Monthly Archives: June 2014

Author Visitation Part 3: Overcoming Fear of Publishing

blogging-336376_640Hi Everyone,

In the final segment about my visit to my local high school, I would like to discuss my tips about overcoming fear and anxiety of sharing or publishing one’s writing. This post was inspired by one of the students that I was honored to meet. She had asked me this question herself, but I didn’t really get the chance to fully answer it. So here goes-Think about the following:

1)   Your Goal

Think about your goal and purpose of writing. It could be to tell a story (fiction or non-fiction), to express yourself, to get something off your chest, anything. Whatever your objective is in writing, hold on to it and don’t let it leave your head. Now for your heart…

2)   Your Passion

Your passion for whatever you are writing about or for should be the driving force. If you have something that you have to say and want to say, don’t let anything stop you.

3)   Your Anonymity

If it helps, you can always publish your work with a pseudo name or perhaps even be anonymous. Anonymity is a factor for many when it comes to showing off their writing, so they choose this route, and many tend to forget it as an option. If you’re afraid of publishing your work, I would recommend that you start an anonymous blog. This gives you an opportunity to show your work while still keeping a distance from your readers. This will also give you the control to reveal yourself, whether slowly or all at once, whenever you are ready.

4)   Your Acceptance (yourself and others)

With authorship, comes the acknowledgement and acceptance of who you are as a writer as well as who your readers are and will be. You have you to be comfortable and confident of yourself and your abilities, but be humble at the same time. You must realize and accept that although many readers will love your work, many will hate it. You must then decide which of those people you should forget and which of those you should remember.

5)   Your Dream

The best tip that I have for overcoming fear of publishing your work is for you to recognize what your dream may be in writing and publishing as well as where you hope to see yourself in the future and the impact you hope your writing will have. Let this drive your heart and mind to move forward in fulfilling that dream.

I hope this helps those of you who are struggling out there. These tips are based off of my own experience and the anxiety that I had in starting a blog and publishing a book. To those of you who overcame your fear and anxiety, please feel free to share any tips you have as well!

Peace and Love,

Ariffa

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Author Visitation Part 2: Student-centered Learning

iraq-81479_640Dear Readers,

In part 2 of sharing my visitation experience at my local high school, I want to discuss a method of teaching that I not only witnessed, but was a part of.  Mrs. Carey, the journalism teacher of the three classes I visited, conducted something called student-centered teaching. She of course has a curriculum, but she has her students give input on how they want the course to look like. She even allows them to provide feedback and give suggestions. Before I visited her classes, I was nervous and even slightly uncomfortable with the thought of lecturing in front of her students. I had even prepared a powerpoint. However, my experience was anything but and the powerpoint certainly was not needed.

The structure of my visit was very student-focused. I don’t like to talk about myself too much, so I was relieved when Mrs. Carey told me that it would be a very laid back conversation that was driven by the questions I would be asked. So, instead of standing in front of the students and lecturing to them, I sat amongst them and talked with them. It was of course more comfortable, but it was also much more personal and effective. The students were free to ask what they wanted to know and for those who had other responsibilities, they were free to work on them solely or simultaneously while listening to me.

What I love about this teaching method is that it gives students some control over what they should control: their education. Administers may see students as children, but for the most part, especially when they’re in high school, students know how they want to be taught and what works for them as well as what doesn’t work. The best thing about this method is that it signifies how teaching is indeed a partnership. A teacher may believe they have the best teaching method around, but if it’s not working for the students, then it’s not working. A teacher needs to understand their students and work with their students in order for education to be successful.

So, if student-centered teaching is so great, why isn’t it used more often? Why are policy-makers more interested in result-focused education instead? There are of course plenty of reasons, and I believe one of them to be an issue of control and power. I believe it correct to assume that some feel student-centered teaching to be a relinquishment of power and control for teachers and policy-makers. On the contrary, I believe that if students are spoken to, spoken with, and most of all, if they are heard, the teacher in turn gains much more respect and power in the classroom. The students that I visited were anything but out of control and disrespectful, and this does not mean that they don’t get unruly like all students do. Their education is just a matter of understanding the following principles:

1)   Students have a voice that need to heard.

2)   Education is a 3 way partnership: Teacher and Student, Student and Parent, Parent and Teacher

There are, of course, other successful teaching methodologies, but I believe this one to be one of the best.  To Mrs. Carey and all the other student-centered teachers out there, you’re doing a great job!

Peace and love,

Ariffa

Author Visitation Part 1

students-250164_640Dear Readers,

A little over a month ago, I had the honor of visiting my local high school and speaking with journalism students from three classes. The goal of my visit was to discuss my experience as an author and answer any questions that they may have for me. First off, it was very surreal to be back in that environment. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed looking at these students and their teacher not only as an outsider but as someone who loves education. It was so fascinating to see what a teacher sees when a student expresses interest or when one or two of them in particular seem to have a certain something that makes them stand out from the rest.

Some of the most common questions I was asked is below:

1)   Is your book a reflection of your life and/or current events in time?

Yes and No. Kingdom of the Sun tells the story about a modern-day kingdom that is struggling with many of the political, economic, social, and educational issues that other countries are currently facing. So, in a way, the book is symbolic of those issues and how I think they should be solved. Particular situations in the novella are mostly made up, while others may or may not be based off of real life events in my life or someone else’s.

2)   Are any of your characters based off of real people?

Many of the Scholars in my book are based off of the teachers that I have had in my life. It is my way of honoring them and all they have done.

3)   Would you like your book to be a movie?

This is another “yes and no” answer. I have seen too many amazing books that have become awful movie adaptions, and it would just destroy me if my book was one of them. I’m sure that almost every author wants to see their work come to life, but for me, I would only want it done if I could have complete control over everything.

4)   What was your writing process?

I told the students that when I wrote poetry, I always started with the last stanza or line before continuing the rest of the piece. With Kingdom of the Sun, I didn’t really have a plan in mind. The words just came as I wrote. The only thing I knew was the messages that I wanted to convey…and that I wanted the first word of the book to be “Uh.” 🙂

5)   Did you ever think that you’d be an author?

I never saw myself writing a book, so this was definitely not planned. It was due to certain life-changing experiences that made me who I am today and gave me the fire and passion that I needed to write Kingdom of the Sun.

6)   What’s one thing that you would change?

I would have definitely gotten an editor before handing out pre-released copies!

Thank you, Kyle, for reaching out to me and thank you, Mrs. Carey, for the wonderful opportunity of speaking to your awesome students. And thank you to your awesome students for listening to me! Part 2 of this experience will discuss the teaching style of student-centered learning.

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