Learning to Grow

A blog by Shalon Sims about creative writing, literacy, education and psychology

A beautiful long sentence about long sentences – Long Sentence #2

Pico Iyer wrote a playful and eloquent article for the Los Angeles Times about his decision to write long sentences as a form of protest against our world’s obsession with speed. He explained that as a young journalist he had succumbed to the need for speed and crunched his writing into short soundbites, but as he…
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Fear: a Curse Upon Me

This is an essay about overcoming fear and anxiety using different techniques such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The following topics are covered: What is Your Worst Possible Outcome? A Curse Upon Me: Fear My Journey with Fear Magical Thinking Facing the Worst Possible Outcome The Techniques: Decatastrophizing Finding the Good Further Reading What is Your…
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Cool Twitter Resources

Twitter Tips for Twitter Chicks This list of twitter resources and secondary applications will help you run your twitter effectively and with less effort: (Updated June 2011)

Resources for Writers

The following resources are in my media library from some of my blog posts: my personal writing style guide my quick reference sheet on Writing Advanced Sentences (with some basic grammar rules that everyone needs!) my favourite free mind-mapping tool: xmind.  Great for mapping out your complicated plot-lines and characters in an easy to visualise format YWriter is…
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What is grammar?

So, what is grammar?  One of the best definitions of grammar that I have heard comes from a book called The Practice of English Language Teaching (link opens book on Scribd), which defines grammar as: “the description of the ways in which words can change their forms and be combined to form sentences.“ For example, “I pie…
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25 Reasons to Read William Gibson’s Neuromancer

For the writers (and readers) out there who have not read (or who have not finished reading) William Gibson’s Neuromancer NEUROMANCER!  Well, I don’t want to come across as a book snob, but I do have to ask: How can you call yourself a well-read fictionado without having read Neuromancer?  (In classic Lily-style) I’m going…
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7 Types of Sentence Fragments and How to Use Them

People often think sentence fragments are bad, but they are actually a writer’s best friend when used properly. This article explores sentence structure in depth, and acquaints the reader with the seven types of sentence fragments. You will learn how to write beautiful, strong sentences that are varied and complex. This lesson is for beginner…
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It’s Time for Accountable Content on Blogs

We live in what is called the ‘information age’ and the world has been called the ‘Content Nation‘; people are now able to create content at rates that were truly unreachable even 20 years ago, and share that with people on the other side of the world.  It’s amazing–and very overwhelming.  Pete Cashmore (of Mashable)…
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Twitter for Beginners: Exploring your Interests & Making Connections

Learning & trying new things can be intimidating Late last year, my friend Rebecca, an artist in Vancouver, told me that I needed to join Twitter because it would connect me with all sorts of people who are passionate about the things that I’m passionate about.  I had been a user of Facebook since 2007…
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The single biggest predictor of obesity is low income

This evening I watched the documentary, Food, Inc., which exposes huge flaws in our food system and explains why unhealthy food is cheaper than healthy food (see this in-depth post). Somewhere near the middle of the documentary, they flashed the statement, “the largest predictor of obesity is low income” and it made a lightbulb go…
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Most frequently used words in English

Did you know that the average person uses only 2000-5000 words on a daily basis? One of the most important tools I use as an English, ESL & Literacy teacher is a most frequently-used-words list. It is possible to make countless vocabulary exercises & games from the crucial 2000 most frequently used words, and they…
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How many times should you tweet a blog post?

Well, up until today, I was only tweeting my blog posts once, but lately I have noticed that some bloggers that I am following are tweeting their posts more than once.  So, I did some research and here is what I found:

Collaborative self-publishing?

I recently read an interesting blog post about the pros and cons of self-publishing vs. regular publishing that really made me think long and hard about how self-publishing could be made more successful.   The answer that I came up with is a collaborative publishing platform.  I don’t think it has really been done yet, and…
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Book Review: The Story of B, by Daniel Quinn

During my research on spiritual fiction, I was recommended to read Daniel Quinn’s books, Ishmael and The Story of B.  At my local new-and-used bookstore, Companion Book, I found a cheap copy of The Story of B and I was pleasantly surprised while reading it. 

mindmap using xmind

Xmind: a Free Self-Exploration Tool

Xmind is a great–free–mind-mapping tool that you can use to explore yourself!