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Creativity is Easy, Execution is Hard

On Executing "Big Ideas" and Leadership

When it comes to leadership, I find that execution of a “big idea” is as important as the creation of the idea in the first place.

My senior year of college at UNCW, I came up with an idea, in which my literature professor helped me to turn into an on-campus panel discussion.

One Saturday afternoon in the spring of 2006, I emailed my UNCW . . .

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June 20, 2017

Writing Poetry is About Being Aware of When to Write

And Less About Knowing How to Write Something That Rhymes

I started regularly writing poems in 2009 after two friends asked me to help them write song lyrics. My friends Zack, Marcus and I were sitting around a campfire late one night in the mountains. Zach was holding a guitar and Marcus was playing a banjo. Zack said “Nate, you were an English major. Do you think you teach us how to write song . . .

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May 18, 2017

Distraction is No Excuse for Millennial Adults

Four Tips to Help the Untrained Brain

As a college English teacher, I often hear students flippantly self-identify as being easily distracted. My students speak as if this is unusual and inevitable. It seems as if they’ve been taught that a distracted brain cannot be cured, outside of ADHD medication.

Being a 33-year-old American adult who is easily distracted, I consider some of . . .

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November 08, 2016

Three Methods for Brainstorming: Finding Creative Ideas to Write About

Finding a Place to Think, "Word Vomit" and Collaborative Brainstorming

If you are attempting to write something meaningful and cohesive you must have some method for accomplishing your writing goal. When we decide to write, we must have methods for A) getting an idea to write about or B) developing the idea we've chosen so that it is clear.

How do you write well in a loud, noisy, distracted world? Here are . . .

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May 19, 2016

Do college students need church?

We should not underestimate the mentoring that churches provide to the stressed out college student.

As a community college English instructor, I often hear conversations about what we can do to help students graduate. We want students to complete their degrees as efficiently as possible so they can move on to a four-year university or immediately into their career path. Educators today are skilled at helping students gain work ethic, . . .

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April 03, 2016

The North Carolina State Motto: One Reason I Became a Christian

During my senior year of high school that I achieved the goal of becoming semi-popular. High school is more like a hierarchy than a democracy. My senior year I had tasted what it felt like to be near the top of that hierarchy. Some of it conscious and some of it unconscious, I had struggled for three years of high school to be admired by . . .

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February 13, 2016

Taylor Mali's Reasons Why It Has Become Uncool to Sound like you Know What You are Talking About

The Consequences of Repetitively using "Like" and "Ya Know What I'm Saying"

"It has somehow become uncool to sound like you know what you are talking about" is the opening line to a short Youtube video (with nearly 2 million hits). I've shown this Taylor Mali speech to over 20 sections of English composition over the last 3 years. That is, I show it to all my composition classes. This semester I showed . . .

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December 31, 2015

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