Friday Five: Pet Peeves Edition

This week’s Friday Five is going to be of a different nature. Instead of links, I’m going to address some of my pet peeves…mainly because they’ve all come up one time too many this week.

1. This one has actually come up one time too many over the last few months, but that may be because I’m starting to hang out around more writers who are either convinced they’re revolutionizing the writing world by serializing their stories, or who hate those who are jumping on this newfangled¬†serialization bandwagon. (I’ve seen some polarized discussions in my time, but this one… Whoa.) Serial writing in not new. Not by a long shot. This shouldn’t seem like such a revelation, given the long-time existence of literary magazines, but apparently it is.

2. We live in a world where marketers are trying to make everything “go viral”. I guess they all missed the part where our society tends to react to viruses by trying to eradicate them with antibiotics and such. But this need to make sure everyone sees everything leads to people being exposed to the same ideas, the same news, the same everything. Many of us¬†have our own mix of interests that we pursue, which helps us differentiate our own experiences and knowledge from others, but at the end of the day, being exposed to that much sameness can lead to an apparent hive mindset. Among writers, this can look like someone has stolen your work, when really they’ve just drawn similar inspirations from the same source material and produced their own take on it. And honestly, everything’s a remix anyway.

This is not to say there aren’t legitimate cases of plagiarism, but it’s not quite as rampant as some would have you believe. This is part of why I’m writing the Copyright Primer. The more you know, the better you can respond appropriately to things.

3. In that same vein of trying to produce same experiences, your way onto a path is not necessarily the One True Path. This is especially true in creative endeavors. And again, it comes back to that whole “we each have our own interests which leads to a differentiation in experience and knowledge” thing. And it’s good. It’s how we get a diversity of perspectives on a set of ideas, knowledge, and experiences. It’s fine to offer your origin story or advice based on your own experiences, but to behave as if your way is the only way says a lot about you as a person and as a creator.

4. Fairy tales were never meant to entertain children. In fact, they were never meant for young children. They developed as part of the oral tradition, providing education through warnings to older children preparing to face adulthood. So, the originals can be a bit…scary…and definitely inappropriate for your average seven year old. However, one of the signposts that a child is shifting into their next phase of development (known to educators and psychologists as their second sensitive period) is the child seeking out stories that scare them. Children in this phase are realizing that there’s a big world beyond their front yard, and they’re scared of what that might mean. So stories that show other people, especially kids closer to them in age, meeting something scary and moving past it brings them a bit of comfort as they level up.

There isn’t a fifth point this week, but I will offer this advice. Consume what you want in terms of entertainment. Create what makes you happy. Develop your own goals, and your own steps, and your own learning path. Consult everyone from beginners to masters, and then take what resonates with you and use that to strengthen your own path. Don’t worry about what someone else is doing unless you’re collaborating and trying to make sure your parts intersect well. And don’t worry too much about being “original” because it’s all been done before. Find your own voice, and don’t hurt others in the process.

See you next week!

Find Five Friday – Stealing From Greats Edition

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve kept coming across materials, new or old as I’m both trying to keep up with my information streams and trying to clean out old bookmarks and out-of-date notes, that touch in some way on identity performance and management and personal productivity. So naturally, I thought I’d pull some of my favorites into a single post for y’all.

1. danah boyd’s Master’s thesis Faceted Id/entity is over a decade old, but it had been lost in my Kindle for a while and I only just got around to reading it. She talks about how we perform different facets of our personality offline by necessity and practice of social conventions, and then looks at how we try to mimic that behavior in online spaces. Despite being a decade old, it’s a discussion that really never falls out of style as we wrestle with creating and managing personal and professional profiles and social spaces online.

2. Another gem (which has apparently been updated) from my old bookmarks, this slide show¬†encourages librarians and ed tech professionals to incorporate Lady Gaga’s approach to identity performance and management as they think about how they can create a more engaging, magnetic presence for their own programs. Really, many disciplines can benefit from the information.

3. PBS Idea Channel, which you should subscribe to if you haven’t already, recently took a look at Taylor Swift’s control over her own identity¬†and body of work, and how she constructs her identity through her body of work. (This video really spoke to me because I have long believed that our body of work reflects our own experiences and beliefs, and that focusing on chasing trends is what leads to mediocre or bad work. You can’t convincingly create what isn’t yours to create.)

4. And on this topic of bodies of work and being productive in a manner true to yourself, I stumbled across this article on Joss Whedon’s productivity and how it influences his body of work. Being the little Whedon fan that I am, I found it interesting. But what I found most interesting was how he gets things done because he breaks out larger tasks into specific, actionable bits. I’ve done that forever and had “friends” mock me for it. (I’ve since learned that’s a sign of jealousy, to which I say if it bothers you that much, then why not adopt practices that will give you what you feel you lack when you see me working?)

5. And last but not least, Writing Excuses about a year ago shared Mette Ivie Harrison’s tips on how to be a more productive writer. Otherwise known as how to make time to write when you think you just can’t. While this may not be the right time to throw this at you…it’s the absolutely perfect time to throw it at you. But in all fairness, you can throw it back in my face, too.

And that’s it for this week’s links. I had so many link built up from the last couple of weeks that I’ve already started working on next week’s post. So, you have that to look forward to.

Find Five Friday: Audio Edition

If you’re seeing this the day it posts, Happy Halloween! If you aren’t, Happy Halloween anyway. I’ve lived in haunted houses off and on throughout my life, and I can tell you there is never a wrong day for being completely spooked by things that aren’t there.

You’re probably expecting a Halloween-themed Find Five Friday, and I’m afraid I’m going to disappoint you…mainly because I just haven’t had a whole lot of Halloween fun this week. But I did go to the trouble of putting on a costume for the day. Well…a costume T-shirt anyway. (There are only so many times during the year I get to wear my Rogue costume T-shirt and not feel terribly self-conscious about it.) Hopefully, you’re doing a better job of getting into the spirit.

Anyway…onto my Five.

#1 – First up on the list, a pair of audio dramas! I realized a couple of weeks ago that I was going to have two audio dramas come out this week, and was just praying they wouldn’t come out one right on top of the other. They didn’t! Monday saw the release of the Misfits Audio Halloween special “Devil’s Night“, which is a bit creepy. It’s always nice to get to work for Misfits. They were the first audio drama group to take chance on me, and they’ve taken pretty good care of me in the nearly two years I’ve worked with them.

#2 – Wednesday saw the release of the newest Seminar episode from Pendant Productions (another audio drama group that has been very kind to me as I learn the audio drama scene). It’s important to note that we don’t get a whole lot of information when we receive audition notices (nothing unusual about that, really), and so I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into when I was selecting roles to audition for in this episode. The story I’m in, “Reimagined Moments in Radio”, is a comedy. I’m…not good at comedy, to say the least. If I’m funny, it’s often by accident. I have this problem where I’m absolutely horrible at telling jokes because I start thinking about the punchline mid-joke and start laughing. So imagine my horror as I read the script and discovered my character delivering the punch line. I muddled through the recording, and hopefully I didn’t muck it up too badly. But that was a nerve-wracking afternoon.

#3 – Yesterday marked the seventy-sixth anniversary of¬†War of the Worlds (which is in the Public Domain). Audio dramatists have been trying to organize an audio drama appreciation day, at a national or global level (they really aren’t picky), to both commemorate the anniversary of this panic-inducing radio broadcast and celebrate the resurgence of radio drama (known more frequently on the internet as audio drama because…well…this isn’t radio). I suspect they’ll accomplish this; there are enough voices talking that if they can get talking in the same spaces, they’ll pull this off.

#4 – While we’re on the topic of space invaders…sort of…if you consider humans invaders…NASA has released some dope beats to SoundCloud. What? You don’t like space sounds? I love them! (I’ll just assume that laughter isn’t at¬†me or my gnarly use of the English language.)¬†These are free to use, but make sure you follow their media guidelines.

#5 – Last but not least… Geek & Sundry has been releasing Halloween videos all week, and this one was kind ¬†of cool…mainly because I had a good time watching decktonic announce this on Twitter. (It wasn’t until Day responded to him that I realized he had done this music video for Geek & Sundry). So, it was this cool little collision of worlds, and it’s just fun¬†to watch and listen to.

There you go. If you made it all the way through, what is wrong with you? These aren’t even that interesting. I’ll try to do better in the future, but I make no promises.