Have you ever experienced a moment when all your preconceived notions on a particular subject were shattered?
I found myself in that exact situation Wednesday evening as I walked into class for a feature writing/blogging course I’m taking at a local community college. I figure it would be a good way to sharpen my skills since I do a lot of feature writing at my job and blog on a consistent basis. Little did I know this course would include some of the most powerful and practical writing advice I’ve heard in my life. My brian must’ve resembled a sponge for the 2.5 hours I was present because I soaked up everything.
I own numerous writing books and constantly surf the web for articles on how to improve my writing, but a lack of discipline and extreme case of laziness have prevented me from reaching the level I know I’m capable of as a writer. I feel this course will help me get back into the zone.
The course was more than I could’ve bargained for. For only $70 (registration fee) it felt like I received a one-on-one tutorial from the Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Our professor runs a freelance writing consultancy and is an author of three books and over 130 articles. She gave us three writing exercises that were each geared toward gauging our writing aptitude and comprehensive reading ability.
That alone would’ve made it worthwhile, but the real meat came in the lecture on feature writing. Even though I’ve written features in various publications since 2007, I was stunned to discover the amount of preparation that goes into crafting a quality piece. I learned how important organization and prewriting is to the success of the finished product. The majority of blogs I post mainly consist of my thoughts as they come to me at any particular moment. From here on I will try to conduct more sufficient planning for everything I post.
One of our assignments questioned our level of dedication to writing. It asked did we like to write, love to write, or live to write. I responded that I like writing, but want to get to the point where I love it and am able to make it a major part of my professional life.
There are many things I wish to do with my writing and for the first time in awhile I feel that I’m in a good place to begin chipping away at these dreams.
“Writing is boring.”
I’m sure every writer has heard the above phrase uttered at least one time or another by a friend, spouse, classmate or coworker. They may have not meant any ill will, but deep down the comment struck a chord.
On last Tuesday I had the opportunity to address that comment, among other things, to a group of English majors at my alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University. When I arrived for work that morning I had no idea I’d be speaking to a group of fellow Aggies about writing. Of course there was a story behind it.
I was on the front desk covering the phones when I got a call from a university English professor asking to speak to a “Jevon” Dove. I’ve heard enough people butcher my name much worse throughout my life!
I told the professor that they were indeed speaking to “Jeuron” Dove. They went on to explain that they were hosting a program that evening about careers in writing. Two of the original panelists had to back out due to various circumstances and their spots needed to be filled immediately. I then learned that a former professor of mine (who currently teaches English) had recommended me for the spot.
I enthusiastically agreed to it, despite the fact I wouldn’t necessarily label myself as a public speaking guru.
I was joined on the panel by the English department chairperson and an editor from Press 53, a Winston-Salem based publisher. I appeared to be in some heavy company and was a bit intimidated. I represented the panel as a journalist, since that is what I have my degree in and the style of writing I have the most professional experience with.
It did feel somewhat strange being there since my current job description is that of an administrative support specialist. I previously worked as a staff writer, so I still had lots of real world advice to pass onto the students. Plus I’ve found myself taking on more writing responsibilities at my job as of late.
The program went great. We spoke to a room of about 15 students about the importance of writing in our careers.
One point we repeatedly stressed was that writing is everywhere around them and solid writing skills are essential to be successful in any corporate environment. More than ever, employers are looking for people to effectively get their message across to the wider public through the use of written communication.
We elaborated on how all forms of entertainment stem from writing. Nothing just pops out of thin air. A group of people have strategically written out a concept for the things we see so prominently in the mainstream. Whether it’s a movie, jingle or commercial, it all starts with writing. The program ended with a Q&A session and the students seemed genuinely appreciative of the time we spent with them.
Now back to the opening quote.
The power of writing is evident every time you see a scintillating headline about a political figure or celebrity on your MSN or Yahoo homepage. Its power is evident every time you log onto Facebook and Twitter. With social media giving access to anyone with a broadband connection, there has never been a period in history where writing is so important to almost every facet of our daily lives.
Writers have power. That goes for any journalist, author, blogger, screenwriter, copywriter, editor and other occupation heavily centered on writing. We have so much power and play an immeasurable role in shaping the perception of society.
Whenever I blog, my main objective is to convey my thoughts onto some soul within the blogosphere. I consider it pretty awesome if any post I write gets even one like or comment. It means that out of the millions of blogs in cyberspace, someone actually took out the time to read what I had to say. Whether I’m discussing the latest happenings in wrestling, politics or my daily life, I’m just trying to convince one person to think a little deeper about the world around them.
The world is a blank canvas and writers are the ones that paint it bright. That my friend is what makes our job anything but boring.
As I sit back and enjoy this time off from work, it only makes sense to reflect on the historic nature of the day. It’s Martin Luther King Day and the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. Isn’t it ironic that Obama’s big day falls on the day that we celebrate the life of the man who in many ways paved the way for him to become president of this country?
On a personal level, I tend to see the impact of Martin Luther King’s dream whenever I think about my Caucasian friends, particularly the women.
I was brought up in a racially diverse environment. I attended a mixed elementary school that was located in what I’d now consider as a great side of town (Battleground Ave., Benjamin Pkwy., Friendly Ave., and West Wendover Ave. are considered the good sides of town in Greensboro). I grew up as a fan of wrestling which is a sport heavily dominated by whites. Many of my close friends and people I interact with in the blogosphere are white. In my lifetime I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter very few instances of what I’d describe as blatant racism, though I’m sure I’ve experienced the more subliminal type many times.
One of the most important periods of my life began in the summer of 2007 when I started working at my local grocery store. Being that Reidsville is a mostly white (well maybe not) country city, most of my coworkers happened to be white. No big surprise there. But it was a big surprise once I got to form real friendships with them, many of which last to this very day.
During the weekends and after work, me and my coworkers would hang out and go to bowl or grab a bite to eat. We’d celebrate birthdays and went on trips. In every outing I was the only black person in our party. I never really stopped to think much about it and they would’ve loved me I was green. In fact, one of them actually told me such!
Then it hit me: If I was born about 25 years sooner, I would’ve likely been assaulted or discriminated against if I was seen in public with them. I may not have been able to even develop friendships with them at all. And that’s important because many of them have become an integral part of my life and I can only imagine how different my life would be without them.
Whenever I read about the Civil Rights Movement it really sticks out to me that one of the cardinal sins any black male could commit was to interact with a white woman. Emmett Till, a 14 year old boy from Mississippi, was murdered for allegedly flirting with one. A prevailing theme of the film The Birth of a Nation is that white women viewed black men as a fate worse than death. There is a scene where a white woman jumps from a cliff after being cornered by one.
Flash forward to the present.
Even though racism is still alive and well in America, society has made leaps and bounds in regards to race relations. Do I ever think racism will completely vanish? No. There will always be those afraid to embrace anything that looks different from what they are taught to believe is pure. Those people will always influence their children and future generations to hate.
One of the proudest moments of my life occurred a few years ago when I was invited to the baby showers of two of my best friends. It was an honor because apparently I made enough of an impact in their lives for them to invite me to such an important event. Aside from the fathers, I don’t think men are typically invited to baby showers!
So I’d like to thank Martin Luther King for paving the way for me to be a part of the lives of some very special people. They have been such a blessing to me.
Hi guys and gals. It’s been over two weeks since I last posted. Definitely a blogging no-no!
I hope everyone is having a fantastic holiday season. I’m sure mostly everyone in this country is doing one of two things right now: enjoying what they got for Christmas and feasting on leftovers. I’ve done too much of the latter. I go back to work on Jan. 2 and am using this time to relax as much as possible and enjoy the little things in life such as sleeping in as late as possible.
When I look back at 2012 I will remember it as a year of change. In a sense, I guess every year is like that since I’d like to think I’m always growing in some form or fashion. I left behind my part-time job, went back to work at A&T and got engaged. The freelance writing goals I aspired didn’t take off the way I envisioned, but there was still a lot success in my writing this year. Plus I made some very important author connections which I’m eternally grateful for.
My top goal for 2013 is to take serious strides in finding a full-time job that I love. My current job is great, but I can’t necessarily say that I see myself doing that kind of work for the rest of my life. I’ve been given strong hints that a more favorable position that I’m very qualified for may be opening in my department very soon, so I’m just going to continue to ride out the wave and give my best effort as always.
My writing goals for next year are pretty much the same as they were this year, except for more persistence. I think my blog would have to qualify as a huge success. I officially reached my personal goal of 50 followers a few weeks ago and now I’m looking towards 100. Another goal is to do a revamping of the blog’s Facebook page. I don’t want it to only be a place where people can read my posts, but I want it to provide something unique and different from what the blog offers. Writing more essays and creative nonfiction and entering contests are definitely on my to do list.
And while I’m talking about goals, I want you all to know that this blog isn’t just for me and my thoughts. As I set out to complete my goals in the coming year I want each of you to do the same. Life isn’t any fun when enjoying success alone. Therefore, I want to hear about all of the awesome things you achieve over the next 12 months.
On a more serious note, I’d like to offer my sincere condolences to everyone who suffered the loss of a loved one this year. When I look back at 2012, I will rememeber it as being the year that so many people I know were affected by death. Within the last two and a half months my childhood pastor succumbed to lukemia, a friend’s wife passed from breast cancer, a friend died suddenly from a seizure and this past weekend, a college friend lost his grandfather to a heart attack. I’ve learned that death is very real.
And that’s not even mentioning the national tragedies we’ve experienced in Connecticut, Oregon and Colorado. Please take out the time to pray God’s comfort and peace for those experiencing their first holiday season without a precious loved one.
Since this will likely be my last post of the year, I want to wish you all a happy New Year. Bring in 2013 like a rockstar!
“Allow me to reintroduce myself.”
Those five words signal the beginning to one of the most iconic songs from multiplatinum rapper and business mogul Jay-Z (Public Service Announcement, Black Album). Those words are also the basis of what I’d like to address today. This month marks the one-year anniversary of The Best Darn Multi-Purpose Blog Period! When I decided to try my hand at this venture (following unsuccessful attempts in 2005 and 2009) I made up in my mind that I would see it through to the end. 107 posts later and I’m still going strong.
Blogging is one of the few things in my life that gives me absolute creative freedom to be my real self. The wit, honesty, passion, humor and, at times, weirdness you see in every sentence is how I truly am 24/7. I take extreme pride in writing a blog that offers up such a diverse range of topics. I also take great pride in the relationships I’ve made in the blogosphere. Though I’ve never met any of you in person, there is a bond in our written language that is just as strong as the bond I have with family and friends I see on a daily basis.
So I’d like to take a moment to thank every single person that has read, liked, commented or subscribed over the last year. My ultimate goal has always been to make this blog as accessible as possible. Having 39 followers and 37 likes on its Facebook page is a sign that I’m doing something right.
But in keeping focus on topic, I want to take a moment to share some personal things about myself. Of course, there are some things that anyone can pick up on from reading a sampling of my work. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of all things relating to professional wrestling and anime (Japanese animation). You all know I love to write and have aspirations of becoming a successful author. In addition to that there are several things that you may not be able to immediately pick up on at first glance. I’ve always been honest with you all and I think it’s time I take you on a behind the scenes look into what goes on inside my head:
- I absolutely love to read. To be honest, the perfect job for me would involve being paid to do nothing but sit and read books all day. To me, a perfect weekend is staying locked up in my room reading my endless collection of wrestling, music and anime-related books.
- I’m addicted to Wikipedia. Even at work, I find myself having random thoughts that have nothing to do with my task at hand and then I’ll search Wikipedia to find out more about them.
- I’m naturally more comfortable around women than men. A large part of it has to do with the fact it seems like a woman has always played an important role in elevating me from one stage of my life to the next. Plus my girlfriend (who I plan on marrying) has a ton of sisters, so I’m basically going to have eight sister-in-laws one day. Sounds like fun. Lol. The fact that every job I’ve had has been in a predominately female environment may have something to do with it too. Now that I think about it, most of my best friends are women.
- I’m very much behind the curve when it comes to technology. I didn’t purchase my first flip phone until 2008. I’ve upgraded since then, but not by much. I’m currently on a $50 per month unlimited text/talking prepaid plan. I’ve also never once used Facebook mobile and still don’t see the need in owning a smartphone or e-reader.
- My favorite song is Leave (Get Out) by pop singer JoJo. For some reason I’ve been hooked to that song since the first time I heard it in 2004. The funniest part is that I’ve never been through any situation the song describes. Here it is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggWyUEuGcWY.
- I listen to more Japanese pop music than any other genre. I have close to 300 J-pop songs on my iPod.
- I’m big on treating every person special. I hate nothing more to come into contact with someone who thinks they are too good to speak to someone.
- The most fun period of my life, aside from childhood and college years, were 2008-2009 and August 2011- May 2012. Those were the periods I did not have a full-time job and my daily routine consisted of working part-time as a bagger (which I loved), hanging with my coworkers and watching anime all day. That was the life!
- To this day I believe that my five years of working as a bagger taught me more about myself and how to interact with others than five years of college ever did. I broke down and cried on my final day there because I loved that job.
- My favorite TV shows are One Tree Hill, E.R. and Degrassi. And yes, I recently ordered season eleven of Degrassi.
- I’m a perpetual youngster at heart (if you couldn’t tell by my favorite song and Degrassi) and watch large amounts of Teen Nick and Disney Channel. My biggest fear is to grow into an adult who punches a clock from 9-5 and doesn’t remember what it’s like to be a kid.
- I strongly believe that parents should encourage their children in every dream they wish to achieve without any restrictions. If your child’s goal is to attend college halfway across the country, then you should let them. I think many kids have their dreams crushed by their parents before they ever get a chance to try.
- I’m naturally indecisive. I know it’s not a good thing. I often feel like I have hundreds of thoughts swirling through my head, yet I’m uncertain about 90% of them.
- I typically like to go order on the inside of fast food restaurants, even when ordering something to go. I just don’t like using the drive thru.
- I’m an usher at my church and am extremely nervous every time I do it for fear I will mess up.
- I’ve never smoked.
- My favorite anime series is Detective Conan (aka Case Closed).
- My favorite wrestling match is the TLC match from the October 7, 2002 edition of Monday Night Raw. It featured Kane vs. Rob Van Dam & Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Jericho & Christian vs. Bubba Ray and Spike Dudley. Nonstop action from start to finish. Jim Ross called the match solo and did one of the best jobs of announcing I’ve seen.
- I purchase all my anime (I never download it illegally) and have amassed quite the collection over the years. The following is a blog I wrote featuring pics of it: http://jeurondove.com/2012/04/24/a-look-at-my-freaking-huge-collection-of-anime/. Isn’t it beautiful?
- The title of my blog is a direct takeoff from FSN’s Best D@#n Sports Show Period. I don’t curse so that is why I use the word darn.
Well, I think this is enough for now. Hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit more about your favorite blogger!!! Take care and thanks from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me for this long. I promise more good things are ahead.
This morning in church my pastor made a statement about how your career, business and overall plans in life will only flourish after you incorporate God into them. What he meant by this is that we as people often try to make everything work ourselves instead of trusting in God and allowing him to do the work for us. Of course, any person with a dream should do the necessary work to make that dream into a reality. However, I do agree there are certain doors of opportunity that only the favor of God can open.
I want my blog and writing career to become as successful as possible, so from here on out I will be incorporating more things about my faith into this blog. The usual content that you all have come to expect from me won’t change, but you will see an increase of posts dealing with my belief in God.
I would like to reiterate that I am far from perfect and I make mistakes on a daily basis, but I sincerely do strive to be a better Christian and well rounded individual. The way I see it, if you enjoy reading my posts about wrestling, writing advice, inspiration, anime and the other various topics, then you should definitely enjoy my Christ-centered content. Right?
Am I saying that my blog will be an overnight success? Who knows. But I have to believe that God will somehow supernaturally bless the work I put into this since I’ve taken out the time to acknowledge him (and will continue to do so).
I’d like to close out by sharing a scripture that pretty much sums up my entire thought process. It can be found in Proverbs 3:6, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths.”
Have a good day folks!
It’s official. My worst fear has come true: I have become lazy with my writing and a master at procrastination. Nothing can kill a promising writing career more than these two characteristics. My natural instinct is to place the blame on my current job for my lack of productivity. However, at the end of the day, my success or failure as a writer rests solely on my shoulders.
When I started my job, my plan was to continue updating my blog (and Facebook page) on a regular basis while faithfully working on other writing projects in my free time. Lately, I have found myself spending most of my time away from work sleeping and finding everything else to do aside from writing. The fact that I work in front of a computer monitor all day makes me less eager to sit down and type away once I’m at home. As of now, I don’t see my blogging being a huge hindrance to my immediate writing future, but it’s a trap I am not trying to fall into. One of the biggest pitfalls a writer can encounter is to have their blogging take precedence over their long-term writing goals.
I have an upcoming deadline on July 20 for an article I’m writing for Southern Writers Magazine. I’ve completed my research and am ready to begin writing, but some odd force of nature is keeping me from going forth. I should’ve had my article submitted by now so that the editor could have plenty of time to read over it and get back to me with any revisions. My new goal is to have it submitted by the end of the month. That way I will have 20 days to polish it up before the final deadline.
To the outside eye, it may appear that my blogging routine has been normal, but I can tell that my last few posts have lacked the punch they usually possess (at least I think most of my writing packs a punch). I am also currently working on the concept for a wrestling book to pitch to ECW Press, a Canadian publishing house that specializes in the wrestling book market. I have the initial framework complete. Now I just have to write a query that will make it impossible for them to resist my idea. And in case you wrestling fans are wondering, ECW Press was not named in honor of Extreme Championship Wrestling. It stands for Entertainment Culture Writing.
Two days ago I received my latest issue of Poets & Writers in the mail. The first thing that caught my attention was the excellent Editor’s Note from Kevin Larimer. In it he discussed how there are no excuses for obtaining success in writing, but with an interesting twist. The following is an excerpt of what he wrote:
“No excuses. It’s typically used to remind us how, when all is said and done, the writer must write, period. It’s a battle cry against procrastination and I appreciate its efficacy. After all, I can come up with a year’s worth of things that need to be done before I sit down to finish my book. But this prohibition on excuses strikes me as a mere headline, appealing to those who think riches await if only they can commit to a rigorous writing schedule…The writing life is messy, and there’s no secret to success. Instead, there are many paths leading to where you want to go.”
Reading that made me feel a little better, but now it’s time to get back to the task at hand.
Hey everyone. Being that we’re all bloggers, there is one fundamental trait we each have in common– we like to write. Regardless of our age, level of expertise or interests, we each use this platform to convey our thoughts to the world. If we just wanted to play it safe and share our thoughts with anyone then we would just talk to our friends and family. The fact that we’re bold enough to put our most intimate thoughts, beliefs and fears out there for all to see shows we have a desire to share our worldview with a global audience. And by doing so, we may become fortunate enough to make a difference in someone’s life. I believe that if one person connects with your blog, then you’ve already accomplished a noteworthy feat. Blogging truly gives each of us a unique voice in the global community.
I blog because I love writing first and foremost. There is no greater feeling than to get on my keyboard and type away on whatever topic crosses my mind and then click the “publish” button and know that my work is out there for all to see. Receiving feedback is an added bonus, but I like to think I’d still enjoy this even if no one ever commented on any of my writings or followed my blog. However, I’d love more subscribers!
I want to pose a question to every blogger who reads this. What motivates you to blog and what do wish to gain from the experience?
Hello everyone. Every writer has those moments in their career, or on the path to publication, that serves as a breakthrough moment. I’m happy to announce that yesterday was my breakthrough moment.
But like any good writer, I must set the atmosphere of the events that led up to it.
Last Monday as I was leaving from work, a coworker (who writes as well and is a dear friend) told me I should consider joining a writers group. She discussed that it would be a great benefit towards improving my craft and re-fueling my passion. Even though we all enjoy to write, we must be honest enough to admit there are times when our creative well runs dry.
She recommended I join the Facebook fan page for the Southern Writers Magazine. SWM is a bi-monthly publication packed with inspiration and advice from popular, published authors sharing their secrets of success, as well as articles by experts on book marketing, promotion, branding, blogging, screenwriting, songwriting, conferences and much more. They have over 900 fans on Facebook so it’s a great deal of exposure.
Once I arrived home I clicked the “like” button on their page and began to do a bit of research. I saw they had a special promotion on their weekday blog,“Suite T”, for the month of February. You could submit a 500 word or less article about one of the four topics of love they had listed. I chose to do mine on the topic “When I Fell in Love with Writing.” Every week, they select an entry to be the featured guest blog on the site.
On that evening, I quickly wrote the first few things that pooped into my mind about my love of writing. I polished it up a few times before finally submitting it. I knew it was a decent piece, but I didn’t really think I’d hear back from them about it.
Yesterday afternoon, I was stunned to check to my e-mail and discover I had a message from the social media director of SWM. They informed me that my entry was selected for this week and will be featured on their blog and on their Facebook and Twitter pages. You can read it at http://southernwritersmagazine.blogspot.com/2012/02/committed-relationshipwith-writing.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=facebook.
This has been the best writing-realted news of the year for me and like I’ve said numerous times, I will make my writing dreams come true in 2012!!!!!! I’d like to encourage every writer to stick to your dreams and continue to stay true to your craft. If so, then nothing but success will come from it. And last but not least, I’d like to send a special thanks to Lisa Flint and D’toya Colson for always reminding me that my writing dreams are firmly in my grasp.