Rejection Letters, Pt II: Avoiding Stagnancy

Avoiding Stagnancy You’ve tried everything to get your writing published. You’ve accepted the rejection letter as part of the process and are using them as an excuse to be as creative and experimental as you want regardless of the consequences. After all, you have nothing to lose…

But when is enough enough?  Continue reading

Rejection Letters and the Creative Process, Pt. 1

The slush pileI write this from experience. If I had known how many rejection letters I’d receive before I started writing, would I have taken the plunge? Good question. I’m not sure, and I don’t really want to look back, but here’s a hypothesis I heard this week: multiple rejection letters may actually hone your creative skills.

Let’s get one thing out on the table and make it clear. Receiving rejection letters – doesn’t matter how many – doesn’t mean you’re a bad writer. The odds are against you. Really against you. Continue reading

Back to the Story

Yesterday I bought The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson with the intention of reading it sometime in the next month or so.

The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

I haven’t stared it yet, but there it sat on the edge of my desk, gloriously, almost mockingly, 1,253 pages long. This morning I brought it along to the library with me. It is to be a writing day since I don’t have work, and so Sanderson’s great tome will motivate me. It’s a little like staring at a picture of Schwarzenegger’s Mr. Universe days while doing push-ups. You try not to look at your own muscles, but it is motivating in a self-deprecating way.

Whatever works, I guess.

Now back to the story…

To a Wonderful Staff

Well, I’m graduating. And this ends another stage in my life as I move on from my undergraduate self and try to apply all the knowledge buzzing around in my brain before it flies out of my ears. Some of the stuff I’ve learned will have the same lifespan as a fly…and I’m definitely ok with that.

But one of the most profitable and important experiences that I’ve had in my college career is not likely to crash and burn anytime soon. My three years working at the Rhetoric Center (known as the RC for those with style) were probably where I learned the most during my time at Calvin. Classes are great for book knowledge and writing practice, but in the office I gained practical communication skills. I think I was shy before I had to talk commas with paper-frustrated individuals…that sorta pegs me as a hopeless nerd.

RC Group - 2013

RC Group – 2013

But so are these wonderful people, and I will miss working with all of them. Who else am I going to have the pleasure of geeking out about well-written papers with? Who else am I going to talk to about the possible sins of ending a sentence with a preposition? It’s a myth, folks. Now that I can’t be fired for saying this: go for it. In any case, I only get glazed looks from my housemates when I talk about writing, and my family has expressed their earnest disapproval at me pointing out grammar mistakes in newspapers.

So I will miss you all and your bookishness. I’m writing this to you now from my classroom where I’m supposed to be taking my second to last exam. The prof sent us the essay prompt, and I “forgot” I wasn’t supposed to write it before hand. I wish you all could read it…it’s really, really terrible.

Flying Fortresses

Just some amazing alliterative awesomeness this week.

Moon Spawn appearing over Coral, an artists impression © Corporal Nobbs

Moon Spawn appearing over Coral, an artists impression © Corporal Nobbs

Moon’s Spawn — from one of my favorite books, Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson — was a frightening sight for anyone. Especially since its keeper, Anomander Rake, wielded a sword that transported its victims to another hellish realm. In the ninth book in the series our heros had to face down about twenty of these things. Not pretty.

A Russian Flying Fortress. This was a 1930’s concept - it wasn’t built.

A Russian Flying Fortress. This was a 1930’s concept – it wasn’t built.

Odd. It looks a little like the German flying machine in Captain America. I think it’s safe to say that if the Russians ever created these things we would have been in a lot of trouble.

Even the most pixelated fantasy lands can have their flying fortresses.

The Helicarrier from The Avengers.

The Helicarrier from The Avengers.

No Flying Fortress compilation would be complete without the Helicarrier from the Avengers movie. (Not possible, of course).


Is it really flying if there is no gravity? Vader says this still counts. I’m not arguing.

If you can think of any other great FFs to add to this list, holler!

Long Distance Writer

Ok. I need your help.

It’s the beginning of my last semester of college and it’s a good time for resolutions. My goal is to write 500 words 5 times a week. Also: write a couple o’ pages or more whenever I can find the time. Also: Update this blog at least once a week. That’s a lot on top of other things.

You see, I’m generally a long distance writer. I find myself with a little time, or I make time, then I hole up in some fox den coffee shop with quaint hipster music banjoing in the distant background, and I hunch over my keyboard and scowl at anyone who talks to me, or looks at me, or walks by.

I’m kidding. I don’t scowl. I’m nice.

These blissful moments in my life come maybe once or twice a week. But I’m notoriously bad at having any sort of real consistent discipline, and I don’t have a consistent writer’s spot either. I go where the wind takes me. Most days that’s a distracting place full of friends. I don’t get any work done at these times. (Real people are always more interesting than reading or writing. Remember that.)

My goal is two-fold. To strengthen discipline. And to exercise my ability to write in those shorter time segments between events. Long distance writers like me will often want to get away for at least a few hours, maybe even half a day or more, and pour all their attention into the task. This seems healthy and effective, but it’s not practical for someone with school or work (so everyone).

Since I have so much trouble writing through the small time segments, I’d love to hear from you writers about your methods of discipline. Please feel free to comment and discuss ideas. Maybe I need to journal more and collect my thoughts while I’m running about, so when I finally sit down I have somewhere to start. Maybe I need to skip my homework (kidding again).


P.S. I could have uploaded a pic of, like, a coffee mug or some useless aesthetic to spruce up this post. But that’s silly.