Ramblings of a Writer: December, Patch.com, Spam

In case you didn’t know, these “Ramblings of a Writer” posts are basically just updates on my life, or (quite literally) me rambling about writing. I will occasionally post news about this blog—either things I’m thinking about doing, or concerns I have. If you find these casual posts or my life interesting, feel free to check out my Tumblr.

PhotobucketPhoto Credit 1

First of all, happy December! Now is the time to break out the holiday music and all that fun stuff. I’ve already finished my Christmas shopping, but I’ll be helping my mother and grandmother with theirs.

I’m doing some freelance writing for Patch.com. They’re owned by AOL and run local websites for cities across the United States. I’m covering several cities in Orange County, including Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Corona del Mar, and San Juan Capistrano. If you go to my Patch.com profile, you can see everything I’ve written for them.

Now onto the reason why I decided to write this post: Spam.

For some reason, almost every comment on my blog has been marked as spam. It appears that all of my comments from countries other than the U.S. automatically go into spam, which is horrible because I get excited when I receive comments, especially from another country! I am doing everything I can to fix it, but I’m rather limited because this is a free WordPress account and I can only change so many things. If your comment does get marked as spam, don’t worry—I will manually go through everything flagged as spam at least once a day until the problem is fixed. If you have any advice for me on this topic, or concerns, please let me know!

Thank you so much for reading!

~Amy

Ramblings of a Writer: Tumblr, What I’m Reading, and This Blog

It’s been a while since I’ve done a “Ramblings of a Writer” blog post. For any new readers, these posts are just updates on my life, or (quite literally) me rambling about writing.

 

I think it’s important that I give people an insight into my life occasionally. But I try not to let these posts fill up my blog, so I’m going to direct you to my Tumblr if you are interested in my life. In case you don’t know, a Tumblr is essentially a very simple blog. I like to think of it as a cross between Twitter and a regular blog. Because the platform is so simple, I update it more frequently. I’d be happy to write a post on Tumblr if anyone is interested.

 

I also wanted to bring up the fact that I’ve recently expanded this blog to include social media posts. I know that social media and books are kind of a strange combination of topics. I’ve actually been thinking about separating them into two blogs, but I’m not sure if that’s smart at this time. With two blogs, neither will be updated as frequently. What do you think?

 

As an update on books I’m reading (the whole point of this blog, right?), I’m reading a 1,000 page book called Under the Dome by Stephen King. I’m only a couple of hundred pages into it and I’ve lost count of how many people have died gruesome deaths. I also have the book Sh*t My Dad Says that I need to read. I’ll try to post a review on it after I read it. Or I can post what I’m thinking about while I read, if people would rather have that.

 

Anyway, I’d love to hear from any of my readers—either by comment, email (amy@amyerickson.net), or Twitter. You can answer the questions I asked, give an opinion, suggest books or topics for me, or give me your blog URL for me to check out.

 

Thank you so much for reading!

 

~Amy

Ramblings of a Writer: I’m back!

I know it’s been way too long since I’ve written. But don’t worry; I am not abandoning this blog!

After graduation, I had to pack and move two years worth of stuff from Oregon to California… a 900 mile drive. I think the biggest challenge was finding space in our packed garage and my 10×10 bedroom at my parents’ house to store everything! I also got my wisdom teeth out, and even though I had a lot of spare time, I figured it wasn’t wise to write while on Vicodin. (I probably would have fallen asleep if I tried to!) I’ve also been hunting high and low for a job. I’ve found several great ones… I just need to be hired!

Now I’m back and ready to write some posts! I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series…which I loved, despite the fact that I had to venture into the children’s section to buy them. They are kind of Harry Potter-esque, and I loved the Harry Potter series.

Currently two books are sitting on my nightstand for me to read. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (same author who wrote the Percy Jackson series) and Under the Dome by Stephen King. The latter book is super thick! Mind you, big books don’t faze me and I’ve read bigger. The problem is that it’s impossible to carry around with me in my purse.

I’ve got to head out to a birthday dinner. Today is my 22 birthday. So far, being 22 is remarkably like being 21. Mind you, I’ve technically only been 22 for an hour.

I have plans to write a review on the Percy Jackson series, and a list of books that I would like to read.

Ramblings of a Writer: College graduate, but still in the campus library

Well… now I’m a college graduate!

This is going to be short because I’m not on my computer, and I’m paying an arm and a leg for metered parking on the University of Oregon campus. My power cord for my Macbook died last week and I’m STILL waiting for Best Buy to send me my replacement (it’s been over a week). I’m tempted to buy a spare one, except it costs $80… money that I do not currently have (luckily, I have the protection plan which covers this). So, I think I’ll use my current system of phone/iPod touch/ campus library until it comes. In other news, I’m a college graduate, as I stated before. It’s kind of a strange feeling to be done– I’ve been a student ever since kindergarten. Now I’m almost like a real grown-up.

I have a blog entry written out on my Macbook that I wanted to post here, but I guess it’ll have to wait. It’s about my experiences at Oregon and the journalism school.
Keep your fingers crossed that you’ll hear from me soon!

Ramblings of a Writer: Journaling and Life

Warning: Some of this may be interesting, some of this may make no sense.

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“I’ll have time for blogging,” I told myself as I started this blog for Feature Writing 1 with Professor Melissa Hart at the journalism school.

I’ve started and stopped about 5,000 blogs, journals, and other related things in my life. And no, I’m not exaggerating. Much….

Most of them were kind of silly and concerned with the ramblings of a teenage girl. “So-and-so is soooooo hot. My parents are sooooo mean. They don’t know anything.”

I thought I knew everything then. It’s only now when I’m 21 that I realize that there is so much that I don’t know. I’m going to graduate in less than a month. I’m going to be a real “grown-up” with a career and an apartment very soon. Theoretically.

Here’s what I do know:

  • I’m going to have to earn money to pay for food, rent, and all that boring stuff. Like a grown-up has to.
  • I want to stay somewhere in California, Oregon, or Washington.
  • I really love Portland. Vegetarian-friendly, liberal, and it has the best bookstore in the universe.
    • I realize that this makes me sound like a total dork. And I’m okay with that.
    • I also realize that I know very few people in Portland, and no one particularly well. Which is kind of scary.
  • I have some good writing, editing, and social media skills, courtesy of the SOJC.
    • The other night, I had a dream about grammar. I don’t think this is normal.
  • And on another note, who thought of having green graduation gowns with pink (for the SOJC) tassels? I’m going to look pretty silly.
    • And on another graduation note, I apparently have to have a graduation cake. I’ve never liked cake very much, because I’m weird. But my mom thinks that a graduation apple pie wouldn’t be festive enough or something. Where can I find a good cake?

So anyway, I’ve been very busy with school, Flux, and job hunting. And it’s not a good excuse, but it’s all I have right now.

I haven’t quit on this blog yet. I have a book review on the book Skinny Bitch (I read this mostly for background research for a project) that I’m hoping to publish soon. I have another book/ series that I can review, but it was kind of written for teenagers (I started it when I was the correct age! You get invested in a series after nine books or so.  Or maybe it’s just me…). Would it be silly to post this?

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For anyone who reads this, I don’t have a good question to pose so I’ll ask this: What kind of cake should I get for graduation? I have to get it in Eugene or Springfield. And if anyone wants to hire a soon-to-be college graduate, please contact me! :-) amy(AT)amyerickson(DOT)net.

Ramblings of a Writer: Finals, Books, and Spring Break

Finals week is approaching and “Dead Week” (aka Finals Week Part 1) is over with. I’m also a copy editor for Flux next term and we’ve had a few meetings so far. So basically, I’m trying to say that I’ve been really busy!

Besides having no time for a life, I also haven’t had time to read! This term, the only books I’ve read so far are A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood by Melissa Hart (one of my professors at the School of Journalism and Communications). They were both really good books.

Now on first thought, you would say “Oh yeah, they sound completely different.” They aren’t if you think about the bigger picture. In Gringa, a mother loses custody of her children because she is a lesbian (and more, but that’s the thread I’m using here). A People’s History of the United States talks about oppressed groups that often get overlooked. Not so much about the gay/lesbian/transgender/queer/bisexual community, but if Zinn was still alive I could see a chapter on that in a future edition.

Now I’ve just got to make my reading list for spring break!

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What books do you like to read? Let me know in the comments below.

Ramblings of a Writer: A Pen and Paper

It’s the second week of Winter Term, and my second-to-last quarter at the University of Oregon. Soon I will have to really figure out what I’m going to do with my life. Will I be a writer? For a magazine? Newspaper? Technical writing? Will I edit? Write brochures? Freelance? Have to move back home because I can’t afford to live anywhere else? It’s a scary world out there.

Since it’s still the beginning of the year, I decided to make a goal. No, I’m not pledging to lose 10 pounds or win a gold medal in the Olympics (though, it would be great if I could find a sport between now and then). I’m going to rediscover why I love to write.

Somewhere in the internship, newspaper articles, source notes, and general journalism assignments, I think I lost it. It became work for me. It became a job, something I had to do for class.

I’ll tell you and the rest of the world a secret. I’m one of those strange people who used to love to write essays. I saw it as a game. I loved to write so much, I decided journalism was the obvious choice. I’m not blaming the journalism program at Oregon. I’m blaming myself because I stopped having fun with it.  I was writing only for the “A.”

I’m taking a class that is about women and minorities in communications this term. I’m actually already glad that I took it, because I learned something very important about myself in the first assignment. What was this assignment?

We had to write an essay reflecting on our childhood and how we were influenced on the media. Handwritten, three to four pages.

“Why handwritten?” the class complained. The professor just smiled at us.

I sighed to myself and dug out the loose-leaf notebook paper from the bottom drawer of my desk.  I sat down with a pen and paper… and wrote. Arguably, what I wrote wasn’t important. It was how the words flow from a pen and paper, compared to a keyboard and computer screen. It was how I was frustrated that I couldn’t just delete things, I had to cross them out carefully. There was no word count. There was no annoying spell check that underlines words that actually exist, just not in their dictionary.

I sat there with my essay, probably the first handwritten one that I’ve done since early high school (not counting essay tests). It wasn’t my best essay. But it was more “me” than anything I’ve written in years. That voice crept back into my work. I had the opinions and biases that I attempt to keep out of my normal work. I marveled at how my handwriting had become so bad (probably because I stopped needing to use it so much).

See, I used to write stories. Silly stories, but that’s not so important right now. What was important was that I’d write them in my school notebooks, on the backs of old homework assignments and on scattered college-ruled notebook papers. They’d be written in pencil or black, blue, purple or green ink.  I’d have to scour my room to find all of them and put them in a semblance of order.

It wasn’t the most organized way to write, and not something that I’d do for a class assignment or a job. But I would still write my rough-drafts out by hand back then. Maybe I should start doing that once more. Yes, the standard nowadays is a crisp, clean Microsoft Word document. I can still type faster than I can write. However, the words flow differently from pen to paper than they flow from keyboard to Word document.

Where is this key for rediscovering my love of writing?

Maybe it’s scribbled in the plethora of old class notebooks sitting at home on my bookshelf.

Maybe it’s in the words I wrote on the back of those old homework assignments.

Maybe it’s in those scattered loose-leaf papers.

Maybe it’s still in me, but I have to start using a pen and paper to figure it out again.

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Do you love to write? Do you use pen & paper, a computer or something else?
I’d love to hear from you!