Pearls of Wisdom From Me to You


So the end of the year is coming up, and I realized that the last post I put up here was about Jeramy Dodds not being able to come down—and, well, that’s not an ideal place to stop posting on a blog. All the other writers did show up, and were wonderful. But I also wanted to come on here one last time to tell you guys about how much I’ve loved posting to you, and how much I’m going to miss Bishop’s and working for Morris House.

Last week (or something like that, time is kind of blurring together), I wrote a letter to the managers of the Tomlinson internships about what I’ve learned working for Morris House. I realized as I was writing my letter that there are a ton of things that I couldn’t write down, so I wanted to put them here. This is a moment when I get to say what I really think, and I love that. So here’s a list of all the “unofficial” stuff I learned as an intern:

1)      Writers like campus ghost stories better than they like actual official campus tours.

2)      Internships aren’t as scary or awful as The Devil Wears Prada makes them out to be. In fact, chances are your boss will be awesome.

3)      Checking your email every day is a healthy step into becoming a full-blown professional.

4)      Being able to laugh at a situation and make the most of it can make a world of difference; if you have a positive attitude, other people will pick up on that and feel positive too.

5)      No matter how much you plan something, there will always be hiccups that you’ll need to deal with on the fly. Budget in the time for it.

6)      Everyone has a different story about how they became a published author, but a good way of going about things is this: publish short stories, win prizes, keep publishing short stories, go to readings, meet authors. Eventually a publishing house (that you’ll hear about through your author peeps) will want to publish your novel, since you have such a great reputation.

7)      Every writer gets rejection, that’s part of the game. Keep trying, though, since you only need one “yes” to be published.

8)      Writers don’t update their promotional pictures very often. They’re usually at least five years older than their picture makes them out to be. Sneaky buggers.

9)      Shalimar in Lennoxville has a spicy food scale, but if you say you want 3 out of 5 and you look like you can’t handle spicy food, they’ll make it a 2 instead (which will hurt your pride, but come in handy when you realize you’ve chugged three glasses of water and are only half-way through your dinner).

10)   Be firm but friendly with people when they let you down. You don’t want to burn bridges, but they need to know what you expect of them. Make sure you listen to their side of the story too. They’ll be more likely to listen to you, if you made sure to listen to them.

11)   Small talk is a necessary art.

12)   Funding pays for 90% of everything that happens on campus. Always thank the sponsors.

13)   Becoming a writer is like becoming anything else; it’s 80% hard work, 10% connections (that you can make through hard work), and 10% talent.

14)   You can spy on people in the Quad from Cleghorn.

15)   Writers are nice, charismatic people. Put a bunch of them in the same room and you will have hours of entertainment.

16)   Write as often as you can.

17)   Developing your voice is key to becoming a writer. It’s not so much about the stories; if you have an imagination, you’ll always have stories. It’s about knowing how to tell them that makes the difference.

18)   Teamwork is a wonderful thing and thank your lucky stars when you get to be part of a good one.

19)   Writers like to have a glass of water when they do a reading: make sure you have a glass of water ready for them.

20)   It can be hard to find a glass in McGreer.

21)   If you want to be a writer, you should seriously consider going to readings, becoming a member of the Quebec Writer’s Federation (or your province’s equivalent). This is where you get to meet other writers and publishers. It helps build your professional network.

22)   Pascal Girard is waaaay younger than his cartoon portrait makes him out to be.

23)   You can know lit theory, but you need street smarts too. And by “street smarts” I mean internship smarts. (That means all those little bits of professional/ life wisdom that you can’t exactly explain or quantify, but that make a world of difference).

Best of luck on all your exams! I wish you most amazingest epic grades ever. As for me? I’m off into the world. Who knows what’s in store…..