The Blinding Light of the Beginning Writer

I don’t like grammatical errors, not because I’m a grammar snob – I’m the first to admit that I don’t know every single rule and nuance – but because poor grammar in a piece of writing interferes with my ability to read it. Grammar can be taught; if someone wants to learn grammar badly enough, that person can learn it.

October 4, 2010 1

One Word Ahead of You

On college campuses, Communications majors have a reputation for being lazy because, well, how hard could it be to communicate? Communicating effectively is actually very difficult. In order to be an effective communicator, you need an expansive imagination. You must take into consideration all ways you could be misunderstood.

October 1, 2010 3

Imagine a Bookstore Where Books Had No Titles

I never begin a blog post without first giving it a title, but I usually change it before I click the “Publish” button. When I was in school, I’d normally use an obscenity as a placeholder on essays until I could come up with something better. It’s amazing that I never once forgot to change the title.

September 24, 2010 3

Academic Karma Kicking Me in the Ass

I finally realize why my professors always encouraged class participation and why it was always such a large component of our final grades. When students don’t participate, especially in a discussion-based class, the learning suffers. I try really hard to engage my students, but I can’t force them to be interested.

September 22, 2010 5

Breaking up Isn’t that Hard to Do

Writing a block of text is easy, and I can understand why a beginning writer might feel inclined to do so when he/she is composing a rough draft. One sentence follows the next. But even after they had a chance to type and revise a free-writing exercise, a lot of my students and colleagues just don’t include paragraph breaks.

September 17, 2010 3

Writing a Brave New Book

Most people don’t realize that it actually takes a lot of courage and guts to write, even tell, a story, especially if you’re doing it right. To share a story, fictional or true, you have to believe that another person will understand you, that you are communicating something universally true. Forget talent and ability.

September 13, 2010 1

On Reading Texts that Annoy You

When I first started taking writing classes, I was shocked that my professors allowed us to express our appreciation for or hatred of a text. In my high school English Literature classes, I could never say that I didn’t like Moby Dick, even though I was thinking it. Then, liking or not liking a text was besides the point.

September 6, 2010 2

On Forgetting Yourself, for Charm’s Sake

Though it’s often portrayed negatively, charm doesn’t have to be a method of manipulating or deceiving people. I believe that charm can be completely genuine, a tool used for good. I want to be charming to make other people feel comfortable and to shine as my best self. So, how does one forget oneself in order to be more charming?

September 3, 2010 0

What Job Interviewers Won’t Say to Your Face

Applying to and interviewing for jobs is one of the most tedious tasks. The job hunt requires patience, persistence, your best bullshit face, at least one clean pantsuit, confidence, and a sense of humor. Often, you will find that you are smarter and savvier than the people who are interviewing you and/or reviewing your resume.

September 1, 2010 3

Blogging and Creative Reinvention

When I feel stale, I like to reinvent myself, which is what I have done. As you can see, I’ve redesigned the layout. I’m also going to be covering more subject matter: writing, teaching, exploring current events and pop culture, living outside of New York City, and navigating friendships and dating in the Internet age.

August 24, 2010 2