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8 Tips for Asking People Out

This entry’s a bit different than my usual fare. After watching the video embedded below, I started writing a comment. After about 500 words, I realized it was more of a blog entry. Then I realized I have a blog! So despite not really being in the “dating” phase of my life, I wanted to add my thoughts.

So, here are my advicey thoughts.

1) Ask if they’re single first.

I almost always asked people I was interested in whether or not they’re single. Which, I know, sounds awkward. A lot of people prefer to beat around the bush on this one, hinting at what they want to find out without directly saying it. Oddly, my experience has taught that it’s a lot more pressure than just saying, “By the way, are you seeing anyone right now?” If you don’t make a big deal out of it, it usually won’t feel like a big deal.

Sure, there are ways to get your answer without asking. They may have already mentioned their status, and you can always check their Facebook as a preliminary measure. If the relationship status of your lovely somebody remains unclear, I seriously recommend asking outright.

That said, I also recommend setting up a situation where you can reply with a non-awkward response if they say they’re romantically unavailable. So, for example, talk about a movie and then say, “By the way, are you seeing anyone?” If they say yes, suggest a double date! You wanted to get to know this person better because you thought they would be a awesome addition to your life, right? Well, now maybe you can have two awesome additions—plus the incentive to go find someone else interesting enough to ask out.

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Call to the Void

So, there’s this kid who made this video. He’d done a few YouTube videos, and he got his first “like.” And he was just so pumped because it meant there were people out there. That people actually saw what he was making and took the time to click that little thumbs-up button.
“I just can’t believe it,” he said. Couldn’t stop moving, that little gesture made him so excited. He said it sent him through the roof. And I just think of the innocence and the optimism and the hope and the gratitude of it all. This kid reaching into the void and being so happy to find even the slightest sign that the void acknowledged his presence.

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8 Musts for Writing a High-Impact “Linkbait List”

I’ve spent the last four years as a full-time freelancer, and there are plenty of things I wish I’d known about creating high-impact content when I started. The most valuable thing I’ve learned is how to write the types of content that get audience engagement. There are plenty of ways to do this, of course, and I’ve sometimes been surprised by the content that went viral. Among the tried and tested types of high-engagement content, however, you’ll find a concept known as a “linkbait list.”

Basically, you provide a rapid-fire list of tips, tricks, ideas, facts, or examples targeted at a specific topic. I really enjoy both writing and reading linkbait lists, but as you’ve likely seen for yourself, some of them are terrible. This article will walk you through the types of linkbait lists that have the highest success rate—and that leave both writer and reader feeling satisfied.

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Where the hell have I been?

This is one of those posts that only about 15% of you will care about. It’s not profound, creative, or even particularly well written. Rather, it’s my update on what I’ve been doing—accompanied by a reassurance that neither myself nor this blog are dead.

Those of you who are members of the crew heard from me at the beginning of this month. About a month before that, I sent the third email outlining my current projects. Even telling you about my projects was a project I didn’t follow through on.

Some of what’s been going on is applicable. I’ve been working as the managing editor of a literary journal, presenting at a conference on engaged learning, preparing to present at a conference on educational development in Sweden (ICED 2014), writing a book on engaged learning (with a team of seven other writers), solidifying a creative writing community in my area, attending classes, and obsessively reading the Song of Ice and Fire series. (Season 4 premieres in just over a week! Gotta prevent spoilers!)

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Why Netflix Makes You a Better Writer

Why Netflix Makes You a Better Writer

Today’s technology provides innumerable new resources for hopeful writers, and one of the most powerful learning hubs is found in online video. When used appropriately, services like Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, and the countless other online video hubs provide some of the most powerful, thorough, and affordable learning centers for up-and-coming creative writers.

Are you finding that difficult to swallow whole? Consider this: Through sites like Netflix, we get a sense of the broad story arcs through “binge watching” opportunities, are able to filter for higher-quality content, browse in an environment that promotes experimentation, and access a discovery engine that helps introduce us to new work.

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8 Hilarious Videos to Watch for National Grammar Day


Happy National Grammar Day! (No, seriously. It’s a thing.)

This holiday is relatively new (circa 2008), and comes to you from a group of enthusiastic grammar nerds. Now, I may not be quite as deep into the “should” of language as many of the most passionate members of the grammarian community, but I do take pleasure in the elegance of a well-formed sentence. Grammar lets us communicate clearly and effectively—and, just as important, it gives us a set of rules that we can intentionally violate for effect.

I wanted to fill you in on some details of the day. The rest of this article will give you information on the holiday, a few of the nerdy happenings and opportunities available for you, and some of my favorite grammar-related videos.

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