Monthly Archives: December 2013

Why Reading is Important

Have you ever felt a little ping of sadness when you’ve finished reading a really good book? Have you sailed the seven seas and soared through new and uncharted lands? When was the last time you escaped to a whole new world?

Reading can take you to places you’ve never been, never even conceived of in your mind; but why does it feel like the beautiful experience of reading seems to be diminishing in this world, or at least in the U.S.?

Technology continues to advance and become bigger and better than ever, new “things” just keep coming out. I say “things” because that’s really what they are: things we want but don’t need, things that are expensive but lack in quality, things that will make us happy for a short period of time before we’re ready for the newest and latest thing.

But books are timeless. They have been around for hundreds of years, perhaps even thousands in their own form, and yet it seems like all kids, teens, and even some adults care about are the things they can have right now, something to distract them for a few moments before they move on to the next thing.

When I was younger, I loved to read. We didn’t have tablets, computers were giant and chunky machines, and cell phones were only used for the purpose of calling people. Books were an escape, as they still are, from the world and the troubles of the day. I remember reading Stellaluna and how cute I thought the little bat was and what it would have been like to have been her.

Even watching TV shows was a reading experience: with shows such as Wishbone and Reading Rainbow it was easy to dive into the worlds that were presented to me and want to know more about them.

Today it doesn’t seem as if these types of shows exist anymore. There are kids’ shows that teach important moral values and all that, sure, but there doesn’t seem to be anything on reading.

I recently saw a commercial on Disney Channel with Debbie Ryan talking about the importance of reading. It was just a short 30 second commercial, but does it make an impact? There was also a commercial with Bella Thorne talking about her dyslexia and how she read to overcome it, now being able to read a year above her grade level. I often wonder if these types of commercials impact kids, and if they do, do they implement the message that they’re sending? Do they take the time to sit down and read?

Could it be that the pressure of reading books that, frankly, aren’t all that great in middle and high school deterrents from enjoying reading outside of the classroom? I know that’s a big factor for me, personally. If I’m “forced” or “required” to read something, I oftentimes don’t enjoy it. Sometimes I don’t even read it or have such a revulsion to it that I shudder whenever I hear the name of the book (especially if it’s turned into a movie).

Reading can take you on a whole new journey, though. Books can take you to new worlds, introduce you to new and weird creatures, and even bring you back in time. There’s so much wonderful potential books hold, so why not do it?

Here’s my challenge for you: pick up a book. Just one. Make sure it’s something that sounds interesting to you, something that you feel you’d enjoy. Don’t pick a school book, pick a book for fun. Now read it from cover to cover, take the time to let the words soak in to you. Don’t just hurriedly read through it just to get it done; take your time. If it takes a few days, a week, or even a month, just read it.

If you’ve never enjoyed picking up a physical book, there are other options: audiobooks and ebooks are two different ways to explore new worlds. I had a classmate a semester ago who rekindled her love for reading through audiobooks. She hated to read growing up, but now she can’t stop and has to read every night before going to bed. eBooks are also a great way to read because you can hold literally thousands of books on one device and read whatever and whenever you want without having to worry about a physical book taking up space on a shelf or desk.

Reading is so important. If we didn’t read, we most likely wouldn’t be able to hold jobs (including in writing – reading helps to form your own style by picking up the styles of authors you’ve read), help others, find where we need to go, or escape from this ever stressful world. So pick a book and start reading. You may just find that you love it.

Resolutions Before the New Year

It’s New Year’s Eve and there’s two minutes left before the ball drops.

You’re standing in the crowd in NYC and you’re staring up at the ball, wondering what you should make as your New Year’s Resolution.

Now, I know it’s really not New Year’s Eve yet, but this has been on my mind lately so I figured I should share.

Instead of making empty promises, why not make a creative one? For me, my typical resolution is to “get healthier and lose weight.” It’s always an empty promise because I have yet to hold myself up to that resolution. One day I will, but I know making the same one over and over isn’t going to change anything until I do something about it.

So this year, instead of the healthy one, I’m making a resolution to be creative.

I don’t just want this year to be full of ups and downs and depression. No. I want this next year to be full of creativity, of showing my skill in writing and art, and reading lots and lots of books. All for fun.

I’m so used to trying to make others happy, but I’ve been slowly realizing more and more the closer I get to graduating from college is that I need to do things for myself. I need to make myself happy before I can make others happy. Yes, it’s important to me to work the opposite, but I need to start living my realization and start living for myself.

So this year I hope to delve deep into creativity. I hope to be able to enhance my writing skills, write and submit more work to the online magazine for my school, and just do more things for fun that stimulate my brain and make me happy. That includes reading for fun. Reading for school isn’t fun because a lot of the time the texts are long and strung out and boring. I hope that I can counterbalance that with some books that I like.

What about you? Do you have any resolutions you’ve made yet? Have you thought about making a creative one where you utilize your writing and art skills like me, or maybe you have other talents like fixing computers or making things with your hands that you want to make a resolution about?

I hope that what ever you come up with for your resolution, if you make one, you’ll be happy with and you’ll stick with until the year is over.

Christmas Gifting: The Write Way

It’s Christmas Eve and soon Santa will be making his way down the chimney.

Have you finished your Christmas shopping? I did last week. If you’re like me and wanted to get your shopping done early, congratulations! All that’s left now is to eat all that party food your family is going to be making and open up some gifts.

But if you haven’t finished shopping yet, do you still need some ideas? Do you have a writer or English student in your life who’s always looking for a new book to read? Or how about someone who wants to become an English teacher?

Gift cards. Gift cards are always a fantastic gift that you can give to that special someone in your life. Giving a Barnes and Noble or Amazon gift card to that bookworm will make them smile with joy. I know, for me, that I would love to get $100 worth in B&N gift cards. I actually already have about $50 early from my fiance and my aunt.

From both B&N and Amazon you can get someone a tablet, whether it be a Kindle or a nook, the reader in your life will appreciate it. Yes, there’s a big controversy as to whether or not eBooks are hindering or helping the book industry, but just think about it: you have access to thousands of books all on one device, many of them free, and some at very reasonable and cheap prices.

I personally have a nook Simple Touch and I love it for the purpose of being able to have x amount of books that don’t take up extra space on my shelf. Of course I still buy paper books and love the smell and feel of them, but it’s nice to be able to have a library in the palm of my hand.

Even “office” supplies are a great gift for that soon-to-be teacher in your life. They always need extra pencils, pens, markers, paper, and other tools to make it through the day.

So if you’re still Christmas shopping last minute just remember that the reader, teacher, and writer in your life will always appreciate a book (or a gift card).

Also, let’s not forget what Christmas is about. It’s not just about the gifts and the food, but it is about spending time with family and celebrating the life of Christ. We lose the meaning, but hopefully we can all find the happiness and joy of Christmas like we used to have as children.

Have a safe and healthy and wonderful Christmas everyone!

A Reason to Start

There are hundreds of thousands of blogs out there. What’s so special about them? Does it bring pride to the person who wrote it? Does it make others feel accomplished or “warm and fuzzy inside?” What is it about blogging that makes others want to explore this virtual pixel world?

For me, personally, I’m here to write.

As a Professional Writing college student, I have experience in writing. I’ve written my own blog for a class before (though I’ve stopped writing for it since the class ended). I also have a more personal blog for my religious discovery.

So why create a new blog on a new site for a new purpose?

Well… Why the hell not?

As an upcoming writer, there are many, many platforms for which to feed my hunger to learn and grow in the profession that I want to take part in. Not only are there publishing companies and newspaper companies that I could potentially be part of, but there’s this wide, wonderful world of blogging that I can explore.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been exploring various writing blogs and have decided that I wanted to start my own.

Is it a risky move? Maybe. Will I benefit from it? Possibly. Will others be interested in it and also benefit from it? I hope so.

So here’s where I start my new blog. I hope to talk about what it’s like to be a Professional Writing student, the classes I’ve taken and what I’ve gained from them, and possibly even give my own advice as to the writing process and how young and upcoming potential writers, such as myself, can find the muse and inspiration they need when the world seems to be crashing down all around them.

For now, I just want to get through this holiday season and jump into next year. And sleep. Sleep is good.