Writing.com

Every semester, I always have several students who truly enjoy writing.  Some even dream of becoming a writing.  To encourage you along your journey, I would like to share a quote and a website that has made all the difference in my writing career.

The first is a quote by J.A.Jance: “A writer is someone who has written today.”  For a long time, I struggled with calling myself a writer because I had not been published; as a result, I did not feel validated by the experts in the field.  However, stumbling upon this quote turned my thinking upside down.  Being published didn’t make me a writer.  Being a recognized, super-talented writer like Stephen King did not make me a writer.  Writing did.  This freed me to not only call myself a writer, but to invest time working on my craft like “any writer would.”  I even put the question “Written today?” on my phone to remind me.

Another important part of my journey involves community and feedback.  I found this on a website called Writing.com.  There I can read and review the work of other writers just like me.  In turn, I can post my own work for others to review.  Sometimes, this feedback is invaluable.  The only glitch I have ever found is that many publishers consider anything that has been posted on such a site to have already been published, which means they won’t touch it.  However, it is a great way to get started.  To keep my creative juices percolating, I still post flash fiction, stories of less than 300 words.

If you are interested, here is a link to my online portfolio.    You can check out what I have written and see if you would like the site.  If you do, sign up for the free membership and let them know that PLScholl2 referred you. (Full disclosure: I think I get gift points, which is the site’s currency.)  If I remember correctly, the free membership will allow you to post up to ten stories for reviews.  Of course, I was sucked in a long time ago and upgraded my account; what you see on my portfolio won’t be everything you can do with a free account. I will also warn you that some of the writers take reviewing seriously and can be brutally honest.  Personally, I want that, but if you are the sensitive type you might not.  Also make sure you return the favor and spend some time reviewing others.  You’ll learn a lot and they will appreciate it.

Well, I guess since I have written this blog today, I am a writer!

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7 Simple Edits…

I stumbled across this article “7 Simple Edits That Make Your Writing 100% More Powerful.” It contains great advice about curing the dreaded “Wordy Disease,” and considering that many of you suffer from this malady, I thought you might find it useful, especially the examples.

However, keep a couple things in mind.  First, who is the audience, and second, what is the intended audience?  Remember that all writing has rules, but those rules change across genres.  Which ones apply to blogging?  Which ones might apply to academic writing?  Why or why not?

Just a heads up: The article starts off demonstrating how the author edited his own work.  Pay close attention; you might be able to use the same techniques in your own blog and even your academic writing.

Enjoy!

Welcome ENG131 (Fall of 2015)

Hello!  My name is Pat Scholl, and I am an IU East instructor for ENG131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry I.  This semester, my students and I are going to blog about our writing process.  On here you may find a plethora of topics on writing and reading.  Simply put, these blogs are where we will explore the process and our feelings about it.

For me, reading and writing are my first loves.  I am happiest when I have a book in my hand or I am in the middle of creating a story.  I suspect that this addiction—and that’s what it is, an addiction—began in my childhood.  Reading allowed me to escape to other world’s when my own life was filled with poverty and alcoholism.  I wanted something more, and reading provided that.  Writing really was just an extension of that.  Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I could create the fantasy myself and maybe even share it with others.

So why didn’t I become a writer?  Why didn’t I major in writing in college?  Two reasons drove my decision to become an educator instead.  First, I lacked self-confidence in myself as a writer.  Second, I am a very practical woman.  I did not see pursuing a career in writing fiction as being very secure, and growing up the way I did, that was very important to me.

However, in my late 30s, I realized I would never be truly happy until I took that risk. So I would have more time to write, I quit my job as a middle school teacher and began teaching part-time at the college level.  No longer was having a stable career my driving force, but rather pursuing my dream was.

Since then I have written several short stories and had one published in an anthology.  I have also served as a fiction editor for an on-line magazine. In addition, I have written multiple columns for the on-line magazine and countless nonfiction articles for a local newspaper.  I have even written a few poems of dubious quality and have a novel in the works.  I am currently taking an online Master’s Class taught by James Patterson.

While I haven’t yet realized my dream of having a novel published, I have realized my dream of becoming a writer.  After all, it is not publishing that makes one a writer.  Rather a writer is, as J.A Jance once said, “someone who writes everyday.”  I may not be famous or be making a fortune, but I am a lot happier and content.

Disclaimer: This is a repost of a previous blog and is intended to welcome a new group of students.

Grit vs. Creativity

‘Grit’ May Not Spur Creative Success, Scholars Say

I just finished reading this rather interesting research article on whether a student’s grit, or perseverance, has any connection to creativity.  Among the creative endeavors the researchers considered was, of course, writing. Now, this got me to thinking about the revision process since it often takes a lot of perseverance to see it through.  Does revision help boost your creativity or does it stifle it?  Do you even view creativity as a part of the revision process?  Are you more focused, maybe too focused, on editing for grammatical errors when you revise?

Take a moment and respond to this article and/or the questions I have posed.  Let me know your thoughts, and don’t worry about revealing your true feelings about revisions.  I probably already know.

P.S. A response here counts as an extra-credit response!

A Writing Process Blog

Hello!  My name is Pat Scholl, and I am an IU East instructor for ENG131: Reading, Writing, and Inquiry I.  This semester, my students and I are going to blog about our writing process.  On here you may find a plethora of topics on writing and reading.  Simply put, these blogs are where we will explore the process and our feelings about it.

For me, reading and writing are my first loves.  I am happiest when I have a book in my hand or I am in the middle of creating a story.  I suspect that this addiction—and that’s what it is, an addiction—began in my childhood.  Reading allowed me to escape to other world’s when my own life was filled with poverty and alcoholism.  I wanted something more, and reading provided that.  Writing really was just an extension of that.  Somewhere along the way it occurred to me that I could create the fantasy myself and maybe even share it with others.  

So why didn’t I become a writer?  Why didn’t I major in writing in college?  Two reasons drove my decision to become an educator instead.  First, I lacked self-confidence in myself as a writer.  Second, I am a very practical woman.  I did not see pursuing a career in writing fiction as being very secure, and growing up the way I did, that was very important to me.

However, in my late 30s, I realized I would never be truly happy until I took that risk. So I would have more time to write, I quit my job as a middle school teacher and began teaching part-time at the college level.  No longer was having a stable career my driving force, but rather pursuing my dream was.

Since then I have written several short stories and had one published in an anthology.  I have also served as a fiction editor for an on-line magazine. In addition, I have written multiple columns for the on-line magazine and countless nonfiction articles for a local newspaper.  I have even written a few poems of dubious quality and have a novel in the works. 

While I haven’t yet realized my dream of having a novel published, I have realized my dream of becoming a writer.  After all, it is not publishing that makes one a writer.  Rather a writer is, as J.A Jance once said, “someone who writes everyday.”  I may not be famous or be making a fortune, but I am a lot happier and content.