I never did. There were good reasons—I didn’t know how and didn’t want to learn, my son was too busy to do it, and the only external hard drive we had was so unreliable that my son had quit using it.

But, I finally signed up with a service called Carbonite. I started with the free 14-day trial, then paid their yearly fee of $54.95. (I got an extra 2 months free by going here to sign up for Carbonite, but I’ve seen similar offers on tv, and Pandora users were being offered 1 month free.) The initial backup of the 24GB on my computer took 9 days, but I think it was because my computer shuts down after a certain period of inactivity. Now that the whole thing is there, it works really fast. I barely get new pictures loaded and the program starts backing them up.

Carbonite provides unlimited storage of files I create, though if I delete them from my computer they also delete them from their server after 30 days. It also gives me the ability to access my files from another computer if I need something when I’m not at home. They don’t back up the actual programs, so I’m not sure what to do about my Vista, Word 2007, and other important files—but I think I’m supposed to have backup discs for those somewhere.

There are other services out there that do much the same thing as Carbonite, so be sure to research them to see if they might be better for your needs. Here’s one site that reviews some of the options.

Since I haven’t got the self-discipline (or is it a memory problem?) to back up everything regularly, this service gives me peace of mind that’s well worth the fee they charge. You can read more about Carbonite here.

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 Carbonite Online Backup - Back It Up. Get It Back.

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Do you use a backup service? Which one do you recommend, and why do you like it? Have you lost important data because you didn’t back it up? How often do you save your files?

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Today America celebrates Veterans’ Day. I’m digressing from the writing-related theme of this blog to honor those who have served, or are currently serving, my country so that I have the freedom to live as I choose. I’m especially thankful for my father, my uncles, and my father-in-law, who served during World War 2, my two brothers who served during the Vietnam era, and for my nephews: John, Jim, Nick, David, and Taylor. I love you guys!

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I attended my first conference last weekend, and loved it. (I would’ve put an exclamation mark at the end of that sentence to emphasize how much I loved it, but Jerry B. Jenkins said only use them in dialog, and then sparingly. So here are some smiley faces to express my excitement and enthusiasm. :) :) ;) )

The Indianapolis Christian Writers Conference provided some excellent speakers and workshops. There were sessions discussing fiction, nonfiction, and the publishing industry in general. It wasn’t possible to attend all of them, but the ones I went to were well worth the time and money I spent. I highly recommend this conference, which is held every November.

Looking back, there are a few things I want to remember for the next time I go:

1. Don’t stress over your appearance. While the registration information recommended business casual, people wore whatever they liked. Some were in dresses and high heels, others in jeans and sneakers, but most wore casual slacks and sweaters. No one seemed to care what others were wearing.

2. Don’t buy a big purse to carry all your stuff in. The conference staff provided large canvas bags with packets of information for the attendees, so another bag was unnecessary. Some classrooms were so crowded that the bags were in the way.

3. Make sure you know where you put anything important—like your reading glasses. I bought a big purse (really big) and it had so many pockets that I couldn’t find my reading glasses when it came time to consult with my chosen faculty member. How embarrassing not to be able to read my own questions, which I’d typed out in advance and couldn’t remember.

4. If you have to leave the conference building for some reason, make sure you know where you’re going and how to get back. Yes, I learned that one the hard way. I’m requesting a GPS thing for Christmas.

5. Be friendly first. I went by myself, but by initiating conversations with the people around me I became friends with several wonderful women. Everyone I spoke to was pleasant and helpful.

6. If the high temperature during the day is in the forties, expect thick frost on your car the next morning. At home I always park in a garage, so it didn’t occur to me that I’d need extra time to scrape ice off my windows.

7. Be friendly to the hotel staff because they can be very helpful. For example, I’d asked my son to clean out my car before I left, so my ice scraper and gloves were no longer in my trunk when I needed them. The receptionist loaned me a scraper, and gave me directions to where I wanted to go. (Someone else told me a plastic rewards card works as a scraper in an emergency.)

8. I am not alone. The people at this conference shared my values and my interests, which is something I don’t often experience. I understood exactly where they were coming from and what they hoped to achieve. It was awesome.

 

conference site

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What do you wish you’d known before attending your first conference? What do you hope to achieve by attending a writing conference? Who would you like to meet or learn from if you could choose the staff for a conference?

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