Monday, January 19, 2009

A Curious Argle-Bargle

Blogger's Note: More flotsam from my publications management class. We were asked to read and discuss the introduction and first chapter of Effective Publications Management, by Cathy Connor Lips. To my credit, I managed to post something that was sensible and did not, in any way, make fun of the author's name. But because I cannot contain it any longer, This Blog presents the following:

What, exactly, are connor lips?

Thank you for bearing with me. Now, on to the discussion:

It’s no surprise to me that the major points of this weeks’ reading assignment are points of doctrine that have been pounded into me since I decided I wanted to be a writer more than two (nearly three, yikes) decades ago:

Learn to multitask
Remain curious
Show up prepared

What writers today are being asked to do, be curious about and be prepared about has certainly changed in the past 29 years, but the driving philosophies remain strong.

As Prof. Hailey has mentioned earlier, back in the day it was a multitasking writer who could cut-and-paste, learning with waxed paper, tape and x-acto knives the art of paste-up. Nowadays, we’ve gone beyond that into desktop publication design, web design, HTML and XML. To those of you working with XML and such on a regular basis, I’m jealous. I’m pleased as punch to be getting my feet wet when it comes to website design and management, but I’d like to be doing more – and what I’m doing now comes through a volunteer gig (, please oh please check us out) than at work, where Word is Master.

Writers who remain curious rank among the best writes out there. An avid curiosity also shows our customers we’re willing to understand the problem/question from their point of view, making us a more valuable asset to them in the future. (Ironically, for me, remaining curious is the thing I have to remind myself to do. I actually have a sticky note on my monitor at work that reads “Be Curious,” though it seems to have disappeared this week. Probably stuck to some papers somewhere. I’ll have to make a new one. Some people like to say there’s such a thing as being too curious (as the attached picture entails). I don’t believe that much. Being curious for about thirty seconds last week would have saved me three angst-filled days this weekend, so, trust me, being curious DOES NOT come naturally to all human beings.

And nobody, absolutely nobody, likes it when the agenda gets to the point where the unprepared person is set to speak about his or her unpreparedness. Time-waster. I like to waste time on my own terms, thank you very much. I have a boss whose pet peeve is people who show up unprepared. If you’re unprepared, he says, it shows you don’t care about what you’re doing, that you think what you’re doing is unimportant or that you’d rather be on the unemployment line, he is fond of saying when I paraphrase him.

Now, an aside. Our professor's introductory note to this topic included the following paranthetical phrase:

"Take that Mrs. Thistlebottom! (She was my old English teacher who used to gig me for run-on sentences)."

I have to wonder if, when she entered college, if she knew she was destined to become an English teacher. You don't find any math or phys ed instructors with a name like Thistlebottom.

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