Rhymes With, Writing

Some Days It Rains

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There are days when bus stops are no fun.

But still, you drag yourself  on and on.

Lectures are taught when the sun is  behind shrouds of clouds.

The coffee isn’t strong,

And your tea  is not hot, but nonetheless, you step out the door to whatever lies

Beyond.

Sweaters are too bulky, particularly around the cuff.

Parking lots are still empty,

Some students seem tipsy.

Your brain is still fogged–

It shows right there on your blog.

Words not coherent ‘n’ all that good stuff.

Socks aren’t quite long enough,

and rain-boots too squeaky,

You find yourself thinking of your trip to Waikiki.

It’s the first week of classes, don’t forget your school passes, bus passes, or glasses!

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Writing

What to Write When You Can’t Write

I’m going to cut straight to the chase. I hate writing prompts.¬†“What is your earliest childhood memory?”¬†or, my personal favorite,“Write about a memory associated with a certain smell.”Um, what?!With all the books and websites out there dedicated to overcoming writer’s block, I’ve found very few helpful. ¬†Not only are these prompts unhelpful, they’re also constricting. Instead of using the bank loaded with our own ideas, prompts tend to produce cookie cutter results. Where does all the extra dough go?! With roughly 15,700,000 search results for “writing prompts” on Google alone, I expect more original and fresh ideas. Writing often feels more complicated than it actually is. Depending on who you’re writing for–yourself, an audience, or both– you shouldn’t feel the constant need to crank out a novel every time you sit down with a piece of paper. Every bestseller, freelancer, blogger, and journal-keeper had to start somewhere. So, instead of suggesting cliche writing prompts, I’m going to take you on a trip back to the basics.¬†

I’ve come a long way in my writing–at least I’d like to think so–but one thing I know for sure is that I still have an incredibly long way to go. My starting point included lists of my favorite foods and games of MASH from long, hot, and non-air conditioned bus rides to camp. ¬†My journalism journey–if you even consider lists and games of MASH journalism–moved from the Little League team to the All Star team. I waved goodbye to “listography,” and in ninth grade ¬†I committed to being more consistent. I wrote down as many details, big and small, that I could remember from each day. Although I was fairly consistent, the amount of content in my entries varied. I found that when I attempted to write lengthy and wordy entries, I ended up writing LESS. I had to face the fact that some days, my most exciting activity might very well be having a dissection in science class.

Moral of the story? There is no shame in lists and “Dear Diary” entries. Trust me, inspiration doesn’t fall from the sky the way rain falls in Seattle. That would be waaaay to easy.

What to Write When You Can’t Write

1. Lists– lists and sub-lists are great ways to brainstorm.

2. Thought bubbles.

3. One line a day. This can be useful if you feel you don’t have time to keep a journal. I often leave space in mine to go back and expand on entries. Record something such as a Facebook status or something that will trigger your memory when you go back. Try and be specific. Just writing “I ate Cheerios for breakfast today” isn’t going to be of much assistance to you if you plan on going back and expanding.

4. The Method (Writing Analytically by David Rosenwasser). This is an exercise my English 101 teacher in college had us do often. This really helps turn gears. I don’t read poetry, but we had an in class essay where we read a poem and analyzed what we read. The Method asks four questions. 1) What repeats? 2) What goes with what? (strands) 3) What is opposed to what? (binaries/opposites) 4) What doesn’t fit? (anomalies). For all of these questions, ask the “SO WHAT?” question. It sounds like homework, but trust me, it is a really helpful tool.

5. Your mom’s grocery list.

6. Book reviews/reports/summaries.

7. Letters. There is nothing I love more than receiving a handwritten letter. I’m sure you know someone who would love to receive one.

8. Stories. If you want to make yourself known, sign up for a free account at cowbird.com, it’s a pretty awesome website.

9. Your school schedule.

10. Take notes in class. This is just a good habit. It doesn’t necessarily spark creativity, but repetitive learning skills improve memory.

What to Read When You Can’t Write

1. Garner’s Modern American Usage. The title is sounds big and scary, but it is a WONDERFUL reference. If you’re experiencing writer’s block, you might as well take the time you’re not using to write to improve your grammar.

2.¬†Word Power Made Easy¬†by Norman Lewis.¬†Etymology at it’s best. Great for advancing vocabulary.

3. Books, books, and more books. If you don’t read, you’re writing is lacking its full potential.

4. The Newspaper. If I were you, I would choose something more wholesome than the Seattle Times. But, that’s just me. Flipboard is a great FREE app if you’re on the go often.

5. Word Dynamo (dynamo.dictionary.com). This is what nerds like me do over Christmas Break: expand their vocabulary count to and estimated +30,000 words.

6. Magazines. Try out Relevant: Faith, Culture & Intentional Living

7. Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing¬†by Mignon Fogarty. This is a great book and very easy to read. I have yet to finish it!

8. Read a picture. I bet you didn’t know you could do that! “A picture is worth a thousand words”~Napolean Bonaparte.

Where to Go When You Can’t Write

(Breaks in recurring schedules are very relieving)

1. NOT Facebook.

For those in the greater Seattle area:

2. Green Lake Park. I went here just the other day. It had been forever since I’d been there. Which is a shame considering it is only about a fifteen minute drive from my house.

3. Alki Beach. If you have a lot of time on your hands, this place is awesome.

4. St. Edwards Park

5. Bothell Landing

6. Seward Park

7. A coffee shop. I find inspiration in listening, talking, and observing. The Aloha Cafe in Edmonds or The Lyon’s Den in Bothell are ideal–unfortunately for me only one of these two is convenient. Because Starbucks is overrated, just more convenient.

I don’t splurge very often, but when I do, I consider the small indulgences as money well spent. If you’ve never owned a Moleskine notebook, I highly recommend investing in one. I usually use college ruled spiral notebooks, but these often give me motivation, especially if I’m close to wrapping up a notebook. I’m sort of obsessed with gel pens as well. They bring a whole new meaning to “color the rainbow.” (I especially enjoy using them for my school planner). They add some excitement. My #1 tip is to keep a notepad with you at all times. There is nothing worse than letting a great idea slip through your finger tips. My #2 Tip is to share your writing–whatever type of writing it may be– with other people. Tip #3 Not everyone scrapbooks. I am one of those who does not. instead, I tape memorabilia into my journals with photo adhesives and/or scotch tape. You’ll be glad you did! Last, but certainly not least, Tip #4! If you’re writing for an audience, big or small, DO NOT cater your words solely to their tastes. Many people try so hard to keep up with the newest trends in the media and whatnot that their writing loses its passion. Especially non-writers. Your writing probably has a bigger effect on people than you think. We are often our biggest critics. Every expert in any field of work began with the basics. Don’t forget to review them!

P.S. I need to take my own advice more often.

I hope this inspires you!

Kayla

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Blog Series

S is for Seattleite, Sleet, Snow, Sunshine, Spring Break, and Other Such Things

Snow and Sunshine

Kaylab Photography

When I first rolled out of bed at 8:00 am this morning, snow was ¬†falling. Washington’s seasons seemed to have been mixed up. ¬†I wasn’t all that surprised. the past few days we’ve had everything from sun to sleet. Once I drank my morning mocha and ate my Nutella toast, I tried not to let the weather get the best of me. How could one possible be upset with such a well-balanced meal?!

Snow and all, the beginning of a bluebird day was on the horizon.

Right now my feelings regarding this type of weather is neutral  Not one day of school was cancelled during the winter quarter. Now that I have a nice long spring break, it is 38 degrees outside with a chance of snow, rain and thunderstorms. Funny how that works

This picture was taken around 8:30 am or 9:00 am and now-pushing 3:00 in the afternoon- everything is exactly as it was yesterday.  Wet and Cold. This combination seems to be the perfect excuse to not be productive. However if every seattleite chose that easy way out it would not be a pretty picture.

 You Know You Are A Seattleite When:

  • It’s February and fifty degrees outside and everyone orders their beverage of choice at the coffee shop iced.¬†
  • In March your Facebook news feed is filled with instagram pictures, phone pictures, tweets, and statuses complaining about classes not cancelled, pictures ¬†of snow either present in your yard or absent, and road-trippers on their way to Disneyland or some other warm sunny place.
  • Residents wear flip-flops beginning in February at the first glance of sun.
  • Within the same day of snowfall,the phrases “spray tan” and “yay it’s snowing are used interchangeably.
  • You take Zertec and Vick’s because your allergies are awful and you think you might be coming down with a cold as well.
  • Your vitamin D level is thirty, which would be normal if you lived anywhere BUT Seattle. The “new norm” is fifty. (Not even joking, my doctor put me on a daily supplement.)
  • Breaking of the “normal” weather cycle is actually normal.
  • On a near daily basis you comment to your friend,
  • “Aw¬†man, it’s raining outside.” They reply, “What’s new?”
  • If you live in the suburbs, umbrellas are reserved for tourists and foreigners only, except on rare occasions.
  • Groundhog’s Day means nothing to most people. It merely remains a great excuse to watch the movie.
  • Being snowed in on spring break is very easily a potential problem.
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A Little Rain

anonymous

There is so much truth in these words. If we expect to go through life without at least a few scratches and scrapes, we are in for a huge surprise. ¬†I found this quote off of Pinterest-I know, I know BIG SURPRISE there- and I decided to do some background research. I wanted to quote the original author. When I went to look, I found many other people looking for the same person . So far, no one has been credited with these words-although Marilyn Monroe was known for her many different variations of this phrase. This quote reminded me of all the anonymous people who pass in and out of our lives and make a huge impact. Many of them never take any credit for doing so! We may miss the opportunity to thank them IN PERSON, but why not pay it forward?¬†If someone known or anonymous to you took the time, talents,or treasure that he or she had, and used it on you, I’m sure you can do the same. Don’t wait for a reason to be generous, go bless someone this week!

Rhymes With

A Little Rain

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