Am I A Writer?

Yes, I know, it totally did take me another 6 months to write a new post on this blog. Oops. Mea Culpa.


As I type this, it’s been exactly one week since I’ve graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Education with my master’s degree. Here’s photographic evidence:

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See? Done.

And while I don’t have a full-time job lined up just yet, I have two wonderful summer opportunities that I’m super geeked about. On Tuesday, I accepted an intern position with the amazing edtech company 2U. I’ll be their Content team’s first-ever Content Strategy intern and I cannot wait to get started working with them! Also, did I mention that their NYC office is located on Chelsea Piers? Yeah. And two piers over from a SKATEPARK, no less.

The second opportunity I have is one that seems almost too good to be true. Just thinking about it gives me the beautifully unsettling feeling of a dream that’s been pulled from sleep into one’s waking life; the sensation of an “ideally” becoming a “possibly”. As you know, I hope to pursue a career in children’s media. It’s why I set out to complete a master’s degree in the first place. Well, while surrounded by people who supported me and believed in this crazy dream of mine, I decided to apply to the brand-new Sesame Street Writers’ Room Fellowship (SSWRF) this past March. And…?

Out of 800-plus applicants, I (with my unfinished 9-page script) was one of a handful of people selected to participate in the inaugural fellowship this summer! Starting next Wednesday, I’ll be receiving six weeks of workshops and training sessions in the art of writing educational media content for children from the folks at Sesame Street; the literal OGs of the industry. Words cannot express…*sobs*

[At this point, you’re probably wondering where the title of the blog post gets looped into all of this. It happens now, as a matter of fact.]

SSWRF is the very first writing fellowship I’ve ever applied to, so naturally, I feel very fortunate to have been selected. And very underqualified. I’ve never been one to give myself too much credit, but I wonder if/when I can confidently call myself a writer. I love having written things, but the actual process of writing and rewriting is always a fight—a worthwhile fight, but a fight nonetheless. This deficit in writerly discipline is the main reason I hesitate to call myself a writer. Hopefully this fellowship will provide some practical advice for building writing stamina, so that I can put more of my work out into the world and maybe get something published/made.

I guess we’ll see.

Character Study (Intro)

As you know, I love to write stories. One of my favorite aspects of writing a new piece, whether fiction or screenplay, is the opportunity to develop complex and interesting characters. Character creation is, for me, a study in human nature in a vacuum. I make people (or animals or inanimate objets) up, I imbue them with certain sensibilities and traits, strengths and flaws, fears and longings, I give them names and personal histories and then I put them in unique circumstances to see how they behave. And while I’m the one writing the story, the way the characters navigate the world of my creation is based less upon who I am and more upon who they are. This isn’t to say that there aren’t tangible pieces of myself to be found in the characters I construct; the opposite is true, as is the case for most writers. Though, I believe there’s a moment when a character becomes self-possessed, sort of like when your adolescent self chooses to no longer follow the script laid out for you by your parents. The character becomes his/her/its own being, independent of me. And I like when that happens.

With that in mind, I’ve decided to do something new on the blog called “Character Study” where, every now and then, I’ll post a short narrative about a character of my creation. These won’t be full-length stories, they’ll just be little story snippets where I test out characters and get to know them a little better. From there, I’ll see if I’d like to utilize them further or if they need a bit more fleshing out. Overall, this will be an exercise in creativity and character development, in addition to being a way for me to write without the pressure of needing to tell great stories. They’ll more likely be meh stories with good characters, which I can totally live with.

So, look out for my Character Studies!

Monique’s Law

“Once you have to do something, you no longer want to do it.”

This is Monique’s Law.

I can’t tell you how many times my interest in completing a task has all but disappeared the moment that task becomes mandatory. My current situation is a key example of that. You see, I should be writing a 30-page novella for my advanced fiction class right now, but I’m taking advantage of a bit of productive procrastination and updating my blog, following a long-ish hiatus.

For weeks, I’ve planned out my story, researched the historical time period, created characters, and gotten progressively more excited about the opportunity to write a longer piece of fiction than I’m accustomed to. Though, now that I’m on Spring Break and it’s time for me to actually put pen to paper and bang out a first draft, I’d rather apply for jobs, or catch up on world news, or do absolutely nothing, than write.

I know I’ll eventually overcome my bout with Monique’s Law, otherwise I’ll fail my class and be ineligible to graduate in May, but I still find it funny how this always happens. For now, I’m just going to continue procrastinating (productive or otherwise) until I feel guilty about wasting time. We’ll see when that happens…

Does this happen to you guys? Do you struggle with Monique’s Law, too?

Alive and (Relatively) Well

Hello All,

It’s been a while, so I just wanted to make a quick post assuring you that I am both alive and (relatively) well.

I’m nearly a month into my final semester at Cornell and I reek of Senioritis. All of my courses are interesting and engaging enough, but my mind is fully elsewhere; focused on what lies beyond my mosey across that graduation stage and into the colloquially termed “real world.” The fact that I am also currently in the throes of the job search only adds to my struggle to settle down academically. It seems that my academics and my applications are at odds, which should not be the case, but alas, it is.

When February break arrives, which is a new convention of our school calendar that I’m very much pleased with, I’ll be assessing my lack of focus/motivation and taking steps to remedy it. I’ve come too far to screw up this late in the game. I’ll also be doing a fair amount of writing over break, as I have first drafts of a pilot script and a novella due in the upcoming weeks. I intend to submit more than a few job applications, as well.

So, there you have it: the current state of my life. Please pray for me, send me positive thoughts, and wish me luck as I attempt to make it through this crazy, busy, transitional time in my life in one piece.

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge

#31WriteNow Blog Challenge

I’ve decided to participate in the #31WriteNow Blog Challenge put on by one of my favorite humor/culture bloggers, Luvvie A., of http://www.awesomelyluvvie.com.  This means that I will write a new post here everyday for the entire month of August.  It’ll definitely be a “challenge” in every sense of the word, as I have a lot on my plate: work, other writing I’m doing, and the fact that I have to get ready to return to college (Senior Year!) later this month.  Regardless, I plan on hopefully finishing what I started.  So, here’s to the #31WriteNow Blog Challenge…let the blogging commence!!!

P.S.- Feel free to join in!

P.P.S.- This post doesn’t count as today’s #31WriteNow blog post. I just wanted to share  with you the reason my blog will be especially busy this month 🙂

Something New

This morning on my long bus ride to work, I felt a jolt of inspiration. After finally finishing my scholarship essays the night before, I decided that I needed to spend the rest of the summer writing for fun. Sure, I still have screenplays and articles to work on, but I longed for a type of writing I could do that was relatively stress-free: No editing, no rewriting, minimal structure, just an organic and cathartic writing experience. “Does such a type of writing even exist?” I wondered.

Then it hit me:

HAIKU! The simple 17-syllable poetic form that originated in Japan would become my medium.

During that bus ride, I wrote 4 haiku/s (“haiku” is made plural with or without the “s”) and it was such a great creative release. I originally planned to post those and any other haiku/s I would write on this blog, but another option appeared much more fitting…Thus, the @HeartfeltHaiku Twitter page was born!

Telling an entire story in 17 syllables just seemed to go hand-in-hand with storytelling in 140 characters or less. So,

If you’d be so kind,

Follow the @HeartfeltHaiku

Tweets are to the right —->

It’s Been a While…but I’m Back!

I admit it’s been a long, long, LONG while since I’ve posted new content on this blog. My apologies! The past few (or 5) months have been much busier than I had anticipated, but now I’m back and ready to write. And I hope you didn’t expect me to come back from this long hiatus empty-handed because I come bearing literary gifts:

Later today, I will begin moving my more wordy Tumblr posts, here, to my WordPress! It just seems like the right thing to do. I’ll also be adding some of the other writing I’ve done and posting new and exciting material, regularly. Basically, moniquedeehall.wordpress.com will be up and running once again.

I look forward to sharing my work with you 🙂

-Monique

First!

Hello. GAHHHHH!!!! I honestly can’t even begin to contain my excitement 😀

Why am I so excited, you ask? Because, as you may or may not be able to conclude from the title, this is my very first blog post. (Ahh, I just love the smell of new blog in the morning.) To date, I’ve been using my Tumblr as my primary/write-anything-and-everything-that-pops-into-my-head-and-post-random-entertaining-pictures-videos-and-quotes blog, but I’ve come to a point where I need a more mature, organized, and professional way of expressing myself via the World Wide Web. Hence, moniquedeehall.wordpress.com was born.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love “Mona’s World” and will continue to use it as my write-anything-and-everything-that-pops-into-my-head-and-post-random-entertaining-pictures-videos-and-quotes blog. The only change is that this blog, will house a more structured blogging experience where I display my writing ability, creativity, and other talents; sort of like an online portfolio.

So, in short, this blog will not be one in which I write anything and everything that pops into my head and post random, entertaining pictures, videos, and quotes. If that is what you’re looking for, please use the link I’ve posted above to be redirected to my tumblr. If you’re looking for a professional display of my writing ability, creativity, and other talents, you’re in the right place. Understood?

-Monique