Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Pearson Charity Book Sale Raises £4,850

Last week, I attended my second Pearson Education charity book sale at work. This is where lots of unsold Penguin stock (Penguin is owned by Pearson) is sold to Pearson employees at a ridiculously low price. Paperbacks were 50p, hardbacks were £1. One of the perks of working for such a big publishing company.

As usual, hundreds of people were queuing for the doors to open. This time, I was right at the front! Behind me, I could see a dangerous light reflecting in the eyes of every book-crazy employee. Fingers were flexing, ready to grab armfuls of the nearest books.

The doors opened and the room flooded before I could blink. The more experienced employees knew exactly where to go to get the best books. I hovered near the classics for a while, slightly dazed. The room filled and I spent forty minutes trying to circulate round all the tables.

I spent only about £15, but I got two bagfuls of books.

Today it was announced that the grand total raised was £4,850 from books that would have otherwise been pulped. The money is being split between the Stairway to Heaven Memorial Trust and The Michael Roberts Charitable Trust.

Monday, 29 March 2010

New Blog Design

I've just changed my blog design. Hopefully this one looks smarter and more professional. Let me know what you think. I'll still be tweaking it over the next few days, and cleaning up the page now that I have discovered the new 'tab'/'pages' feature (by the way, if anyone knows how to customize the design of the tabs, please let me know!).

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Writing, writing, writing... Reading, reading, reading!

Busy, busy, busy!

I've done a fair bit of writing recently. Not a huge amount, but considering I have a full time job and I'm starting my own magazine, I've done more than I thought I would.

My New Year's Resolution was to write 500 words a week. I haven't kept that resolution. It didn't work for me. But you know what IS working for me? Contests!

I'm partaking in the Critters Bar writing forum's Flash League III. It's in its 8th week now. I've written an original piece for each round. The prompts get my juices flowing, and my incredibly competitive nature spurs me on.

Likewise, I've written something for Shock Totem's monthly flash competition.

And of course, I've been reading all the submissions for both of these things. There is a lot. Only a handful each week for the Critters Bar contest (though it is weekly), and there were a good 30 entrants to the Shock Totem contest - which is about 30,000 words.

Not only have I been reading contest entries, I've been reading submission entries for Inkspill Magazine. The submission deadline has just passed for Issue 1. I have been drafting up the content I've commissioned so far into InDesign to make sure I haven't over-commissioned. I have about 3/4 of the content, and so have to choose the best few stories from the remaining 50 submissions I have in my inbox. In total, I've probably read about 200 submissions for this first issue.

Luckily for me, I work in publishing, and some of the girls at work have offered to help out with the next issue. I may take them up on that offer sooner than I planned! I'd always intended to build a team for the magazine, so seems like the perfect place to start.

So that's been my last two months: shitloads of reading and writing! Who'd have thunk!?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

A Day in the Life... #2

I keep meaning to do more of these...

Today wasn't the most typical of days. Even though I have a ton of work to do (at the moment that includes conducting lots and lots of accademic reviews of our textbooks, sample chapters, and proposals; and preparing a manuscript for handover to the production team), I didn't get anything done today!

I wasn't slacking - I had other stuff to do.

The whole of my morning was spent in training. I attended an 'Introduction to Questionnaires' session, which was quite interesting. Very relevant since I have to write questionnaires to use as part of the reviewing process.

Then I had lunch with the other editorial assistants and assistant editors. We had three new people start this week, so that's quite exciting.

I spent the next hour or so sorting out emails. They tend to build up.

The rest of the afternoon I was in a meeting with the Nursing List staff. This included myself, the editor, and two of the marketing team. We were discussing some exciting up-coming plans to do with social media and putting together a student advisory team. I got the go-ahead to start a Twitter feed for the Nursing List! (I've been wanting to do that for months.) So yay!

Then I came home and ate a huge bar of chocolate. But that isn't part of the job.

Monday, 1 March 2010

Goodbye WordVooDoo

I haven't posted much recently as I've been extremely busy with work, with my magazine project (full post about that another day!), with family, and with a little project called WordVooDoo.

In my second year of university, I volunteered to help moderate a creative writing project called WordVooDoo, run online by Mr Savage, a teacher at George Mitchell School, London. And I've been a moderator there ever since.

Selected pupils from the school, aged between 12-16, anonymously posted their responses to creative challenges, set by Mr Savage. The team of moderators were allocated about three students each, and commented on their posted work, offering advice and encouragement.

The standard has been impressive, and it has been a pleasure to see the students improve.

A 'Junior WordVooDoo' was even run for a little while.

But it would be impossible for projects like this not to run into a few problems here and there, and after several years, the project has come to an end.

To go out with a bang, the project's last task was competition-styled. I spent a few hours this weekend reading and commenting on my students' last pieces of work, and reading through all the students' entries. I sent my judgments via email to Mr Savage, who will announce the winners soon. Prizes include book tokens, and a year's worth of mentoring from some of the moderators.

All the students are extremely talented, and I hope that they all continue to write creatively. I only wish there had been a project like this when I was at school!

(image by 'blended-notes')
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