Awesome Geektastic T-shirts

You’ve probably already seen the awesome geektastic t-shirts by Mental Floss, but I thought I’d mention them just in case…

If (like me) you’re based in the UK, don’t be afraid to order. I got the ‘ambiguity’ one (pictured above) as a gift and it was delivered in a timely fashion. Plus, not to get all domestic and boring on y’all, but it’s a decent quality shirt, too.

I haven’t ordered from ThinkGeek (yet) but I’m very tempted by this Self-Rescuing Princess shirt for my daughter’s twelfth birthday this year*.

*Urk. Twelve. How did that happen?

Writers on writing: Joss Whedon

Riki Lindhome (actress, writer and one half of Garfunkel and Oates) interviews Joss Whedon about writing and his career.

I recommend listening to the whole thing: Joss comes across as a really nice, down-to-earth guy.

Even though Joss says he ‘loves writing’ (the lucky duck) and he’s one those irritatingly prolific people who make me feel more-than-usually-inadquate, I did enjoy his advice to the would-be writer:

“If you’re a writer you need to write. You have to do it and you need to have to do it because it’s gruelling. You have to give yourself over to it completely. And that doesn’t mean that you have to become tortured, it doesn’t mean you have to become a dick, it doesn’t mean you have to ignore the people you love, it just means that is you. That is what you are. And that kind of passionate tenacity is necessary when people are telling you it’s not going to work out.”

[Via Diane Shipley on Twitter – thanks!]

The garden office project

My house has many advantages. I love our quiet wee village, my view of the hills and the fact that my kids have a bedroom each. I’m very lucky.

However, it is undeniable that the house – while charming – is not over-endowed with space. Consequently, I work on a desk-come-bedside-table in my bedroom and, when my husband works from home and uses the desk, I write in bed. Not ideal.

The garden is lovely (at least, it was when we moved in – it’s now rather neglected) but again, it won’t be winning any awards for square footage. Still, I’m determined to solve the space issue without moving and have decided it’s time to build myself an office in the garden.

When I say ‘build myself’ I mean, of course, buy an office from a company that does such things and pay them to install it for me. I’ve done a lot of research and at the moment am trying to choose between the compact Vista by Henley Offices. Behold. It has a cute curved roof and is insulated and double-glazed.

Or, the Malvern Garden Studio. Now, I need you to imagine this one with a lovely painted finish, as it looks a little bit shed-like in this picture:

The Malvern also has double-glazing and insulation (although the latter is thinner than the stuff offered in the Henley). It’s also about £3000 cheaper. Hmm.

Has anyone else put an office/art studio/games room in their garden? Any advice? Recommendations?

Friday Five: Happy days

Happy Friday y’all! In defiance of the dreich weather outside I’m spewing sunshine on this here blog. Enjoy…

1. A day that begins with a parcel of books is always going to be good. The very lovely YA author Karen Mahoney sent me both The Iron Witch and its sequel The Wood Queen as a prize for taking part in her writing challenge and their arrival has totally made my day. The writing community is joyful and supportive and something I am proud and honoured to be a part of. Thanks Kaz! (Now I just have to resist cracking those beautiful spines until AFTER I’ve got my word count for the day…)

2. You know how – usually after a few hits of firewater – people say things like ‘wouldn’t it be cool to make a film’? Well, my brilliant brother has done exactly that. He (and two talented friends) formed Hugawookie Films and they just completed a five minute film in two days for the Sci-Fi London 48 Hour Challenge. I’m in awe of what they’ve achieved in such a short time.

3. The Oatmeal’s cartoon on how to get likes on Facebook (top tip – create something awesome) and Hank Green’s video response.  A grown man making a sing-a-long song about how to load a dishwasher is just the kind of endeavour that gives me hope for the future of mankind.

4. Write books? Check out Patrick Samphire’s helpful advice on creating an author website.

5. I’ve mentioned craftacular magazine Mollie Makes before but if you subscribe now (for six months or a year), you get a free fabric, button and ribbon pack courtesy of The Makery.

Don’t break the chain

No, this isn’t one of those pernicious messages in which I tell you to forward something to five of your closest friends Or Else, it’s a simple tip for productivity from Jerry Seinfeld. Yes, really.

I’m a big fan of simple – it matches my brain – but simple is often hard to hold onto. It gets obscured by the other, fancier-looking stuff or becomes meaningless with repetition.

I’ve been getting all business-minded and have planned the next six months of work. Amongst the lists, goals, timescales and spreadsheets there’s room for a little old-school encouragement and that’s where the chain enters stage left.

Buy a simple wall calendar (or print one off) and stick it somewhere prominent. You want to see this sucker everytime you sit down to work. When you’ve written, created something new from nothing but the thoughts in your head and the power to wield a pen or hit buttons on a keyboard, you put a big red cross through the day. Same again the next day and the next. You’ll have a lovely chain of red crosses and all you have to do is… Keep it going: Don’t Break The Chain.

Pretty soon you’ll be able to see at a glance how well you’re doing. The sad, empty non-productive gaps and the glorious, bold, inspiring chains of red. Imagine how much you could create if you keep that chain going for a week? A month? A *whispers* year?