Working at UPNG: A Semester of Reflection

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By , December 11, 2014 1:57 pm

             press picOn my first day at the University Press of North Georgia I felt very lost, very insecure of my abilities. I had never worked at a place that involved my skills as an English major, and the daunting expectation to do well kept growing and growing as I approached the office. But when I stepped inside, I realized that all my worries were for nothing. The press was not a place I had to fear or anticipate. I discovered soon it was a friendly, easy-going, comforting environment, where I could express myself and learn as well.

            Any normal day at the press for me includes research peer reviewing or editing works, writing reader’s reports on submitted titles, or just running errands, but my favorite task is writing the blogs. It’s my dream to be a writer, to express my emotions and opinions through words. I’ve always wanted to start my own personal blog, but sadly I’ve never had the time or opportunity. Writing for the press is almost a dream come true. I get paid to write about things I enjoy sharing with the community including, movie and book reviews, writing tips, and even reflection pieces like this blog. Not only is it a fun way to spend time at work, but it is also a learning experience. My skills improve everyday by writing these blogs, and by reviewing the revised versions, I am able to see both my mistakes and success. Needless to say, I would never accomplish any of this without the help of the editors and other interns.

The more experienced staff members have trained me and guided me through any confusion, and I have learned more editing and grammar skills than I could ever learn from a textbook. I’m the youngest employee, but I’m treated and respected like any other senior employee or editor. Normally, you would think publishing companies go by a hierarchy, and in most cases that might be true. However, at the press that hierarchy blends into a fun work atmosphere, where the staff can be both friends and co-workers

There isn’t a moment of my first semester here the press that I would change. Every day I wake up excited and motivated to work, but none of that enthusiasm would be possible if I worked at bleak and boring publications office. The University Press offers me everything a student could ask for in an internship: support, experience, and laughter; I could not be more thankful for the opportunity. I am looking forward to my future here, and hope to learn more and about publishing as a business while also refining my skills as a writer and editor.

A special thanks to the entire staff for inspiring and pushing me to do my best every day.




12 Days of Holiday Books, Stories, and Poems!

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By , December 8, 2014 2:28 pm

1.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Ebenezer Scrooge, a lonely old miser who spends his Christmas Even counting money, but that night he is visited by three ghosts of the past, present, and future that changes his life forever.
2.  The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry
A humble young married couple wants to exchange Christmas gifts, but they must sacrifice a great deal in order to give to each other.

3.  The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
Four children stumble upon an old wardrobe, but inside lies a magical land where winter is always in season and an evil White Witch threatens the land..

4.  The Polar Express
The only children’s book on the list, The Polar Express is a mystical train that leads to North Pole, but only those who believe are able to experience a true Christmas.

5.  The Father Christmas Letters by J.R.R Tolkien
A series of letters written by Father Christmas tell of the misguided adventures of he, his helpers, and a few trusty polar bears across the North Pole.

6.  A Christmas Memory Truman Capote
A simple story of a boy growing up in the 1930’s named Buddy who shares his Christmas memories with his elder cousin, his only friend.

7.  The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans
Richard and Keri, a poor disheartened married couple, move in with a lonely elderly woman, Mary, as her caretaker, but when they find a beautiful Christmas box filled with her personal written letters, they learn the true meaning of family.

8.  The Nutcracker E.T.A Hoffman
Clara receives a magical Nutcracker that transports her to a world unlike any other, full of coffee, chocolates, candies, and an evil Mouse King.

9.  A Letter from Santa Clause by Mark Twain
In true Twain tradition, the short story is innovative and quirky—sure to make you smirk.

10.  “The Thought Fox” by Ted Hughes
Brew up a cup of coffee or pour a cup of tea and read this little poem as you enjoy the warmth of your place and gaze at the crisp cold outside.

11.  Papa Panov Christmas Story by Leo Tolstoy
The short story about an elderly shoe maker in Russia reflects the need for generosity.

12.  “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost
Fantastic Poem, if you haven’t read it, read it. If you have, read it again.

Tips to Survive Finals Week

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By , December 4, 2014 2:32 pm

Many of us know the trials and tribulations of the dreaded finals week. It’s like the Hunger Games of College, where every student must fend for themselves in the ultimate battle determining our GPA’s. It’s one of the few times of the semester, when all of your tests, projects, and presentations are due all at once, and the stress of it all is enough to drive anyone crazy. Avoid the padded white wall room and follow these few tips and tricks to surviving finals.

  1. Time Management: Apply this tip to your entire four years of college, but it is most important during finals. All of your work is piled into one week, so make sure you analyze which tests or projects are the most important and the most time consuming. Papers and presentations usually take up more physical time than just studying, so try to finish those first. Then focus on your tests that will prove most challenging. Even if it is your very last final, the extra studying will come in handy. Don’t wait until the night or hour before.
  1. Sleep is Key: Believe me when I say pulling an all-nighter during finals week is a bad idea. The human body requires rest in order for the brain to function properly, and nothing looks worse than falling asleep during that 100 question biology final. You have all day to study and prepare, so use the night as your escape from reality. Wake-up early if you have to, but get a proper amount of sleep. The more you sleep the more you can accomplish.
  1. Avoid Distractions: As I mentioned in the NaNoWriMo Tips blog, the world is full of distractions. Whenever you are preparing for a long study session put your phone on silent and out of sight. Avoid the temptation of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
  1. Take Breaks: Avoid distractions, but don’t spend too much time staring at your textbook. The brain can grow tired of the same information over and over again, and after a while you stop comprehending. It is good to take a short break every couple of hours in order give your head a rest. Time your breaks; eat a granola bar, walk around, grab some coffee, and return to your studies. Try not to get on your phone or social media, because once you log onto YouTube to watch a video, three hours of your life just seem to disappear.
  1. Find the Method: Everyone has different ways of learning and studying, but use the method that works best for you and ignore everyone else’s ways. If your friend wants to have a group study session, but you know you are easily distracted in crowded environments, then kindly decline. Ask yourself these questions when determining the best method: do you like quiet environments? Then study alone the silence of your room or the library, where people are forced to be silent. Do you feel more comfortable in stimulated environments? Try doing group work, or attending study sessions if the professor offers them. If that doesn’t work, then try listening to music while you work. There is a technique for everyone, but make sure you find it before finals.
  1. Breathe: There will be stress and sometimes tears, but it’s important to remain calm and positive. You won’t get anywhere if you are constantly thinking of failing or making mistakes. Trust that you will do well, and you will. Remember your best effort is all that really matters. If all of that doesn’t ease your mind, just think; everyone else is suffering too.



NaNoWriMo Writing Tips

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By , November 14, 2014 9:55 am
  1. Stay Focused: The world is full of numerous distractions. Netflix, Facebook, Twitter are all tempting sources of entertainment, but you have to move away from those distractions. The month of November is a short 30 days, so make sure to use your time wisely. Lock you self away for an hour or two each day with no computers, smartphones, or tablets, and if you must, write your novel on paper.
  1. Pre-plan: When you know the month of November is approaching be sure to have your ideas ready and organized. The best way to pre-plan is by using an outline to highlight all the major characters, points, and themes you want to put in your novel. This is not cheating; think of it as a study tool for a very large, month long test that you know you can ace with a little beforehand practice.
  1. Overachieve: The word count goal is 50,000 words, which is approximately 200 pages of a single spaced novel. In order to reach this count in 30 days, it is suggested you write 1,667 words a day. However, daily life tends to get in way of this goal and sometimes you might not find the time to write. To ensure your success in the program, write more than the 1,667 words. In fact, write double if time allows—better to be safe than sorry.
  1. Connect with Others: There are thousands of people participating in NaNoWriMo, and the online forums are a perfect place to meet aspiring writers like yourself. Every writer struggles with the occasional writers block, but the online world allows you to find inspiration in other people rather than staring at your computer screen. Branch out, find people at your school or workplace that have or are participating in NaNoWriMo and ask them for advice. You can even participate in local writing competitions to see who can write the most words in one hour. Don’t be Emily Dickinson; make some connections and maybe even friendships.

  1. Editing What?: If you are looking for a program that will provide you with a perfect final draft, ready for a publishing house submission, this is not that kind of competition. NaNoWriMo helps those who can’t seem to find the time or the words to make a finalized novel. NaNoWriMo doesn’t expect you to write a grammatically correct or concrete piece in 30 days, so don’t worry about little mistakes. Focus on the bigger ideas; how does the plot flow? Or are the characters well developed? After November is over and you can finally breathe, then worry about perfecting the work.
  1. Stay True: NaNoWriMo can be a long and difficult process, but if you happen to lose your focus, get stuck, or whatever just ask yourself one question: “Who are you doing this for?” If you answer you, then keep pushing through. Expand your knowledge, get excited and creative with your writing, and most importantly remember that there is nothing more fulfilling than having your words written on the page.





NaNoWriMo Success Stories

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By , November 10, 2014 3:57 pm

Water for Elephants

Most people are familiar with the popular book and 2011 motion picture Water for Elephants, but not many know that the novel was written during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Author Sara Gruen began with the intention to keep the 1,667 words per day count, but she found that life’s day to day interferences made this difficult. She then decided to write an extremely unedited edition of the book to submit to the program. A few years later she finished the complete manuscript, and after a few attempts to find a publisher, Gruen finally published the bestselling novel in 2006. The thrilling love story of the young veterinarian Jacob Janowski and his time with the Benzini Brother Circus captivated readers, receiving high acclaim and reviews. Shortly after the book’s publishing, the film starring award winning actors Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, and Christoph Waltz hit theaters. Almost four years later, both book and movie are entertaining for all audiences. Gruen’s Water for Elephants success proves that NaNoWriMo can help writers become successful not just through novels, but also through the box office.

The Night Circus

The next success act also revolves around a forbidden love story between two circus performers. As title suggests, the Circus of Dreams only opens at night, keeping the stunning performances’ secret in the shadows. Author Erin Morgenstern began participating in NaNoWriMo in 2003 and every year following for the next six years, but it wasn’t until 2009 that she fully/finally completed the program with The Night Circus. She took the 2010 National Novel Writing Month off and finished the edits to , which was published the following year. The magical plot was picked up by Summit Entertainment not long after The Night Circus’s release and is currently being adapted into a major motion picture. Morgenstern’s tale proves that six grueling years of writing is worth the perseverance to have your words read.


Rainbow Rowell made her success with the widely popular young adult novel Eleanor and Park in February of 2013, but that same year she published her first NaNoWriMo novel Fangirl. Initially, Rowell believed the program was a waste of time for an already published author. However, after deciding to participate, she realized that the competition freed her of first draft anxiety and some of her bad revision habits. Rowell met her 50,000 word count, but the actual plot was not quite done. She continued writing until the story of Cath Avery, her avid love for fan-fiction, and her introverted college experience was completely finished. The NaNoWriMo experience became one of the most inspiring experiences of her life, and pushed her to become an even better writer than she


Water for Elephants, The Night Circus, and Fangirl are just three well known NaNoWriMo novels. Their authors are an example of how one short month can inspire creativity and hard work. Writing is tedious, difficult, and frustrating, but with a little push it can lead you toward a bright future and great success story.



















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