Wednesday, March 12, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Today I'm participating in What's Up Wednesday, a weekly writing blog hop to stay in touch.

WHAT I'M READING
I just started THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern. This is actually the second time I got it from the library because the first time I never got around to reading it (because I had like 8 books from the library and had to return it before even opening it). But I'd heard so many great things about it, I had to get it again. I'm only a few chapters in but it's so different and intriguing and atmospheric! I really like it so far.

WHAT I'M WRITING
Still working on revisions and the query for TDoC. I haven't done any actual writing since it's with a few CPs, but I've already realized a few small tweaks I have to make before querying. And I'm researching agents. (So not actual writing, but has to do with writing.)

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW
For my education classes, I'm reading about fixed mindset vs. growth mindset. Fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence and talent is fixed; that it's innate and cannot change. Growth mindset is the belief that you can acquire more intelligence or talent as you grow and learn. This concept is reinforced by telling students they're smart (fixed) or telling them they're hardworking (growth). [You can read a NYTimes article on this here if you feel inclined.] I thought this concept is really interesting because I kinda fell in the middle before hearing about it. I always thought I was decently smart/not quite talented in English (I was always told I was good at science), but I work hard at it. I attributed my wanting to write to stubbornness over talent. But that stubbornness is actually just a growth mindset, that I can keep learning and become skilled at it. So this makes me feel inspired that I can grow in to talent by working hard.

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO
Still working on my YouTube channel. I've started doing nerdy crafts which just doubly adds to the mind set of creating things. On Monday, I made a dalek from Doctor Who, which didn't quite go as planned, but seeing it on my shelf is pretty cool, knowing that I made it myself (without a guide and only from a picture!) If you'd like to check out my channel, it's here: http://www.youtube.com/user/StessaSays

24 comments:

  1. LOL I love you Dalek! I need one for my office. Researching agents and working on your query is writing, in my opinion. The query is so important and should have plenty of time devoted to it! Good luck and have a wonderful week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!! My dalek is on my shelf looming over me along with a smattering of other nerd things. And researching agents is so important, so I'm excited about it! Have a wonderful week too!

      Delete
  2. I just visited your YouTube channel -- so fun! You've definitely got a new viewer in me. :-) Looking forward to hearing more about your thoughts on THE NIGHT CIRCUS. I've heard great things, but I don't know... Just haven't felt super inclined to pick it up. But maybe I should? Best of luck with your revisions and query writing, Steph, and have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome! I'll probably do a book review of THE NIGHT CIRCUS at some point, since it seems people are a bit ambivalent about it just as I was. Have a great week as well!

      Delete
  3. I looked through The Night Circus at one of the local libraries recently, but didn't get it since I was already getting some other books out. I'm intrigued at how it could pull off second-person narration for an entire book, though I'm also extremely hesitant to read anything that has such massive hype. The vast majority of the time, I end up hating or not getting into books that the majority gushes all over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's not really second-person for the entire book, just some parts. I'm usually skeptical about massive hype as well, which is why I didn't get to it the first time around. But so far I'm really liking it! As I said above, I'll probably do a book review of it at some point! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. Hey there! I definitely try to stay in the Growth Mindset -- Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset was probably the first lecture that Jeanne Cavelos gave us at Odyssey after she finished going over the adminstrivia; she wanted to make sure we weren't stuck in either the fixed mindset, whether that was 'I suck', 'I'm great' or even 'I'm mediocre and that's all I'll ever be.'

    I'll have to check out your Dalek video later. No still pictures of the finished product for the blog, though? I don't tend to get so many books out of the library that I can't finish them. I'm a few days away from finishing an ebook and a half that I borrowed last week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd never heard of the growth vs fixed mindset, but I'm really glad I had to read about it because it's definitely a great concept to know about.

      I also get so many books out of the library and end up having to renew quite a few because I just can't read that fast! But it's addicting :)

      Delete
  5. I find that whole growth mindset thing really interesting. I have a teaching degree and it's possible I came across this concept at some point, but I think it really speaks to me now. I love the idea of being able to grow into talent with some hard work. :-)

    I really enjoyed THE NIGHT CIRCUS, largely because of the atmosphere. Such a good book! I lent my copy out to a friend and I'm finding it hard to have it gone from my shelves lol. Have a great week, Steph!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm in my last class for my master's in teaching, so it's hard to believe I hadn't heard about it until now! But I'm glad I did because it is a great concept.

      The atmosphere is definitely my fave part, I think, about THE NIGHT CIRCUS. I'm excited to keep reading! Have a great week as well!

      Delete
  6. Hi, Steph! I loved The Night Circus. The writing is as enchanting and mysterious as the setting!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm hearing so many good things about it! It's definitely enchanting and mysterious :) Have a great week!

      Delete
  7. I really enjoyed THE NIGHT CIRCUS. So very well written and, as you say, atmospheric.

    My 2 cents on "talent," based on observation and experience. I don't believe you can grow your talent. Talent for a particular thing is something you either have or you don't have, and not everyone has it to the same degree. I may be a talented writer, but I acknowledge that there are other writers out there whose talent is greater, and no amount of work on my part will ever enable me to achieve their degree of talent. My responsibility is not to try to be "more talented," but to work hard with the talent I have so I make the best use of it I can. I believe a lot of people don't do this. Some very talented people don't exercise their talent, and allow themselves to be surpassed by less talented people who are willing to work hard. An analogy: My writing talent may be like a lawnmower engine, whereas Joe Blow's may be like a sports car engine. My job isn't to make my lawnmower engine into a sports car engine, but to keep that lawnmower engine functioning at its absolute best, so it does the job it is intended to do most effectively. If Joe Blow allows his engine to fall into disrepair through neglect, my little lawnmower engine will easily outshine him. But if he keeps his engine well-oiled and in good shape, I can sit back and admire his talent, and learn what I can from it. Might I be jealous of Joe Blow, and covet his engine? Perhaps, but there's no point. Maintaining the engine you have is enough work without worrying about whether you deserve a better engine. :)

    That's a brief summary. I wrote an article on my blog a while ago that touches on this; I might follow it up with another at some point.

    Have a great week, Steph!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So you don't think you can get any better with hard work? You don't think your talent increases then? (Just playing a little bit of devil's advocate. :) ) I definitely think there are people out there who are just born with more talent, but I also think hard work can make you better at whatever craft you're doing. You might not reach their standard but you're definitely growing in your talent. You might surpass them with hard work, but I think your talent is growing too.

      Putting this more into perspective, I know my first drafts are never going to be as good as other people's first drafts. But with hard work, I think my first drafts will get better. Does that mean I'm becoming more talented? I think so.

      Thanks for bringing your perspective! I love having discussions like this :) Have a great week as well!

      Delete
    2. I think we need to be sure we distinguish between growing *within* your talent, and your talent growing. I think talent level is fixed, but we all have plenty of room to grow within the talent we have.

      What makes your first draft great is your talent applied to the story idea. Then your talent for words will improve that story, until it shines to the best your talent is able. You may learn and grow as a writer, but this isn't making your talent into a bigger or better talent. It's you learning how to best use the talent you have. People tend to think that if you have talent, you don't need to work. The talented musician never needs to practice. That's baloney. The talented musician who never practices is wasting their talent, and will never grow into the musician they could be.

      My point is that we shouldn't worry so much about who has the greater talent. We shouldn't envy a John Green or a J.K. Rowling. We should concern ourselves more with doing the best we can with what we've got. And that's not a limitation. Few of us ever max out our potential.

      Delete
    3. So what's the difference between growing within your talent and growing your talent? Because I'm kinda thinking they're the same. If none of us ever max out our potential, doesn't that kinda mean the same thing as growing your talent (just a different way of looking at it?)

      If people have talent, all that means (to me) is they're better starting out. They can surpass some people (with lesser talent) without even trying. But if they truly want to be the best they can be, they're still going to have to practice/work hard, as you said above.

      Delete
    4. Like the analogy with the engines, your talent is what it is. It's what you're given. It may be like a lawnmower engine, or it may be like a sports car engine, or a jet engine. This is one way of saying that some people are blessed with a greater degree of talent than others, and no matter what you do, you will never be more talented than them. Fact of life. There are writers who will always be more talented than me. Musicians who will always be more talented than me. I can't make my writing talent equal to that of John Green. I don't have his talent. I have the talent I was given. However, just because I have talent, that doesn't mean I'm using it to its maximum potential. Sure, I'll always be a better writer than someone who doesn't have writing talent at all, so I do indeed have a better start. But I'll never be the best writer I can be with the talent I have without working at it.

      I think we're basically saying the same thing. I just wouldn't call it "growing your talent" as if your talent can grow. I would rather speak of working with the talent you have to be the best you can be. :)

      Delete
    5. Agreed, I think we're saying the same thing in different ways :)

      Delete
  8. I remember learning about the good ol' growth mindset. The children I look after *definitely* possess that kind of outlook on life.

    Best of luck with the revisions and the agent preparation. Hope querying works out really well for you :D

    ReplyDelete
  9. I enjoyed The Night Circus. I listened to the audiobook. It was read by Jim Dale who did the Harry Potter books. He has the most perfect voice. Good luck with revisions. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds awesome! I've never listened to an audiobook (I think I'm more of a visual person), but that sounds really fun!

      Delete
  10. Oh I love love love the NIGHT CIRCUS. Like really truly deeply love it. I hope you love it as much as me...

    ReplyDelete