Zora’s Birthday: A day for writing and writers

I use Grammarly’s plaigerism check because I don’t want to eat more grandma.

I don’t usually start my posts with a teaser, but there you go! I hope that gets you ready for a post on writing and writers.

I decided to write this post several days ago, before all the reminders from Google and the Twittersphere about Screen Shot 2014-01-07 at 4.18.14 PMZora Neale Hurston’s birthday. I just read one of the articles floating around and it mentioned Their Eyes Were Watching God as her greatest accomplishment. Really? Not all the work she did collecting folktales for the WPA? Or the body of work she created as a young woman writing on the fringes of the Harlem Renaissance? Or, perhaps just because of her courage?

I wonder what digital tools Zora would use in her writing. I imagine her to be someone who would embrace whatever would help her get her story out of her head and into print as quickly as possible.

2014 has begun with my article on finding children’s nonfiction in Library Media Connection and I hope to have a few other articles published this year. Doing more writing has me wanting needing to write better. I need help with the mechanics and am turning to online software to get my writing to shine.

I’m sharing from the prospective of an academic writer however; the tools I’m sharing will be good for all types 1212720-Clipart-Of-A-Casual-Black-Woman-Writing-And-Thinking-Royalty-Free-Vector-Illustration-1of writers. I don’t think high school students or college underclassmen are at a level to need any of these tools, however teachers should know what will apply to their own individual circumstance. Students need to develop habits of mind that will lead to growth and success throughout their lives; habits that include the development of these writing skills. K-12 students may benefit from these apps to record and document their learning. PLEASE! Don’t wait for teachers to implement these into your children’s education. Parents need to be proactive in adding productive tools into their children’s lives.

I closed out last semester by presenting a session on Zotero, my citation management software of choice. While there are dozens of such software, I like the ease and reliability of Zotero. This “free” (there is no financial cost) software collects articles, pdfs, images… anything with metadata into one cloud based location that I can access on my MacBook, iPhone or Asus laptop. Anyone doing massive amounts of research will appreciate having all  the articles right there with their citation. Have you found a convenient way to collect information? Zotero works for me, but there are other tools. (unpaid advertisement)

Now, the next items are really on my ‘to try’ list. If you have used any of them, chime in and let us know what works and what doesn’t!

Scrivner actually came on my radar via Don Tate on FB and is also an unpaid advertisement on my part. I’m not sure how he uses the software but I do imagine he uses it in his creative writing process. I hope to use it to stop relying upon all of the pieces of post-its, notebook paper, scribblings, notes and cross notes that I’ve used since high school. Anyone, including novelist, screenwriters, academics, students and lawyers, who writes for a living can benefit from the ways Scrivner allows them to organize their writing. In the next couple of months, I plan to try the trial subscription and report back to you on how it’s worked for me.

I found Grammerly via an email offering to pay me to promote the service. Purchasers of Grammarly are able to use its advanced features to check for grammar and spelling errors. Have you read one of my blog posts?? It’s not that I don’t know better, I simply cannot see the errors. Hopefully, Grammarly will add the final touch that will make my writing glimmer. Few things pain me more than being in the midst of an eloquent point only to have it diverted by an uncorrected typing error.

For you creative writing types, consider joining Kwame Alexander in Paris this July for the 2014 Book in a Day International Writing Retreat. (btw, if you realize how much you could benefit from having a librarian on board, I’m available for hire!)

Join fellow writers and educators for Master Writing Classes, 4-Star Hotel Accommodations (4-nights), A Visit to Richard Wright’s Home and the Blacks in Paris tour, a tour of the locations featured in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, and much more.

Have you been reading and enjoying the courage series? The final post will be tomorrow and I have to say that I think the series has really been one of the best things I’ve done on my blog. I really wish everyone who shared so much could have had more of a response to what they wrote, but that’s not the nature of this blog!

I really hope in 2014 to get back to building community. Reading Ari’s post reminded me of the strong network we had years ago and how important that is in promoting both YA authors of color and literacy for teens of color. I want to dust off the blog and get it to shine again. I hope you’ll be on board!


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