Tuesday, 07 July, 2015
#DailyWings: “Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.” -Brene Brown
Some of you may know that I spent the better half of my senior year in college writing an honors thesis on social media personas. The idea of online personalities has always intrigued me, ever since I discovered Neopets and realized I could build character profiles not only for the virtual pets, but also for myself as an online user.
In this millennium, it’s easier than ever for people to customize an identity for themselves through blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online social tools, even cloaking certain sides of who they are (which may or may not be a subconscious act). In this way, social media acts as a “veil.” My thesis was about the bridge between bloggers’ online social media personas, the way their readers (“followers”) perceive them to be and how they view themselves.
I’ve been asked before, “Where did you get the idea for this thesis?” While my majors/genuine interest in journalism and psychology kept me interested in the topic for nine months, the idea itself started cooking after I randomly met a young nomad on campus the spring before senior year and then, around the same time, learned of a memoir called “Fakebook.”
Monday, 04 May, 2015
#DailyWings: “Failure after long perseverance is much grander than never to have a striving good enough to be called a failure.” -George Eliot
…and with that, April is over.
If you’ve been following my “Blogging From A to Z” adventures, you probably noticed that I totally bombed the challenge after the letter “L” (“H” if you don’t count the “IJKL” catch-up post).
Once my mid-April trip to a wedding in the mountains rolled around, time for blogging just went *poof* Really, I come back after being on vacation for two days and it takes a week to catch up with everything in life! By then, I had no idea how to get back onto the “A to Z” train (what can you abbreviate using MNOPQRST?).
Even though I didn’t reach the end of the “A to Z Challenge,” I have a lot to be thankful for and want to share my gratitude with the following groups of people:
Thank you to everyone who followed my “A to Z” anecdotal posts. I had SO much fun writing about my childhood, and loved reading the comments you all left me each day.
Tuesday, 07 April, 2015
#DailyWings: “There are too many books I haven’t read, too many places I haven’t seen, too many memories I haven’t kept long enough.” -Irwin Shaw
Blogging From A to Z is an annual month-long challenge in which bloggers around the world are invited to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day corresponding to a letter in the alphabet (26 week days = 26 letters). For this year’s A to Z challenge, my theme is personal anecdotes, or “childhood memories.”
In my last blog post, “E is for Eyes,” I mentioned that my sub-par vision as a kid was due to my tendency to stay up late and read books under the covers. Those adventures I embarked on with characters like Harry and Ron, Meg and Calvin and the worlds I discovered with them were sooo worth getting glasses (and even worth getting caught once in a while!). You know I just had to dedicate an “April A to Z” post to all of the books I loved to read as a child and made me fall in love for reading, writing and everything related to words.
Monday, 23 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “The days are long, but the years are short.”
-Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you know that I haven’t been blogging as much this month because I’ve signed up to participate in April’s A to Z Blogging Challenge! For this month-long blog event, “A to Z” bloggers are challenged to write a blog post every week day for the month of April, with each day focusing on a letter in the alphabet (there are 26 weekdays in April and 26 letters…get it?). This particular blog challenge, founded by, typically garners more than 1,000 participants. I’ve been following “A to Z” for quite a few years, but I haven’t had the courage to sign up until now.
For my own sanity, each “A to Z” blog post won’t exceed 500 words. My main goals for participating in this challenge is to 1) interact more with you all and the rest of the blogging community, and to 2) simply have fun writing.
Monday, 09 March, 2015
#DailyWings: “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him, penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.” -Kenneth Grahame
For those of you who are finally getting warmer weather, welcome to spring! I live in North Carolina and it’s been absolutely lovely the past couple days. At one point, the temperature dared to reach 71 degrees, with the sun’s rays peeking out from in between the clouds as if to ask permission. I took a walk.
If the area where you’re located is still trapped in cold winter, hang in there! I read that even the snow in Boston is starting to melt (finally). The good news is that Daylight Savings set our clocks forward on Sunday morning, which means many of us get to come home from work while it’s still bright outside.The time change has also seemed to (hopefully) kick me back into regular blog scheduling mode; the loss of a single hour’s worth of sleep this morning has reminded me of all the time that’s passed by since my last blog post.
What with the snow days, UNC’s spring break and the NC Fellows Final Interview Day, I’ve had to put my site updates on hold. I’m hoping to become more consistent with my blogging in the future, even if that means fewer blog posts per week (as opposed to week-long hiatuses). Thank you all for sticking with me during this weird transition between seasons!
I’ve got a fun blog hop for you all today. My good friend Sara Letourneau, who blogs regularly and writes fantasy, tagged me for the One Lovely Blog Hop. Here are the details for this hop:
Tuesday, 17 February, 2015
#DailyWings: “What is so marvelous about living today is that it is possible to extend, like a flower, spreading petals in all directions.” -Carolyn Kizer
One of my main goals for the year is to branch out as a blogger and participate in multiple writing initiatives within the blogging community. This month, I’ve extended my Internet “feelers” out and, after mustering up quite a bit of courage and swallowing my anxiety, joined a few blogfests and social media writing groups.
A couple of these writing communities are widely known among hundreds of bloggers, while others are newer or comprise a close-knit group of people who know each other very well. Joining them has been a little nerve-wracking. It’s like you’re back in high school and approaching the different social groups during lunch for the first time; you introduce yourself and wait for a response, unsure of whether or not you’ll be welcomed.
The difference between high school and these online writing communities, though, is that you will almost never be met with rejection from the writers (unless, of course, you’re a troll who just shares personal promotions everywhere). I’m incredibly excited – not just because I get to make new writer friends, but also because this is a chance for my blog to be a part of something that’s bigger than itself.
Monday, 09 February, 2015
Are you a writer who needs more time to put words on the page? Does your heart sink when you see tweets or Facebook statuses like “Squeezed in 600 words during my lunch break” or “Added 1000+ more words to my MS in 1 hour,” because it takes you longer to reach either milestone?
If you are, you’re not alone. I’ve run into the same situation many times. Belittling ourselves, however, doesn’t make us feel better about our “lack of speed.” What will is embracing our unique writing methods while recognizing what needs fine-tuning.
Below are various bits of advice about balancing productivity with individuality that I’ve collected over time. Some are suggestions from fellow writers. Others are lessons I’ve learned on my own. Regardless, I hope you find them as helpful or reassuring as I have.
Tuesday, 03 February, 2015
#DailyWings: ʺBooks are the carriers of civilization…They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.ʺ -Barbara W. Tuchman
I want to say “Welcome back, dears!,” but it’s really me who’s been gone since late January. A lot of both personal and work-related deadlines piled up on me at the last minute, so I had to take care of those. I’ve missed blogging, but I have planned out a busy editorial calendar this month so you can expect lots of great content coming soon! Thanks so much for your patience.
Believe it or not, even though I haven’t posted in a while, there have been several behind-the-scenes changes to the blog over the past couple of weeks. As the blog continues to grow, one of my main goals is to foster a community where we – you and I – can interact and keep in touch with each other in a myriad of ways. In addition to my contact form and social media networks, I’ve set up a few additional services to help you to stay up-to-date with the blog, with just a few easy action items:
Tuesday, 20 January, 2015
#DailyWings: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Back in November, I saw that my good friend and fellow fantasy writer Sara Letourneau had posted the To-Be-Read (TBR) Book Tag on her blog. It was so much fun reading her post that I knew I wanted to do it, too! Who says you have to be tagged in order to participate in a blog tag? ;)
I don’t read as much as I should or want to. There’s not much time during the day for me to read for pleasure. Luckily, that’s what my lunch breaks at work are for. Right now, I’m re-reading “Fakebook” by Dave Cicirelli, a memoir about a social media experiment that inspired my senior honors thesis, “Behind the Blog: The Connection Between Online Social Media Personas and Reader Perspectives” (but that’s a topic for another day). I’ve been reading 15 pages a day, which I’m proud of. I hope to maintain this stride for a long time.
Reading, like writing, is an action for which you need to invest lots of time. But it’s worth it. There’s nothing better than getting transported into another dimension of time and space whenever you want to, even if it’s in your mind. You make new friends with characters and even the authors who create them. You can travel, fall in love and live a thousand lives when you read books. To me, that’s a priceless gift.
Today, I present to you my book tag Q&A:
Tuesday, 13 January, 2015
#DailyWings: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” –Eduardo Galeano
I was at work when I learned about what had happened in Paris on January 7. At the office, we have about seven or eight television screens, all of which display breaking news from CNN or sports on a daily basis. I walked past the largest TV during lunch, a napkin and utensils in my hand, when I saw the headline about terrorists on the loose in Paris. People were wounded, even dead.
“Why would anyone want to attack the French?” was my initial reaction. Admittedly, I don’t know much about France outside of the stereotypes revealed to me through movies and other media growing up, and unfortunately I don’t follow French news the way I follow Chinese, American and UK news. Even with the underlying knowledge that French people aren’t all alike, I’d always viewed them as being romantic, chic and peaceful foodies.
It wasn’t until later that I learned three masked individuals — later discovered to be Islamists — had attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical Parisian weekly newspaper known for publishing crude, controversial material (mainly about religion and politics). The attacks didn’t stop there. Two days later, terrorists related to the first incident attacked people in a supermarket where many Jewish Parisians live and congregate.