A Few Thoughts on Constructive Criticism

A common thing I’ve seen in the writing community, especially from beginning writers, is the inability to take constructive criticism. How many times have you given someone a suggestion on a piece of writing only to see the author’s eyes glaze over, either with anger, disappointment, or even an incredulous glare? What comes as a response? A thanks from frowning lips, or a silent nod? I’ve seen them all, and I’ve handed them out myself once upon a time. This was, and continues to be, one of the hardest battles for me: the ability to take another’s criticism and not let it destroy me. It’s hard to have someone tear your work apart, after all, it’s your baby.

However, I realized over time that there’s an even harder critic I must overcome, and that one lives in the pits of my chest, where it’s easy to grab on and squeeze. Hard. Sometimes, to the point where breathing seems impossible. It’s this inner critic that I fight with every day, and I’ve come to realize that once she is content, then, I’m ready to face what anyone else has to say. I know I’ll survive. After all, I survived myself.

So, before you go asking someone to critique your work, double check it yourself. Step aside from your work, detach yourself, and read it as if it were the first time. Even if this means putting it aside for a few hours, days, weeks, or even years. Believe it or not, you’ll be able to pick out your own mistakes, and will gain the necessary tool to make your work shine. And I don’t say this as someone who knows everything, no, I’m still going through the process myself. I’ll probably still be going through it in my last hours, and that’s okay. It’s part of the life I’ve chosen for myself.

Well, have a good night everyone.

My Latest Fountain Pen: Jinhao X750

Hello All,

I know it’s been a while (a long while) since my last pen post. So, I thought I’d finally break that dry streak and upload a few pictures of my most resent acquisition: The Jinhao X750. I purchased the “Shimmering Sands” model from Amazon when it was on sale a few weeks ago, and so far, I am really shocked at how nice it is. However, just like every other pen, there are things I like, and things I don’t like about it. But first, take a look at some of the shots I took. (Sorry for the slight blue tinge, it was early morning when I got the chance to sit down and take these.) 
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From the various pictures I saw of it online, I originally thought it would be thinner, and lighter since I didn’t order the full metal model. However, moments after pulling it from its packaging, I almost dropped it because I was shocked by the weight. It’s a hefty pen, that’s for sure; so much so that I have to write with it uncapped in order to reduce wrist strain. However, this doesn’t change the fact that this is a really pretty pen, well made, and all for ten dollars, whaaat? It also lives up to its model name, because even though you can see the glitter in the black barrel, the lighting doesn’t do it justice. And being the crow-like individual that I am, I could stand under the sun staring at it for hours. The nib is also larger than I thought, and writes like a medium nib, with thicker lines. Though I prefer fine to extra-fine nibs, I’m not entirely unhappy with this one. For one, broader lines bring out the different shades in fountain pen inks quite nicely. The metal rings at both ends, and the elaborate engraving in the cap are all nice touches, as well as the pen clip. Yet, therein lies another issue, the pen clip is really tough, and so is useless in my case. In all, the pen is rather nice for its price range; a bit heavy for prolonged writing, though it has nice weight distribution and its large nib (writes like a medium, size isn’t specified, and no it’s not an 18K gold nib) brings out the shades in inks nicer than finer nibs.

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Also, as is my custom, I purchased a bottle of ink with the pen. This time, I got Noddler’s Burgundy, which, unlike the name suggests, is more of a magenta than a burgundy. At first, I was a bit annoyed at this, but after loading the pen with it and writing out a few words, I fell in love with the ink. Noodler’s inks come in great colors, are well priced, have little to no feathering, and the same goes with bleed-through. Below is a pen and ink sample. (Again, the morning light dulled the ink’s vibrancy. I have to come up with better shooting schedules.)

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Yup, I’m no good at long reviews (or reviews in general), so I’ll end this here. I do have another pen on the way, so look for another pen post in the near future. Have a good night!

Cheesecake Surprise at Denny’s

Greetings all,

I hope this week started off well for everyone.

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Well, really quickly I thought I would share this picture with you. It’s of the surprise cheesecake given to my sister and I on our birthday this past Sunday. Our waitress overheard that it was our birthday, and so, surprised us with this as we were finishing our food. (We went to Denny’s with our parents and brother, who came to visit from our hometown.) Her simple kindness was much appreciated. And also, she told us that tomorrow is her birthday, so happy birthday to her! 

Hope you all have a wonderful day! 

 

Second Traveler’s Notebook Complete

Hello All,

Would you believe that while I worked on my August Compo Notebook, I also finished my second Midori notebook. Here’s a picture of it.

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I plan to make a flip video some time soon. Usually I do this on the weekend but I had work today, and tomorrow’s my birthday. Here’s hoping I have the video up Monday or Tuesday latest. Meanwhile, here’s a sneak peak.

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Well, have a great weekend everyone!

August Notebook Challenge Update

Good afternoon everyone, 

Well, seems like summer is coming to a close, what with August up and school already begun (or about to begin, in my case). At the beginning of last month, I started a challenge called the August Composition Notebook Challenge. I haven’t used a compo journal in a long time, since high school actually, and so, I wanted to see if I could finish a notebook in one month. Now, here are a few pictures of the results. For more, you can check out my previous update post: Week One Update. (Obviously, I forgot the remaining three weeks.) 

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I wish I could say that I was able to finish the entire notebook, but I didn’t. I got close though, and then I realized that the notebook I’d chosen wasn’t normal. It’s a 3 subject kind with extra pages. (Yes, that’s my excuse.) However, throughout the month, I discovered some great things: 

1. Mead Compo Journals actually have better paper quality than your basic Moleskine. Yep, I used fountain pens, Prismacolor markers, felt tip markers, and of course the occasional pencil. No bleed through, that is, unless I went over something several times and then of course the ink would eventually seep through the paper. 

2. It was a great place to store pen-pal letters I received throughout the month. 

3. They are also handy for drafting, as you can see in one of the pictures. I wrote a couple chapters of a story I am currently working on. 

Yes folks, for one month, this notebook became my life. Everything went in it. I won’t lie either and say that it was super easy to do, because some parts weren’t. While it’s simple enough to throw the occasional picture and letter inside, the actual written portions were the toughest. Writing always is hard. Do I regret putting myself through this? Absolutely not. However, I did learn that hoping to finish this with all the craziness in my life was a bit much, so my next journal will be paced throughout these following months. In fact, the latest one has quickly become my go to place for logging different fonts and designs used for hand lettering (one of my most recent hobbies). I thought about starting a pocket notebook for the month, and even purchased a Moleskine, but sadly the paper quality is so poor that almost any pen I use bleeds through. Thus, the little book will become the place where I draft ideas. For this month, I will be using an Eccolo notebook that a friend gave me. The paper is nice (though certain fountain pen inks do leak a bit), and the notebook is small without being too small for on the go writing. 

Well, thank you for making it through this with me. Till next time! 

Writing, pens, notebooks & other scraps of randomness.

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