It's my last year in college!
I don't have any specific goals in mind, I just want to enjoy the last few months I have in school. I'm only taking three classes classes this quarter which I haven't done in five quarters (almost two years ago)! Because of this, I have more time to focus on writing projects and joining new clubs like fencing or trying out for a dance team. It's important not to be overwhelmed in any area of your life if you can help it. Coming form summer, I want to shift more focus onto my writing and finishing up projects that have sat on the back burner for years. One book in particular, Her War, looks like it will be the next completed book. Last summer I managed to create an outline for the story so writing has been breezy.
Of course, I expect myself pay attention in class and take helpful notes for my readings so I can ace my classes again. Junior year was amazing and I ended it with almost straight A's. This quarter, I'm going to relax, do academically well while learning awesome topics, and do fun things I couldn't in earlier years.
Before we dive into the pros of a beta-reader, let's define this term first.
Bookwritingbusiness.com describes it as, "Beta readers are non-professionals who read a manuscript prior to publishing or read a pre-release of a book. If a beta reader is provided a manuscript they’re often asked to read for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. They may comment on parts of a story that are confusing or things that don’t make sense." In July 2017 I completed my novel, Our Father and since then I have edited it myself about four times. In the first week of September, I reached out to some people on Goodreads to become Beta-readers for Our Father. It's exciting to know someone else is going to read your story, but also nerve-racking because it special to me and I don't want them to think it sucks. We have the agreement of weekly updates so they will send me notes on the chapters they read. Right now I have two beta-readers, and two other ones that have fit me into their schedule for December. My first book, Illuminate my World was self-published with Createspace, but this time around I am going the traditional route.
So why use beta-readers?
I am also a Beta-reader for another writer, so that experience is very interesting. I try to say as much as I can so I can help the writer. Being honest even if it sounds a little harsh (but I try not to be harsh) is necessary. This is an important project for the writer, so taking it seriously is a must.
I will give an update next month some of my betas get back to me.
*Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash
Many people have a fear of public speaking whether it's in front of a crowd, or a classroom. I actually enjoy public speaking, but I do get nervous. Here are some tips to help you stay calm, cool, and collected while you are speaking in front of a lot of people.
1. Find some enjoyment in your topic: If you're excited about something you want to share it so others can feel that excitement too. Your mood about the project, presentation, or speech will change. Even if you are just excited to show off the cool designs on the PowerPoint slides, it will help put that pep in your voice and give you something to focus on as you speak and present. For example, let's say you are presenting about the extinction of a certain type of animal. You might feel strongly about this subject after doing hours of research and you will want to convey that same energy during the presentation. So instead of feeling nervous, you feel determined to educate the audience on that topic and make sure they really understand why it's a problem. On the other hand, maybe you drew diagrams and pictures of the animal and they are the best pieces of art you have ever done. Showing those off will make you feel proud of the project and excited to share it with the audience.
2. Note card with important points: Writing every single line you have to say on a note card can hurt more than help. Try to memorize the details of your topic so you're not stuck staring at the note card the whole time. In high school I believe most teachers will allow you to read off the note card or your slides, but in college if you have a presentation it's less likely. Make bullet points of the important points, then while you are speaking elaborate those points with more details.
3. Scan the crowd or look above their heads/ spaces in between people: Making eye contact is tough for a lot of people whether during conversation, interviews, or a presentation. I suggest for class presentation or speeches, look over their heads or the spaces in between people's heads so it seems like you are making eye contact with various people. You can also scan through the crowd so your gaze doesn't have to settle on one person. I had a professor that would look at the wall behind us when he was speaking. It was weird but it worked for him.
4. Remember why you are doing it and what you are getting from it: If this is for a grade, remember that! You need to do well enough to get that A+. This is motivation while you are up there presenting. If this is a work project, well it makes you look like a competent employee that really cares about that job. Educating the public is important too. Not everything needs an incentive and the mere fact that you are able to inform a group of people about a topic they may have no knowledge on is great. Their minds will be enriched... as long as your information is credible.
5. It's only a few minutes of your live. Once it's over, you move on... until the next one: Sometimes when you're up there it feels like a lifetime. Those five minutes, ten minutes, or twenty minutes, feel like FOREVER. But I'm here to tell you, it's not. In fact, you may never remember those few minutes. *Poof* Gone like the wind.
Hope you enjoyed these five tips to keep you relaxed and focused while presenting in front of an audience.
*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash
Today is September 1st!
Last month (aka yesterday :D) I laid out goals for each week. Some were for editing, writing for my books, setting up appointments, an assignment, etc. It helped me keep track of the things I needed to get done. It also held me accountable for completing each task by the end of the week. With my weekly goals, I had daily tasks from Sunday to Saturday except for the first week, because I started on August 1st, a Wednesday. Each week I also worked on a specific book of mine, and read books I had been harboring for months!.
August 1st to August 4th: This week the book I was read was Wraith by Phaedra Weldon. I edited my completed story Our Father. It's about a young woman named Robyn being stalked by her childhood best friend who ends up kidnapping and taking Robyn to her estranged father. I finalized a dance choreography that was inspired by another dance video. I wrote a blog post for the next week, submitted to literary magazines, did an outline for my assignment, and memorized two bible verses.
August 5th to August 11th: This week the book I was read was Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Angola 1595 by Patricia McKissack. I wrote for Being a Model, a story about Mai aspiring to be a model and struggling in the fashion industry. Working on this story has always been difficult for me. There are many avenues I could take this, I'm just not sure which one is the best one. I can't seem to get inside my main character's head and really understand her as an individual person. There are a lot of ideas in my head, but typing them out and being satisfied with how it fits with the story is what I struggled. I outlined page two of my essay and filled it in, worked on music composition, took creative photos, submitted to a few literary magazines, and memorized two more bible verses.
August 12th to August 18th: This week the book I was read was The Sound of Butterflies by Rachael King. This week was fun in terms of writing for The Other Side of the Mirror. This story is about a young woman dealing with alopecia and discovering she is adopted. She then travels to Madagascar to find her biological parents, but instead finds love, and becomes Queen of Fleur Fanjakana. Rather than Volana feeling happy and free, she feels stuck and lost after not finding her parents, and gaining new responsibilities as a Queen. Whew, that was long. World building was necessary for this story because even though it takes place in real countries, the way things are set up are not the same. It's a modern setting with some futuristic elements. The politics and landscape are different too. It was a bit of a headache, but my connection with this main character is much stronger than with Mai from Being a Model.
I planned a video for Skillshare (a platform for watching online classes on various subjects you may be interested in like writing, technology, business, etc) about making a writing schedule. Recording wasn't difficult but finding a video editor was. The ones I found were terrible. I also submited to another literary magazine and made a dentist appointment.
August 19th to August 25th: I wasn't done reading the book from last week so it rolled into this week. I did another round of editing for Our Father which went by quicker. This week's story was Her War. It's set during the future during a third world war. No one know what it's really about. A group of people trying to figure out what the war is about band together to search for a photojournalist who was also looking for a reason for the war before he disappeared. This story was fun and easier to write for because last summer I created a complete outline. It's not detailed, just important scenes that need to happen. I hung up two posters on my wall, submitted to another literary magazine, went to my dentist appointment, walked around downtown taking pictures and wrote at a coffee shop.
August 26th to August 31st: Last week of August! No reading this week, still trying to get over The Sound of Butterflies before diving into another novel. I made another outline for 16 years ago, the story I wrote for Nanowrimo. This one is about a man who believes his sister that died 16 years has reincarnated into 16 year old Christy due to some resemblances in appearance and personality. I also worked on my posters, this blog post, and found a couple books on reincarnation at the library.
Some days I woke up before eleven, other days I didn't. For me, it doesn't matter what time I wake up, I can still be very productive throughout the day because I don't sleep as early as most people so it gives me a few extra hours. Though, I try to wake up earlier because for some reason I'm not an afternoon person. I'm a night owl and a bit of a morning person, but afternoons really kill the mood. I feel like the day is just dragging on. Once the sky begins to dim, I get a surge of energy. Anyways, my point is, it was possible to get everything or almost everything crossed off on my list regardless of what time I woke up. It was fun trying new things like making music or coming up with a dance or taking photos. Every morning I was encouraged to get working because it was fun and I learned something. I took charge of this summer and made it what I wanted it to be.
*Photo by Daniil Silantev on Unsplash
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