Tag Archives: AAUW

8 Essays on Mentoring

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MentorCloud has been asked to contribute a chapter to a book being edited by one of our customers. As I did when writing “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009“, I am putting together chapter section drafts piece by piece, published in this blog and on the MentorCloud blog as they are developed. (By the way, Oracle is no longer distributing the Sun Microsystems Labs Technical Report: “Sun Mentoring: 1996-2009″  by Katy DickinsonTanya Jankot and Helen Gracon, but it is still available for free download on our family website and is also available for purchase from the ACM Digital Library.)  Here are the eight essays I have published so far:

Images Copyright 2013 by Katy Dickinson

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How to Write a Blog Entry

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Svitlana, one of the 2012 TechWomen, was kind enough to ask me last year how to write a blog entry. This is finally in reply to her question… Of course, this only represents how I write my blog – every writer must find her own voice.

I have been writing a web log since 2005, at the rate of over three entries a week, for a current total of 1,325.* In putting together a blog entry, I focus on three areas, in this order:

  1. Topic
  2. Images
  3. Writing Composition

I consider a single topic for each blog entry, picking a subject that I find of special interest. Within that general requirement, each entry topic must also be one or more of the following:

My family and friends lovingly inform me that I take too many pictures. My generous and patient husband (our family system administrator) is always trying to stay ahead of my photo storage and sorting requirements. There have been 47,674 images posted in our family Flickr archive since 2008. I take pictures not only to illustrate blog entries but also to make a record (as when taking a picture of a business card, or notes on a whiteboard), or because an image seems beautiful to me. This is an extension of the famous William Morris sentiment:

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.

A photo often starts me writing a blog entry – expressing what I found of interest in that image. Starting with a photo makes a more interesting story than an formidable wall of plain text. Once I start composing, I work to ensure that not one word is wasted. One friend told me that he has to rest between reading my paragraphs because the text is so dense. I see it as being respectful of my reader’s time and precious attention to be succinct. I write until I have no more to convey. As Lewis Carroll’s Red King said:

Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end: then stop.

I check facts carefully and provide links to references or data sources when available. Even after checking my work, I often have to go back to a published entry to add missing words. Still, I publish as soon as the entry feels complete, in accordance with my motto:

Done is Better then Perfect.

I also go back to much older blog posts and clean them up from time to time – to fix software rot causing broken links and format changes.

7 March 2013 Addition:
Here is some good advice on how to write: Kill Your Darlings: Five Rules for Writers by Rita J. King, EVP Science House, 6 March 2013:

  1. Have Fun
  2. Don’t Have Fun
  3. Kill Your Darlings
  4. Do the Research
  5. Ask Yourself: Why?

29 January 2016 Addition:
On 23 October 2015, I gave a presentation with updated information on this to the TechWomen at Symantec in the Silicon Valley: “How to Blog: Best Practices”.

Image Copyright 2009 by John Plocher
* 2005-2009 on blogs.sun.com/katysblog and 2009-now here at katysblog.wordpress.com. I have also been a guest blogger on other sites.

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Filed under Home & Family, Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

AAUW National Mentoring Month Interview

I am honored to announce that the American Association of University Women* just published an interview with me: “National Mentoring Month: 3 Tips from a Guru”. It includes an interesting word cloud graphic “Mentoring, in Your Own Words”.

About AAUW:

The American Association of University Women (founded 1881) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 150,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 700 college and university partners.

I have already passed this article along to my MentorCloud mentees. I plan to refer to it in presentations during my trip with the TechWomen (U.S. State Department’s mentoring program) delegation to Jordan next month.

Here I am at the University of California at Berkeley, at the start of my career as an American University Woman:

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* of which I am a proud member
Image Copyright 1979 Katy Dickinson

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