Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

I Hear Voices

I love to read, but I have the shortest attention span. If a story does not hook me from the beginning, my mind starts to wander and I start thinking about my next meal, the laundry that is piling up and my never-ending to-do list.

A hook is crucial and for me, a good hook involves an interesting human subject in a good piece of writing (What is Good Writing?). I want to relate right away to a person’s life story, sense of tragedy or triumph and descriptive nature. Without a heartfelt, nail-biting hook, forget it. I’ll head off to do laundry. Continue reading


January 22, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What is Good Writing?

Every semester, it never fails, that a student asks me what constitutes good writing. I welcome this question although it is difficult to answer. The truth is that good writing is subjective and what I may deem as a good piece, someone else may not.

However, I’m going to attempt to answer this question with a list of possibilities – a realm of traits that have led me to rave about and cherish a piece of writing. Continue reading

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , | 4 Comments

Journo Nerd

I’ve always known that I had a nerd in me. I tried to hide it for years, but it finally came full circle when I admitted to my obsession with office supplies.

 Colored pens, cardstock paper, mini notebooks, cute little binder clips, file folders – all of it excites me. Every few months, I attempt to re-organize my files and my office. I pretend that it is necessary to get myself organized, but honestly, it is just an excuse to buy more office supplies and gadgets. Continue reading

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2009

Over the past six months, I’ve produced some heartfelt writing and some shabby fill-ins as my blog evolved. During this time, I’ve realized that what I thought was a great post (or a fun one to write) may not have interested or inspired anyone else.

 Today’s post is dedicated to what my readers have deemed as the top blog posts of 2009. The results are based on my blog stats and the number of page views – not necessarily scientific but definitely an indication of what you, as my readers, chose to read. Continue reading

December 30, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Parenting, Reflecting, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What’s My Niche?

Since I started this blog in July, I have read everything possible about blogging. From how to increase traffic to how to engage readers, the experts out in the blogosphere have so much to say.

I have learned a lot and I’ve followed some of the advice, but to be honest, much of it I have not. In particular – narrowing my niche. Continue reading

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Writing | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Foot-Friendly Writing Techniques

I’m a messy, unfocused writer at times. I make lists, slop words on a page, rant, rave, and then try to make sense of the mess. As I regularly explain to my Composition students, writing is naturally messy, but the process of cleaning up the mess is when the real writing begins.

 In order to craft a piece that is cohesive, concise, and focused, writers need to find personal strategies and processes that produce perfection. For me, finding my focus involves an odd tradition that has worked for me throughout the past 10 years – I put on my tennis shoes. Continue reading

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why I’m a Selfish Teacher

Before I was a parent, I never bought into the line “this hurts me more than you.” If I was getting grounded or disciplined, how in the world did it pain my mom more than me? But, as an instructor, the phrase bears a hint of truth. It does hurt me when a student fails, which is why I continue to be a selfish teacher.

My agenda is selfish – I want to grow and learn, too, and failure is not an option. Continue reading

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Twitter Fave Five

I’ll admit it. I’m addicted to Twitter. Beyond the laughs I get from the witty comments from  @fakeapstylebook and @menwithpens, I have been drawn to Twitter for information I get in a minute’s notice.

I don’t have to weed through RSS feeds or independent sites to get local, national, and international news; instead, I browse 140 characters of briefs that give me the option to read further if I choose to do so. Continue reading

December 2, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Writing: One Wild Ride

Many people often view writing as a chore – a painful task that invades their peaceful existence or one that is forced upon them in a classroom or work setting. Even as a writer, I sometimes find writing a challenging, heart-wrenching act but in the end, it is what I do again and again.

 For some, writing is like riding a bike. You work really hard to balance and build momentum – sometimes you take your hands off the handle bars and crash and burn; sometimes you breeze through the streets, storing up the adventure in that little wicker basket on the front end. Whether you crash and burn or master an impressive wheelie, most typically choose to keep on riding, take risks, hop on the two wheels, and continue with the journey. Continue reading

November 30, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No More Excuses, Whiners

We are clearly a society of whiners. We whine when life seems unfair and we whine when things don’t go our way. We whine to get out of tasks we should do and whine when we are forced to do these tasks out of necessity.

Even worse, when our whining loses its touch, we resort to excuses.

I’m guilty, too. I’ll whine that I’m tired in the morning thus creating an excuse not to go for a run. My whine temporarily makes me feel better and my excuse justifies my lack of motivation. The task at hand loses value and my lazy butt stays in bed for an additional 30 minutes. Ironically, later, I’ll probably whine that I’m putting on a few pounds.

While whining breaks down our resistance, our excuses enable us to head down the road to no-where-ville. Continue reading

November 24, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment