Shannon Philpott-Sanders

Writing, Reflecting, Teaching, Parenting

Trust Me … I have a Plan

If you asked my family whether or not they viewed me as a planner, I can guarantee that the answer would be no, maybe even Hell No.

This stems partially because I never seem prepared. I’m that mom in the carpool line digging through my purse fishing for quarters to pass out lunch money to my kids. I’m the driver scrolling through my GPS searching for directions on the way to my destination. And even worse, I’m one of those last minute appointment makers and birthday gift buyers (typically on the way to the party).

The reality is, though, that I am a mental planner. My ADD-ish brain is constantly in planning mode. Continue reading

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March 18, 2011 Posted by | Blog, Reflecting | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Meaty Story or Milky Mess?

 I’ve never been one to rush out the night before a “predicted” snow storm and buy up all the milk and bread on the shelves. In fact, I often refuse to go anywhere near the stores when a storm is brewing, especially since I don’t even like milk very much.

But, nevertheless, the rush of a “predicted” storm sends people into panic mode. They break out the survival skills and fill the fridge with necessities as if they will be snowed in for days.

Snow day panic mode is very similar to a journalist’s or writer’s looming deadline. We know it’s coming sometimes days or weeks before and we know what needs to be done, yet we don’t break out our survival skills until 10 minutes before closing time. Continue reading

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Contests: Guessing Game or Gut Reaction?

I’ve been playing a guessing game all day. It involves guessing what other people think, what they value and what they like. It’s called the contest game and it’s a game I hate to play every year.

The game is part of my job as a college media adviser. At the beginning of each year, my students and I pour over a year’s worth of newspapers and select entries in 27 categories for the Missouri College Media Association’s annual contest. Continue reading

January 11, 2010 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

If the Shoe Fits

shoeMy work as a freelance writer gives me the opportunity to meet interesting and insightful people. Whether I am having a conversation with the average “Joe,” interviewing an event organizer, or talking with experts in various fields, the people become more than just sources – they become very human during an interview.

 Even though as a journalist my job is to stay objective, there is something personal about each interview I conduct. The information this person is sharing usually contains personal experiences, feelings, beliefs, and advice. Almost always after an interview, I reflect and compare my personal experiences and try and put myself in the subject’s shoes.

 Today, the shoes fit, but at the same time, the shoes made me uncomfortable – comparable to the perfect looking shoe in a narrow fit when I need wide-toed shoes. Continue reading

August 27, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Parenting, Reflecting, Writing | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Love Most About Teaching

loveteachingNever in a million years did I ever think I would find myself in the teaching field. In third grade, I swore I was going to be a court reporter. In eighth grade, I was going to be the next Joan Jett. In high school, I wanted to pursue a career in music. At the onset of college, it was accounting, then music marketing, then public relations, then business, and ultimately, journalism.

I had big dreams to get OUT of school, not to stay in it. Continue reading

August 23, 2009 Posted by | Blog, Journalism, Teaching, Writing | , , , , | 1 Comment