It’s happened to all of us. Files lost in some cyber-nightmare. Computers. We rely on them for our composition, but must always remember the words of the Prophet Mohammed: “Tie Your Camel.” You know what I’m talking about here. “Oh, I’ll get to it soon,” are famous last words. Regular back up is a necessity while working on anything using computers, which, like all things in this world, are subject to entropy and degradation. Back up is just a normal part of your work flow.
A close client has just lost 4 months of valuable work, nada, gone, kaput. Just like that. And not because she didn’t back up. She did, or the person who does her tech support did it for her. The issue was with file names: two files with the same name in different areas. He backed up the older one, not the most recent. Then the most recent was trashed. Regular back up would have lessened the gap between those versions of the project. File naming the different versions also helps. All this is totally visible in hindsight.
Word to the wise: back up your work!
And by the way, I also keep all the older original versions in case I need to go back at any time. Even when a project is “completed” I keep them for a time, just to be sure. Anal? Probably. But it has come in handy more than once.
I’m working with a client to help organize a vast quantity of her previous materials, which include writings, presentations and workshops. There is no shortage of content to work with, and our challenge is to find the centre.
Together, we are defining the centre of the work which she has been doing over the years, which (despite its various aspects) is all grounded in her approach and expertise. Then there is another centre, which is perhaps a deeper and more meaningful one, which is the directive or result of this work to date, and how that work relates to her audience and her clients. What is the centre for them? How does her work define that as well? By finding both her centre within her materials, and the centre in her audience, we can define the two in the place where they match. Bingo! We have the centre of the whole work, and can proceed from there. All the materials then radiate from this centre.
This way of concept definition is a wonderful process in which discoveries made can help to redefine the work of decades. As a process for the client it is both empowering and satisfying, giving a clear direction for future efforts.
Focusing on the needs of small business and independent entrepreneurs, we have been working to create alphablogs, as a division of Alpha Glyph Publications Ltd.
We know blogging and we can help you get started and keep your blog going. We also help your blog find its audience, ultimately reaching many more clients and contacts through application of the latest web technology.
When you wish to reach an audience with your message, the blog is the ideal way to contact your clients, both current clients and clients-to-be. With the capability of indepth info (as much as you wish to generate) and the potential for many-to-many contacts that web 2.0 offers you will find yourself in the new universe of 21st century communications. Your blog posting can also be converted to a newsletter which your clients may subscribe to for up to the minute info.
Enter the realm of transparent communications, which the new web offers. It’s much more than just a blog, but can truly replace the old idea of the website completely. You will find that there can be continual updates on your info, and you can make those updates yourself. No need for high setup fees: for under $500 you will have a website ready to go with all the high functionality you will need to be confident in the 21st century marketplace.
We will patiently guide you into the workings of this new communications environment and will give you the tools to do as much of it yourself as you want to handle. Or we can set it all up and run it for you. Get yourself an alphablog, and find out what we are talking about.
Add video or audio to your site easily and inexpensively. Prepare your own information or we can put it together for you. And we help you get hits for your postings. Each blog posting is like a tiny website in itself, and is viewed independently by search engines like google. What this means to you is that you have the potential to reach many more clients through micro-targeted content. It also means that you don’t have to be one-track-minded in your messaging, but can branch out to the subtleties and overtones that are the intangibles that make your business tick, and that make your approach to your business unique.
Ultimately it is up to you. Your vision of your work and field of endeavour can be personally and professionally reflected through an alphablog site. Need a website? We can set that up for you. Need a blog? Naturally – it is our first love! Need a video blog or audio podcast? We can get that started for you and keep it going. Comprehensive sites use many capabilities which we also provide, including writing, editing, research, SEO for blogs, photos and images, links, comments, and community development (if needed).
We are really excited by the potential and possibility of this new aspect of publishing, and will be officially launching alphablogs soon. Meanwhile, for more information, you can reach us through the Alpha Glyph contact info.
Check the blogs page of this site for some examples of work to date.
When a client comes to me with a project, I treat it with complete confidentiality. Even if we haven’t signed a non-disclosure agreement, you can rest assured that I won’t be talking about your great new idea to the next person I see, nor will I post anything about it on this blog without your permission.
So often we have good ideas that we feel are unique, only to find someone else is also incubating the same thought, or one so similar it is hard to believe there wasn’t some kind of “security breach”. I have had several cases of two potential clients showing me plans for projects that were remarkably similar, and both within the same week! This kind of synchronicity always amazes me, but still I keep the two projects separate in my mind, and do not disclose them to one another, let alone to the outside world.
In many cases, though, we can have synergy in similarity, as long as there isn’t direct competition for the same audience dollars. And outside the strict commercial realm, creative community can nurture ideas and grow them to fruition. Even if someone seems to be saying the same thing as you, remember that your take on it adds immeasurable personal value.
Our focus on personal publishing at Alpha Glyph is all about this very aspect of expression in these times, recognizing that personalized sorting and understanding does give greater meaning to any information. Sharing that personalized sorting is also what all the social networking buzz is all about. But once we settle down into understanding our role as human beings in this information age of rapid exchanges and 500 “friends”, we can see the value of the memoir, the meaning in the life story, the effect of creating lasting printed versions of our histories, our dreams and our work’s legacy.
What does all this have to do with confidentiality? We each have something unique to ourselves, something we do not want taken in an identity theft, nor in a copyright infringement. We each need the opportunity to produce our self-expression freely and without the fear that it will be taken and badly copied by someone who wants to illegally take credit for our ideas or our personal expression. Especially in the development stage, it is important to keep concepts confidential.
What is literacy? A deep and amazing process which enables a reader or writer to create, perceive and participate in worlds of thought across time and place. Here minds have participated and evolved since pre-history. Listings just don’t do it.
Now that the contents of publications can be searched by word or work groupings on a massive scale, we feel we have knowledge nailed – computers win as the texts of the world become an Alexandria of wisdom.
These word fragments mean as much to us as the letter “a” or “t” would. The process can be seen as a kind of alphabetization of words. There is no context or meaning to this kind of information. Instead, we have more fragmentation. We think that by listing and accessing all documents which include the word “Alexandria” we can have an accumulation that will yield the knowledge of Alexandria’s burned libraries. But if we look at the process used for this, we could just as easily be listing all words that begin with the letter “w” – an interesting exercise, for those who enjoy reading the dictionary.
Of course it’s great to be able to have info at your fingertips, to catalyze more cross-references, more awareness of similarities and differences. But will this process contribute to the continued development of thought-worlds for generations to come?
In a way, these listings could be killing off the fairies. They could be the death of the rich inner thought world that literacy creates. They are replacing resonant meaning with searchable content.
How do we develop and enable literacy in such an environment?
It’s all very well and good to encourage others to produce their own self-published books, and to coach them and help prepare their material, but it began to seem not quite fair to my clients unless I experienced the heights and depths of the process of self-publishing myself.
The experience has been truly valuable, both technically and emotionally. I chose to work with Lulu.com, and now have a little storefront on their site: Carol’s Special Interest Bookstore, that also includes some preview pages.
In future posts I’ll track the process of each of these more fully.
I’ve been so happy to see again and again on the various lists of personal goals that writing a book is right up there, usually in the top 5 or 10. This means that there are lots of authors and would-be authors out there. Everyone I speak with either has an idea for a book, has been writing a book, or knows someone who has a book in the works.
But these books are in the mind, perhaps only partially written, if that. And many of them will remain there, never completed. For even with the ease of print on demand and the presence of skilled editors, there are still so many obstacles that come between the would-be author and the achievement of that first goal of getting that manuscript finished. Most of these are internal challenges.
We have all heard stories of the publishing companies that take the author to a hotel and just force him to finish a manuscript for them. (I thought I’d find an image of the interior of a luxury hotel room, circa 1970, to illustrate this idea but I couldn’t find a match, so you will simply have to imagine it.)
Of course, you could go on retreat yourself, and there are many beautiful inns and B&Bs dedicated to writers. Here’s something that looks most unusual, the House of Writer’s Creativity Hotel Complex.
But if you decide to stay closer to home, consider our book coaching services. A book coach can definitely help by partnering with you and offering regular accountability, good advice and the stick-to-itness that you will need to get over the long haul. Writing is lonely work, and a relationship with someone who can help you carry through the process can make the difference between getting the manuscript done and leaving it as an imaginary project.
I’ve been working on this very interesting project with Tina McInerney, and it’s been quite a journey. You can see more on Tina and her work in her blog. We’ve just listed the book project (and accompanying presentations) with Give Meaning, which is a great innovative fundraising site for individual and independent worthwhile projects. If you wish to support the idea of the project, we first need 100 votes to make the project active. Just log in to Give Meaning and vote to add your name to the list of supporters.
Here it is: The Truth About Reading.
When I first met with Tina and we discussed reading and the whole process, I immediately connected to all my McLuhan study, and his anaysis of the effects of the alphabet on culture, civilization and the mind. Here was Tina telling me the same thing, from her own personal standpoint. In a flash, I “got it” and was very keen to partner with her and her organization, the Society for the Immediate Awareness of Alternative Learning.
This project is a fantastically meaningful and complex process. To help produce a book written by someone who couldn’t read, and whose experience in the regular school system was so very destructive of self-esteem is a poetic process, engaging my full being – more than simple book coaching and editorial. It is important that Tina express this for herself, and not that I “package” her expression based on my preconceived notions. It is a welcome challenge to the grip of the alphabetic mind, yet requires me to use that very mind to express experience that occurs beyond its limitations. So that’s fun! And the project is so very worthwhile, aiming to help kids and adults who have gone through what Tina’s been through. We have some dynamite sample pages that Tina has put together, with words and images from her school days.
And my McLuhan media study mind is reeling with how powerful the hegemony of the written word is: people who know Tina very well were very moved by what she had expressed. They actually said that they hadn’t really understood what she felt, until they read it! This applies to all writers and individuals who need to express themselves, the written word still communicates deeply aspects of inner life and interior experience that may never be known by others any other way.