Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seeking More Opportunities – A Series of Articles to Help You Achieve Your Dreams – (I) Global Youth Summit

If you're between 16-19 years old, this is an opportunity you shouldn't let pass!

Taken from the Global Changemakers website:

“In November 2011, the sixth Global Youth Summit will take place in the UK, bringing together social entrepreneurs, community activists and volunteers aged 16-19 from around the world. During the summit, the new Changemakers will be exchanging best practices and developing action plans for projects that tackle issues ranging from AIDS/HIV and corruption to education and human rights. Register on the site today so you can be the first to learn how to apply. The call for applications for the Global Youth Summit will go live on 4 July 2011 and will end on 24 July 2011. Download the Global Youth Summit 2011 one-pager (PDF) for more information.”

I have a few friends who are Global Changemakers and joining this program absolutely changed their lives. Supported by this community, they've traveled to China, England and other countries to make their voices heard. This initiative was founded in 2007 with the assistance of the British Council, and since then is growing every year to help the voice of youth advocate for their dreams. They offer regional and global summits, support grassroots projects and bring young activists to conferences such as the G20 meeting, the Global Humanitarian Forum and the World Climate Conference.

Take a look at their website and don't hesitate to send your application. If selected you'll find the Global Changemakers community a way to speak up and an opportunity to start making the difference in your community. Other than the Global Summits and other conferences, the Global Changemakers website also has a marketplace section to help you seek help for your project and / or seek new opportunities.

Seeking More Opportunities -- A Series of Articles to Help You Achieve Your Dreams

Yesterday, during lunch, I was asked about whether I see any differences between the students in Brazil and the students in the U.S. I must say that my reply was a quick “Yes, I do!” Perhaps I am not doing my fellow Brazilians enough justice, but from my tiny experiences as an international student, I've noticed that perhaps the students I've met in the United States were more ambitious (and to some extent more greedy) than the students I've met in Brazil. I'm not entirely sure whether those differences make each group, compared to each other, better or worse.

One could say, as I heard yesterday, that I might have a biased point of view, after all I went to a small private college in Wisconsin. But who hasn't? In order to avoid diplomatic incidents, then, I'll simply speak for myself and write this article based on my narrow-minded experiences.

I don't advocate for greediness. Far from it. My utopia consists of a world where people could live without worrying about the future. But I must add that most students lack of interest and self-consciousness might be what's killing their chances of building up the lives they'd like to live. In Brazil, and to some extent in the U.S., I've met many students who simply didn't think they were good enough and, thus, felt content exactly where destiny had placed them.

Yes, I know that sometimes (actually, most of the times) it is hard to think of yourself as capable of doing any better than what you are today. Dreaming, when one has no money to pay for the bills and buy groceries, almost look and feel like a sacrilege. Believe me, I've gone through similar experiences. I've lived without electricity for a few weeks because we couldn't afford it. It's almost ridiculous when I think that, despite all the difficulties my family had to go through in the past few years, I still was able to study abroad. How did I manage that? Perhaps I am the luckiest girl in the world, and I am sure God took care of me, but the main lesson I've learned from all this is that one should always seek for opportunities.

My homeland never felt very intellectual to me compared to the academic bubble where I lived for three years. But, although interest in getting a better education is important, academia is not exactly the formula to succeed in life. If you are reading this and wondering what to do to improve your life, I'd ask you one thing: what do you like to do? No matter what is your favorite activity, believe me, there are many ways (within reason!) to make money from it. It doesn't hurt to do a quick search online for fellowships, grants, ideas and whatnot, that could help you succeed in exactly what makes you feel good about yourself and about living.

I've got many emails, for instance, from people who'd like to hear more from me on what to do to study in the U.S. My dear Brazilians sometimes feel that it's almost impossible to envision themselves studying and working abroad, simply because life told them that it's really hard to make their dreams come true. It is hard, yes, but it is not impossible. You'd be surprised to find out that there are many people and many organizations interested in financing your dreams. From now on, then, I'll start posting articles on different opportunities for my readers who are interested in challenging their own current situations. But, before you continue reading this blog, here's your first homework assignment:

  1. Go to FastWeb and create a profile. After that, search for scholarships, jobs and internships that fit your interests. Apply to at least one of them.
  2. Type on Google: grants to help you become a full-time writer.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Will You Be My Writing Partner?


I had an idea for an epistolary novel and I'd like to know who'd be interested in writing it with me. If you're interested, just let me know and I'll explain what the plot would sort of be like, but the main idea is that we will be regularly exchanging emails. Our emails, then, will represent the letters of the characters we're developing. You're free to write your "side of the novel" the way you want and to develop your character accordingly. By the end of this project, which will be in English, we should start contacting publishing houses here in the U.S. Will you be my writing partner? 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Your Best Work Place

Do you feel that sometimes you can only write when you are feeling inspired? No matter what you do to push yourself to work on your stories, the plot only flows when the Muses are nearby. But why can't we just write whenever we want to?

If you could place yourself in a bubble of inspiration and stay away from everything that drains your motivation to write, what would this perfect environment look like to you?

Are you the type of writer who needs music in order to write, or are you a hardcore absolute-silence advocate? Do you work better at home or do you go somewhere else, like a coffee shop, to work? Write letting us know what type of work place better works for you.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Always Sunny in... California!

California is a very sunny place. Palo Alto, precisely, is a very sunny land. This is the view from our window. Look at the sky. It's entirely blue. No clouds at all, and nothing else; well, sometimes a few airplanes, because we're surrounded by airports. Sometimes a few noisy birds, too. And an occasional kite to give the final touch to it. But other than that, the Sun reigns supreme in the sky of Palo Alto.

My desk is next to the window and I can see the world outside while I am writing. It's nice to observe these sunny days, but sometimes I miss the wintry gloominess of Appleton, when the whole town seemed to be inside one of those snow globes. Perhaps, though, the heat and these bright days in California will inspire different ways of approaching my stories.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Feedback Addiction

Some time ago I found out about a website called Wattpad. First of all, I would like to recommend it to everyone who's seriously interested in self-publishing. Just in a few minutes you'd be able to see your work online, posted for many people to read, and quickly hear feedback from readers and other writers throughout the globe.

I must point out, however, that it is very addictive. If you are anxious to tell your stories, even the unfinished ones, to the world and get to know whether people like it or not, it is very likely that you'll develop a feedback addiction like I did.

On Wattpad I have 2 finished projects that might not be samples of my best writing, but they were stories I cared about. I got some feedback from Brazilian friends, and they're still online for you to read if you understand Portuguese. If you've been following me on Wattpad and also on this blog, though, you might have noticed that I had a few other unfinished stories I posted in English. Let me tell you, then, that I seriously had to delete them tonight.

My reasons for deleting them are very simple: I don't want to be a slave of feedback. I've been writing in Portuguese for my whole life. Just recently I started writing my stories in English, and I am actually surprised that my writing is flowing, that it might be getting somewhere. I was so anxious to see people's reactions to my work that I forgot the main reason behind writing them.

I forgot that writing is the activity that allows my soul to freely talk. Writing is what transports me to a world where I'm able to express myself without fear of judgement. Out of a sudden, then, I caught myself wandering away from what writing really meant in my life. I do respect my readers' opinions, who are always surprisingly kind and careful not to hurt my feelings, but I write first and foremost for myself, and this is how my writing should always be.

I am currently working on the prequel to a novel I wrote last winter. It is in English and I am seriously doing my best to hone my writing and the plot the best way I can. The main character is very dear to me, and she's definitely one of those characters who you'd like to find doing well by the end of the story. Wish me luck, for she's quite challenging.

Thanks. I wish you a happy writing. And be careful not to catch that feedback virus!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I'm a Storyteller

Hello. I am Rebecca Carvalho. If you've been following my other blogs, it might be a little weird to hear me introducing myself. But, if you're a new reader, it would be weird to simply start following my words without even knowing my name. Once again, hello, I am Rebecca Carvalho. I just graduated from Lawrence University, and although people say I am silly for thinking my life is just starting, I must say it to you: my life (or, at least, this vague idea of real life) started on June 5th, 2011, when I stepped out of the Lawrentian bubble. Perhaps that's all you need to know about my past. My present and my future, however, I'll share with you.

I am an author. In other words, I make up stories. This week I've been struggling with my new identity. I just left my dear alma mater and, because I no longer can identify myself as a student (although I will always devote myself to learning), I should be able to tell people what I am when asked. Is it fine, then, to say that I am a writer, even though I've only once financially benefited from writing? Is it true to say that I live by my pen? If writing has to do with sitting down with pen and paper, pouring down my thoughts without fear of speaking up, making up worlds and building up thoughts in my mind, then I've been a writer since I was born! If, however, writing has to do with making money out of it... then perhaps I am far from being an author. For literary purposes, for the sake of writing this blog and the sake of my ego, please, let me just say that I am, humbly, a storyteller.

Starting today I will tell you many stories. Some of them will be true. Others will be lies. But most of them will be a bold mixture of reality and imagination. There will be pieces on journalistic accounts and a few pages of the purest stream of consciousness and the biggest trivialities one could talk about. I will whisper to you secrets and the most confidential observations. I will make many gestures when telling you about my creative writing. Most importantly, I will let you enter -- but only you -- the world I've created within my head and meet dear characters I've befriended throughout my life.

This is my writing room, but you are cordially invited to join me while I feed this bitter-sweet creature called creativity. Please, do help me. There is not a lot one could do alone in this world. Good luck to you, and good luck to me.