Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Learning Curve - Terri Brisbin

Whenever you need to or try to learn something new – a new game, a new job, A NEW COMPUTER!! – there is a process and a period of time called ‘the learning curve’ when you go from first try to stumbling through to adjusting through anger and screaming to acceptance and competence. I am here to tell you that the learning curves I faced at 20 are more like learning MOUNTAINS as I approach them in my mid-50s!

As you can probably tell, I just got a new computer – wow, is it pretty and, wow, does it have lots of new and shiny stuff in it and with it!! A 22’ HD flatscreen monitor that I can see across a room. Gigs and gigs of RAM and hard drive space. Windows 7!!! Wooohooo! But, there are so many choices and decisions and things to set up and do and fix and upload and download that I am overwhelmed at this point. That darned learning curve – I’m in the stumbling part, clearly heading for the ‘anger and screaming’ part soon. Hubby sees the signs and is making himself scarce…..LOL!

But I’m sure that after a few more lessons and panicked calls to my sons, it will all be fine – or as in the drawing above, I’ll reach the new status quo after going through fine tuning….! Ohmigosh, I hope I live through it!

I went through this when asked to write a novella for the first time for Harlequin Historicals. I’d lived in anticipation and in fear of being asked and when I was, my first thought was how the heck do I write a novella? I mean I would be cutting my story and characters down to 1/3 of the pages they usually have to develop (aka make sense). I discovered there is a fine line between making sense and leaving out too much in writing a romance. So, I struggled over it and wrote my first then second then third and fourth novella and am finally over the learning curve for that length. Then what happens?

I was asked to write a short story for Harlequin Historicals Undone, cutting the page total down yet again. Gosh – how could that be done and still make sense to readers and to me? I struggled, asked writing friends who’d successfully done shorter lengths and learned how to do it.

So, have you faced a learning curve recently? New job? New task? New computer? Post a short comment about that and I’ll choose 2 winners to receive a signed copy of my upcoming Brava anthology - UNDONE! From Kensington.

Terri will have a novella AND a short story out soon – “A Night for Her Pleasure”, her Harlequin Historical Undone will be part of the first print edition in PLEASURABLY UNDONE! in April and the novella “A Storm of Love” will be part of UNDONE in May. Visit her website – subscribe to her newsletter or visit her blog – to learn more about Terri and her upcoming events, books and blogs.


Jane said...

I recently got a weekend part time job. I'm hoping to earn a bit of extra spending money. The job is a different from what I've ever done before so I'm still trying to feel my way around it.

Lil said...

Congrats on your impending book releases and for working on your learning curve. The most recent Learning Curve experience is actually not within the last year, but boy was it steep. I had been a stay-at-home wife and mother for over a decade and a half. The kids didn't need me so much suddenly so I decided to look for a job. I found one just a hair's breath before the job market in our area took a nose dive. The situation ended up with me being the sole financial support for the family while being trained on the job. It gave hubby some breathing space to search for work and I am grateful.

denise said...

Love the red on the book cover. I've had a tough time learning a new computer program. Changes are tough. Would love to read your book.

Martha Lawson said...

I was recently asked at work to research a grant proposal!! Way out of my league - but I'm trudging along..

mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

host said...

I love that cover!!! I finished university to become computer designer and I work in that field. But due to financial problems and letting go of the stuff, I ended up with writing projects, organising fairs etc. And finally I went back to university to learn all the economical stuff my previous university didn't prepare me for. So here I am trying to learn and make economy creative as possible :)

Sue A. said...

Terri congrats on the upcoming Brava release!

Last fall I gave up my own life to take care of a sick sibling in a new country, and a new city. I had a tough time dealing with the situation and while I managed to handle all the physical day to day things, I didn't deal well on an emotionally level. I didn't so much as learn a lesson from this but I did get to know more about myself.

cheryl c said...

We recently got a new TV with DVR and a new computer. My husband and I are technology dummies, so we are lucky that our son lives close by. He has to teach us how to do everything technology related. We would be lost without him.

Kirsten said...

I got a new photo camera. It doesn't have the foldout screen I'm used too. Making a picture of yourself is a lot more challenging now that I can't see if I'm appearing in the tiny screen. It's also smaller in size. Holding it in one hand while using your fingers (of the same hand) to press the little button takes practice. There are much more buttons that hold all new functions and it came with a large instruction manual which I'm struggling through take in. I'm learning though and it DOES make sharper images and is a nice cherry red, so it has a lot of good things going for itself aswell.

Michele L. said...

Woohoo! A big congrats on your upcoming book releases!

My most recent learning curve is my mom's house caught on fire 4 weeks ago. Never had to experience anything like this ever! The contractors come out of the woodwork to try and get you to sign with them for their work. Since it was during a week when we had snow, one company came out and plowed her drive and of course they left their business card.

Another company sent my mom flowers in the hospital along with their business card. Then a third one took my mom's dog to the vet, we wondered who took him. The poor little guy died.

Since my mom has good insurance with Allstate we are going with the contractor they recommend. It sure is a big thing dealing with a house fire! You learn really fast!