One of the best habits I have formed in the past few years is that of carrying around a notebook almost everywhere I go. This is a great habit to develop whether you’re a writer or a student or not. My notebook—or on the occasions when I forget it, the note taking app on my iPhone—serves as my metaphorical second brain, and sometimes it happens to be far more accurate than my first one.
oks can be cheap and compact. They needn’t take up any more space than a wallet if you so desire. Or, you can invest a little bit more in a notebook that you adore, like my favorite leather journal from Barnes and Noble or a lovely journal from PaperBlanks, which come in a variety of sizes including pocket sized. Still not convinced? Here are three reasons to always carry a notebook with you.
Inspiration will strike you whether you’re ready or not.
Let’s face it: your best ideas often come to you at the worst moments: walking across campus, waiting in line at the grocery store, sitting at a jazz concert, juggling tasks at your internship, watching a movie with your friends, or sitting in church.
During the first semester of my junior year I routinely composed haiku (interesting note: haiku that is the plural of haiku) in my head while walking to class, usually recording them using Evernote on my iPhone.
You need a receptacle in which you can capture the rare and fleeting genius ideas that enjoy leaping out at you for one brief moment before retreating back into the dark recess of your brain like ninjas. When three chords of music suddenly inspire the next great scene in your novel while you’re standing in an elevator, you’ll be glad you have a notebook so you don’t have to look like me—wandering off the elevator mumbling, “Roseline, guards, magic… Roseline, guards, magic.” Continue reading Why You Should Always Carry a Notebook…
A daily dose of books, movies and blog posts handpicked for your consumption.
Where Did Good Christian Fiction Go? – Finally, someone articulates the way I feel whenever someone asks me if I am going to write Christian fiction. I always experience the awkward moment of answering, “No.” I sincerely dislike most Christian fiction on the market. Much of it is absolutely terrible literature. I am not a writer of Christian fiction. I am a Christian who writes books, and I am also a person who believes in seeing the world as it actually is. Sanitized and didactic writing was for another era. I embrace my role as a post-modernism writer and will continue to explore Gilda Radner’s “delicious ambiguity.” Yum.
You Asked: Dedication to Medication – If you still store your medication in a medicine cabinet, it’s time to relocate it to another area of the house.
Finding Portland – This video of Portland, OR will take your breath away. I was awestruck when I watched it. “Wow,” I thought. “This is the place where I live.” A must see.
20 awesomely untranslatable words from around the world – Sometimes English isn’t enough to express everything. “Mamihlapinatapei” is my favorite.
In the great college debate over which assignment you would prefer to assess your learning at the end of the semester—a final exam or a term paper—I usually side with the term paper. I am, after all, an English major. However, a term paper can be a grade boosting opportunity for students of any major if they use good paper writing practices.
Usually when my peers are having trouble, it’s because they’ve skipped a step in the process, and their grade suffers as a result. The same thing happens to me when I am pressed for time even though I know how to write papers very well. This is the process that I have used every time I have written a paper that has earned great marks. Beware! This is a long post—but I think it will be highly beneficial to anyone who dreads the paper writing process. And hopefully a little bit entertaining. Continue reading How to Write a Great Term Paper…
The classic writing advice given to every beginning writer is: write what you know. In the simplest sense, this means don’t start out by writing a story about a character who lives in first-century Rome unless you happen to know a whole lot about living in first-century Rome. In a broader sense, this means write about situations and emotions that you have actually experienced first-hand. Be real. Dredge up the bits and pieces of your life that are unique to you. Some of these experiences may be uncomfortable, but they are true. Write what you know.
But also write what you don’t know. Write about the things that don’t make sense to you. Don’t limit yourself to the things you have sorted out inside of your head. Write about the questions you can’t always answer. Why did she have to die? How can human beings do this to each other? Why do we do things that don’t make us happy? Should I be laughing at this? What am I going to do next year? What would have happened if it had not turned out this way?
Write about the things that make you grossly uncomfortable. Write about what you don’t understand. You wrestle with huge questions on a day to day basis—your characters should wrestle with them too. The fascinating thing about literature is that it helps us find answers for ourselves even without giving us the answers. And more importantly: it reminds us that others are asking the same questions.
Photo Credit: white ribbons on Flickr.
My favorite bridal shower game is always the one where you ask the groom questions and the bride has to try to guess how he would answer. We did this at my cousin’s bridal shower on Saturday and it was a big hit. I also had the guests guess which questions the bride would get right. If I had more time before the shower, I would have recorded the groom’s answers so that she could have seen him answer on video.
Here’s what we asked the groom:
- What color are your eyes?
- What is your birthday?
- What is your favorite color?
- What TV show do you think should be cancelled?
- What is your most commonly used phrase?
- Where would you go on your dream vacation?
- What was your favorite pet growing up?
- Where was your first kiss together?
- What do you prefer calling her?
- What is your favorite sports team?
- What exact words did you say when you asked her to marry you?
- What do you like on your pizza?
- What superpower do you want?
- What is your favorite song that reminds you of her?
- What color was your first car?
- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?
- What ridiculous invention do you want in your dream home?
- What do you think is her favorite thing about you?
- What does she do that you think is cute?
- Would you ever participate in No Shave November?
Continue reading Bridal Shower Games…