My Fellow Writers

As some of you know, I wrote a children’s book! I’m also writing a novel based off my experiences in college. This weekend, I came up with two other novel ideas, and last week I came up with another children’s book idea. (Now, I can’t come up with a blog post, but hey, one thing at a time!)

Writing is a tricky business. This morning I was doubting the entire concept of my first novel, and completely confident in my children’s book. I keep thinking of JK Rowling’s advice:

“Even if it isn’t the piece of work that finds an audience, it will teach you things you could have learned no other way. The discipline involved in finishing a piece of creative work is something on which you can truly pride yourself. You’ll have turned yourself from somebody who’s ‘thinking of’, who ‘might’, who’s ‘trying’, to someone who DID. And once you’ve done it you’ll know you can do it again. That is an extraordinarily empowering piece of knowledge. So do not ever quit out of fear of rejection.”

I’m struggling with my inner doubts and the (maybe overly) confident voice. I keep telling myself that if I don’t believe in myself, nobody else will. I keep telling myself that I should just quit my job and work on all the ideas bouncing around in my head right now (I’m not going to… unfortunately). I keep telling myself to get up early one day and just it at the computer and write, no excuses. Do I finish one book before starting on another?

I’ve also noticed how my writing process has changed since graduating college. I used to sit down at the computer, and write it all in one sitting and then be done. I would maybe re-read it once, move a comma or two, and then call it good. Now, I sit down, write (hopefully uninterrupted) and when I’m done for the day, I’m nowhere near done mentally. After I write something now, I agonize over every little detail for weeks before I can get myself to look at it again. “Is there too much dialogue?” “Is that portion even necessary?” “Should I reorder these events?” I mentally comb through the details of what I just wrote until there is nothing more for me to agonize over. Then I re-read it, and revise. I’m noticing a difference between editing and revising that I rarely thought of in college.

I am currently in the middle of this process after writing a draft of my query letter for the first children’s book. After a lot of research about query letters, what to include, what not to include, what the publishers look for, I wrote a basic query letter to try and pitch my book. Then yesterday I was driving around and I thought, “I need a better hook in my query letter.” Whether I’m in the shower, driving around, or trying to sleep, I am constantly thinking about what I am currently writing or what I last wrote. Are writers ever really finished with a work? Will we ever be fully satisfied?

The purpose of this post is basically seeking answers/advice/common ground with any fellow writers. I would love advice on query letters, first time authors, writing process, etc. If you have answers to one of my many questions, advice, or general comments, please, please, please let me know. I would love to hear from you!

Keep Dreaming

Girls in STEM

Recently I saw a commercial about girls in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). And honestly, I was not a fan.

By pointing out that being a girl in a STEM career is odd, it almost stigmatizes it. It could lead to girls who are already naturally drawn to STEM studies to believe that they are odd, when maybe they didn’t before.

When I have a daughter I am going to try not to tell her that she can be whatever she wants. Why? Because that is a given. Why wouldn’t she already believe that?

And what does this commercial tell the girls who are not naturally drawn to, or talented in, STEM subjects? Am I less important because I have a degree in writing? Should I be ashamed of myself because I didn’t try harder in STEM?

Even my own college has a special scholarship for “First Generation Students in STEM.” I am a first generation student, why am I less worthy because I chose to study something different? I must not have the same struggles as a first gen student in a math class rather than in my English classes.

I know what people are going to say, “STEM is male dominated and we need to try and change that.” Wrong. The National Science Foundation has published a study that tells us that the gender gap in STEM is not as large as we, (especially women) are told. So why are we still making a big deal out of it? Why are women in STEM still seen in such a different light that we need commercials and scholarships for it? I don’t see any big push to get more men interested in arts and humanities, even though according to The Atlantic “The same percentage of men (7 percent) major in the humanities today as in the 1950s.” Talk about double standards.

I am not trying to downplay the importance of STEM — trust me, I know how it feels to have your degree/passion seen as less unimportant — all I am trying to do is make young girls feel like they can pursue any career path they so choose. By having society tell them it’s important for them to pursue any specific career is not doing them any favors.

Date Someone You Have Nothing in Common With

 

“We have so much in common!” If commonalities are what is holding your relationship together, I’m already bored.

Sure, commonalities mean you probably agree more than you disagree. You probably hike together, or work out together or knit together. You watch the same type of movies, and you never have to branch out. Why limit yourself that way?

Date someone who doesn’t like the same everything as you. Maybe he loves working out and your idea of a workout is walking to the mailbox. Maybe he loves horror films and you can’t get enough musicals. By dating this person, you’ll be forced to step out of your comfort zone and walk on the treadmill one day. He might even learn to appreciate a good song and dance in the middle of an ordinary conversation. Plus, once you find a show, movie, band, etc. that you both enjoy, it will be so much more special.

Date someone who gives you space. He likes to hang out with a large group of friends, you’re into more intimate gatherings. Spend time apart to do your own things. Allow for independence so that you’re so much happier when you’re together. Don’t force yourselves to like something you will never like, but show an interest in their passions.

Date someone who doesn’t think the same way as you. You’re a planner and a by-the-book kind of girl. He’s spontaneous and free. His easygoing nature will help you to relax and enjoy the moment, rather than just planning the next step. Your careful deliberation will help him take more responsibility and push him to think about the next step.

Date someone who stimulates you. Force each other to open up your minds and hearts and allow room for other beliefs. Get excited at the fact that you don’t know everything and that someone else can teach you new things. Date someone who excites you and draws you in effortlessly.

Date someone who challenges you. Apply for the job you feel under qualified for; he believes in you and you should to. Face your fears together; go bungee jumping to get that feeling of letting go. Argue when you disagree; Your arguments will push you both to think more deeply about the conversation and see the root cause more than the trigger point.

Date someone who complements you. (And I don’t mean he’s calls you pretty – although he should do that too!) Date someone who fulfills the needs you cannot fulfill yourself. Date someone who understands your desires. Date someone who makes you feel like all the little broken parts of you are whole again. Date someone whose heart may be cracked for different reasons, but in all the same places.

20 Facts Only True ‘Friends’ Junkies Know

1. Rachel’s birthday is May 5, 1970.

2. All the girls have kissed every friend on the show.

3. In “The One with the Stripper” Joey can be seen behind Ross laughing after Ross says, “Where’s my ring? My dead grandmother’s ring? Where is it? Where is it?”

4. In the pilot episode, Jennifer Aniston can be seen mouthing the words of the theme song during the opener.

5. Each cast member reportedly made $22,500 per episode in Season One, and gradually earned $1 million per episode in seasons 9-10.

6. In Season 3, they started to collectively bargain for their salaries, to all be paid the same. Reportedly, this meant that Jennifer Aniston and David Schwimmer took pay cuts for the sake of their co-stars.

7. Viewers never learn what the “E” in Monica’s initials, MEG stand for.

8. “Days of our Lives” the soap opera Joey is a part of in the show, is a real soap opera. In fact, Jennifer Aniston’s father, John Aniston is a long time character on “Days of our Lives.”

9. Lisa Kudrow was pregnant in real life when Phoebe was pregnant in Season 4.

10. Courtney Cox was pregnant in Season 10. She was dressed in baggy clothing to hide her bump, as Monica could not get pregnant in the show.

11. After the September 11th terrorist attacks, a scene was deleted from “The One Where Rachel Tells Ross” as it included Chandler joking about a bomb in his bag.

12. Joey’s PIN number is 5639, which spells out “JOEY” so he could remember it. He scratched it on the ATM machine by their apartment.

13. Monica’s boyfriend Pete tells Monica that soon computers will be able to recognize our voices, “So you can say ‘Wash my car.’ It won’t be able to do that, but it can understand you.’ The episode aired in 1997, years before Siri was around.

14. In “The One with the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” Billy Crystal and Robin Williams cameo in the coffee shop; The two just happened to be in the same building that day and agreed to be on the show, even though it wasn’t in the original script. The entire conversation was ad libbed.

15. Rachel lived with all of the friends except Chandler.

16. The magna-doodle on the back of Joey and Chandler’s door has a different image on it in every episode.

17. The couch in Central Perk where the friends always sit was available because of a “Reserved” sign that can be spotted in certain episodes.

18. Rachel’s grandmother’s name is Ida Green.

19. In “The One with George Stephanapoulos” the girls drink Tiki Death Punch and eat cookie dough and an incorrectly delivered mushroom, green pepper and onion pizza.

20. Chandler has a nubbin, but later Ross gets a “kundus.”

You can also read this post on Thought Catalog.

Rant about Adult Mean Girls:

When I graduated high school, I thought I was done with “mean girls.” Because once we realize that we’re all in this together, as women, I thought that we would spend more time building each other up rather than putting each other down. I thought, once we all accepted who we are, and grew up, there wouldn’t be a reason to be so mean to our fellow girls for  no reason.

But maybe I was naive in thinking that.

In the words of Cady Heron, “Calling someone ugly doesn’t make you any prettier.” And honestly, meanness just looks worse on you the older you get.

And in middle school and high school, I learned to understand why girls were mean; they were unhappy, insecure, jealous, childish, etc. And I built up an emotional callous to deal with them. But as I grew up, I decided that callous didn’t serve much of a purpose anymore. And that I was a big enough person to take the high road, and to try to get to the root of the meanness of some people.

But in all honesty, lately I’ve been so sick of taking the damn high road. Because in my experiences it has almost never been reciprocated. And I keep telling myself: “They’re not worth it. Don’t worry about it.” all the things that I was taught in grade school. I’m 24 years old and dealing with mean girls again. I’m sorry, but what the fuck? Don’t women have enough to deal with without adding grown up mean girls to it?

I just want to ask these mean girls, what’s your excuse now? Why are you such a coward that you can’t bring your issues directly to me? Am I a threat to you? Have I hurt you in some way? Are you that unhappy in your own life that you feel the need to spread that unhappiness? If so, why don’t you get out of your unhappy situation? Have some self-respect, courage, girl power, whatever you want to call it.

I didn’t have great experiences with girls in my life. And it deeply affected me. But I worked my ass off to get out of the pit that those people pushed me into. And I am absolutely not going to let your bad attitude and self-hatred seep into my life. In high school my motto used to be, “Love me or hate me, either way you’re thinking about me.” Now I’m thinking I need to modify it to “Love me, or don’t bother.” Because I just don’t have room in my life for negativity.