Category Archives: Linklove

Language and the choices we make.

Life throws curveballs at us all. Today’s linklove post looks at language, how we use it and how choosing specific words reflects our biases and prejudices, but also choice and fate (a concept that I am endlessly fascinated by) and if by choosing something else, would get end up in the same place?

ONE. A Choose Your Own Adventure map is a great visualisation at making decisions — sometimes you get to remake the decision, sometimes you’re stuck with it, and but very rarely do you have to make morally right or wrong decisions. Maybe that’s the Choose Your Own Adventure the grown-ups have been waiting for.

TWO. Communication is all about perspective. Language is very telling of the person who uses, and your biases will slip through. It’s never been more important than it is now to be inclusive, and to ask — ask what language people want to hear and how you should use it around them. You won’t know if you don’t ask. Buffer’s Incomplete Guide to Inclusive Language for Startups and Tech (but if you ask me, for everybody).

Communication is not what you say, but how it’s heard.

THREE. Why your design team should hire a writer? The question is actually why shouldn’t you hire a writer. Everyone needs a writer. They’re storytellers and communicators. And in the end, we’re all stories.

FOUR. Reading Matters, a bi-annual conference for youth literature, was held at the State Library of Victoria earlier in the year, and Bronte Coates (digital content coordinator at Readings Bookshop, Melbourne) wrote a great recap: Here’s what I learned at Readings Matters.

FIVE. Podcasts are great, and today I’m rec’ing West Wing Weekly — it’s not new, but its definitely binge-able.

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Reflection, in all walks of life.

This week’s Friday Five is all about reflection. Reflection on one’s life, one’s creative process, one’s goals. I don’t reflect as often as I should. I plan and set goals really well. I do things really well. The middle bit, the strategy, not my strong suit (at least, for my personal goals and plans). And then there’s the after: the reflection. I don’t do this very much either.

But I’m trying. It’s why I’ve started to journal every (most) days. I’m making myself accountable — the husband and I sit down each week plan out our goals and then check in again in a week’s time. We’re reflecting on the past week. Life is so busy, I’ve started carving out time for reflection.

ONE. 10 Creative Rituals You Should Steal, by 99u. Creativity is very reflective on its own. In my world: papercraft and novel writing — they’re both reflective art forms. Papercraft, which I don’t actually do, but have a deep admiration for, is all about documenting your life, recording memories. These are reflective acts. Novel writing, something I actually do, is reflective because I put parts of my life in my novels. Charlie & Cub is set where I grew up. I can visit my childhood environment anytime I like.

TWO. Let’s talk about body shape. We actually won’t be — I’m not a health and fitness blogger (yet! ha.) — but it’s nice to see how the ‘ideal’ body shape has changed over time.

THREE. This post sums up my feelings on being a wannabe writer. I went to uni with Daniel, and we weren’t friends as such, but I know we bumped into each other in class and during NaNo sometimes. I’m eternally scared I’m not going to be a published author, and I’ve become so comfortable with that fear that its not the fear that scares me anymore. It’s not even admitting that I have that fear. It’s that I may not lose that fear one day. I won’t need that fear one day. I’m very comfortable being afraid. (Quote from Dawson’s Creek.)

It’s so real that it’s kept me moving, mostly running from it, never ready for it. … I can’t be let off the hook because I just might get the notion that it’s okay to keep running.

FOUR. It’s hard to find real friendship. I’m not quite as old as Rachel (quickly approaching though!), and she hit the nail on the head. At some point, going out every Wednesday night and getting hammered is no longer, a) going to be fun, b) going to make you friends, and c) an option for your life. Once you tick off all those points, what do you do? Rachel is in a similar situation to myself–we moved to new cities when we got married and don’t/didn’t know anyone. The post does not have answers, but it’s nice to know that I’m not the only one thinking about this.

FIVE. Matt Frazier usually writes about health and fitness, which is great inspiration for me. In this post, he talks about ‘great’ reasons to not do something. But, if you have a reason not to, find a great reason to do it.

BONUS. A fun link because it’s all been a bit serious in this post today: charming illustrated character prints! (Example print below.)Bonus link in the Linklove post: Reflection, in all walks of life.

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Things children's authors have said this week include quotes by Neil Gaiman, John Green and Garth Nix.

Things children’s authors have said.

This week, I’ve been most intrigued with things children’s authors have said. Some of the quotes are included below, but there are many more gems at the links. Image by flickr user Tim Geers, used under a CC BY-SA 2.0 license.

ONE. Children’s books are never just for children. A Guardian article that brilliantly shows just how important getting children’s books right is: so why aren’t they considered for awards? Neil Gaiman has some beautiful words, below, to say about kids’ stories. (As do many other authors.)

When I’m writing for kids, I’m always assuming that a story, if it is loved, is going to be re-read. So I try and be much more conscious of it than I am with adults, just in terms of word choices. I once said that while I could not justify every word in American Gods, I can justify every single word in Coraline.

TWO. John Green is often attributed quotes that he has never written. This is probably the biggest mistaken attribution yet. But I love the honesty in this video; I don’t watch every video, but I do love it when I come across one that is memorable. This is a memorable vlog.

I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ll never meet.
Not John Green

THREE. Garth Nix gave a super interesting interview with The Hub. He talks about his younger self and a little about infusing his writing with his morals (dangerous ground). A little fact you might not have known about Nix: he grew up in Canberra and…

From about fourteen, I thought I would become an officer in the Australian Army. I planned to go to our military college and get my degree there and have a career in the army.

FOUR. Another Neil Gaiman! He had an interview with the Telegraph as his new book The Sleeper and the Spindle was coming out.

You don’t need princes to save you. I don’t have a lot of patience for stories in which women are rescued by men.

FIVE. YA writers talk about their writing habits and how they create their characters that feel real. It’s a brilliant (long) article that is definitely worth the time.

The defining characteristic of YA literature is emotional truth. Even if we’re not the same as the characters we read, they are all dealing with things—issues of who they are, who they should be, what they should and shouldn’t do—that we all deal with, in their own ways. With The Hunger Games, even if we will never be in Katniss’s shoes, the decisions she makes make emotional sense to us—even when she makes the wrong ones.
David Leviathan

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On getting a job and making things.

Each Friday I like to collect five links that resonated with me during the week. Sometimes, like this week, I have to go searching for the links. But I will always find five of them. This week’s Friday Five is about getting a job and making things.

ONE. This morning I read an article by Amy Birchall (I’m sort of confused how we haven’t met, both living in Canberra), that explained how she got her first journalism job. My own journey was similar. I wanted to work in a publishing house, so I took two unpaid work experience gigs at the beginning of my final year at uni. I was lucky enough to have very supportive parents who paid the month’s rent and food and flights I need to get to the internships. (They were based in Sydney and I lived in Brisbane.) But I have no doubt that it was those two gigs that got me my job at Penguin at the end of that year.

TWO. Olya Schmidt (or @paintpaperstudio) has embarked on February challenge: #28days28paintings. Each day Olya uploads a time-lapse video of her creating the day’s painting to her instagram account. I love watching each and every one of those videos.

THREE. I love this Designer’s Creed that Matt Mullenweg (yes, the CEO of Automattic, aka creators of WordPress) posted on his blog. What’s more, I think it’s a beautiful reminder of how to live our lives as well.

FOUR. Which door will you open? A cute illustration of the fact that in most hero’s journeys, you have to pass into an unknown world. A timely reminder for someone dealing with this problem currently in her own writing.

FIVE. Oliver Jeffers shows me, an untalented-useless-drawing-type-of-person, how to draw a penguin. It looks pretty easy. However, as with all things like this, my drawings never turn out how I imagined them. My sister, on the other hand, wouldn’t need a guide to draw a penguin.

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On life, writing and typical days.

Each Friday I like to collect up five links that have resonated with me throughout the week and share them on my blog. I never pick a theme for the week, but like to share the things I’ve thought about after I closed the page. But! All blog posts need a title, so this week is: on life, writing and typical days.

ONEA translation of an email to a writer. Writers do not work for free. While I do understand the struggles of a creative writing start-up (oh, boy do I…), you do have to offer something in return. (Note to self: write blog post on this in the future.)

TWO. I’ve been inspired by a bunch of ‘things I wish I told my younger self’ article this week. Two of them in particular: “10 Things I would go back and tell my 20-something-year-old self if I could” by Rachel Del Grosso and “30 Life Things I Always Try To Remember” by Emma Gannon.

THREE. Leo of Zen Habits is always inspiring. I’ve been reading his blog for many many years, so there are things that I often skim because I feel like I’ve read it before. But the reminder is nice. This post, however, I had not read before. He talks about his typical day, and how he is lazy, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t get things done.

FOUR. A bit of advertising fun: a creative graphic designer asks What if Apple made milk? And this is how the packaging would look. My personal favourite is “Nike Fruit (just eat it)”.

FIVE. I’m not a vegetarian, but I do like Matt’s articles about running at No Meat Athlete. As a wannabe runner and an owner of a disused fitbit flex, this article on Running for Steps (rather than time or distance) makes me want to experiment.

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