Thursday, September 27, 2012

Creativity and the Circadian Rhythm

Are you a night owl or a morning person?  If you are a night person, you may want to try coming up with new fiction ideas and solving old ones in the morning.  If you are a day person, the best time is in the afternoon.  This data comes from Mareike Wieth and Rose Zacks as found in the article "To Speed Up The Creative Process, Slow Down" by Sam McNerney.  According to the research, it turns out you are better at creative thinking at non-peak times.

I found this information through a long and tangled path whose trail head began with Sue Shellenbarger's article "The Peak Time for Everything" and ended with Sam McNerny's.  But it was intriguing enough to make me wonder how true this is and which person I am.  I feel that I am a natural night owl, but because of my career, I have been forced into a day-time rhythm.  As for as creative ideas go, I generally record date and time for many writing-related things, but not always.  I'll report back in if I have enough data to figure out how true any of this is for me.

Cite:  McNerney, Sam. "To Speed Up the Creative Process, Slow Down."  Why We Reason.  N.p., 10 Feb. 2012. Web. 27 Sept. 2012.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting to Know Your Blog Neighbors: Two Regency Blog Posts

Swallowtail I've never been a social butterfly, but as the Internet cuts out the scary face-to-face aspect of socializing, I have no excuse to be a Net recluse.  So I decided to launch a campaign to spread my wings a little by reading, commenting, and linking to some blog posts.  I'm starting with my Regency blog neighbors.  Two of them.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Paths, New Blog

I haven't been writing fiction much lately because I have been working some things out.  As my writing-related dreams go down different paths, so too must my blogs.  I will be working on separating out my fiction from this blog.  The new home is Weirding Out Fiction.  Once I get both blogs tweaked, I'll let you know my thoughts about my fiction and other things.  For now, bear with me, please, as some things get moved about.  Thanks!

Monday, September 24, 2012

More Book Buys

I've been trying to keep better track of my books buys, so this is likely to become a regular feature.  Anyway, I was busy Friday and Saturday.  I got 50 books for $12.90--or an average of approximately $0.26 each. They are listed below.

Friday, September 21, 2012

History Tidbit: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Herschel?

Turns out, the planet Uranus could have been . . . Herschel or Georgium Sidus.  When I was first reading this in the article "On Astronomy: The Solar System Explained, &c.," I couldn't figure out what planet the magazine and the original source, Mrs. Bryan, meant.  So I turned to Wikipedia article "William Herschel," and it had the answer.  Sir Frederick William Herschel discovered Uranus.  To curry favor with King George III, he named it the Georgian star.  Later, the name became Herschel.  Then, finally, Uranus.

So I guess the mnemonic could have been very different: My Very Excellent Mother Just Served Him . . . .  
Which would have tied nicely into the male-centric view espoused in this line: "In the center of the solar system is placed the sun, like the father of the family, surrounded by bodies dependent on his emanations, called planets . . . " (Bryan 88).

But hey, I'm just surprised by the fact they have articles on astronomy in a lady's magazine anyway.  Or that they think astronomy is "elegant and useful" knowledge for female readers (Bryan 88).  Especially considering that the original lecture came from a woman no less!  Huh, go figure.

  • Bryan. "Lectures on Natural Philosophy: The Result of Many Years' Experience of the Facts Elucidated" [Excerpt]. Rpt. in "On Astronomy: The Solar System Explained, &c."  La Belle Assemblee 3 June 1807:  88-91. Google Book Edition.
  • "William Herschel."  Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Writing Tidbit: Suspenseful Delight, Not Torture

In The New York Times, author Alex Stone explains the psychology behind why waiting is torture.  The article has some excellent points that I would like to highlight here and relate to writing.  In particular, I want to relate to how writers open up a question but delay when they answer it.  Sometimes the sense of suspense works, sometimes it doesn't.  Perhaps this article gives some hints as to why.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Got Books? Free Books Found!

Tuesday, Mom ran across a person with a table full of free books.  That's right, free books.  It seems like she wasn't the only one who checked them out, for while she was there, someone came back for a second helping.  But she managed to wrest these away:

Format:  Title; author/editor/publisher; genre
  1. Are You Normal About Money; Bernice Kanner; Nonfiction

  2. FUBAR; Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill; Nonfiction

  3. If Aristotle Ran General Motors; Tom Morris; Nonfiction

  4. The Care of Fine Books; Jane Greenfield; Nonfiction

  5. Your Soul's Compass; Joan Borysenko and Gordon Dveirin; Nonfiction

  6. Sharing the Wealth: My Story; Alex Spanos; Nonfiction-Business

  7. The Millionaire Next Door; Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko; Nonfiction-Business

  8. Man of His Word; Promise Keepers (NIV); Nonfiction-Christian

  9. The Social Fabric Vol 1: American Life from 1607 to 1877; Thomas L. Hartshorne and Robert A. Wheeler and John H. Cary and Julius Weinberg; Nonfiction-History

  10. The Spiritual Awakeners; Keith J. Hardman; Nonfiction-History

  11. Beginning Writer's Answer Book; Jane Friedman; Nonfiction-Writing

And now, they found a new home with me :-D

Business Tidbit: Two to Five Percent Advertising

I've been looking into the process of starting up a business, and I came across an interesting fact about advertising.  Start Your Own Business suggests devoting "2 to 5 percent of anticipated gross sales" to advertising (Lesonsky and Entrepreneur Media 493).  And this is annually. 

This might be a good guideline for indie/self-publishers who spend money on advertising.  Actually, it is probably is helpful for any writer with a book out. I suppose if you use free versions of advertising, figuring out the equivalent value would work too.  Two to five percent. That's Entrepreneur Media's guideline.

Cite:  Lesonsky, Rieva, and Entrepreneur Media. Start your Own Business: The Only Start-Up Book You'll Ever Need. 3rd ed. Entrepreneur Press, 2004. Print.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

History Tidbit: Regency Era Tooth Whitener

Crest White Strips?  Why not try Prince's Cherry Paste.  Apparently, Regency era people wanted white teeth, too.  According to an advertisement in La Belle Assemblee, besides cleansing and preserving teeth, Prince's Cherry Paste whitened them (47).  I guess no matter the era or diet, a person had difficulties keeping teeth nice and bright and white.

Cite:  Prince's Cherry Paste. Advertisement. La Belle Assemblee 3 June 1807: 47 [Bell's Monthly Compendium of Advertisements for July, 1807 Section].  Google Book Edition.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

61 Mile Yardsale Goal: 100 Books for Less than $100

Well, I've been inactive thanks to a three-day yardsale called The 61 Mile Yardsale.  This started Thursday and ended today, Saturday, Sept. 1, and it runs along Missouri Highway 61.  I bought a lot of stuff, but the main thing I look for at yardsales is books.  I set a goal to buy a 100 books for less than $100.  I reached that goal, easily.  I bought a 140 books at a grand total of $42.80.  This averages out to about $0.31 each.  Can't beat that!  Anyway, there were more fiction books than nonfiction, about 79 compare to 54.  And most of that fiction was historical, 69 of them.