Writing & Self-Doubt: As Told By Virginia Woolf

virginiawoolf

Writing can be an excruciating task. It invites us to feel incredibly vulnerable. It opens us up to rejection and criticism, and in turn can incite quite a bit of self-doubt.

Almost all writers experience self-doubt at one point in their writing career. This article from Brain Pickings showcases Virginia Woolf’s own struggles with it in her own writing, and how she turned this commonplace experience among writers into the 1928 novel Orlando: A Biography.

It’s definitely an interesting read, and shows that even the most talented writers dealt with feelings of inadequacy. Be sure to check it out!

 

What Are Literary Agents?

The first time I heard about literary agents was while sitting in my WRA 380 course. A fellow student said she wanted to be a literary agent when she graduated and since then, I have been wondering what that might be. Being a lover of literature, I just had to find out. In my search, I came across three great articles that went a long way to explaining this professor I have never heard of before. They explained that literary agents are sort of the mediator between the author and the publisher, particularly large-scale publishers. They are always working in the author’s face to negotiate the best deal and the most rights when it comes to ownership of a piece. These are just some of the many things literary agents do though. I recommend referring to the following articles for more details about the profession, especially if you are interested in publishing a book or working as a literary agent.

Literary agent references:

Nathan Bransford’s “What Do Literary Agents Do?”

Independent Publisher’s “The Role of The Literary Agent”

Opinion: BuzzFeed Isn’t Killing Writing

buzzfeed

In December 2013, Esquire published an article by Luke O’Neil in which he bashed viral-content producing sites such as BuzzFeed and Gawker, lamenting that these websites, which are dependent on the shareability of its content, were making “veracity, newsworthiness, and relevance” a notion of the past. 

O’Neil referenced an Atlantic article which showed that the most shared website on Facebook by leaps and bounds was Gawker, beating out the likes of The New York Times, CNN, Fox News, and BBC. To him, this was meant to be evidence of the decline of journalism, the end of solid, meaningful writing. That all we care about are “15 Puppies That Will Make Your Day Better” and not tragedies abroad, or even in our backyard. Forget elections, give me cats in sweaters!

But the thing is, these “puff” articles O’Neil is referring to on sites like BuzzFeed, Thought Catalog, Gawker, and the like aren’t intended to be journalistic writing at all, not really. They’re not meant to steer us away from Benghazi. They’re meant for a break.

As someone who had contributed to one of these sites before, I have to say the backlash against these sites is rather frustrating. Just because I’m not writing about politics or other heavy news topics  I don’t think makes me any less of a writer. I just have a different mission with my words: to make people feel less alone, to hopefully inspire, or to make someone laugh. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Whether you agree with O’Neil or not, you have to remember that just because something is of lighter substance, doesn’t make it any less meaningful. We all need a break from all of the terrible things happening in the world, and that’s why I think these viral sites are pretty awesome.

Travel While You Can

Just graduated? In your early twenties? Drop everything now — because if you aren’t traveling, you’re making a huge mistake.”

For the longest time, I thought I would have to be rich or old or both to travel the world. However, I am a 23-year-old broke college student and last summer I lived and worked in Ireland for three months. Thanks to the amazing study abroad programs and scholarships here are MSU anyone can travel the world. If you need further motivation than that to get your butt exploring the world, check out “You Don’t Have To Quit Your Job To Travel In Your 20s”.