A Guest Post by John Burgette
For the past few years, my wife and I have been raising chickens as a hobby. We frequently have the opportunity to talk about it with people in our rural community.
In that time, we’ve learned a lot about raising chickens. Although there are a variety of methods, the primary goals are to provide chickens with food, water, shelter, and protection, while they provide us with eggs. For those starting out, it can seem very overwhelming — there are so many options!
For example, there are numerous options for sheltering chickens. Some of these have very fancy designs, which could appeal more to the owners than the chickens. New owners need to be careful about choosing a solution, not based on how it looks, but based on how it meets the needs of both the chickens and the owners. For instance, owners will want easy access, while still not placing the chickens at risk from predators. The simple question is: how well does the shelter address the basic goals of providing protection, from both the elements and predators, and a place for the chickens to lay eggs? Moreover, we’ve learned to not limit ourselves to just looking at “chicken-oriented” products. In fact, we’ve found that a dog kennel can be a part of the overall protection solution for chickens.
The bottom line is, there are a lot of options available for raising chickens. However, unless you understand the basic methods for how you need to raise them, you may end up wasting time and resources. First, know why you need a particular solution.
New writers can face similar challenges. As with chicken shelters, there are many technology products which can help meet a writer’s needs. One might select computer software with a fancy user-interface and dozens of functions, hoping it will automatically lead to writing a great novel. However, instead of that, the writer may spend more time adapting themselves to the software, perhaps “going against the grain” of what made them want to write in the first place.
Because I also have a computer science background, people assume that I always try to use the “latest” technologies. I will definitely use technology for my writing, but when and how much … well, it depends. First, it’s important to understand the basics and develop your own methods for activities such as planning, organizing, producing, and distributing your work. Keep it simple and consider what resources you already have available for each method. Don’t automatically disregard “pen and paper” technologies. Once you have mastered your writing methods, you should be better at recognizing what technologies will help versus hinder, your work. Also, just like a dog kennel can be used as a part of raising chickens, be aware of alternative options — technology not specifically developed for writing might still work for you and your methods.
I remember attending my first writers conference. Just a few minutes after arriving, I was talking with an author about a software product we both used. I recall discussing how the software better enabled a method that I use; it was something I did either way, but the software made it easier, so I could focus more on my writing.
The Mid-South Christian Writers Conference can be a good opportunity to share/learn methods and technologies with other writers.
John Burgette has worked and studied in several fields, including computer/technology, leadership, group fitness, and academic teaching/research. When he’s not helping his wife, Sandra, raise chickens and goats, John enjoys creative writing, and he is an active teacher/speaker, leader, and musician for his church.
Organizing Research Notes: Keep It Simple
Learn a simple strategy for organizing and sorting research notes/citations by themes or topics. An optional technique for using the notes to develop a final outline, which can be very useful for non-fiction, research-specific, or historical fiction writing, will also be discussed.