Monday, July 27, 2015

Monthly Highlights: July 2015


Welcome back everyone to another exciting Monthly Highlights! I've been surprised how popular these monthly updates are. I'm glad everyone enjoys them and I'll try to keep them exciting and informative for you. So, first off, how was everyone's Fourth of July?? I was a loser and didn't do anything on account of online school. But you guys had fun right? Don't forget to comment below and fill me in on the awesome things you've accomplished this month. Let's get this started!




Yay! Once again I managed to post once every week. I really feel convicted to try and post more but, looking ahead at what I've got coming up, I'll be happy with the consistency I already have. Here's the lovely posts up on Forgotten Featherpen this month. The one on Prehistoric Man was a lot of fun to write and something I promised to deliver. What did y'all think of it?


Recent Posts:




Without going into too much detail, I had the oppurtunity to unload a stuffed moving van the other day. It took four hours in the humid, glaring heat. And of all the things to pop into my head I thought the experience provided excellent reference material if I ever wrote a story about slaves suffering in their labors. So everyone, if you ever want to experience what your poor slave character is suffering through, just go do hard labor in the sun for four hours. You'll have a pretty decent idea after that.

Any of you remember that painting I shared last month? I was able to paint another for my American Literature class this summer. She's called "Innate Divinity" and I'm very proud of her. The painting was in response to learning about the Eastern Religion influcences found in Transcendentalism. It was super fun because of my interest in ancient religious symbolism. Also below is the painting from last month, "Culture's Modern Priest." These two were made to be companion pieces. Hope you enjoy!


In other news....I've finally finished all my online summer college classes! To say I'm relieved is an understatement. The classes were so taxing! But also so fun! I'm torn now between being happy with free time and wishing I was still busy learning from such amazing teachers. If anyone is ever considering Toccoa Falls College then go there. Take my word for it, they have amazing teachers. And make sure you get Professor Thomas for American Lit. It's great to be done with summer classes. I got all A's! Now to prepare for more college this Fall.



Yes, at some points during this busy month I did pay attention to the construction of my book. This month I've been looking seriously at structure and the mechanics to consider before the bulk of writing is started. I struggle between plotter and panster you see. To help with my panster side, and to give myself a kick in the pants, I joined a site called MyWriteClub. Y'all should check it out! You get to add all sorts of goals like wordcount, scenes, or whatever else you need. There's a community of other writers around to cheer you on as you work towards your goals. If you check it out feel free to follow my progress as well. It's slow going, but at least I've started!


Also this month I downloaded this amazing photoblending app on my phone. I've had waaaay too much fun with it. The below pictures are just the product of an overactive imagination when it gets hold of pretty pictures and an app. I've been doing lots of plotting and these pics are the offspring. It's such a wonderful thing to plot! Some might be thrown off by the pics. But trust me, I'm an author. I've got it all under control.




That about wraps it all up for this month! I've got some fun ideas for next month's post so I hope you'll check back to see them. If you have a tag or post idea you'd like to see me do I'd be glad to read about it. So post your comments or questions below! Now before I let you go, here's some of the interesting blog posts I've enjoyed this past month.


Posts I've Enjoyed



Monday, July 20, 2015

The Big Misconception about Pre-Historic Man



I have a real interest in Pre-Historic/Ancient Man. (However you want to call them.) If you've read my various artcles for the Genius of Ancient Man Blog or checked out the awesome book I was able to be a part of, you know I can get pretty deep into it sometimes. This week though I wanted to keep it simpler. Keep it light and tasty for those who may not have read much about this topic from a Biblical perspective before. Whenever I bring Pre-Historic Man up in a conversation I hit an immediate road-block. The big misconception about Pre-Historic Man that's been promoted throughout the media for years: the Caveman Stereotype. It looks like this....




The Caveman Stereotype

Now don't get me wrong here! I love the Croods movie! It's got awesome characters, tons of gripping drama, and a warm family-centered lesson. What I'm pointing out is the caveman stereotype promoted in the Croods movie and in most every other representation of pre-historic man out there today: a dumb, subhuman creature still on it's evolutionary journey to humaness. The Crood family live in a cave because they lack the "brain" to know better. They eat like animals, run like animals...overall they behave like animals and that's what the stereotype is all about. If pre-historic man is ever brought up in conversation it's the caveman stereotype that's going to pop into people's heads. Okay, I promise I'm done picking on the Croods now. Moving on.




The Subhuman Caveman

"Caveman" doesn't just denote one type of human ancestor in the scientific realm. The term caveman just becomes a "catchall for people who lived in prehistoric times." (Ken Ham said that) That word in our everyday vernacular could be referring to what evolutionary scientists call Cro-Magnon Man, Neanderthal Man, or any other ancient person you dig up. But according to evolutionary scientists those ancient people aren't really human at all. They're like the Croods; animal-like and subhuman. Well, that's what evolutionary scientists think about them. As a Christian who looks at history, even pre-history, from a Biblical perspective, I think of cavemen a little differently. Please enjoy the succinct comic below which I think sums up my perspective perfectly.




The Real Men who Lived in Caves

There is evidence all around the world that pre-historic man was created to be intelligent. From impressive feats of engineering to mapping the world to painting works of art. From the very beginning man was capable of speech, organization, tool-making, music, name it! If you don't believe me check out Genesis chapters 1-11. The point is that man started out as fully human and intelligent, the complete opposite of the caveman stereotype. When I talk to others about pre-historic man that's the image I want popping into their heads.

So why were men living in caves in the first place? What were they doing there? Well there are lots of good answers to that question and none of them have to involve evolution in order to be logical. In short, after the dispersion at Babel, (where different languages were born and people started leaving in different directions) there were masses of migrating people moving across the globe. How fast or slow they went is beside the point. At any rate there would have come a time when a cave was the only possible shelter. It could have provided a temporary home until the people moved on or built actual homes. A cave could also have become a permanent home without making the people inside it any less human. Yet another option is caves became ceremonial centers for the people living near them. That would explain evidence of fires, food, paintings, and even burials in and around caves. (Wanna read some other awesome articles about cavemen from a Biblical Perpective? Check out these articles about human ancestors and neanderthals)

Have I lost you yet?


Sometimes talking about my interest in pre-historic man can hit a roadblock because of this big misconception that pre-historic man was some kind of stereotypical caveman. When I tell people about my perspective I feel a bit like I'm not making any sense to them. I hope I've made some sense to you in talking about all this.


Have you encountered examples of the caveman stereotype before? What did you think of them? You don't have to agree with me about prehistoric man to share your thoughts, I'd love to hear what you have to say! I'm not aiming to start a debate, just to share my perspective. Is there anything you've always wondered about prehistoric man? Or does this topic not mean a whole lot to you?




Monday, July 13, 2015

No Joy without Sadness: Thoughts After "Inside Out"



Growing up is hard work. Everything started out simple and easy-going. You do what makes you happy. You are loved on by those around you. But growing up is a bumpy road where we encounter conflicted feelings that are hard to process. It's no exception for Riley, a young midwestern girl who is uprooted from her home to move to San Francisco with her family. To guide Riley are her emotions -- Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness. The emotions operate from the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help her through everyday life. Each has a role to play in protecting and providing for Riley. Joy has been helping out the most since Riley was born. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to the new house, school, and friends, things start to get out of hand. Sadness, who Joy really doesn't really understand, starts acting out. The emotions must learn some new things if they are going to help Riley through this tough time in her life.


Check out the Trailer!

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!



Why I loved It

This movie was so beautifully done. Everything is so centered on the emotions of this little girl as she goes through a transition in her life I'm sure almost everyone can identify with. It's so human and I could identify with the girl throughout the whole story. I have a little sister who is about Riley's age so I was even more affected by the ups and downs Riley experienced. I'm not going to lie, at the end of the movie I cried. Yes. I cried because I'd been where Riley was. So confused and torn up inside and just reaching out in sadness to find comfort. (*struggles to keep from crying all over again*) This movie moved me and it should move you too!

The movie had one lesson that I just have to share. At the start of the story Joy admitted she didn't really know why Sadness was there. Anger, Fear, and Disgust all seemed to have roles that revolved around helping their girl. Sadness....only seemed to mess up Joy's good memories. However, over the course of their adventure together Joy comes to see that Sadness is a part of life. Without sadness other people can't see what's wrong and help you. Sadness essentially helps the girl to grow through confusing or dissapointing times in her life. In a way I think Sadness represented the ability of Riley to learn and mature. Joy learns that Riley needs Sadness just as much as she needs Joy to be a happy, healthy little girl. So Sweet.

On another note, this movie was impeccably clean. Not squeaky clean since there was an allusion to the use of swear words. But other than that it was clear of crude language, adult situations, and other things of the sort. Some of the images might be a bit scary for younger children. Especially if they have a fear of clowns. Not kidding, even I was creeped out by the clown in the movie!

Overall I loved the heart-warming feel of the movie. It's all fuzzy and meaningful. Go see it already!



Also...This Short!



Oh. My. Gosh. This Pixar Short came on in the theater right before the feature presentation started. At first I thought, "Okay, it's gonna be some cute short about some tropical bird or fish doing something mildly amusing." Little did I know it was a microcosm for the SWEETEST LOVE STORY EVER! Sorry about the caps, I don't know what happened to me just then. Somehow when I turned twenty my insides turned to sentimental mush. But I'm not joking! This Pixar Short is seriously one of the sweetest things I've seen in a long time! Almost as sweet as the love story in UP. (Without the tears at the end. Thank Goodness!) So this will be my little happy tidbit at the end for you. Check out the song and tell me it's not the sweetest things you've ever heard!




See? You've got diabetes and cavities from all that sweetness now don't you? Who else has seen "Lava" or "Inside Out?" What were your favorite or least-favorite parts? I'd love to hear what you think so don't forget to comment below!



Monday, July 6, 2015

Social Media: Are Your Accounts Healthy?


I'll admit this is a little outside my usual post-genre. However, this is something I've been learning that I find very useful. Hopefully you'll find it useful too and we'll both benefit. I'm an online college student who has one thing in common with most every other person my age on the planet: social media accounts.

Folk my age are mostly using Social Media to connect to other people who share our interests. We're making "Friends" on Facebook and stalking people on Instagram and Pinterest for kicks. But people like me who are in college, or about to go into college, might also have started thinking of using Social Media for other things. Maybe setting ourselves up as a profesional writer, artist, or what-have-you. Adults are doing that all the time! So how can we transition from pure socialization to building a personal brand ready to be used professionally? Simple, we check to make sure our social accounts are healthy, happy, and professionally ready.

From the time I've spent researching this topic myself, I've come across five things a healthy, growing, and professionally ready social media account has.




1. A Core Message

What do you stand for? What vital things do you want others to know about you? These are the building blocks of a core message. Without one, it's going to be difficult transitioning from a purely social account to a professional looking one. Not to say your message has to be something drastic like "Save the Dolphins" to count. Your message just needs to be what best represents you. Take Forgotten Featherpen as an exmaple. I took the time and wrote out the main reasons why I keep writing on this blog. When I condensed the ideas it looked like this:

"Forgotten Featherpen is a blog that focuses on creative writing and ancient history. Through it I hope to encourage other writers and share my Biblical perspective on ancient man."

That's the jist for the core message behind my blog. If I wanted to be more concise I would just say this blog is about creative writing and ancient history. Whatever your core message is that you want to share, it needs to be reflected on your Social Media account. If you Instagram about dogs, then post pictures of dogs. If your pinterest is about DIY crafts, then post that stuff a lot. Periodic randomness is fine (take this post as an example) but a healthy social media account has a predominant core message to it.



2. Regular Updates

I heard this all the time when I started my blog. I needed to post all the time! Well, that's not really what regular updates mean. A healthy social media account is not one where you post incessantly. A healthy social media account is one where you post consistently.

Because of my schedule I only post to my blog once a week. On instagram I try to post twice a week. On Pinterest I pin several items a day. Whatever social media account you have try to update it regularly and consistently. This shows you are present and encourages people to follow you. As an added bonus, when you post good content consistently it makes your social media account look very healthy and professional.

If you want tips and tricks for the best times to post to social media accounts there are lots of infographics out there to help you out. Personally I don't like to tie myself to the clock like that. But I know I've benefitted from having the knowledge anyway.



3. A Balance of Personal vs. Professional

A future client doesn't need to see your swimsuit pictures. A future employer certainly doesn't need to see those pictures from your crazy weekened when you did stupid things. There's such a thing as too much info on your personal life. At the same time, posting about quality time with your family or your volunteer hours is a great idea! A balance of personal vs. professional is a sign that your social media account is healthy, growing, and professionally ready.

Consider it this way, everything you post to social media is like an advertisement for yourself. Think of yourself as a Brand. Represent yourself in a balanced way. People want to see you being genuine, but they also want to see you being mature. So take the time to do some maintenance on your social media accounts to make sure they represent your balance of personal vs. professional.



4. Fair Content

Most people say to keep your social media content "Non-contraversial." I would rather try to keep my content "Fair." Meaning I will still share content that reflects what I believe and stand for, but in such a way that it comes across as a fair representation to my readers. I don't like reading extreme, shout-at-you-through-the-screen type things on the internet. I prefer reading content that is logical, direct, and calm.

Political and Religious opinions are very contraversial right now. Even if you agree with an extreme post or article think twice before you post it yourself. You don't want to be taken the wrong way when people read your content. Try to post fair content and maintain a professional look on your social media accounts.



5. Creating Connections with Others

This cannot be stressed enough. Social Media is about creating connections with others. What starts as making friends online can one day turn into the skill of finding clients online or attracting employers. This doesn't even have to mean "popular." We all know that one person or social media presence who has like a billion followers. But is that person making connections with their followers? Here's a few ways to make connection.

First, be approachable. I'm an introvert so I have to work on that sometimes. It is possible though to make yourself approachable on Social Media by how you present yourself. Secondly, engage others. Slightly different from being approachable, engaging others means giving them a call to action. Ask your followers questions or invite them to comment. Thirdly, when they do respond to you, respond back! Even if it's as little as thanking them for their opinion you need to respond to your followers. And lastly, once you've made a connection keep in touch. This will go a long way to making loyal followers.

A healthy social media account is one that has loyal followers. You get that by being intentional about connecting with others.




So we've gone over the things that makes for a healthy, professionally ready social media accout. These tools are useful for anyone who wants to take their accounts to the next level. Now more than ever Social Media is becoming the place where clients and employers look for personal brands. Now's the time to start maintaining a healthy Social Media account so you'll be ready when the time comes for your personal brand to take flight.


I certainly hope these thoughts and tips were helpful for y'all. It's a pretty simplistic list but I think it's an essential one. What other things do you think are signs of a healthy and growing social media account? What are some danger signs that an account is going down-hill? I'd love to hear your thoughts so don't forget to comment below!