National Authors Day

Since 1949, the U.S. has celebrated National Authors Day–it’s funny I can find it written that way as well as National Authors’ Day and National Author’s Day–on November 1. I’m not sure if that’s why this month was picked to be National Novel Writing Month (better known now as NaNoWriMo), but I wish success to everyone who participates. And by success I mean this. Some of you will finish your novel and may even bring it in around the targeted 50,000 words. Some of you won’t finish, but you will start something that can continue to be developed even after the month is over. And some of you will just have fun–nothing wrong with that!

Regardless of how much you write or whether you follow through and finish, hopefully you’ll experience the satisfaction that comes with flexing your creative muscle. You may also acquire a greater appreciation for the amount of energy and effort that goes into writing. Such understanding might make you hesitate the next time you decide to trash a published writer. To actually finish a novel and revise it to publishable condition, to seek out and find an agent and/or a publisher, and then to promote it once it’s on the physical or electronic page–it’s an enormous undertaking. Even if you don’t like a particular writer’s work, if someone believed in it enough to put forth all that effort, then there are readers who will believe in it, too, when they find it thanks to booksellers, librarians, and other readers.

Today one of my favorite photographers, Joseph Holmes, retweeted from @lpvmagazine: You know you’re a real photographer when you spend your free time on the internet mocking amateurs & complaining about copyright. I think that sarcastic assessment applies to any creative endeavor. The people who are really creating in the arts don’t put their time and energy into belittling or taking shots at the efforts of others–they put that into their work. Sure, there are times an artist may compare his or her work to other people’s and think, Mine is better. It’s good to believe in your work and to think it’s the best! But mostly when I hear or read people taking shots at others’ creative accomplishments and efforts, I think of the Ram Definition of Snark:

Snark: when people who don’t do anything or make anything or accomplish anything mock the people who try–and call it “humor.”

You can answer in comments here, or on your own blogs, journals, Facebook pages, or Tweets: What authors have meant the most to you and why?

30 Minutes of Creativity: Month 2

I’m going back in time to post a 30 Minutes of Creativity photo because I forgot to do it on the third Monday of the month. The theme is “Monsters.”

Little creatures beware!
Monsters lurking everywhere.

John Riley is a BuNnY MoNsTeR created by Keri. You can see more of her MoNsTeRz in her Etsy shop when she returns from vacation the end of October. Just in time for holiday shopping!

If you want to create something in thirty minutes once a month, check out Create Stuff’s Twitter feed to get a theme and get the guidelines here. Enjoy!

What’s in a name?

“Cleanliness is next to ramliness.”

When I was younger, even during times I was poorer, I was brand loyal. I remember when generic products first began hitting the shelves, and it would have made economical sense to buy those white packages with the black letters, but I just couldn’t. Was it aesthetics? Because I always justified my choice by saying, “But I know exactly what I’m getting with my Jiff, Tide, Hellmann’s, Golden Flake, Heinz, Campbell’s, Nabisco, Bama, Comet, Dial, Coke,” blah blah blah. I was certain that if anyone ever put me in a blind taste test, I could pick my favorite product.

I’m not quite as bad as I used to be. I’ll buy store brands or different brands for a lot of products now. Okay, never a peanut butter that isn’t Jiff or a mayonnaise that isn’t Hellmann’s. But I’ve drunk store-brand colas and eaten store-brand oatmeal. I broke with my mother on loyalty to Tide, but only because of the expense. I still think it’s the best detergent. Because cost is one of my main criteria, I’ve grown indifferent to brand names on paper products, and I’m more likely to pick cereals based on the nutritional information on their labels.

Still, when I shot this photo, I wondered, if I were still using bar soap, would I purchase this?

Are you brand loyal?