Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

If It’s Thursday Then…

June 21, 2007

I must be headed to the Phoenix airport for another conference. I’ll be going out to the She Speaks Conference in Charlotte, North Carolina this coming weekend.

Several of my friends are road warriors and travel almost weekly or several times a month. It’s not my normal travel schedule to have three weekends in a row in three different areas of the United States. In each place, I’ve had some good meetings and opportunities.

I’m excited about the potential in Charlotte and we’ll see what happens. I’ve been learning how to be very productive during the long airplane trips. I’ll have my AlphaSmart in my laptop bag. I continue to get some weird comments but it’s been a lifesaver for getting work done on the airplane–yes even in the coach section when the person in front of you puts their seat in recline. Because the AlphaSmart has a much smaller screen, it doesn’t have the difficulties of a laptop in that same situation.

My entries here will be scarce for a few days. If you ever wonder, just check my schedule and it may give you the answer.

The Weekend Traveler

June 6, 2007

For the next few weeks, I’m turning into a weekend traveler. I’m out on ether Thursday or Friday and back on Sunday. It’s one of those schedules that looked good on paper but as the dates approach, I’m wondering what compelled me to agree months ago and some times well over a year ago. I’m committed to helping new writers and training other professionals.

Tomorrow I’m headed to Amarillo, Texas and the Frontiers in Writing Conference. I met some great folks there several years ago and look forward to seeing them again and making new friends. If you check the link you will see that I’m teaching a couple of workshops. I could have pulled out my old notes and handouts and used them with the group. It’s tempting since it is in a different part of the country from where I’ve taught the information in the past. I’ve attended such workshops where it feels like the speaker has pulled out their shop-worn notes to try on a new audience. As an audience member, I don’t like it so I’m not going to do that to others. Instead, I’ve put some extra effort into reworking my materials and bringing new information. It takes more effort but I believe it will pay off in the long run.

On a completely different topic, from time to time I read the Church of the Customer blog and enjoy their information. I found this post fascinating about how a blogger took a customer service matter and turned it into a PR nightmare for CompUSA.

If these entries about the writing life are some times sparse during June, just remember that I’m a weekend traveler this month–and on the road the next three weekends in a row.

Drinking the Koolaid

February 23, 2007

I’ve been challenged to get another entry written this week. It’s been wild with activity—good activity.

Yesterday I traveled to a lunch meeting but it consumed the entire work day. I had more than a little concern about how this commitment was going to throw off some of my writing production. I’ve signed up for some steep deadlines recently and need to be producing each day to meet those deadlines. It’s one of those necessities in the writing life.

While my non-technical wife thinks I have a bunch of gadgets, I’m a relatively gadget-free person. I don’t have a blackberry or an ipod or some the other more common gadgets. Several years ago, other writers were telling me about their great accomplishments on their AlphaSmart. I went to ebay and purchased one. I tried it a few times but never invested enough energy to learn how to transfer the material to my computer or any of the simple features in it. That barrier changed this week.

For my day trip, I pulled down my AlphaSmart and tucked it into my travel bag. During each flight when they sounded that bell to allow electronic gadgets, I reached under my seat and pulled out my AlphaSmart and began to pound the keyboard. The keyboard feels better than my laptop and it’s a funky-looking thing with only four lines of type–but oh, can you crank on it!

This morning, I transferred the material to my desktop computer in a matter of seconds. It’s a matter of taking off my printer cable and plugging it into the hole on the AlphaSmart. Then I open a document in Microsoft Word and hit the send button. Each file pulls right into my desktop. I created several different ones and combined them into a single double-spaced document which was nine pages. My initial draft isn’t perfect yet this entire project is much further along than if I had not written anything–which is normally the case for me.

It looks like something out of the stone ages but who cares? I went over to ebay and typed in a search for “AlphaSmart” and you can purchase these machines for very little money. My AlphaSmart has done little for me tucked on a shelf in my closet. It’s like many other things that only pay if you use them. I’m a convert and have drunk the koolaid on this one.

In less than a week, I head to Los Angeles for Mega Book Marketing University. Instead of a bunch of books, I’m going to slip my AlphaSmart into my laptop bag and use it on the flights. I’ll have my laptop along on the LA trip. Now I can see why my writer friends have been raving about this gadget.