Helping A Former Student


I find myself in a rut these days. It could be any number of things–the fact that I hate my job, the fact that I’m perpetually tired, just regular life getting in the way. I know what I want to do–what I want to write. I tell myself what I’m going to do–what I’m going to write. But these days, it’s not happening. It’s not happening and I’m getting madder and madder at myself.

Well, the only to break out of my rut is to write, right? Enter Eli Fernandez, a former student of mine who is currently studying at Florida State University. Eli is a talented writer in her own right, and one of the students I have fond memories of. So, when she sent me a message requesting some help with an Article and Essay Technique class. She was tasked with interacting with other writers and talk to them about writing, and she thought of me. Eli to the rescue.

I’ve decided to post the little interview here, because, well, I’m not writing anything else these days and maybe this is just the swift kick in the ass I need.

The Interview

ELI: -What made you want to start a blog?

ME: I guess the thing that sparked my interest the most is that blogging gives me the ability to share my writing on a platform that will reach readers immediately. I’ve always sought an audience beyond the small circle of eyes that had read my work in the past, and blogging seemed like the best way to do that.

ELI: -Did you ever have any doubt that people would read your blog?

ME: I doubt people will read every time I post. I hope they will read. I wonder if there’s more I could do in terms of exposing my writing to new readers, but yes, I’m perpetually doubtful.

ELI: -I saw you’re nominated for a blogger’s award! Can you tell me more about that?

ME: The blogging award was called the Versatile Blogger award. It’s this aspect of the WordPress community that allows bloggers to nominate other bloggers they enjoy reading. The benefit is a reciprocal one, the nominee writes up a post about the award and links to the nominator’s post, and as part of the post the nominee selects a number of other bloggers to nominate as well. Then those new nominees will write new posts that link back to the nominator, and so on and so forth. The draw here is the links. The more links and ping backs you get, the more your blog gets noticed. It’s all about getting read.

ELI: -What do you hope to gain from this blog? What do you hope your readers gain from this blog?

ME: My biggest hope is to build a bigger platform for my writing, and by building this bigger platform, developing a consistency to my writing that I seem to be missing. The end goal had always been to be a traditionally published fiction novelist, and blogging is simply one of the avenues I’m driving down toward that goal. For my readers, I hope to share my journey to that goal—maybe they learn something and are entertained along the way. I learn so much from the other blogs I follow that, if someone else who has similar aspirations can glean something of value from me, all the better. I guess it’s the teacher in me that thinks this way.

ELI: -What advice would you give people looking to start a blog? (I’ve been thinking about it).

ME: The biggest piece of advice I would give is something I myself need to listen to: establish a consistent schedule. Once you start, keep at it. To develop your platform and audience, you need to regularly post so that your readers know when your new work is coming. It’s the thing I struggle with the most, really. A bonus bit of advice would be to develop some kind of theme or angle to your blog. You know, make it a writing blog, or a travel blog, or a sports blog, etc., so that people know what to expect. Once you’ve developed your own style and carved out your niche, then you can dabble in different things.

8 thoughts on “Helping A Former Student

  1. Great that a former student looked for you. I hope it helps you break your rut. As for a consistent schedule, it does help, but maybe you simply need to do something spontaneous to break the rut. Try poetry (haikus are quick and simple) to see if you can jumpstart your engine.


    • I’ve thought about trying my hand at the whole poetry thing. I’ve written some poetry in the past, so we’ll see. I guess one of the things that makes me feel like my wheels are spinning is the idea that if I’m not working on the one story, it’s wasted time. I don’t know. What did Yogi Berra say? Ninety percent of this game is half-mental.


      • Great quote. Funny thing about writing is that you can trick yourself into believing you made progress by doing any type of writing. Even a poem can help improve a writer’s skills.


  2. Im curious what you think but I have come to believe that the “ruts”, creatively and existentially are part and parcel of this human experience which inspires our thirst for writing in the first place. The teaching naturally gets old for our restless minds, but as for your writing, I first think it is top notch on so many levels. It’s just a matter of riding out the ebbs and flows of the creative process in order to realize your destiny. Keep at it, keep trudging, and keep enjoying your vast repertoire of talents.


  3. Your advice to this young student is excellent! You are a gifted writer and you should not let a few setbacks in your daily life overwhelm you in a negative way. I know this is a long process and not any easy one. However, you need to continue to write and write and write. You have a unique gift that many popular writers do not and that is your ability to take those creative ideas and put them to pen and paper! You have had many difficult moments in your life which you have overcome with strength. Please remember that those difficult moments have made you the strong man you are today. In addition, you are blessed to have an incredible wife who supports you at all times! I have faith in you! Read the advise you gave her and know that your gift extends not going in writing but includes being able to help and teach those that you have influenced in a positive way!


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