Tips For Academic Writing

Blog posts are the only things I know how to write, but even that is questionable. It depends who you ask.
So whenever I have to write for academia, you can imagine the ensuing panic. And if you can’t, I’ll try to describe it.

Never mind, I can’t.

Safe to say I’m no expert when it comes to writing research papers or literary essays. But somehow I’ve gotten by.

How? I have no idea.

Do I have any business giving advice on writing? Nope. Will that stop me? Never.

Follow instructions. Follow rules. Follow whatever your professor says.

I hate following with a passion. But I’ll do whatever it takes to pass. Academic writing will never be as kind to you as creative writing is.

If you’re ever unsure about a fact, double check.

When you’re unsure of the meaning of a word, look it up. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Always.

When in doubt, cut it out.

Try to delete anything you don’t need. It’s hard to detect sometimes, especially if you’re editing your own writing. But you’ll thank yourself later. Besides, everyone is better off without unnecessary adverbs. Seriously, your lovely teacher will totally understand that your really amazingly awesome point is very important.

Know your weaknesses.

Also, try to learn the words you fall back on as a crutch. You know what words I’m talking about. In elementary, my teachers pointed out my love for the word “then.” Then this happened. Then I did that. Then you get the idea. Now for some reason, I have a mildly unhealthy attraction to the word “that”. It’s more obvious in my essay writing when I’m not careful. Using the same words again and again becomes redundant. If you use them too much, the word loses power. After all, not every sentence needs to begin with “then” followed by “that.”

Even if you follow nothing else I’ve said, hopefully you’re able to do this:

Write about something you care about, something you’re passionate for.

It doesn’t have to be a topic you know like the back of your hand either. That’s why research exists. I realize students don’t always get a say in the matter. Still, finding an interesting subject that makes you want to write is half the battle.

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A Terrifying Transition

One of these days I’ll stop talking about my 20th birthday. Today isn’t one of those days.

To be honest, I feel good about where I am right now. Better than I have in a long time.

A while ago, I was talking to one of my high school teachers. Somehow my birthday in August came up. He made a point that stuck with me. I wish I remember his words exactly. Something like my having a birthday during an anxious, stressful time of the year. I couldn’t have agreed more.

I used to feel horrible in the mornings right before school. It’s not that I hated school inherently. But the thought of having to deal with people sent my heart pumping even faster than exercise.

My special day is and I suspect always will be a transitional time for me even after I graduate from university in two years. Yes, I’m assuming I’ll graduate. Allow me.

The memories I have of my childhood mornings are not fun or easy. I realize I can’t change the fact that I used to dread going back to school. But a part of me thinks it’s messed up that I and many other students feel anxious or afraid.

There’s a difference between not liking something and being terrified of it.

I felt terrible for so many reasons. My overactive imagination deserves a medal or trophy. More often than not, I scared myself because I thought of horrible situations. Most never came to pass.

When I think about school now, I’m not as worried or nervous. I’m not too afraid or scared. I am excited.

I’m looking forward to the rest of this upcoming academic year because I know that regardless of what happens, the sky won’t fall on my head. The ground isn’t going to open beneath my feet and swallow me whole.

I’ll be fine. The world won’t end. And if the sun will rise every day, so can I.

My Goals For The Rest Of 2017

Since it’s somehow October, I figured I should lay out some goals for myself for the end of the year.

Schooling

I’ve been meaning to be a better student this year. I’m not sure if I’ll do anything differently, though. Work hard, work smart, and work well.

Reading

When I have busy, hectic days, reading tends to suffer more than anything else. I have sort of a binge mindset with books. But it’s tough to block out an entire hour or two to read. My lowball goal is to post at least two reviews a month, meaning I’ll need to read two books. I wish I was a faster reader and reviewer, but when it comes to reading for fun, I want to enjoy the experience. I rather not rush myself for no real reason.

Writing

Honestly, writing sometimes falls by the wayside as well. I’m not too sure what my goal is. I’ve been writing short stories and poems. All summer long, I’ve spent my mornings transcribing old work and editing current projects. I keep sending my babies out into the world. People keep rejecting them. It’s the life of a writer. In a way, I feel a bit lost. I have a lot of doubts, and so I’m not sure what I want right now.

Dancing

I don’t talk much about dance on here, although I really ought to. I’ve been having some great dance sessions as of late. When I told someone about it, she asked me if I’ll ever take dancing to the next level. I won’t. I’ve always danced for myself, and I’m mostly a self-taught dancer. But I’d like to continue stretching, dancing, and conditioning. I feel great. It’s fun. Besides, exercising my body doesn’t hurt my brain.

Blogging

Of course, I save blogging for last. It’s not something I talk about with people in real life. I have my reasons. I also have hit a bit of a weird phase creatively. I seem to fall into routines, ride the same wave over and over again. I hope I’m making sense. I’ve always wanted to write longer posts, but it doesn’t sit right with me. It’s just not who I am to be verbose and wordy. When I edit, I cut out a lot. I’d love to keep posting every day.

These are my goals. What are yours?

Storytelling, Timing, Writing

I love writing and hope to publish a book someday. If that doesn’t happen, I really hope I can at least help to improve literacy rates around the world.

I can’t imagine not being able to read or write. I’m beyond grateful to be in the position I am.

Oh, writing. I love it. I want to dedicate my entire life to telling stories.

The times I want to give up, I tell myself I’m closer than I realize. Besides, if I give up, I won’t make it. I can’t reap all the seeds I’ve sown in the last several years if I throw away all my pens and never buy any again.

Every professional writer was an amateur, an aspiring writer who didn’t quit even when they experienced rejection, failure. They kept going.

I like to believe I’m on the right path, heading in a direction towards a destination I will arrive at one day and be blown away. That’s some sentence, huh? The poet in me is coming out.

I can’t wait.

Wherever this life takes me, wherever I go, I’ll look ahead and regret nothing.

In my twenty years of life, I’ve learned that life is messy and ugly.

I tend to expect perfection from myself or something close to it. But if life isn’t perfect, how can I be?

I’m hard on myself, so hard. I’m trying to loosen up, take things easy. That doesn’t mean I don’t expect great things from myself. It just means when I do inevitably fail, I won’t beat myself down when I’m already on the ground.

I’ll pick myself up and carry on my way. Brush the dirt off. Keep walking.

I truly believe this world needs stories. We need art. Maybe I can supply both to the people who need it most. I’d be happy with changing one person’s life. In a good way, of course.

I’ve witnessed firsthand the power of storytelling. I know how powerful stories are. The right story at the right time can be life-changing.

Timing really is everything. Right place at the right time. When the stars and planets align.

One of these days the timing will be close to perfect. I’ll know with all my heart I’m where I should be. Then all this will be worth it. After all, I’m worth it.

To Express | A Poem

I’ve given my heart to causes

Some doomed from the start

But I didn’t know then

What I know now

Yet I still commit to sinking ships

If only so I can treasure

The beat that makes me feel alive

The boy who never made me cry

The book I read back then

A team I admire from a distance

One song I listen to on repeat

Dancing into the night

They changed something

So very grand

It feels good

To express what words can’t

To exclaim what no one understands

From One Blogger To Another

I have some thoughts about blogging that I want to share.

After being on WordPress for over four years, I’ve come to realize a few things.

I procrastinate writing. I put off editing. It’s not a good combination when trying to publish a post every day. Technically, every night.

I’m hard on myself. So hard.

I hope you aren’t as hard on yourself.

I want a post to be perfect or as close to perfect as possible, which makes me avoid doing the work. But by doing so I give myself less time to write and edit the post.

In short, I’m a bad blogger. But you already knew that.

Write. Edit. Publish. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t put off. Don’t be like me.

Saying Goodbye To Two Seasons

Even though I miss summer, I’m a fan of autumn. Cooler weather. Changing leaves.

The regular baseball season has come and gone as well. I’m now fully invested in the postseason. So much for being a responsible student.

This past summer was awesome. Mostly thanks to all of you and your continued support. I’m excited to see what the new seasons will bring.

I hope you had a great summer. I also wish you’ll have an even better fall.

I’m going to miss summer baseball. It’s been a fun few months. I’ve tried to savour every second, even the less than ideal ones.

For some reason, my mind can’t stop thinking about the future. I like to think that’s a good thing. At least it’s a sign I’m no longer obsessed with the past.

Here’s to fall being a cool season in more ways than one.

Feeling Like A Failure

The title says it all, doesn’t it?

I feel like a failure. And I’m doing my best to look on the bright side. I won’t get into all the details. I don’t want to bore you. I failed. I believe I shouldn’t have. But I did.

Knowing me that fire in my belly is burning even brighter now. I’m going to use this failure as a motivator to do better.

I think it’s easy to say I’m dumb or stupid. Right now those aren’t the words I want, much less need to hear. I’m not dumb or stupid. Failing doesn’t mean I’m useless, worthless.

We’re off to a great start to the school year already.

Don’t worry, I didn’t fail a test or anything. I just started school after all. You may be thinking how I failed on my first day back. It was a little bonus challenge. Nothing life changing, world ending.

I think if you know me well enough, you understand my definition of failure is different from everyone else’s.

I’m not sorry for holding myself to a higher standard. I have lofty goals because I know I can reach them. I intend to.

So enjoy following my journey as I fail and fail some more.

I’ll take this experience as an opportunity to learn. Besides humans are always learning. We should be anyway.

Sooner or later, I’ll have other failures on my mind. This one won’t be as important. When all is said and done, none of this will matter.

I’ve always taken failure hard. It’s probably a byproduct of how I’m wired, who I am.

I used to wonder whether it was worse to disappoint someone else or disappoint myself. I know the answer to that now.

I hate disappointing myself. Hate it more than a lot of things and people in this world.

I’ll take disappointing others over myself any day of the week. I can live with letting people down. My heart breaks when I let myself down.

Still, I rather fail and disappoint everyone in the entire universe than not try. I refuse to live with regrets. Wonder what if for the rest of my life.

I know trying and taking risks means opening myself up to failing. There will always be the possibility I fail in the worst way possible. But at least I tried, at least I know.

I may not be as fearless as I once was, but I’m not so afraid of failure that I won’t go after opportunities. Or make them myself for that matter.

 

Staying True To Yourself

I used to be someone I wasn’t. I wasn’t myself because I tried to be what people wanted or expected of me.

I’m not perfect by any stretch. I still struggle to stay true to what I stand for. But it’s easy to give in.

At times, I feel very much like I’m a doormat. Because I let people step on me figuratively. I don’t put my foot down.

I can be firm, say no. I tend to know what I want to do, what I don’t want to do. But I’ve never been the best at vocalizing my desires or opinions, especially if they’re unpopular, which they often are.

When I first sat down to write this post, I figured I’d write about my journey as a blogger. How at one point in time I was not blogging for myself. And because of that, I didn’t feel happy. Or content with my creations.

But recently I realized I’m not always myself around people in general. Maybe that means I need new company. Or maybe I have to rethink who I am as well as who I want to be.

For better or worse, people change. Differently. Some people change faster while others take a bit longer.

Now more than ever before I’ve come to accept and embrace my flaws, quirks, etc. But I can love myself yet still want to improve, get better. That’s life for you.

Humans are not easily content. At least, I’m not. If I was completely happy, I wouldn’t have to do anything ever again. I wouldn’t learn every day. Or read, write, blog.

As I grow older, I hope to mature and become the person I aspire to be. Not always easy, but I’m doing my best. That’s all I ask of myself.

Stay true to yourself. Don’t live your life for someone else.

Nights Wasted | A Poem

I won’t forget those two girls

who took my kindness

and used it to their advantage

after walking away

I felt heat rush to my face

cheeks burned

lesson learned

won’t make the same mistake

I should’ve been able to trust

a teacher in eighth grade

but he thought I deserved

to be called a shadow

he destroyed my faith

I still think of the time

I walked inside to see a finger

pointed at me

accusatory

I can’t believe I cried

I’ll never get back

those times I cried

nights wasted in life