Have a project you’ve worked on recently and are proud of? Why not share it? Okay, I know this isn’t the easiest thing to do. The first time I posted my writing online I was terrified that people would judge it or think it’s bad. It took me a long time to get over that fear and realize that criticism is okay and that there’s much to learn from it. In this post, I want to share a few outlets that make it easier for you to share your writing. All of these websites are largely supportive online communities where you’d be welcomed if you’re up for sharing. And if you’re not, that’s okay too! We all work at our own paces, and in the end it’s up to you whether or not you want to make your work public. It’s just that from my experience, I’ve enjoyed numerous benefits from sharing my work: critiques help me realize what areas of my work I can improve, it gives me a digital portfolio, I can share these stories and characters I love with thousands of other people, and many more.
All of these websites are free to join.
I’ve sung the praises of NaNoWriMo many times on this blog, but I want to touch on an aspect of it that I haven’t covered much yet: Camp NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNo is essentially the same thing as the one in November, but it’s much more doable for the beginning writer. If you’re either a beginning writer who’s intimidated by the word count of 50,000 or find yourself too busy in November due to school or work, Camp NaNo is for you. It allows you to set a word goal of whatever you want. It takes place over two months in the summer where it’s much more manageable for most people as things tend to slow down during those months.
Camp NaNo was my introduction to the NaNoWriMo community. When I first began writing, I was in early high school and couldn’t find much time to write in November. Now that I’m in college, the same is true but the workload is 10x as much and it’s also finals season while NaNo takes place. I’ve managed to do it a few times in November, but it’s much harder and forces me to really work on my time management skills. Camp NaNo, however, allowed me to take my time with my writing and make sure that the initial quality was higher. I now make an effort to do it every summer as it allows me to flex my writing muscles in a time where there’s a lull in my education.
So why should you try Camp NaNoWriMo? Why not? You can set your own word goal and you have plenty of time to get the writing done. If you’ve always wanted to work on a major writing project, now’s the time. Speaking from experience, there’s nothing more satisfying than completing a longterm project that you’re excited about and proud of.
Sign up here (it’s free!)
If you’ve spent any time at all on Youtube or Twitter, you’re sure to have come across a relatively new phenomenon called streaming. Streaming ranges across all subjects, the most common types being gamers and IRL (in real life) streamers. They stream their video games and lives in real time to a live audience, throwing aside all conventions established by sites like Youtube where sharing video requires at least a bit of editing.
Eliana Hyde’s article “Live Streaming: The Way it Affects Today’s World,” explains how streaming has begun to integrate itself into our everyday lives. I’ve personally watched a few streams and have observed the interactions that happen within them between commenter and streamer. It made me think of the way a teacher and a student interacts and with it an inkling that streaming could be a good method of teaching. It already exists to an extent, people talk about thinks they know a lot about while they live stream, therefore informing a large audience in a way resembling education.
This makes me think that this could be used in a classroom setting. In my two years of college, it has always infuriated me when teachers consistently cancel classes. I they can’t make it a few times it’s fine, it’s when it’s on a weekly basis where it starts to annoy me. I spend thousands on these classes, and it’s frankly insulting when they never happen. I think that live streaming could fix this. It’s a form of online literacy that could connect teacher and student through the stream and its chat. That way students would be able to see the teacher and observe what they are talking about both visually and auditory. It’s more productive than a teacher assigning busy work in place of a missed class, and it allows the teacher to log on whenever they feel that they have time to do so. Students can catch up after if they miss the stream. It’s a win-win.
I often talk about how much I dislike social media, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have positive qualities. Living in a world where news of a missing child can spread rapidly across the country, where a small fundraiser can turn into thousands of dollars for sick kids, is amazing. We are totally interconnected online and it gives us endless avenues to practice activism and to become informed citizens. It no longer suffices to be a bystander when there are ways you can help by doing something as simple as sending a tweet. You never know, you may just change someone’s mind with that tweet or draw someone new to a cause you’re passionate about.
I’ve been recently trying to turn my multiple social media pages into spaces where I can more accurately express my beliefs rather than just post things no one truly cares about. With that in mind, I’m going to link a few organizations that I believe in that got their start on social media. Feel free to take the time to explore a few of them, you may just find a new passion.
While you are advocating for these causes online there are two things you should remember.
- Just speaking your opinions online isn’t enough. Sure, it’s a great start, but change only happens with action.
- Remember to speak with respect and to acknowledge your privilege when you are tweeting. If you come from a place of privilege and still want to speak on a subject that you find important, good. The more voices the more likely to be heard. Just ensure your voice isn’t talking over those who have lived it.
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An expert on technological advancement, Sarah Drinkwater with Omidyar Network, claims in her article “We Shape our Technology; then Technology Shapes Us,” that people have let technology define far too much of their lives to the point where it influences our everyday behaviors and interactions. She says, “tech can and should help us do and be more; too much of the time right now, it’s not.” This reveals how technology we think is helping is oftentimes limiting our potential.
I think that having an online presence is important, that knowing your way around the web is crucial to modern living, but I do agree with her claim. I think people have let tech define who they are to the point where most of the people who know of us only recognize us by our profile pictures. It shouldn’t be this way, we are living, breathing human beings– not pixels on a screen. Too many of the websites that are popular obscure public perception of us. It’s not real.
If more people opt to be more open about what they share, imagine the internet we could have. It could be a vibrant community of open minded people, sharing their ideas and being unafraid to showcase who they are behind the screens. It’s not that this doesn’t exist at all, it’s just that communities such as this are far too limited.
To take a step in the right direction would to start with everyone having their own website that isn’t influenced by any third party. This would lead to a more open web, free of people wearing digital masks.
Link to Source Material
Social media is essentially a curated highlight reel of our lives that determines how others feel about us. It’s almost all fake; people don’t want to show the bad parts of their lives so it leads the rest of us to think lesser of ourselves because our lives aren’t like theirs. The truth of the matter is that people use social media to glamorize who they are, they let faceless websites decide who they are. Mass media companies that control the platforms we use every day own our identities, and it’s terrifying.
This article outlines the perils that we fall into when we let websites own us, arguing that we need to break free from the barriers they keep us in. The internet should be a place where people have the ability to define themselves, I just think that it should be on our own terms. Why should social media sites determine how my coworkers judge me, how my friends think of me, how my family thinks I am? My EDU 106 class has taught me that I have the ability to define myself on the web, I don’t need other websites to do it for me. This blog is the place where I get to do that. I can post anything I want and voice my opinions without worry of people getting the wrong idea of who I am. This site is completely mine, completely unfiltered.
Since I’ve started this blog, I’ve broken away a bit from what used to be hours spent on social media every day. I feel content with what I upload here because everything I write here is on subjects I actually care about, not stupid things like vacation or bikini pictures that tend to make up the majority of what clogs up my feed every day. I’m sick of it. So even as this semester comes to an end, I want to keep this blog going because it gives me a place where I can be unapologetic, unfiltered, and totally myself.
The first of December has come and gone and I only have 42,574 words in the bank. I got pretty close to the 50,000, and I’m a bit disappointed that I didn’t reach the goal exactly. However, I am proud of the number for how busy I’ve been this month. It began to get harder and harder to get the words in the closer I got to finals season, and totally fell behind in this last week. If I counted the amount of words written in academic papers and my novel, It’d surely be well over 70,000. It’s been an insane month, I haven’t had a day truly to myself to dedicate to writing. I don’t want it to sound like I’m making excuses though. I’m thrilled to have gotten to the point in my book I did. So what if I’m a few thousand words short? As I said in my ignite talk, every word is better than no words. Now I’ve got a starting point. I want this book to be a little bit over 120,000 words, so this is a great jumpstart on the writing process.
As for the actual product, I’m happy with how it’s going. I feel like I have a solid plot with lots of dynamic conflicts that must be resolved by the conclusion. I’m also confident that this is a project I can actually finish. I’ve fallen for these characters as I’ve written them; they’re some of my favorites that I’ve ever written. So now that I’ve got a little less than half of this book done, I can’t wait to see where the rest takes me. I’m a true pantser.
I’m going to state my intentions here as something to come back to when I’m losing motivations in these coming months.
- Write 120,000 words
- Develop a more dynamic protagonist for Tressa’s point of view
- Resolve four major conflicts
- Believe in myself more