Recently I have been pretty quite on this blog. I haven’t posted much and there are two main reasons:
School. (Self explanatory.)
My new blog, Books, Coffee, and Pizza, will be coming out on Wednesday, September 30, 2015.
Woohoo! Champagne! Sparklers!
I am so excited about this one. I have been working for a long time on this one and my adviser, who is helping me out with this, and I are looking forward to releasing it.
This blog will be all about college and my thoughts on it. I will be covering everything that is important to college students, from relationships to academics to careers. And, although it is about college, my hope is that everyone will enjoy reading it. I hope that college students will identify, high school students will aspire, and adults remember.
I will be posting on Books, Coffee, and Pizza every Wednesday, so keep your eyes open for the posts!
Today is the 14th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York City.
I was only 5 when it happened, so I don’t remember much. I remember Mom crying. I remember Dad explaining it to me as well as you can to a 5-year-old. His voice was shaky, like his throat was tight. I remember him explaining to me what was going on when Congress declared war.
“Why, Dad?” I asked
“Our government wants to attack them before they attack us,” he explained.
“But can’t we just hope that they won’t do it again?” (Childhood innocence is so precious, when we still expect the best of everyone.)
“It doesn’t work that way, Lindy.” His voice was sad.
Everyone seems to have their 9/11 story. You mention it, and everyone seems eagar to divulge where they were, what they were doing, and what they remember. It’s a story that all Americans share. Some would say that it may even be something that unites us.
But what about the kids who don’t remember? What about the kids who were too young to remember or not even born yet? I don’t know if I should be jealous or sorry for them.
Part of me wants to be jealous. They don’t remember the horror or the fear. They don’t remember images of smoking towers plastered across every screen. They don’t remember the day that the world was silent. They have the freedom to be disconnected from that reality. Just as I think of the attack on Pearl Harbor as something distant and historic, so they will think of 9/11. The same way I view WWII, so they will view the War on Terror.
On the flip side, I don’t know if I should feel sorry for them. Have they missed out on an important part of American history? Something that unifies us? Do they ever wish for their own 9/11 story?
Sorry that the blog has been a bit on the nonexistent side recently. I’ve been feeling discouraged and worn out recently, and it’s hard for me to write when I feel like that. I want this blog to be a happy, encouraging place, and sharing my mopey feelings won’t encourage that. I’ll hopefully be back soon with happy, perky blogs.
I hope you all had a great day and spent time with your family and friends. I am currently on vacation at the beach with my family, so blog posts up through Tuesday may be rather short and a bit scattered.
I just finished one of the craziest semesters of my college career so far. I didn’t take a single exam, and all of my classes were writing intensive. I even had to write two papers for my Zumba class. I counted, and I wrote a grand total of 200 double-spaced pages. Like I said, the semester was crazy.
Through all that writing, I learned so much about myself and how the writing process works for me. (When you end up writing that much, you learn pretty quick.) I learned that I hate writing the initial draft. I feel like I’m extracting pieces of my brain and throwing them against a page. The purpose of this part, for me, is getting my thoughts to a place where I can see them and work with them, shape them and morph them into a final piece that I am actually willing to show someone.
After that comes the fun part: revision. For me this is where the writing comes alive. I already have the rough materials and I am able to start rearranging and molding it into the polished piece it will be. I expand on ideas that aren’t fully developed and I let the writing simply come to me. In this process I usually double or triple the length of the original draft.
Revision is the hardest part for many young writers, and not because they don’t know how. The act of revision is actually quite simple, and the only really hard part is the amount of time it can take. No, it is not because revision is hard that young writers often struggle with it. The reason they have such a hard time is that they cherish their initial draft too much. They are like a parent whose child can do wrong: “How dare you say my baby needs to be changed! My baby is perfect.” The fact is that your writing, you brainchild, needs work. Newsflash! It’s not going to be perfect the first time around. Taking the time to revise it yourself allows you to shape it and mold it into what you want it to be.
Truly great writing takes time. For example, it took J. R. R. Tolkein 14 years to write the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Now that is an extreme example, and I don’t suggest that you take that long. But I do think that it is important to take a step back from your writing and then come back to it later with fresh eyes.
I encourage you, if you are a young writer, don’t look at revision as a chore. Look at it as an opportunity to make sure your writing says what you want it to say.
I am fortunate enough to know several amazing, aspiring writers. My friend and mentor, Karen, has her own blog and recently wrote a post about how she became a writer. (You should go read it. Go. Do it.) I thought it would be fun to share how I became a writer, too.
I have always loved the written word. It may have to do with the fact that both my parents are educators. My dad is a high school chemistry teacher, and my mom is a trained elementary teacher but stays home and teaches my younger siblings by homeschooling. When I was younger, we would go to the library every week and I would check out as many books as I could. I would devour them and then go back the next week for more. One of my favorite series was called “The Royal Diaries.” They told the stories of famous, royal women in history through entries they made in their “diaries.” For me, it was one of the best ways to learn history and I still remember things from then. (It was interesting in my European history classes this semester when the professor would bring up a certain historical woman and I would think, “I read her diary!”)
Inspired by those books, I would write my own journals, but I was never very good at keeping up with them. I would forget to write for months, or get bored with one of the journals and start another one. I probably have ten or so journal with the first five to ten pages filled in and the rest blank. It’s always funny to reread them and look back on my childhood.
Skip forward a few years and you’ll find me a junior in high school. It was about this time that I started thinking seriously about what I wanted to go to college for. I honestly had no clue what I wanted to do except travel. I wanted a job that would allow me to travel the world and meet new people. It so happened that I saw an ad online that read
“Get Paid to Travel.” I thought, “Heck yeah!” and clicked on the ad. It led me to the Matador Network and their online journalism school. I was enthralled. They made my dreams seem possible for the first time and started the thought rolling around in my head of writing as a career choice. It was around this time that I won third place in a local writing contest. It was then that I realized that this could be a possibility.
The final thing that helped me make up my mind was a spiritual gifts test that we did in my youth group at church. We filled out a questionnaire, and based on that our youth leader would tell us what some of our spiritual gifts were. I got the usual, the ones I expected: music, leadership, and knowledge, all of which were traits that had been fostered in my through my involvement in church from a young age. But the last one on the list was what really caught my attention: writing. It was then that I knew I was going to be a writer. From there I started looking for colleges that offered majors in writing, and I am now attending my dream school studying writing.
This is not the path that I envisioned for myself. I thought I would be some kind of field scientist. But now I am perusing a career that I absolutely love and am loving every second of it.
That’s my story. What is yours? Comment below to share!
As my Christmas break begins to wind down and the dawn of a new semester looms ahead of me, I can’t help but think about all the blessings these three weeks of break have brought me.
First off, it gave me time with my family. Since my three siblings and I were home-schooled, we have a close family bond. There was always someone around to talk to, and none of us were ever really alone. That was something that I had forgotten about while I was at school where I have my own space and spend a large amount of time alone. That doesn’t really exist here at home. It did take me a while to adjust to it, but I have learned to love it again.
Secondly, it allowed me to see my old friends. I have many close friends from high school here at home, and so seeing them all again was a huge blessing. I think it’s important to have people in your life that you know will always be there, and I have two friends back here at home that are like that. The three of us know that no matter how long it’s been since we’ve seen each other, we will always have a great time together. Those are the friends that I know will always be there for me.
Finally, this break gave me time to relax. I have not felt this relaxed in a very long time. I’ve been able to sleep in late almost every day and take naps whenever I want. I cringe a little bit at the idea of getting back to a schedule at school. I think there is a time and a place for both lifestyles, but the lack of schedules has been glorious.
I hope your Christmas break has been just a relaxing as mine. Merry (late) Christmas and a Happy New Year!
“People who keep journals have life twice.” ~Jessamyn West
I am a thinker. It may have to do with the fact that I tend to be introverted, and my brain is almost always going MMM (a million miles per minute). It can be frustrating. Going to sleep after a long day is hard because my brain is processing, reprocessing, and replaying the events of the day. I have only found two ways to calm my brain and get some sleep: watch YouTube videos for hours or journal.
YouTube videos are entertaining and occasionally informative, but I think the reason that they put me to sleep is they overwhelm my brain and it just shuts down. I don’t think that’s the healthiest way to do things. The things that are often running through my brain are important in some way or another, so suppressing them and pushing them out doesn’t give them the credit they are due. So, while YouTube is great, it doesn’t do justice to the thoughts that are running a muck in my head.
Journaling helps me to save those thoughts. If what’s going through my head isn’t an event that has already happened but something I’m stressing out about, writing it down helps me to calm down about it and save the thought for latter. I learned that trick from my mom, and it may be one of the most important practices that she has taught me. Journaling also allows me to look back in time and remember what I have learned and experienced. I love looking at the journal entries I wrote when I was in elementary or middle school. I have learned so much about myself in those entries.
The biggest thing that journaling helps me with is processing. There is something about getting it out of my brain and onto paper. Everything makes a little bit more sense, and I can make connections that wouldn’t have been made just in my head. I think journaling organizes my thoughts into something that is physical and tangible, something that can be sorted through and explained.