"My brain seems to go sideways," Michael Sims

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Yesterday in Intro. to literary study, we had a speaker come in and talk to us about free lance writing, publishing, finding who we are as writers, etc.  Michael Sims, who is a non-fiction author, gave us some very good insight about what we can be looking forward to in the next few years! 

He gave us several main ideas and then delved deeper into them as he explained their meaning.  Here are some of the random notes I took down, along with insight from myself, Dr. Jerz, and Michael Simms:

Trust the compass- This basically meant that you should trust the inner voice that is speaking to you.  I know that I tried to fight the writer in me because I didn't want to believe in making writing a career.  I didn't want to have to deal with the struggle and the label of a starving artist.  But if you trust you instincts, you can make something work for you.  Anything is possible.

Start Today- Ok self explanatory right?  Start your career today!  But we all know this isn't quite as possible as we would like it to be.  Whether we're swamped with mounds of homework, practicing for recitals, or memorizing math equations, WE'RE STREESED AND WE'RE SWAMPED! Well guess what.  This may come as a surprise but everyone is.  The trick is accepting it, and trying to still find time for your work and yourself.  Sims and Jerz were talking about one woman who made a consious effor to get up early and write one page a day for her mystery novel.  Do the math and that's a novel a year.  See. It's possible.  We just need to discipline ourselves.

Draw a map- This one I found very interesting. It's short, sweet and to the point.  Visualize it. See your goal. Take it in. Smell the idea.  Feel the idea.....AND THEN DO IT! Don't fall into the 'imposter syndrome' as Sims calls it.

Direct the change-   His lecture on this was very inspiring.  He stated that our life is going to change no matter what.  The fact of the matter is hour are we going to react when it does?  Are we going to accept it and settle with what we have, or are we going to take charge and make these changes work for us?  At this point, I'm thinking he could have been a life coach because that's really good advice for anything really!  Our life is what we make of it.  We can be happy or we can be sad.  It's up to us! Seize the day!

Seek criticism-  Ok. So we all hate to be criticized for something that we worked 12 hours on and gave it our all.  It sucks.  There is no getting around that.  Sure we wish that everyone would tell us that we're wonderful, and that we're the best writers ever, but if that happened, would we learn anything?  Would we ever learn how to improve and make it that much better?  Dr. Jerz once said, "murder your darlings."  It means that sometimes, even when you think something is perfect, it may be unclear, confusing, or pointless for your readers.  Sometimes you have to change something to make it better.  And there is no shame in that.  No one is perfect, and criticism is a tool to help make you improve, not bring down your self-esteem.

Gamble-  Real simple.  Take chances.  I know that after I went to the lunch with him and my peers he gave me some very important advice.  I have been writing for newspapers for what seems like a lifetime now, and he said if you have the background, try to make something of it!  Why not send your work our and see if you can do some freelance?  And you know what, he's right!  What's it going to hurt?  Why not take a chance, because how will you ever know unless you try!  I actually went to a source I know, and they are getting me in contact with editors and what not as we speak, so that's proof that there are people waiting for your work, you just have to take a chance!

List it-  Michael Sims made a very good point with this part of his speech.  He commented on our resumes and how anything we do can be useful.  List what you've wrote.  List what magazines, newspapers, yearbooks, etc. that you've worked on.  Don't cut yourself short!  He said something along the lines of the best part is being able to cross something off your list, and if you think about it, he's right!  Because if you can cross something off, that mean's you've gotten more experienced and more work opportunities, and how could that not make someone happy?

I would just like to say that if you haven't had a chance to hear Mr. Sims speak, and you get the opportunity to, DON'T MISS IT. He is a very humorous and intelligent person who knows a great deal about the writing field.  It was very imformative and it helped me a lot to hear his thoughts on agents, publishing, book proposals, etc.  Thanks for coming to SHU Mr. Sims! :)



Michael Sims said:

Dear Ms. Wytovich:

A friend, a former SHU student, sent me a link to your blog. I much appreciate your kind words, and I think you did a fine job of reviewing my talk.

I enjoyed my visit to Dr. Jerz's class, and as usual I found that I learned something from the students' questions.

Lunch was fun, as well, a rare chance to genuinely discuss the topics one-on-one.

Good luck with your many projects. Keep typing.

Michael Sims

Becky Campbell - Director of CareerWorks said:

It was enlightening to read the comments about Michael Sims enlightening class presentation during National Entrepreneurship Week. Sponsored in part by CareerWorks and your division, the week brought Michael and other entrepreneurial speakers to campus.

Those of us in career services who sit between you -- the students -- and the employers know how important it is to get career information to you early in your educational career. There is no substitute for this type of career exploration and reflection. You are all going into a world that is very different - it will be very much an entrepreneurial world and you will be a "free agent" whether you are a writer or an biologist.

Find your passion and feed it, teach it; ask questions that you want to know, do an internship or just DO something that moves your focus and goals forward. You can't sit back any longer and wait to graduate. It is an entrepreneurial world and you were able to hear from Michael how that may feel. It is exciting to manage your own career and not rely on a company or organization. You will be hearing more about entrepreneurial skills and entrepreneurship at Seton Hill through CareeWorks and other partners on campus.

Keep talking to others who are doing what you want to do and work to develop what the world needs. Great writing is a skill that all employers need and want.

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