The Ebony Quill

Thoughts, reflections, and whimsies as I experience life

Archive for the category “Rants”

Holiday Break…. Finally

I know.  I know it’s been a month, and I have been smacking my head on a weekly basis, realizing and re-realizing how much time has passed since I have posted.  But.  But.  But it’s finally winter break!  I have one (ish) glorious month off from college, which means a few weeks to read, write, and cogitate about my life.  I checked out some great books from the library–perfect for relaxation.

I had a bit of a panic attack around Thanksgiving when I read Throne of Glass and realizing how far from that level my WIP was.  While Shadow and Bone inspired me, Throne of Glass simply made me feel insecure in my writing abilities.  My wonderful critique partners have told me that my writing is strong, but it’s the story that I’m worried about; is it dramatic enough?  Exciting enough?  Different enough?

I toyed with the idea of changing it completely, or maybe even starting afresh.  However, today I decided that I will finish the WIP, simply because I want to–no, I need to–finish my first book.  It’s necessary for me to realize that I can finish a full-length novel, even if it ends up being shelved.

And so, tonight I will begin writing again with a fervor, if for no other reason than to finish.  Wish me luck!

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Ah, those cell phones

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in (exactly) one month!  I apologize; I was busy with college… and I couldn’t think up any ideas on what to post.

However, I wanted to talk about cell phones in awkward social situations.  Something I’ve noticed–and am perhaps guilty of on occasion–is that people (high school and college students in particular) tend to whip out their cell phones and start fiddling with apps and text messages when they’re in an uncomfortable or boring situation.  Specifically, when waiting in line for something.

Before, one would make conversation with his/her neighbor or even stand around and people-watch.  You know, take in one’s surroundings and appreciate people’s oddities and pick up tidbits about their lives.  Think about what one has to accomplish that day.  Think about what you’d rather be doing.  Ponder unanswerable questions.  Search for the meaning of life.

But answers to these questions can’t arise when you’re distracted by updating your status rather than experiencing it, what’s going on in your friends’ lives, how many people “liked” the photo you just posted, etc.  Sure, you may be being “productive,” checking your email or doing other work-related things, but I firmly believe that there’s a time and place for everything.  Ultimately, it’s like you’re creating your own mental block.

Now as I stare at the line of people slowly edging towards the cash register, all with their phones out, I feel awkward staring at them… and I take my phone out, too.

Have you ever noticed people using their cell phones in line, or are you guilty of the same?  What do you think about it?

Quirks

Everyone has their personal quirk–the one thing that they refuse to do because it goes against their character, against “who they are.”  My personal quirk is asking for help.  It’s an issue and I know it, and I am actively trying to change it.  Nevertheless, I always feel that I can do everything by myself.  What are teams for, anyways?  Other people only serve to disappoint, not follow directions, or do lackadaisical work.  The only person I can count on is myself… right?

Because I’m a business major, I hear the word “networking” thrown around a lot.  It’s gotten to a point where I cringe every time I hear the dreaded word, because networking involves interaction, and interaction involves giving another your time and trust, which may eventually lead to you (or them) asking for help.  That’s your network’s purpose: to serve as a pool of resources that you can call on when you need assistance starting a business, finding a job, or when you need the special skills and expertise of a more experienced person.  Which sounds great, but as my wonderful friend and roommate pointed out, dependency is weakness.

And then I thought about how this connects to writing.  If a writer simply wrote a draft by his/herself, revised it without getting any feedback from critique partners, then polished it without sending it to beta readers, and finally queried it with a letter that no one else has seen, he/she is sure to face rejection, simply because it’s impossible to catch mistakes, inconsistencies, and creative lapses without the help of others.  And then, the agent, the editor, the publicist… all of these people allow the author to succeed.  In short, there are certain things that simply cannot be done without a team.

I’m a member of SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise), and last week we did a group activity where five or six of us had to come up with a service project idea.  It was amazing how each group came up with such original, inventive ideas simply due to the combined efforts and brainpower of all its constituents.

A couple of days ago, I attended a business council meeting where the a major figure in the School of Business spoke about “leaders leading leaders.”  He spoke about how the dean often conferred with him and his team about new ideas, some of which were rejected.  And the dean accepted the critiques.  It was then that I realized the real importance of teamwork, of asking for help when needed, and welcoming others’ advice.  The willingness to do so has to originate internally.

Thus, I’m coming to terms with the idea of perceiving asking for help or needing help not as dependency or weakness, but as building a supportive team which mutually benefits each of its members.

What is/are your quirk(s)?

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