Stop Degrading Liberal Art Degrees

At what point did I, or we, if this applies to you as well, accept the stereotype of liberal art majors? When did we stop defending ourselves? Reading Silva’s essay opened my eyes. I had already known that the stereotype against English majors existed, but I never realized how strongly it prevailed.

As a double major in Photography (an art degree) and Writing (an English degree), I receive double the amount of heat. I jokingly switch between the two depending on the situations I am in. (For example, being with my two very left-brained biology degree friends while they discuss anatomy: “What? I’m an art major!”) The fact that I switch between my majors and willingly degrade myself to those with “harder” degrees, shows just how much this stereotype has permeated into daily life.

In the essay, Silva states “But as far as I’ve seen, none of the stereotypes of a STEM or hard science major undermine their future and choices. That’s exactly what the stereotypes and stigmas surrounding liberal arts majors do.” Throughout my college career, I have had people assume that I want to be a journalist (I do not like factual writing), doubted that my Writing major was a real degree (‘It sounds fake.’) and ask what I plan on doing because neither of my degrees guarantees me a job. When in all actuality, everything that we associate with on a daily basis deals with writing or photography, specifically social media and advertisements.

I believe in the art of storytelling. And I also believe that I can change society, even if that change is small. The moment I stop doubting myself, my abilities and my degrees is the moment that I start to change the minds of those around me.

‘The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett’ Review

This is a book that I rented from Overdrive, and I am so glad that I didn’t waste my own money on it.

The protagonist, Hawthorn, acted like a twelve-year-old for the entirety of the novel. It was very stand-offish to read a YA book that had somebody who acted like a middle schooler as the main character. She was never focused on anything, except obsessing over Lizzie Lovett. She was rude, inconsiderate, childish and didn’t take anything seriously. She was vengeful and misunderstanding. Frankly, she treated the characters around her like trash and they didn’t deserve to be treated that way. She was self-obsessed and self-absorbed and the only thing that stopped her from thinking about herself was her ridiculous fantasies.

Furthermore, all of the characters were flat. The was no development beyond ‘mean popular girl’ or ‘outcast best friend’ or ‘professor dad’ and ‘hippie mom’. The only interactions between Hawthorn and her father felt forced. It was as though the dad existed to fill a role, not to be a character.

The title for this work should have been “Probably Maybe” because it was written more times than the words “Lizzie Lovett”.

To be honest, I’m not sure how this work was published, let alone how it has a 3.25 overall Goodreads rating.

How to get writing again!

Scrolling through Tumblr (I follow the #amwriting) I found a post that I think would help writers, including myself. Thank you, Kira Martin, for your wonderful advice!

Hello! I am a writer that is fairly new to the game. I realized I wanted to write full time a few ago. Since then, I’ve been working on a book, that I consider to be my baby; the masterpiece that will create my overall brand. However, I struggle with the discipline of it all. I have such a hard time getting myself to just sit down and finish! I’m currently working on my 23rd chapter but I know I still have so much to go. Working 40 hours a week isn’t necessarily helping either. Advice?

[asked by Anonomous]

 

What you’re experiencing is what a lot of aspiring/newbie writers go through–you need to sit yourself down and come up with a plan of action. And because it’s my style, here’s a list to help with that plan of action:

1. Find your motivation. What inspires you? Why do you want to finish your book? Why do you want to write? Once you find your motivation, surround yourself with it. Realizing that you will never be a career writer unless you write your book is a good kick in the ass.

2. Make writing a habit. The way to form habits is to do them daily. Put aside an hour every day to focus on your manuscript—you can even set an alert in your phone. Be very clear to everyone that if they interrupt you during this time that their deaths are on their hands. You’ll be surprised at how quickly it becomes natural (the writing, not the interruption murders).

3. Set goals. Find what works for you. A page a day? 700 words? Set you goals as your phone’s lock screen. Put sticky notes on your mirror. Do a goal thermometer and scribble out a notch for each chapter/page you complete. Hang it somewhere where you’ll see it every day.

4. Create a ritual. What I’ve always done is play some music, open my document, and read what I last wrote. By now, when the music comes on, I know it’s time to get to business. Combined with my habit of listening to the same song on repeat for days, I once accidently conditioned myself to open my doc when I heard a certain song. Find whatever works for you.

5. Consider your future. How serious are you about being a writer? For any sort of dream, there are risks/stresses/extra work required for them to come into fruition. If you can’t find time to write, you need to think about what that means for the future. In five years where will you be if you continue down this path? Where do you want to be? What are sacrifices (time/energy/money) you might need to get there?

3 Ways to Edit Your Own Book!

Thank you, Book Doctors, for this video and these tips. Check out the video here.

  1. Read it out loud!
    • Trust me, hearing is different than seeing.
  2. Have people read it!
    • But not people who are related/biased toward you
    • Join a critique group (Goodreads is a good place to meet people who love to read)
  3. Hire a professional
    • If you have a smaller budget, try a librarian.
    • Make sure that they are experts in your genre!
    • Do research before you pay anybody–you don’t want to get scammed.

 

 

8 Basics of Creative Writing

According to Kurt Vonnegut (Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse Five), the following are eight basics of creative writing.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that they will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them–in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just on person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

 

Now, I’m not saying that every single piece of writing you every create has to follow these basics…in fact, nothing you write has to follow these. Break the rules if you want.

a reflection on 2016

Personally, 2016 was not an awful year.

  • I finished my first year of college, on the Dean’s list, no less
  • I was elected president of my building and co-president of the Creative Writers Club
  • I published my very first novel, Blue Vigilante
  • I work a lot
  • I bought a kayak
  • I was more constant on uploading videos to YouTube
  • I read more
  • I was, overall, way more healthy than I’ve ever been
  • I finally died my hair red
  • I grew into the version of myself I want to be
  • I went on several dates, after only having been on one ever before
  • I found an amazing boyfriend
  • My cousin and I reconnected in a way we haven’t since we were very young
  • I finally built a headboard for my bed that I wanted to build for years
  • I got a rewards card for my local movie theater (I go to the movies so often, it was well needed)
  • I started my second year of college
  • I found my limits for many things, for example: how many credits I can handle a semester without losing my mind
  • I met one of my favorite professors
  • I made my own planner (I’m really excited about that one)