5 Things I’ve Learned from Writing My First Short Story

In elementary and middle school, my teachers would encourage me to write a short story. Writing a short story was the perfect outlet for me to unleash my imagination.

Well, I stopped writing stories when I got to high school, since my teachers made me writing essays only.

I didn’t think about writing fiction again until I stumbled upon Yin Chang’s 88 Cups of Tea podcast.

To my surprise, Chang interviews various NY Times Bestsellers on their writing process and struggles they’ve faced as writers.

After listening to the podcast a few times, I decided to write a short story! After editing my final draft, I submitted it to a literary magazine!

No matter what response I get from the magazine, I’m proud of myself for finally writing a short story.

From writing my short story, I’ve learned some things.

1. It’s a process

Don’t expect a perfect draft on the first time. Your story will probably change more than once. Get the idea of perfection out of your head.

2. Don’t get lazy

I will admit that I didn’t work on my story for more than a week. I was being lazy. It was my friend, who was so nice to edit my story, was always asking me when I would get a new draft to her. That forced me to continue perfecting my draft.

3. Expect a lot of rewrites

Coming up with an ending was the most challenging part. Every ending I wrote, my friend rejected it. She expressed that each ending didn’t feel natural for the story.

I took Matt de la Pena’s advice of not overthinking how a scene relates to the story. His advice eventually led me to my ending!

4. Accept constructive criticism

You won’t grow as a writer if you’re unwilling to accept constructive criticism. For example, my friend commented that the dialogue didn’t show the characters’ personalities. Her comments made me realize that the character development aspect was missing in my narration.

5. Utilize free time to write

During my breaks at my temp job, I was working on my story. I always brought a printed copy of my draft, so I could read and revise my story. Using those breaks were so beneficial because I didn’t have to worry about my draft when I got home.

Advertisements

Podcasts As My New Lectures

Back in February, CollegeFashionista emailed me about their new podcast series. I heard about podcasts as a medium vaguely in the past; they were explained as digital radio interviews.

I listened to Amy Levin’s, founder CollegeFashionista, first interview with Joyce Chang, EIC of Self Magazine. Amy Levin asked Joyce how she pursed a career in journalism. Besides journalism, Joyce shared her new habit of meditating in the morning to clear her mind.

Listening to Joyce’s talking about meditation made me make meditation a daily part of my routine.

The podcast interview showed me how information can be presented differently.

Podcast as a medium taps into the audio senses of the mind. Unlike print, you can actually hear the tone and attitude of a person.

On the contrast with video, you’re only listening instead of letting visuals distract you. When you watch an interview on YouTube, you can’t help judge what a person is wearing. That can distract you from understanding the ideas a person is conveying.

Thanks to CollegeFashionista, I have began listening to other podcasts. My favorite is 88 Cups of Tea by Yin Chang. I remembered Yin Chang as Nelly Yuki on “Gossip Girl”.

To my great surprise, Yin switched from acting to hosting. She interviews various creative minds, especially writers and directors, on how their creative process works. Plus, she asks them to give practical advice on deal with writer’s block, such as which computer programs to use.

Just recently, Yin interviewed David J. Peterson, on how he created the language for “Game of Thrones”. I learned the term conlag, which means a person who invents languages.

My new habit of listening to podcasts has shown me that you don’t have to gain knowledge from a classroom only. Podcasts are a free way to gain others’ knowledge and advice. Plus, they are a lot more enjoyable than a typical college lecture.

I recommend that you take the time to listen to a podcast. You will enjoy it.

Lessons Learned From First Year Out of College

It has almost been a year since graduating college. The first year after college proved to be a huge adjustment. Becoming an adult has turned out to be rather overrated.

But I have learned some important lessons.

1. Exercise is a must

I’m very lazy when it comes to exercising. Getting my butt up is such a hassle. But I have realized that I have to move my body or else I will get fat.

To avoid sitting all day, I take a walk outside. This allows me to breathe in fresh air and appreciate Mother Nature.

2. Care about what you’re putting in your body

Eating junk food was my favorite activity growing up. In college, I stuffed my face due to the stress.

After graduating, I began to feel rather sleepy and sick when I ate too much greasy food. Now, I only eat fast food to twice a week. I drink tea daily too.

3. Make time for others

In school, people are right there to hang out. Once you hit the real world, you classmates are not physically there. They become busy with their own jobs and lives.

That is why you have to put in the effort to reconnect with others or else your friendships will slowly fall apart.

4. Keep learning

It’s easy to let your brain rot after college. That is why you have to keep your learning up. However, learning doesn’t have to be in a classroom. You can take online courses for free or take part in a community based class. Traveling is another great option too.

5. Focus on your goals

You’ll probably face plenty of rejection. I’ve received so many no or things didn’t work out. Yet, you can’t quit. People who succeed are the ones who keep going.

 

So Many Career Things Happening…

Hi everyone!

Last time, I revealed my decision to pursue a copywriter career.

Well, I have taken a few steps toward that goal.

1. Launching a website

I’m using Squarespace to design a website for my copywriting business. Squarespace isn’t so hard to use so far. And it gives me flexibility on design layout.

I’ll launch my website very soon.

2. Completing copywriter course

I’m learning a lot from my online class. Been good with doing my assignments.

3. Finding prospective clients

I’m reaching out to people to let them know about my new career move.

Finally Reading For Pleasure

As a student, I wasn’t a fan of reading. I read as slow as a snail.

In college, I skimmed (or not read at all) most of my assigned readings. My textbooks would have notes on the margins.

During my free time, I didn’t care to read any literature. My mind was burnt out from a long day of classes. All I wanted to do at night was either read Fashionista.com or watch some anime.

Since graduating college, I’ve developed a desire to read literature. Literature shows how the characters are feeling or thinking about the challenges they face. You become engage with the words on the page by questioning the motives of the characters.

The recent book I read was The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer. I was amazed by Mailer’s ability to create a narrative of the murder Gary Gilmore. The book provided the struggles that Gilmore endured growing up and the various people in his life, especially his lover Nicole.

I still can’t believe that I actually read the 1000 pages of The Executioner’s Song. Massive books used to intimidate me because I feared that I would quit halfway. However, the novel was compelling due to how it provided different viewpoints of the characters.

Lately, I’ve been watching “Shadowhunters”, which has made me begin reading The City of Bones. I’ve figured that I should actually read the books to check if the show follows the books.

As a college graduate, I’ve realized that reading is a task to put time aside to do.