Dear Miss Telall,
UGH!! I know that a lot of people will understand out there: I’ve been writing for a long time by myself and I’ve had writer’s block for a while. I just want to be able to find someone who will read what I’ve written with no judgement (especially because a lot is inspired by anime [mostly Full Metal Alchemist]). What do I do to get inspiration and revision if I don’t know anyone who can read my work for me? My parents aren’t great with english (it’s not their first language) and I don’t have friends who’d understand my anime hobby. Help?
Dear Writer’s Worry,
You’re in luck! Our very own library is hosting a Teen Fan Fiction and Creative Writing Group for grades (7-12) on June 15th! (I was so excited to get this submission!!). You’ll do some writing exercises and learn how to refine your work, and, most importantly be in a gathering of peers and friends who have the same hobby! Complete non-judgement, and great company sounds amazing. Maybe you’ll be able to get some inspiration from this! Email Saleena at email@example.com if you’re interested.
Other than that, there are a lot of methods to counter Writer’s block. If you truly feel like you don’t have someone to consult, maybe ask a teacher? They certainly won’t “judge” you and they’ve had a lot of experience looking through great writing. In terms of inspiration, try doing the opposite of trying harder. Give your writing muscles a break and relax somewhere that makes you happy. Stressing too much about producing quantity over quality is just going to narrow your view of the world. You need your mind to be free flowing to draw ideas and be creative. So, take a bike ride, go for a swim- set aside your work for awhile! You can also read other books for pleasure. Try getting recommendations for novels with great writing for inspiration. Finally, try first writing small pieces. Often, writers complain of writer’s block over their large projects like books or short stories. Revert to simpler projects like short poem, a few sentence parables, etc. Often, the issues is just that you feel stuck in a particular paragraph, sentence, etc. structure and need to break out of a monotonous literary style. Have fun!
Dear Miss Telall,
Junior year’s coming up (well after three months) and I get stressed out just thinking about it. I’m increasing the amount of hard classes I’m taking. The thing I’m really afraid of though are the standardized tests. I have no clue how to approach them!
Dear SAT Stumped,
Junior year is definitely a difficult time in high school. You’re juggling driving and the most important portion of high school together. Not to fear, Miss Telall is here! The College Board offers two standardized tests, the SAT and the ACT, along with a multitude of SAT Subject Tests.
Let’s start off with the SAT. According to PR, the SAT is an entrance exam created by the College Board used by most colleges and universities to make admissions decisions. The idea is to provide colleges with one common criterion that can be used to compare all applicants. However, the most important thing to remember is that it is just one factor in the admissions decision. The SAT is 3 hours, 50 minutes long with two math sections, an evidence-based reading and writing section, and an optional essay. The maximum score you can achieve on the SAT is a 1600 (800 for Reading and Writing, and 800 for Math). If you’re looking for some numbers, the Evidence-Based Reading section is 65 minutes long with 52 questions. The writing section is 35 minutes long with 44 questions. The math section is split into two parts, with a 25 minute no calculator section with 20 questions and a 55 minute calculator section with 38 questions.
Now for the ACT. The ACT is another entrance exam devised by the College Board, which tests college readiness. In the English section, there are 75 questions which you must answer in 45 minutes. In the math section, there are 60 questions which you must answer in 60 minutes. On the reading section, there are 40 questions you must answer in 35 minutes. Finally, on the Science section, there are 40 questions you must answer in 35 minutes.
As you can see, the time constraints on both tests are intimidating. However, there are plenty of resources to help you study. For instance, Khan Academy has an SAT/ACT test prep program on their website, which they created by partnering up with the College Board (so you can be sure that the questions are legitimate). There are also plenty of companies, such as PrepScholar or Prep Expert, that have created their own SAT/ACT test prep programs and have charted their students results (most are above the 1400 range after these programs). These programs are not affordable for everybody, so one thing you can do is buy a review book. Princeton Review and Barron’s have some great test prep programs for their students in the form of review books. You can also access practice books at the library or virtual tests from their databases (ask the librarians for details on how to access them)!
Just remember- don’t sweat it too much. It’s just a test, and you have plenty of ways to make that college application shine!