Carolina VonKampen

Editor. Reader. Writer.

Author: carolinavonkampen (page 1 of 6)

I’m Not a Failure If I Stop Writing

“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.

My Reading Speed Confession

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

What I Learned From My First Conference Experience at the Sigma Tau Delta Convention

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

Flash Fiction Roundup: 12 Stories From 12 Lit Mags

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

Why I Use Inbox Zero

I hate those red notification flags on my iPhone apps. I hate them. They make me feel like I haven’t tidied up every single aspect of my life.

That’s not the main reason I do inbox zero to control my email, but it’s definitely a contributing factor.

What is inbox zero, anyway? For me, it means that the ideal state of my email inbox is zero emails in it, including read messages. Continue reading

Your Career Column: Here’s How You Find an Internship

So you think you want to be an intern? Great idea—an internship can help you earn college credit, gain real-world experience in your career field, make connections with people in your line of work, and figure out whether you really want to do this type of work once you get out of college.

But finding internships that are relevant to your career interests isn’t always easy, especially if you can’t afford to move outside your home state or the area you attend college. Luckily, I’ve got a few tips and tricks you can use to find an internship near you: Continue reading

I Read Lit Mags Most Days for a Month—Here’s What I Learned

At the beginning of February, I challenged myself to read selections from one lit mag every day for the entire month. As with most goals, I didn’t end up reading lit mags *every* day, but I did read a sampling. Here’s what I learned from this reading challenge: Continue reading

Hunger by Roxane Gay

In Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body, Roxane Gay explores the interconnectedness between her rape, trying to feel safe in her own body, and gaining weight. Gay writes: “This is a book about my body, about my hunger, and ultimately, this is a book about disappearing and being lost and wanting so very much, wanting to be seen and understood. This is a book about learning, however slowly, to allow myself to be seen and understood.”

Gay holds nothing back. As she says: “I’ve been forced to look at my guiltiest secrets. I’ve cut myself wide open. I am exposed. That is not comfortable. That is not easy.” She isn’t hyperbolizing here—this memoir digs deep into her self and her body. As a reader, I was initially uncomfortable being drawn into such a personal story, but Gay handles this intimacy well. She lays it bare without giving gratuitous details—she says it’s still hard to talk about. I can see why. It’s hard to read about the terrible thing that was done to her and how she’s still healing from it, but it’s important to read in order to understand Gay’s narrative throughout her memoir and the effect that these things have on women on a societal level. Continue reading

6 Books by ACES 2018 Presenters to Add to Your To-Read List

As an editor, writer, and book lover, I’m always looking for excuses to buy and read new books. I’ll be attending the ACES 2018 editing conference in Chicago this year, so I decided to find out whether any of the people presenting sessions had recently published books. Surprise surprise, they have! Some books are related directly to the presenters’ ACES sessions, and some aren’t. Here are six books by ACES 2018 presenters to add to your to-read list before attending their sessions in April: Continue reading

Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba

Such Small Hands by Andrés Barba is a haunting novel about a little girl, Marina, who is sent to an orphanage after her parents die in a car crash that she survived. The other girls at the orphanage, however, aren’t so welcoming. They want to love her, but cannot; Marina wants to be accepted by them, but isn’t. Barba explores the inability to communicate and the heightened reality of childhood as his characters cannot break out of their fated roles and barrel on toward inevitable tragedy. It’s a short book at 97 pages, but the prose, mood, and intense characterization gripped me long after I put it down. Continue reading

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