A rose is still a rose, so what’s the point of changes?

“Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change –
this is the rhythm of living.
Out of our over-confidence, fear;
out of our fear, clearer vision,
fresh hope. 
And out of hope, progress.”
Bruce Barton
 ~

On Monday I posted about upcoming changes here. The first  — this week’s blog renovation — may be the most visible. It’s less flowery, not so frivolous or cluttered as it was before. Hopefully you’ll still find it a friendly place to hang out.

I’m all for change when it comes to rearranging furniture and redecorating. But when Facebook unilaterally alters how my posts are treated, or Flickr decides my photos will be viewed differently, I find it frustrating. They believe the new features will be an improvement. They may be, but I see them as contributing to my stress level because I have to take time to learn new ways to do what had become conveniently automatic. One Flickr user complained the features had been working well, so why change them. “A rose by any other name is still a rose, but now we have to figure out new ways to enjoy the fragrance.”

Two-toned Rose

Recently Google announced they will be discontinuing their Google Reader application on July 1st. Since I’ve relied on it for years as an RSS service, hosting links to all the places online that I like to follow, the announcement caused a stab of concern. The change won’t affect those who subscribed to receive new blog post alerts via e-mail, but if, like mine, the blogs number well in excess of a hundred, a reader is invaluable. I had a moment of panic, fearing that with Google Reader’s demise I’d lose my connection to the blogs of all my favourite cyber friends.

Backup is the answer, of course. I should have realized other software developers would be jumping into the void. There are already several alternatives to Google Reader.  Google has provided a data takeaway option. I’ve downloaded mine and will move to Feedly.

Change on its own isn’t a problem, but how we react to it might be. We like the familiar — it’s comfortable. When a trusted agent or editor announces a move to a different agency, a hoped-for contract slips away, or when life clouds over with some other surprise, we perch at the edge of the unknown, frantically trying to retain our balance. That’s when it’s a relief to remember we have a backup. There’s a steadying hand to grasp if we’ll reach for it.

Do you like changes or dread them? Have you had to deal with anything requiring change lately, good or bad?

~

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed,
for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9  [ESV]
 
~  ~  ~

Making Better Use of My Time

 

Google Reader helps keep my blog-reading habit under control. One day I took the time to enter the URLs of my favourite blogs as ‘subscriptions’ and now I can access them all in one place. A quick glance lets me know which ones have new postings so I don’t have to waste time travelling to each bookmarked blog to check.

Sounds simple enough, but on second thought my opening sentence is misleading. Better to say that Google Reader consolidates my favourite blogs into one place. Period. Nothing really keeps my blog hopping under control except self discipline or good old lack of time. But what it does is allow me to use my blog-reading time to better advantage.

That’s how I managed to catch up on some of my favourites while taking a brief break from NaNoWriMo this morning. That’s how I discovered I’d missed two valuable posts by Rosslyn Elliott. That’s how I was inspired to create this post. I still haven’t made it back to NaNoWriMo.

Something Rosslyn said created an eureka moment – one of those ‘I knew that but she said it so much better than I could’ thoughts. In What Makes a Novel Feel Real? – Part 1, she suggested, Don’t get so focused on a slamdunk pace that [you] leave out the everyday moments, the normalcy that makes the novel feel real.… I’m not saying we should never have burning buildings, but unless we balance those events with the more mundane dramas that fill most of our lives, novels feel fake.”

I’m not going to re-run her posts, but I do suggest you go read both of them. I’m heading back to Google Reader now to re-read her Part 2. Then I really have to get back to my NaNo novel. At 21,300 words I still have a long way to go, and today is already the middle of our NaNo’ing month!

To reiterate Rosslyn’s question, what does it take to make a novel feel ‘real’ to you?