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Sharing Knowledge and Ideas Improves Professional and Personal Lives

It’s amazing what you can learn just by talking to others in your field. I find this to be true in my professional life as well as my writing life. The state of Missouri holds training for all of the Weatherization departments in Jefferson City every fall. Learning how different agencies handle various issues helps all of us find better solutions to problems that we all face.

I attended one training session in which another agency demonstrated an amazing product that basically turns a tyvek suit (disposable coveralls that keep the crew members from hazards such as lead and asbestos) into a personal air conditioner. The Tennessee Chill Box is a machine with a hose that connects to a helmet that the crew member attaches to his suit. The machine blows cold air through the hose, which keeps the crew member cool while working in attics during the summer. Talk about a game changer!

Warm air rises, so an unconditioned attic is always hotter in the summer than the rest of the house. The temperature can rise to dangerous levels, which require the crew members to take frequent breaks in order to cool down and avoid heat related issues. By using the Tennessee Chill Box, our crew members can complete their attic work start to finish all at once, which improves not only productivity, but crew health as well.

Exchanging information is the most efficient way to learn new things. It’s especially helpful for me to spend time with experienced novelists. I’ve had several pieces of short fiction and nonfiction published. I’ve even had a poem or two published, but I’m in new territory now. I’ve never written a novel before. I’ve been working on this one for a long time, but it’s still my first.

I had no clue what I was doing when I started writing my novel. I delved into it with the story burning in my heart. I just started typing. I had no idea how to separate it into chapters. The further into the book I got, the more I had to go back and look at what I had already written, so I’d have continuity. The process was daunting.

I was visiting with an accomplished novelist over the weekend about my book, and she shared some amazing strategies with me. She explained how she keeps important facts such as major plot points and character traits in a spreadsheet. She went a step further and showed me her spreadsheets.

It was like a light bulb lit over my head. It’s so simple! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it myself. We also discussed average chapter length and several other formatting things about which I had wondered, but didn’t know where to find the answer. One half hour conversation taught me more than half a dozen webinars.

I always endeavor to freely share my knowledge and procedures if I think I can help someone improve his or her process. I’m thankful for those kind souls who freely share their knowledge with me.

Thank you for reading Ozarks Maven! If you’ve enjoyed my little seeds of wisdom and joy, please subscribe to Ozarks Maven, Like Ozarks Maven on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter @OzarksMaven.

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