Why Flash Fiction is like Advertising

We’ve talked about how poetry helps your professional writing skills, but what about flash fiction and advertising? My favorite flash fiction of all time is attributed to Ernest Hemingway:

"Baby Shoes" Flash Fiction
“Baby Shoes” -Ernest Hemingway. Graphic courtesy of BuzzFeed.

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Burnout: How to Recharge

Merry Christmas! I pray that whatever holiday you celebrate is a time of rest and joy for you.

My apologies for the hiatus of writing—it’s been a rather wonky month. I graduated from college last week, and I’m afraid I’ve felt more than a little tired. I know it’s not just me—whether you just finished another semester of school or are chugging through another season filled with the daily grind, fatigue is a familiar feeling for all of us. And regardless of your occupation, this fatigue can easily lead to burnout.

For example, I love to write, but after majoring in it, the charm of writing has been lost in a swamp of essays and reports. However, not all of us have the luxury of a long break after a difficult season, so what do you do when you feel burned out and can’t take a long vacation? Here are some of the tips that I’ve been trying to implement in my life to recharge a bit:

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4 Ways Poetry Helps Your Professional Writing Skills

Fast fact: Poetry doesn’t pay the bills. But you probably already know that. However, many poets who work as professional writers (e.g., technical writing) will tell you how their poetry training still comes in handy. Even as a student, I’ve noticed how poetry has improved my professional writing skills in these ways:

Attention to Detail

Poetry, like any form of creative writing, tells much of its story through detail. The power of Tom Andrews’s “At Burt Lake” doesn’t come from its musing but from its careful noting of the way the stars “blister” and “chip” the lake or the fact that it’s a sycamore tree, not just a tree. Without giving me a paragraph about the smell of milfoil or what time of year it is, Andrews presents a scene before his readers, his sharp detail capturing all we need to hear. Noticing the little things that present a scene can tighten your own writing (even if you’re writing just about manuals).

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How to Conduct a Good Informational Interview

Earlier this week, I was blogging about why you should do informational interviews, but what if you don’t know how to go about it? Over the past two years, I’ve gone on about 14 or 15 informational interviews. While I can’t say I’m an expert, I do have a bit of an idea of what has worked for me in the past:

Be Flexible About Location

Offer to let your person pick the spot you two meet. It helps make the interview more convenient for him/her, and if it’s closer to his/her work, you might increase the length of the interview by cutting his/her commute time.Read More »

The Value of Informational Interviews

I’ve mentioned informational interviews before, but as my college career is winding up, I’m realizing more and more the value of these interviews. I started chasing after professional individuals the fall of my sophomore year in college, and while it was terrifying (“Hi, you don’t know me, but can I take you out for coffee and pick your brain sometime?”), informational interviews have taught me a lot about several different industries, and I became aware of jobs I never knew existed. Here are a couple reasons you should consider finding some individuals to interview during your time as a budding professional:

Networking

Because that’s how everyone says you get a job now… ‘Nuff said.Read More »