Obtaining The Tone You Want In Writing

Say you’ve just been hired by a great new company, and you need to write blogs for its website. When representing a company, typically there is a tone of voice you’re meant to convey with your content.

So how do you achieve this? In this article from Business 2 Community, the author Steve Rotter gives some pointers as to how one can reach the desired tone of voice in their content. Some tips include playing with tempo, pronouns, and sentence length. Be sure to check out the rest of the article for more tips and be sure to apply it to your own writing.


Getting a Bad Interview Back on Track

I have had my fair share of awkward interviews. The one that stands out most in my mind was a group interview. Nine other interviewees and I showed up to the designated coffee shop at the tail end of winter. My mom had just dropped me off and I was dressed in my nicest and most professional skirt and dress shirt, ready to blow everyone away. Then the interviewer announced that we were to travel a ways down the rode to a park for the interview. It had just started to drizzle and there was still a little snow on the ground. I had to carpool with another girl to get to the location and then shiver at the picnic table we all sat at for the interview. After refusing it a couple times, I finally gave in an accepted my interviewer’s jacket. Needless to say between my teeth chattering and guilt over making my interviewer freeze I didn’t think I would get the job. However, I did! My bosses later said that me being such a trouper and making the extra effort really made me stand out.

Sometimes interviews are not just hard for interviewees, but for interviewers as well. It is very likely you will end up in an interview with an inexperienced or taciturn interviewer. Handling something like this can be very intimidating but Lifehacker writer, Lily Zhang, gives us some tips to navigate the awkwardness and get a bad meeting back on track.

Tips for Writing First Sentences: Novel Edition

While searching the web, I stumbled across an article from The Atlantic called “Why Stephen King Spends ‘Months and Even Years’ Writing Opening Sentences.” I was stunned. I figured a writer as prolific as King could turn out first sentences like Apple turns out new editions of the iPhone, but I guess not.

It makes sense, though, as the opening lines of any body of work are incredibly important. The starting sentences are what draw the reader in and want to continue to read your story. As King says in The Atlantic article, “An opening line should invite the reader to begin the story. It should say: Listen. Come in here. You want to know about this.”

So how does a writer achieve this enticing invitation? Is there some magical formula that guarantees a solid opening? Unfortunately, probably not, at least not one that has been discovered yet anyway. However, there are definitely some methods to helping construct the first lines successfully.

Writer’s Digest lays out “7 Ways To Create a Killer Opening Line For Your Novel,” and as a starting writer myself, I have to say that I found the list to be incredibly helpful. For example, one piece of advice I thought was incredibly helpful was starting with a “statement of simple fact.” Writing doesn’t have to be super complicated or intense to draw a reader in; sometimes, sheer simplicity will do the trick.

Definitely check out the links listed above to get some more advice about opening lines if you find yourself stuck, and remember not to get too frustrated with yourself if you are struggling. Writing can be an excruciating endeavor, and it has nothing to do with your ability to write.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Daughters of the Collective Hosts Self-Esteem Workshop for Young African-American Girls

Daughter of the Collective (DOC) Research and Mentoring Program is a student organization, run by undergraduate and graduate students at Michigan State University. Founded in 2006, DOC members mentor 6th-8th grade African-American girls in Detroit and expose these young girls to a mix of educational, cultural, and artistic opportunities. As Dr. Denise Troutman, Advisor of DOC, so eloquently put it:

“This mentoring program is geared to ‘save’ young Black girls by anchoring them in positive teachings about language, culture, and identity, thus promoting liberatory education and countering negative images of Black females as oftentimes promulgated through popular culture.”

These negative portrayals often contribute to lower levels of self-esteem and self-confidence, especially during the impressionable middle school years. 6th-8th grade is a pivotal time in a young woman’s life. A girl’s self esteem begins to drop during adolescence, and with this in mind, DOC mentor Keondra Dixon, a human development and family studies major, suggested the idea of doing a self-esteem and self-confidence workshop for the girls through the platform of a fashion show. And so DOC teamed up with a fellow student group MODE, a fashion and expression organization at Michigan State, and invited 6th-8th grade girls from Dixon Academy to come and take part.

What made the fashion show unique, though, was what the girls were modeling. Instead of modeling actual clothes, the girls had to make their outfits, but not out of what you might expect.

“They had to make clothes out of unconventional materials such as trash bags, newspapers, and paper plates. If you feel good about yourself you can make a trash bag look good,” explained Dixon enthusiastically.

DOCAs soon as the girls had made their outfits, it was runway time. Prior to modeling the outfits, the girls received lessons in posing, walking, and interviewing. It’s in these areas where one’s self esteem (or lack of) tends to show through. By holding your head up as you walk and speaking with confidence are great ways to start feeling more self assured all around.

What’s interesting about this session, though, is that only five girls were able to attend (usually it’s around 20) due to transportation issues, but these five girls ended up being the ones who were the shyest. This was the most rewarding part for the mentors, seeing these mentees, the ones whom are typically the shyest, come out of their shells and work the runway.

“One of the girls is really shy. When we did the runway walk, though, she was really a natural model. Her face just lit up when she was walking down the runway and strutting it and posing. Everyone in the room was shocked, including Dr. Troutman, because we’d never seen her in that element. We really brought her confidence out and I was like like ‘Yes, we’re doing what we’re supposed to do,’” said DOC mentor Jade Williams.

After talking to the DOC advisors and Dr. IMG_3477Troutman about the fashion show and DOC, I can safely say each and every one woman is incredibly passionate and dedicated to helping these young girls become confident young women. They want these young girls to feel empowered and good in their own skin, even if it’s a little different than the norm. As Williams said:

“One of the things DOC does overall is that you don’t have to fit into the place society wants you to be. You can be whatever you want to be.”

If you’re interested in becoming a mentor like these dedicated women, email mentorsdoc@gmail.com with your inquiry. For more information on DOC, make sure to visit its website.