Recent PR Happenings – Winter 2012

Posted February 23rd, 2012 in Books, News by Emily Varner

Monday, InterVarsity Press’s Online Pulpit posted the first of three posts I wrote on A Vision for the Aging Church.

Tuesday, Susie Larson interviewed Mark Buchanan about his new book Your Church Is Too Safe.

Wednesday, a review of the same appeared at ForeWord Reviews.

This morning I woke to Trevin Wax’s Kingdom People review of Journeys of Faith.

Good books getting some attention. Warms the heart.

The Perks of this Work 2

Posted February 17th, 2012 in Random by Emily Varner

In my last post I explained what it is about working with ideas that suits me. But I also find that there are benefits to working with books and ideas on a part-time, freelance basis.

Perhaps freelancers are underpaid and exploited because they provide all their work hardware, don’t receive healthcare and retirements benefits, and generally just work really hard. In fact, I remember a time when I said that working from home is the worst thing I could ever imagine. People who work out of their homes are never be away from work that needs to be done–they constantly make choices about when laundry and meal preparation are going to fit into getting their paid work done, and most of their friends and family see them as non-working people with time for impromptu lunches or visits.

But I have found that a major perk of always having a few plates spinning is that the mundane tasks of life and the social outlets of parenting allow for the percolation time I need on projects, keeping ideas fresh, and recognizing connections that I hadn’t seen before. It is almost like I take mini-vacations from work each week. Just the other day I had one of those “aha” moments (That’s how I need to do that thing!) while I was driving home from the grocery store.

I also have a brilliant husband who is both energetic when it comes to things technical and genuinely interested in the content and process of the work I am producing. He can tell me what tool I need ftp achieve a certain goal, suggest better ways, and be a sounding board about problems I am having or things that are exciting me. It can be so easy for parents of young children to slide into talking only about the kids, with little else to say after those updates are complete. It suits us two chatty people to have an endless supply of ideas and technical plans to process together in our spare moments.

Working part time reminds me  of attending school part-time while I was working full time. I finished up my M.A. this way, and it made me wish I had gone to school part-time through all my undergraduate and graduate work. My classes seems more interesting, more connected to real life; the work for them was less drudgery and instead a break from the everyday. So also, I find the perks of my part-time work include a sense that what I am doing does relate to the ordinary life of the Christian person and that it is a treat to get to tackle it in regular, solid chunks throughout each week.

The Perks of This Work 1

Posted February 8th, 2012 in Random by Emily Varner

The last few months have been a rather wild ride, as you can tell by the lack of posts since October. I’ve been charging though numerous new personal tasks but also keeping busy publicizing books. But unfortunately I’ve had to turn down some editing gigs, which I really hate doing because the work is so great. It’s like taking a mini-independent study course on some very interesting topic I know comparatively nothing about. Copyediting is a chance to dig deep where I usually only scratch the surface. And often it’s a chance to make someone really smart sound even better than they did at the start. At the end of a copyediting project, I’m “up” (if it only really lasts a few months) on the prominent primary source documents for a particular discipline, the classic works on a defined topic, and the various schools of thought related to that topic. I have an opinion on something I might not have considered before, and I can have a conversation about something new.

But all the aspects of the work I do–even the “scratch the surface” ones–include similar perks. I get to try on the thoughts and ideas of others, see how they sit with me, what other resonances I find with them. In the long run I might not agree wholeheartedly with the position of an author whose book I publicize, but at the same time I don’t take the book on unless I think it makes a valuable contribution to current (or perennial) Christian conversations. That is, the books I work with are worthy of consideration, legitimate contributions to the world of ideas.

And that’s what I mean about the perks. My brain is wired to swim in ideas, to weigh their value, to introduce them to others. It took a while for me to learn that, but I have been a much happier and productive person since figuring it out.

In the next post I’ll turn to the “perks” of taking up this kind of work on a part-time, freelance basis.