Goodbye twenty-fourteen

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 42 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Learning from Godin

A couple nights ago, I listened to a podcast interviewing Seth Godin, who is a marketer, entrepreneur, and a public speaker. Godin made several statements and claims when he was being interviewed by Krista Tippett on On Being, but the claim that stood out to me was when he said

We are all artists.

These four words are so powerful. I am an artist. I express my art skills in various forms, especially in writing. In my AP Language and Composition class I write essays about the things I am most passionate about: my family and baking. Writing is a special form of art for me because it combines many forms of art into one. I’m a writer, a baker, and a photographer. I’m lucky to be in an English class where I get to do all of the three things. Most of my creative writing essays in English circle around my family and baking. I, along with three of my other friends are in progress of writing a book containing essays of everything we love. Its an exciting journey and every essay I write in class I put my full effort and passion into.

So I take her to the kitchen and pour her favorite cereal. It’s Honey Bunches of Oats with sliced Almonds. It’s funny to think that all kids are crazy for Froot Loops or Coco Pebbles in the morning but my sister likes the same cereal as me.

-Morning Adventures

Writing is my strength. A couple of months ago I wrote a narrative essay, which I spent a load of time on, and I had my peer editing group in English review it. After being criticized, edited, and being brought back to life, Morning Adventures, an essay about my baby sister and I baking cupcakes, officially became the sweetest essay that I wrote. And my teacher gave me an A 🙂 which made me love writing even more.

The book that is soon-to-be published excites me because I can express myself as not only as ‘Zainab the writer and baker’, but also as ‘Zainab the artist behind the camera.’

YES, I get to have my pictures featured in there. On a recent post on my group’s publishing house blog, I wrote about the reasons I write. As the featured image for that blog post, I posted a picture of Red Velvet cupcakes I made. It wasn’t a big deal that I posted a picture online, (I do it all the time on this blog!) what mattered was that I was using my pictures on a shared blog that had a different audience.

That brings me to the next point that Seth Godin said

Technology empowers change.

Techonolgy allows me to connect with so many people, people who I don’t personally know, and it can be people who have the same perspective as me. Technology is an amazing tool that connects us all with a thread of ideas. It provides me with information and keeps me updated throughout the day. I have “twitter chats” in my English class to discuss novels and put our ideas out there in the world. Twitter Chats are effective because people can share and post ideas individually or collectively and since no one has to raise their hand and speak aloud, even the quiet students feel comfortable. I saw the impact my English class left on twitter that day. Our hashtag #linin6 was trending on twitter!

Towards the end of the podcast, Godin addressed the parents concern on their children using social media. This part was most interesting for me because my parents are concerned about my social media.

And the choice is — keep your kids out of the connection world and isolate them and make sure they’re “safe.”

-Seth Godin

About a year ago when I asked my parents, “Can I create a twitter?” their response was “Why?” Unable to come up with a sufficient response, my only reason was “because my friends have it.” My parents didn’t buy it and I didn’t ponder too much about it. However as the months passed, it became mandatory in my English class to have a twitter and my finally gave in.

Aside from using my twitter for twitter chats, I use it to be updated with news all over the world. BBC. CNN, WSJ, Al-Jezeera are my main NEWS feed. I follow contestants from Masterchef USA to keep updated with their journey through the competition and I follow so many baking accounts, my favorite being @SallysBakingAddiction.

of course my parents were worried about me at first. They worried about the content I would be viewing, the time I would be wasting, and the people I would be interacting with. But they trusted me. They trusted me when they handed me my Samsung Galaxy and allowed me to have a twitter.


Tweets from my Institute of Knowledge Conference

I don’t tweet a lot, but when I do, I try to make it meaningful.

The final thing Godin talked about was how people are afraid of being wrong. I agree with him on this point because I feel that way a lot in most of my classes. I think twice about the answer I’m going to say infront of the whole class because who wants to be known as the person who put in “good effort, but that’s not the right answer.” No one likes to be judged and I really liked an activity my English teacher did with the class when we were analyzing ads. He paired us in groups of 4 and we went around the class writing on a poster the Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose, and Tone of the advertisement. The ads ranged from anything between chapstick to anti-bullying. What the small groups taught me was confidence. Confidence in my answers. My teacher walked by us once in a while, but other than that, we were on our own and no one felt pressured. After this ‘practice’ session of analyzing the ads, I analyzed an IKEA ad at home using the same techniques we did in class.  IKEA Ad Analysis

The podcast by Seth Godin is one that I recommend everyone to listen to and you can find the written version it here. The podcast is 50 minutes long but trust me, its so great that you’ll be grabbing a pen and paper to jot notes down.

Godin wants us to bring the inner artist out from within ourselves. Zero drafting helps bring out the passionate writer inside of me. I go through the process of zero drafting once every week and it helps me collect and formulate any ideas that are running through my head. A zero draft is an outline/draft that is written in 10 minutes about a topic which is generally broad. The only rule you need to follow before you write a zero draft? Don’t pick up the pencil or even pause for a second. Making full use of the ten minutes is best for maximum amount of ideas and its actually surprising how fast the time flies!

Zero drafting is a technique my teacher uses to arouse our minds and get us thinking. I really wish that Godin would expand and show how art is something any one of us can do. I like it when he explains ‘group art’ because I do a lot of that every week with my publishing houses group. We work together and count on each  other to create something bigger than ourselves.

Bring forth the artist inside of you,

❤ Zainab