The allure of my headline is the fact that it declares there are things every blog post needs and the fact that you don’t know them motivates you to read further. To survive and thrive in the blogosphere, bloggers must hone their skills and commit to their craft. Their voice needs to be persuasive, their language seductive. Blog posts need to provide something for the reader – a laugh, a tip, a piece of anecdotal advice. If they’re not beneficial, they won’t be read.
Every post needs to leave their readers wanting more, obsessively checking for the next entry. And don’t underestimate the power in the simplicity of a bulleted list. The easier it is for readers to digest, the more likely it will be consumed. Check out the incredibly cool infographic in its entirety by Copyblogger here.
We are proud to announce that Professional Writing senior, Maude Campbell, has been accepted to the prestigious New York University Summer Publishing Institute. While in a conference about her future for WRA 493 with Jon Ritz, he encouraged her to apply for the program. Associate Professor Stuart Blythe, who has known Campbell since she started in PW, expressed his excitement for her: “I’m happy that she’s representing MSU at NYU. She’ll be a terrific ambassador for our program.”
Over the course of the six-week program, Campbell will learn the ins and outs of book, magazine, and digital publishing. Along the way, faculty members of the Institute and guest speakers will discuss various aspects of the publishing industry including the marketing, business, and creative sides of projects. “I hope to learn more about magazine publishing and the industry from professionals working in publications that are world renowned,” Campbell said. Lucky for her, she will be working closely with prominent publishing companies that will act as industry advisors throughout the program.
During the first three weeks, she will be expected to produce launch plans for new magazine brands and for the last three weeks, she will be focusing on creating imprints for book publishing houses. Throughout the entire program, emphasis will also be placed on publishing in digital formats including web, tablet, and mobile platforms. Final projects will be judged by a panel of senior publishing executives from publications such as Condé Nast and publishers such as HarperCollins.
At the very end of the program, a Career Fair will take place where students will interview with leading publishing companies in the book, magazine, and digital publishing industries. Campbell conveyed her worries about this, “I’m nervous about meeting with professionals I have admired for years through reading their publications. It will be intimidating but through them I can gain further insight into my growing passion.” Since Campbell is in the Editing and Publishing track of PW, this program will provide a perfect opportunity to learn, grow, and network within the industry. “I am hoping we can invite Maude back and she’ll share the fruits of what will be an amazing experience,” Professor Dànielle DeVoss said.
For more information on this program, check out their brochure here.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) doesn’t have to come only once every year. November isn’t the magic month where creativity peaks and words flow from your fingertips like liquid gold. Most of the time, depending on how you work, the writing process is complete and utter chaos. Plots start at the height of the action and then never come to a resolution, spend too much time on the setting and not enough time on character development, or the characters become too complex that you can’t see past them to the plot. These are common writing practices, and sometimes they work, but sometimes you can get lost in your own work. Creating a rigorous outline of your story will help you train yourself to become a productive writer.
There are six stages to this 30-day challenge. In the first week, you create your tentative outline including character, plot, and setting sketches as well as research strategies, the summary outline and any extra notes you may have. The second week consists of in-depth research. Delving into your characters backgrounds, the necessary details of the plot, and the facts needed for the proper setting. Once you have sufficient amount of information, the third week is spent introducing the formatted outline you created in the first week. In the final days of the challenge, you’ll be evaluating the strength of you formatted outline and finally revising your first draft. It’s important to have structure when writing, especially a schedule that pushes you to stay on target. It’s not impossible to write a novel in a month, but it’s definitely not easy. Challenge yourself. Check out The Guardian’s “How to write a book in 30 days” series.
Irony (n): the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
This is a blanket definition of irony when in fact; there are many different forms of irony. Too many people use irony as a catchall term to refer to anything out of the ordinary, amusing, or dramatic. The ignorance stops here. By understanding the various forms it comes in, you will (hopefully) use irony correctly.
If one of your friends or classmates comes to you and says, “I wish my professor would call on me more, I love the feeling of absolute terror you get when everyone in the class is staring at you.” Unless they’re some kind of masochist, they obviously don’t enjoy being spontaneously called on and suffering the scrutiny of their classmates. This is known as verbal irony though it is usually referred to as sarcasm.
The most common irony is situational irony, which refers the actions of someone based on an expectation that lead directly to the outcome they wish to avoid. For example, in the movie Shrek, it was expected that “love’s true form” for Fiona would be human when in reality it was an ogre because Shrek loved her ogre form.
In the works of drama or fiction, dramatic irony is when the reader or audience is let in on a fact that is unknown to most of the characters. The most famous example is in Romeo & Juliet when the audience knows that Juliet has taken a potion to merely appear dead, while Romeo only sees her dead body and proceeds to kill himself.
Cosmic irony would only be used for dramatic effect in real life, but it basically blames the gods or fate for having a hand in our struggles. For a fictional example, in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort’s motivation throughout all the books is to kill Harry and in the end, that’s what destroys him.
The juxtaposition between a historical event and what has happened since to contradict it is historical irony. Leading up to its departure in 1912, the Titanic was declared unsinkable – and then it sunk on its maiden voyage.
Based on the Socratic teaching method, Socratic irony is feigning ignorance in order to get a certain reaction or answer out of someone. So when your professor asks you to read the material and then you come in the next day and they say “I don’t know the answer” as they sit back and ask you question after question and you end up teaching yourself – you’ve just become the victim of Socratic irony.
“Water can flow, or it can crash,” Bruce Lee said. “Be water my friend.” Now, you may just write off Bruce Lee’s advice as similar to Mr. Miyagi’s wax-on-wax-off nonsense. If you read between the lines, you may find there is more truth to Lee’s metaphors than at first glance. A mix of martial arts and philosophy, Jeet Kune Do was one of Lee’s greatest legacies. The motivation behind the art was to cut away the unessential and focus on simplicity. One of the ways he achieved this was by paying attention to how he interacted with others. By reflecting not only on how he reacted to others but how he communicated with them, he was better able to understand himself.
Of course, it helps to be more aware of your surroundings, the people and elements around you. Being able to adapt to your ever-changing environment is essential to learning and growing as a person. Of course, this comes back around to “be water my friend”. Just like water takes the shape of the container it’s in, so must you with every environment you find yourself in. Taking into account the people and circumstance you are in, you can better interact with others and learn from your situation. Learn more about Bruce Lee’s legacy at Lifehacker.
I’ve always believed that my best work comes when I’m pressed for time and my paper is due tomorrow and I haven’t started it at all so I have to furiously type away at the keyboard until it’s done. That worked well in high school when I produced an entirety of a 36-page research paper by pulling an all-nighter the night before it was due. Or maybe I’m just amazed that I did it in the first place. Regardless, it’s not the best method for producing quality papers. HackCollege suggests the first place to start is with an outline. Rarely do you find a paper that doesn’t have some form of a structure. From there, you just need to get all your ideas down. Write, don’t edit. That comes later. Get all the key points down, even if it’s not quite right. It’s just important to put it all down on paper. However, this can be the hardest part.
Maybe nothing is coming to you and you feel exhausted or restless or uninspired. Take a walk, talk to a friend about your ideas, take a snack break. When you come back, you’ll have a different outlook on the idea and hopefully be inspired to write more. You need to manage your time well during the writing phase. Maybe spread it out over a few days, write in short bursts so it doesn’t overwhelm you. Planning ahead and getting a few thoughts down at a time is the best course of action. Don’t leave it to the night before. Hit up HackCollege for more tips on writing papers.
Contrary to popular belief, people are actually reading more now than they ever have before. However, we’re not all cracking open Charles Dickens or Emily Bronte. The majority of information we absorb is through reading in the media. Even social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr require us to read, albeit in a very different way. Our reading comprehension is not actually suffering as it has been strained of late. With too much stimuli bombarding us at every moment, our attention spans have become shorter and shorter, limiting our ability to comprehend and absorb what we read. We need to reconsider our relationship with reading and what it means to us.
Nowadays, we are more interested on having an opinion on a topic rather than thoughtfully and critically thinking about it before commenting. While a lot of us gravitate towards sources that validate our own opinions, we should be seeking out opposing voices. This will slow down one’s reading consumption and help create a more well-rounded reading base. If reading, in whatever form that comes to you, causes you anxiety and you feel like it’s more of a chore that you have to keep up with, then you need to reevaluate how and what you read. To learn more about boosting your reading comprehension and being a smarter, more conscientious reader, check out Lifehacker’s article.
As much as we’d all like to be Benedict Cumberbatch’s cunning version of Sherlock Holmes on the BBC’s show Sherlock, we haven’t spent our entire life training ourselves to notice every tiny detail. However, all is not lost. You still have Holmes-potential. It may take some time, but you can retrain your brain to become more observant.
Just like any habit, you need to start by changing little things every day. By giving yourself daily challenges to accomplish, like studying the behaviors of people you know, you will be more likely to slow down and take notice of details. It may even be helpful to take field notes, write down what you see and hear and what conclusions you might deduce. It’s important to focus on yourself as well. Take a moment to meditate, see where your thoughts wander to, and you might be better able to focus on the world around you with clarity.
Above all else, ask questions. “Holmes doesn’t think linearly, he engages his entire network of possible connections.” The more questions you ask, the greater your knowledge base becomes and the larger your mind map grows. Deductions will be easier to make when you make stronger connections between different points of information on your map. Sherlock didn’t become as clever as he is by simply jumping to random conclusions. Read up on Lifehacker’s article, Watson. And you just might be able to fill his shoes some day.