You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

I really wanted to participate in something that I believed would help me get my foot in the door somehow, but I found out last minute that I did not have the means to do so.

I was so excited to spent a good chunk of my summer dedicated to the program, but I can’t do it.

I can still work on my writing here, so I suppose it’s not so bad.

Here’s to another chance, if I’m lucky.

I am in the process of writing my views on a documentary I watched earlier this week. As it played, I found myself reaching for a pen and some loose leaf. I’m glad I took notes, and that I’ve had some time away from the topic to write the piece out soon. That, and I’ve been writing down other ideas to write about.

At least I still have some things to look forward to. It’s all just a matter of putting them down here.

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Editing Others to Also Editing Myself

I came across this link on Twitter earlier today, on editing your own work on lifehacker.com.

I was a copy editor of the student-run paper at my previous college, and my job entailed making sure work to be published was in the Associated Press style, was grammatically sound, that spellings were correct, facts were accurate, and so on. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would, and I am considering looking for copy editing positions in the near future, aside from becoming a journalist.

I did write a few pieces, and wish I had written much more, but I was more worried about coursework, and I was working part time at a very popular food and beverage chain. I will write more about that later, for I would really need to choose my words carefully on that one.
I got the impression that I was tweaking others’ work to make them more clear and easy on the eye, especially for those who laid out the pages of the publication.

Since I’m starting to write and publish myself here, I should also start editing myself. I should have been started. I think I’m a little scared to read my work after it’s done. I write when I really cannot shake the urge to do so. I feel I just flow better, and that quite a bit comes out when I’m in this state. I’ve realized that not all criticism is bad, and the only person I can compete with, without losing it, is myself. I am trying to be the best writer/journalist I can be, after all.

Caroline McMillan breaks down the process, the first step being to print out your work. McMillan writes:

As any writer or editor will tell you, critiquing someone else’s work is much easier than deconstructing your own, because outside eyes bring a fresh perspective. To approach your own work critically, you need to simulate this “outsider” perspective by viewing it in a form other than the one you wrote it in.

I don’t need to say how obvious this is.

She also talks about taking a break, deadline-willing. The more time you have from your piece, the more mistakes you may see and better amendments can be made.
Then there’s reading it aloud, and this calls to mind my Voice & Diction class I took last semester. You do want our words to flow, and if they do when read aloud, the piece looks good, and you look good as a writer, too. Right?

Writing for the people you want to read your work is something to always keep in mind. Too many words is not a good thing. Being that I’m a consumer of information, I do find myself getting bored sometimes as an article goes on, even though the subject may interest me, simply for all the possible page turning, scrolling and/or clicking I may have to do.

The next stop is the hardest. Cutting down your piece, and being “ruthless” about it, McMillan wrote. “[…] this will help make sure that the true meat of your piece is what shines.” You want your readers to get something that could be useful to them from your piece, otherwise you’re not only wasting their time, but yours as well. I have learned this with word limits on essays.

The biggest piece of advice I got from this article was this:

When you make a point […] throw yourself behind it. Don’t give the impression that you’re not sure you fully support your own argument.

That advice stuck with me, and you should pay attention to it, too, especially when your career is in play. Don’t weaken your argument with wishy-washy sentences that start with “I believe,” “In my opinion,” and “You may disagree, but…” You’ll see the difference it makes.

This is not going to be easy to get the hang of. I’m even writing this on my phone, not on a computer. My laptop is not even connected to a printer at the moment. But as I said, I need to start somewhere. If that means scrolling up and down this four-inch window that I have, so be it this time around.

I want to, need to put my best foot forward, and my writing will have to speak for me until I get my foot in the door.

Thoughts.

It’s been two days since I started this blog, and I’m pretty content with how it’s been going, and with myself for finally starting to write and publish myself.

I am a little intimidated with trying to pitch story ideas and what not. I am just starting, and I know I ca be a much better writer. All I need is practice. Just like this.

I’ve been reading a lot more articles, following more writers on Twitter, and plan to read a few books that could help make more sense of what I want to do career-wise.

I’ve been told that knowing more about a certain topic and possibly becoming an expert on it can help you figure out how you want to make a living, obviously.

Maybe it’s because I’ve started to wade into this craft, and that I’ve become serious about wanting to do this, I have noticed that many are hungry. It could be for power, fame, money. I want to do this because I really want to.
I have to get this out there, as corny as it sounds. I have to make it known, somehow, not just to myself, but to whoever reads this.

This is what I want to do. Passion is something serious, and it can lead you even further than you imagined sometimes.
Of course, one has to be realistic. I know this won’t be easy. I will be broke for quite a while. I will be shunned, ignored, laughed at for various reasons. Many more negative assets of this business will come to light, and I believe that I will be ready for that. Not just because of my age, my life experiences, and so on. I have support from people I love and respect.

It’s one thing to have the fire within you to drive you to succeed. It is just as important to be surrounded by good people who want to see you succeed. I’ve grown more accepting of people (might explain myself later, might not) as I have gotten older.

This is all I can put down for now.

My Bad, Y’all

There will be some “bad” words used.

I just watched Ms. Deen ask “beg” forgiveness for her comments made to an African American employee a few years back while planning for her brother’s wedding. I was not feeling it. I was also not surprised that she used such words. She is an older, white Southern woman. Really, a lot more people use “nigger”, “nigga”, “nigguh”, etc. than you may realize.

Then there’s the fact that she is famous, somewhat. She’s a popular TV chef on the Food Network. I’m not a fan of her cooking, it does not look healthy or very much appetizing, but that’s just my humble opinion. Anyways, what I’m trying to get at is that we live in a world that is fairly obsessed with those in the public eye. Some of us feel that we own celebrities, that they owe us whenever they do something we may not approve of. Sometimes, we forgive them. Other times, we ridicule them further, even shun them.

Paula was… picked at quite a bit. #PaulasBestDishes was the top trending topic in the U.S. this past Wednesday, and boy, some made me laugh until I teared up, I’m not going to lie. I was not necessarily laughing at her, but I was thinking that in some way she had brought this on herself. Her forgiveness video was choppy, with flashes of white, her facial expressions were distracting, to me at least. If she really was sorry, it just did not come through.

I recall someone I used to follow on Twitter say that racism is dead, and that we should be worrying more about classism. I thought to myself, this person is wrong. While classism may seem more prevelant, racism is not going away, and never will. We as the human race may grow more tolerant, but there will always be some prejudice deep down inside every single being. There is not one person alive without any form of dislike, hate, dread, etc. We are not perfect, y’all.

Paula Deen has angered a lot of people, especially those who weren’t so familiar with her before this lawsuit came to light. As I read tweets and laugh, shake my head and frown, I know to many of those offended that this is too little, maybe on time but all the same too late.

I’m going to end on this note. It’s interesting how we clutch to the really ugly stuff of a person, celebrity or otherwise. When they try to (or try to appear to) rectify their displeasing mistakes, it may not be easy to win people back. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. Frankly, I’m fairly over it, and this will not be the last time someone we may invite into our lives via cable may rub us the way.

How Kanye Made Me Change My Mind

I used to dislike Mr. West, for “hate” is too strong of a word. I thought he was full of it, and that his lyrics were too much. This was during the “College Dropout”, “Late Registration”, and “Graduation” eras. Looking back, I simply was not giving the man a chance. I did think his bars were clever, thought provoking, and sometimes hilarious. His beats are something else, too. I was only paying attention to the singles that were played on the radio and while I was out clubbing in a country that was not so hip to urban music (as in, it wasn’t as popular, and maybe not as accepted as, well, pop music).

“808s & Heartbreak” was released, and “Love Lockdown” became the very first song of Mr. West’s that I loved. Maybe that had to do with the fact that my arguably favorite artist, Esthero, was involved with the album, but nevertheless, he started to get my attention in a good way. Many of his fans claim that this was his worst work to date, but as an artist, aren’t you allowed, supposed to experiment?

I moved to the United States the summer before “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” was unleashed. This. Album. Had. Everyone. Talking. Even though he came off as angry and even more self-centered than before, I was not put off by “Power” and even rapped along to it every now and then. That was about as much attention I paid to the record, until a very good friend of mine made me listen to it. While all the negative press he was receiving the year turned me off (remember when he took that VMA Moonman from that chick?), I am so glad I listened to the body of work from beginning to end. I then started listening to his previous records, and many of his deep cuts are my favorites to bump whenever certain moods strike.

We all know how much Kanye does not care about what many think of him, and that quality that I once hated turned out to be what I like most about him. The brilliant New York Times interview done by Jon Caramanica has made me change my mind on Mr. West for the better, and caused ripples across my Twitter timeline from NYC to Cape Town. In a country that has become so celebrity-obsessed with various armies, navies, and sects devoted to these people, I have to say that it is refreshing to have an artist that is not afraid, and who wants to do better than what he himself has done. How could you not genuinely admire that?

Dare I say it; Kanye has become one of my role models, especially because he gave off the idea that you do not have to be sorry for what you do not regret doing. He may come off as aloof, but he’d rather express himself through his creative processes. He may seem overly confident, but isn’t that what people say, fake it until you make it? He is not afraid to speak his mind, and he is quite intelligent if you pay close enough attention. He knows his flaws, but he is not shy to talk about his strengths.

For someone who used to have very low self-esteem and who questioned her abilities, I am glad there are artists like Kanye West out there. He knew hard work was going to pay off, and now he is enjoying the fruits of his labor any way he sees fit. He seems to be growing, and I feel this is the best way to change as a person. He wants to see how far he can go, and refuses to be held back. If these aren’t some of the traits of a successful person, then your guesses are as good as mine.

I’m just simply giving credit that is long overdue. While I do find the title of his next release quite narcissistic, I’m not going to sleep on this one. Mr. West has a lot to say, and he will do so as he sees fit.

In Defence of Community College Students

I recently read somewhere that it’s not where you go, but what you do when you get there. I’ve also noticed quite a few jokes about community colleges; with one pertaining to earning a degree there will only get you as far as managing a McDonald’s. Cute.

On May 23, I earned my Journalism degree from one of the largest and best community colleges in the country. I was in the STEM stream before I moved to America, namely Biomedical Science. Maybe it was how most of my friends were in the Arts, or the fact that I sometimes feel I have too many interests that I decided to enter this stream when I enrolled as a Liberal Arts major in Fall 2010, deciding to be one of the college’s first Journalism graduates the very next semester. I had the luck of getting a great education from a very respectable staff, and working at the college’s award-winning student-run newspaper, not to mention the lovely price of tuition for international students that my parents and I will miss dearly. My Alma Mater is known to be a “slacker school”, but I stopped myself going down that slippery slope because time was and is running out (and so is money and my mother’s patience), and I still have a lot of things I want to do.

I guess this was something that sprung to mind, especially since I have been meaning to write, period. The feeling that I should put this down, and where even one person would see it, has been creeping up on me. I just needed to sit down and write.

Yes, I went to a community college. Yes, some people snicker and feel that community colleges are subpar, and feel most from one won’t get far. There are many people now enrolling in these colleges, to get ahead at work or to get a whole new set of skills to try to make it in today’s big bad world. I am one of them, and proud. I have a drive that few get from attending colleges and universities of all sizes and status. One of the guest speakers at my commencement was a graduate of my Alma Mater, and he has people working for him that went to Harvard. Just putting it out there.

I might sound banal for saying this, but don’t judge me or other community college graduates that have actually done well. We are a growing breed, and in quite a few ways may be more prepared for the ups and downs academia and life throw at us. Some of us have quietly made a place for ourselves, and are ready to expand our horizons where you, dear reader, may be studying or have graduated from. I’m not bashing you for ending up at one of the best schools in the country; in fact, I congratulate you on that. Just have some respect from those of us who start small, for we might end up much bigger someday.  

You hear this every year too, that this year’s graduating class is the best. I’m going to end this by saying that mine is a pretty impressive group, and the only way for us is up. I know where to look for opportunities regarding my career-choice when I transfer. I like surprising people, especially those who may doubt me for no real reason at all. I am more than ready to start.