Hey, hey, hey! (Dad watched Fat Albert with us and people can tell somehow…) Thanks to #snowpocalypse2019, I am inside, sweater-clad, and sitting next to the warmth of a simmering fire, Lindsey Stirling’s “Elements” playing inside my headphones. Ahhh, the life. I also have the majority of the homework I wanted to get done, well, done, so there’s that wonderful, relaxing feeling too.
Anyways, I wanted to post the top things I learned from my first (and part of my second) semester at college. Things pertaining to writing that is. And also, notice my fancy-smancy title? So I suppose, things that pertain to my web design/social media class too.
Tip and Trick #1
Have you ever heard someone tell you to just write? To not worry about what you were writing or about whether it sounds good or editing it? Yes, me too. In fact, my one class last semester, Essay Writing, forced us to. Which was painful, oh so painful! First, I should probably mention to those of you who are currently shuddering, no, these are not academic essays, but personal, creative nonfiction essays. So, in other words, fun essays. And yes, for every essay, we had to type, just type, not edit, and bring it into class. Ouch.
But guess what I found out? You can actually write a lot that way. And yes, it’s terrible. It’s a horrible draft, really. Feel free to burn it when you’re done. But it’s basically a brain dump, and then you have all your thoughts there for you to sift through and edit what you like. Maybe all the sentences were horrible, but you had some really good ideas. Maybe, and this is me here, you had a good idea, but your inner editor told you to fix things above, and so you focused on that and forgot said good idea.
Through this painful process, I’ve been able to actually finish short stories, which I’ve always had trouble with. It’s always been murderous to get passed halfway because that’s about where my editor kicks in, yelling, “What in the world do you think you’re doing? This is terrible work and you know it! Fix that dull sentence already!” and there goes my writing. Whoosh.
But by not caring and just writing, I’m able to force the editor away until I need her, and write things past halfway. And that, my friends, is a wonderful feeling.
Tip and Trick #2
This is more from my second semester, from Intro to Creative Writing. Our professor is having us keep a Bits Journal. Basically, it’s a journal, or notebook, or binder, or whatever, full of story bits and pieces. Confused? Here’s an example from mine:
At first, I was dreading the assignment. After all, we have to keep these things through the entirety of this semester. A note every day. Every. Single. Day. That involves a lot of inspiration, don’t you think?
But it turns out, it’s not actually that hard. A line of poetry really connects? Jot it down: “Once you lose someone it is never exactly/ the same person who comes back” — Feared Drowned by Sharon Olds. Have a sassy conversation with your sisters that you think a characters could totally use someday? Scribble it in: “Are you guys ready for the blizzard?” “Blizzard? What blizzard?” “You know, the one coming tomorrow! There’s going to be a whole foot of snow!” “Girl, don’t talk to me about blizzards until you open your door to a wall of snow.” Somehow, I have something for every day.
And I love looking back through it! I would highly, highly suggest it!
Tip and Trick #3
This I didn’t learn so much at college as learned myself. Take time for yourself. Breathe. In. Out. Yes, that’s good. I didn’t do that much for myself last semester. I did no writing for myself. But, y’all, that’s why I’m going to college, to learn how to write better. But what good is it when I don’t apply it?
But how? When things are as crazy as they are, how am I supposed to take time for myself? Take a pen, take your planner, and mark it down. Then hold yourself to it, just as if you’d planned something with your friend. And write. Breath in, out, and write.
So hey! How was your Christmas break, or if you’re beyond all that, how was Christmas? What have you learned about writing recently?