Why the Black Panther Movie Inspired Me to Write

Why the Black Panther Movie Inspired Me to Write

The Black Panther movie is expected to generate about $200 million this weekend. Aside from the projected monetary success, the critically-acclaimed reviews will put this film in a category of its own. Black Panther is not just another superhero movie. It's a cultural milestone; a movement. Needless to say, I can't help but think about the possibility of this movie not happening.

What if Ryan Coogler--the writer and director of Black Panther--would've quit halfway? Then we wouldn't have had the privilege of experiencing this moment in history. A moment that has unified a group of people with something (seemingly) as simple as attire. What if Coogler would've said it was too much or deemed the production unworthy? Then we wouldn't have had this example of a success story. The success story of a rising director and screenwriter in a well-established town called Hollywood.

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My Classroom Conversation at an Elementary School in Los Angeles

My Classroom Conversation at an Elementary School in Los Angeles

Hello, writers!

I'm feeling very inspired today. My classroom visit last week plays a big role in today's inspiration. But before I talk about my "classroom conversation" at an elementary school, I want to encourage my fellow writers, specifically you aspiring authors. The best advice I can give to you is to think of the end goal. Think of the possible opportunities your book will create on your behalf. Let your end goal outweigh the overwhelming book-writing process.

One goal I have for all of my books is for them to be accessible to people in (and outside of) my community. Last week, I was blessed with an opportunity to speak at an elementary school in Los Angeles. I spoke about the importance of language capital and grammar awareness (but, of course, I broke the topic down so that 5th graders would understand). I challenged the students to think of the English language as a key that opens the door to many global opportunities (e.g. writing, teaching, government affairs). I shared the short version of my career story including teaching in South Korea. I also shared some book-writing tips and answered 1,535,546 questions about writing in general. It was a fulfilling feeling to see hope in so many students' eyes, and it reminded me of the fact that everyone has a story inside of them. Whether it's fact or fiction, I strongly believe that everyone has a unique perspective, family history, or life experience that is worthy to be shared.

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3 Easy Capitalization Rules

3 Easy Capitalization Rules

We all know the basic capitalization rules like capitalize the first word of a sentence. But there are a few more common rules for capitalization that I'd like to bring to your attention.

1. Capitalize Proper Nouns

A proper noun is the name of noun (a person, place, thing, or idea). More specifically, a "proper noun has two distinctive features: 1) it will name a specific [usually a one-of-a-kind] item, and 2) it will begin with a capital letter no matter where it occurs in a sentence. For example:

President Obama is writing a book.
I would love to interview President Obama.
I wonder if President Obama is fully rested after serving two terms in the White House.

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3 Hacks to Help You Write Your Book Faster

3 Hacks to Help You Write Your Book Faster

Happy Monday, writers!

Oh, wait. Excuse me.

Happy MLK Day, writers!

Three years ago today, I published my first (and only) short story. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), I, too, had a dream. As a child, I dreamt of becoming a famous author among other things. I didn't think it was possible, so I pushed that dream aside and pursued careers that had more clearly-outlined paths like teaching.

Nevertheless, January 15, 2015, was the day one of my dreams became a reality. My short story Confessions of an Adult Nerd: The Bay Area Blues (Volume 1) hit Amazon and was well received.

It was a process to write that book. Allow me to briefly explain why...

My first book, SoKoDiaries: An American Teacher Living in South Korea, was a biography of sorts, where I revealed my excursions as an English teacher living in a foreign country. While living and teaching overseas in South Korea (SoKo), I had tons to write about because I was experiencing something that was new to me and my audience at the time. In fact, this is what my audience was used to reading from me: true stories about my life as an educator.

But after the third and final volume of SokoDiaries--my first book series about my teaching in South Korea--I wanted to try something different. I wanted to try my hand at short stories. My childhood dreams and vivid imagination came rushing to me near the end of 2014, and I needed a creative outlet. I wasn't confident in my ability to pull off another book genre other than non-fiction, but I tried it anyway. In honor of MLK, I made my dream a reality by clicking "publish" on Amazon three years ago.

Confessions of an Adult Nerd: The Bay Area Blues (Volume 1) is MY testimony. I thank you guys for celebrating my bookiversary with me, but what about YOUR testimony. I know writing a book is challenging, but perhaps I can give a few simple strategies you can use to make the book-writing process more digestible. This blog post consists of three hacks to help you write your book faster.

I understand that there are different types of writers. Some writers are decision makers, so it doesn't take them long to create chapter titles, book covers, etc. because they're sold on their decisions right away. But that's not everyone's testimony. In fact, I know of a few writers who like to let their work sit for a while, and they come back to it days and weeks (and maybe even years) later to make sure it's what they really want to share. Whatever type of writer you are, I believe these three writing hacks will help you write your book in less time than you think is necessary.

1 || Put your book in a 3-ring binder so you know it’s real.

This may sound cheesy and pretentious all at the same time, but it works. Sometimes, we get so tied to our computers/laptops that we cannot see our writing progress or lack thereof. If you print out your book and see blank chapters, then it'll hopefully inspire you to create chapter titles along with the content that is appropriate for each chapter. Or you may find that you actually need to edit a few chapters and scale down. Or you may find that your book is not that far from being publish-worthy. The physical, printed papers help with the book-writing process because your work will feel more like a book, and it will be organized in case you want family and friends to proofread it.

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Writing to Speaking: How to Teach Outside of the Classroom

Writing to Speaking: How to Teach Outside of the Classroom

What better way to close out the year 2017 than to blog about the biggest transition of my career. This was the year that I actively transitioned from writing to speaking (hence the title of this blog/video series). I purposely stepped away from the classroom and did not sub like I normally do throughout the year. Instead, I focused on my writing career. No, I did not write and/or publish any new books, but I had a few freelance writing, copywriting, and copy editing projects that held me over till the new year. (Okay, that's the partial truth. My brother and I published a keepsake book for our mom on her 55th birthday, but that's different. That was a passion project...a passion project that made it to Amazon.)

I digress.

This year, I forced myself to get outside of my comfort zone and build my brand, so that my brand could gain exposure and put me in the presence of a wider audience...with more potential clients...and more opportunities to speak. And it did. I am very thankful AND grateful to God for entrusting me to be a part of the journey of aspiring authors, writers, students, and online business owners. It was a pleasure and a learning curve. The biggest learning curve has been encouraging people to share their stories and write their books...and doing so in person.

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My Classroom Conversation at Compton College in 2017

My Classroom Conversation at Compton College in 2017

Hopefully, today's blog post will be motivating. Why? Because it shows me actively trying to accomplish one of my 2017 goals--which was/is to expand my brand by securing more speaking engagements. Well, I definitely spoke to more audiences than usual, but not as much as I would've liked to. In any case, I'm very grateful for the opportunities I had to enlighten people on the importance of proper (correct) grammar, language capital, and diverse teaching methods.

Here's the second video in my #ClassroomConversations video series. (You can watch the first video here.) I am in my element--the classroom setting--discussing ways that the home, school, and community can impact a student's academic journey!

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Celebrating the Bookiversary of My First Grammar Book

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving!

Second of all, it's almost the bookiversary (book + anniversary) of my first grammar book, Look Better In Writing: A Quick & Easy Guide to Punctuation Marks (LBIW).

This time last year, I was writing and adding the finishing touches to the LBIW book. I released it on Black Friday in 2016. So, tomorrow, I'll be celebrating my bookiversary. In the past 364 days, my LBIW book has made its way to seven different college and university libraries. WOW!

In any case, I wanted to celebrate tomorrow by offering my LBIW book for $3.00. Say hello to Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Happy Gobble Gobble!

Nailah

Why November Is An Exciting Month For Writers

Why November Is An Exciting Month For Writers

Happy November, writers!

It's the first of the month...wake up, wake up, wake up! (Corny, I know.)

Anyway...

I'm excited because today is not just the first of any month, but it's the first of November...THEE month for writers!

For those who are not familiar, November is "National Novel Writing Month," also known as "NaNoWriMo." This is the month that a lot of writers were/are born. This is the month filled with tons of online writing encouragement and advice from other writers, novelists, etc. This is the month that I got serious about writing my first book, SoKoDiaries: An American Teacher Living in South Korea. (Although I didn't publish my first book until February 2013, it was mostly written in November 2012 while I was overseas in South Korea.) So much literary magic has happened since then!

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