The first year after graduating from college with an English degree is a pivotal time for a writer: Should I keep working on stories and essays I wrote in college? Should I write new material? Is it worth my time submitting to literary magazines, or should I just write for fun? Will I be so burned out from college writing courses that I’ll just stop writing?
The truth is, I did feel burned out after college. I’ve written about how I felt like I wasn’t a writer in college because I couldn’t write every day; turns out, that problem follows you into a full-time job, especially one that draws on your creative energies like editing does. Making time to write (or even revise older pieces) is a deliberate choice you have to make.
I didn’t know quite what to expect when I signed up for an in-person class through the University of Chicago editing certificate program. Would it be more similar to college classes or professional conferences I had attended? The Introduction to Acquisitions Editing class that I attended in Chicago was the perfect mixture of both: It was engaging 100 percent of the time; the class was small enough that I felt comfortable asking questions and talking; my classmates were mature professionals; the subject matter was something I was truly interested in; the instructor’s insights into the publishing industry were illuminating and practical.
But the actual classroom hours were just part of the overall experience of traveling to Chicago for a class. Along the way, I picked up some tips that I’ll put to use next time I attend an in-person class at the Gleacher Center. They may be of use to you, too, if you’re going to attend professional development certificate classes through the University of Chicago.
Summer: It’s too hot to exercise outside, and it’s also too busy to curl up with piles of books indoors in the sweet, sweet central air conditioning of our new apartment. I’ll admit: I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump. Or maybe it’s more like a reading slowdown. And admittedly, I haven’t been writing blog posts or book reviews, either. So before you start asking, “What have you even been doing all summer?” (hint: so much work), here’s what I’ve been reading in summer 2018.
I’ve owned Four Seasons in Rome since fall 2016 after a professor recommended it to me, but I was waiting for the right time to read it. Back in 2016, it was too soon after my semester abroad, and I didn’t want to overwrite memories of Rome and Italy with Doerr’s accounts of it. I feared that I would never get to go back to Rome, so I would wait until I was much older to read about the place I loved but couldn’t visit. But then life took its course, and I returned to Rome for eight days in winter 2018 on my honeymoon. Now, my memories of Rome are multilayered; it is sometimes hard to remember which trip memories belong to. So I figured that summer 2018 was as good a time as any to read a writer’s account of Rome, even though I knew the book make me miss it.
If you asked me what my plans for professional development were three weeks ago, I would have told you that I planned on reading some books about editing, following along with #ACESchat on Twitters, reading up on specific publishing-related topics online, attending ACES: The Society for Editing and Sigma Tau Delta conferences, and viewing ACES webinars.
My plans changed with one night of internet browsing that ended up on the University of Chicago’s Editing Certificate program webpage. After a few days of leaving the application half filled out, I applied for the certificate program on a Wednesday, was accepted on Friday, and was bumped from waitlist to class roster that following Tuesday—for a class that started the day before. Short story short, I’m now enrolled in an editing certificate program! Continue reading
“You fail only if you stop writing.” —Ray Bradbury
I’ve always known I was a good writer. Teachers complimented me on my writing and encouraged my creativity. A high school teacher once commented “Ever considered becoming a writer?” on one of my last essays senior year. My mom proofread my essays and papers throughout grade school and high school, pointing out every mistake; at the time, each red pen mark pricked me, but now I realize that I must have been a good writer even then, because the details she picked out were small.
With this praise came pressure: pressure to…write.
I knew that the one piece of writing advice that nearly all authors agree on is very simple: You must write every day.
You must write every day. It’s as simple as that: 15 minutes when you wake up, or a page, or whatever you can spew out in a preordained number of minutes. But you see, that’s a must. I must write every day to be a writer.
What if I don’t write every day? Does that make me not a writer?
Read the rest of my essay at Fiction Southeast.
I’ve always been a quick reader, but recently, I’ve been thinking about how fast I really do read. You see, I post about books on my Instagram account, and recently, people have asked me how quickly I read or how I have time to read all the books I post about. Continue reading
Last week, I attended my first-ever professional conference, the Sigma Tau Delta convention, in Cincinnati. As the Sigma Tau chapter president at my university for two years, I was giddy at the prospect of attending the conference and interacting with fellow Sigma Tau Deltans. Even though I’m not in academics or pursuing a master’s degree, I wanted to experience a conference and be in an environment where books and writing were the focus all day and night.
I attended the convention with Hannah, my fellow English major and Sigma Tau officer friend from college, and we had a blast. Spending the days listening to fellow book lovers talk about themes in classic literature and exploring Cincinnati’s bookstores lived up to my expectations. But as with anything in life, I realized after further reflection that I have a lot to learn about the art of conference attending. Here are some areas I learned I need to improve on from my first conference experience. Continue reading
In February, I made a concerted effort to read more lit mags. I didn’t quite reach my goal of reading a different one every day, but I did find 12 stories that resonated with me for one reason or another. Enjoy this flash fiction roundup from around the internet! Continue reading