Inspire kids — it can shape the rest of their lives!

You know what’s awesome? Receiving a message from your high school journalism teacher — the woman who played a big role in me becoming a professional freelance writer, editor, and published author. Her name is Lana Smith, and she is one of a few mentors in my life who absolutely shaped the person I’d become and what I’d do for a career.

I began in journalism class at Widefield High School (in Colorado Springs) when I was a wee sophomore, went on to become the advertising manager and, eventually, the editor-in-chief for the WHS Gladitorial.

My first paid article appeared in the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper when I was 17 years old. I started writing in elementary school and have never stopped. I was blessed to have teachers and parents who encouraged me every step of the way.

Always support your kids in their passions/interests. It’s *incredibly* important to do so. Hearing from Lana today really made my weekend — and my week!

Books are books—READ and LEARN!

Books are books, regardless of how they’re shared with the world—via print, electronic means, or audio. Personal preferences aside, all are legitimate means of delivering written material for your personal and/or professional edification. You may prefer a print book, but its eBook counterpart is no less viable since both contain the same creative vision, author’s spirit, and communication therein. They are merely presented in a different way.

We are not going back in history, folks. We are moving forward, like it or not. Do not worry, though, because I predict that print books will never fully go away. There doesn’t have to be an either/or choice when it comes to books. There’s room for all means of distribution.

The key is for people to READ, regardless of how it happens. READING is what’s of primary importance. Not enough people read. If you want to put your energy behind something important, put it behind getting the word out about improving literacy and encouraging people of all ages — especially kids! — to read.

You’ve heard, “Reading is fundamental”? It damn sure is. The survival and evolution of humankind depends on it. As a communication major at the University of Colorado, I learned that you cannot NOT communicate. That is the first axiom of communication, as set forth by Paul Watzlawick’s book, Pragmatics of Human Communication: A Study of Interactional Patterns, Pathologies and Paradoxes.

Regardless of what you do — even if you’re not talking or writing — you are communicating, even if it’s nonverbally. It’s impossible to NOT communicate in some way. And since you must communicate in some form, it’s essential to educate yourself as best you can so you can communicate more effectively. Nobody communicates perfectly all the time. It’s an ongoing process.

Reading helps us think AND communicate better. If you cannot afford to attend a university, you can take FREE online college-level courses through MIT, Harvard, and 62 other educational institutions through Coursera.org. You can TEACH yourself to read better, comprehend what you’ve read, and analyze written content. Read, learn, improve. You owe it to yourself AND to the world!

Finished it: Social Psychology Network (SPN) member profile

Still tweaking this, but I’m officially a member of the Social Psychology Network (SPN). My current professor at Wesleyan, Scott Plous, is the executive director. The link to my profile is below. If you get a moment, trot over and check it out. Again, I’m still revising and adding to it, but it’s probably 95% complete. For some reason, the site’s not letting me upload a profile photo, but I’ll e-mail SPN to see if they can remedy that. Anyway, here’s a different side to me that includes my social psychology studies.

Member profile: http://www.socialpsychology.org/member/sninchak

Because pursuing one degree wasn’t enough, now I’m going for a second!

So, I made a big decision today — a positive one I’m excited about! Once things get settled with our living situation (because I need to focus on my new venture in addition to ongoing writing/editing work), I am going to pursue a degree in psychology. Most likely with an emphasis on Media Psychology, Social Psychology, or Spiritual Psychology (still deciding and checking out programs because I like ALL three of them, though Social Psychology is the front-runner as of now.)

The degree will be done completely online and through an accredited program. This decision takes me WAY back to when I first attended Phillips University and was carrying a second major in psychology. It also dovetails well with my existing University of Colorado education in Applied Communications (my primary emphasis thus far) as well as my minor in Philosophy.

I have some ideas about where I want all of this to lead, but for now I’m keeping mum about them. 🙂 However, I’m SO EXCITED and had to SHARE with you guys! And no, I’m NEVER giving up writing, editing, or teaching online writing courses. As I see it, this is an enhancement for me both personally and professionally.