Picking Up Where I Left Off

Oh, how I’ve missed you, Powerful Belief.

I’m sorry everyone. I’ve been neglecting my duties as a blogger lately. This is my final semester of college (woohoo!) and I’ve been busy with classes, working, and my internship at Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine. It’s not an excuse to cut back on my positive thinking posts, but I’ve been distracted.

I’m writing weekly blog posts for DWH, for whatever it’s worth. You can check out my first two by clicking here and here! I’m having the time of my life doing it. It gets to the point where I don’t want to leave my desk and go home. I’d rather keep writing and researching weddings/honeymoons all day long. Can you blame me?

It’s time for us to get to the good stuff, though. It’s time to talk about powerful beliefs.

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I’m writing this post for any other writers or bloggers out there, but feel free to interpret as needed to fit your life. Everything I write can easily be translated into another dream or goal, even if it isn’t the same as mine.

I want to talk about one piece of valuable advice I’ve received as a writer. It’s the one that keeps me going and keeps me striving to be better. I first heard it in Anne Lamott’s novel Bird by Bird. It goes something like this:

If you want to be a writer, just write. Write regularly, whether you feel like it or not.

The only way to be a better writer is if you keep on writing. There will be days where you can barely muster up the courage to put words on paper (or computer screen), but the only way to get better is by doing it. That’s why I’m writing this post today. I want to constantly practice, even if I’m just writing a little blog post like this one. It’s the act of doing it that sends out the positive energy.

If blogging is your passion, never stop blogging on a regular basis. It can be tough to see the purpose of our efforts. We can’t see the bigger picture of how it will pay off in the long run. Trust me when I say that it will. Every minute of practice is making you better than you were before.

If you aren’t a writer, switch out writer/blogger for whatever it is that  you wish to be. If you want to be a computer programmer, get to programming. If you want to be a yoga instructor, do some yoga. It’s simple advice, but sometimes we need the reminder.

This is my little introduction to getting back to blogging regularly. I hope to get back to my minimum of two posts a week. If you’re a writer/blogger, what’s the best advice you’ve been given? Share it with me. Leave a comment.

The Power of Serendipity

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So much of life depends on chance meetings, twists of fate, or pathways that suddenly branch out in a new direction. -Deepak Chopra

The quote above is one of my favorites. It embodies all that is true about serendipity, or finding great things by chance. These words have been represented in countless ways, from “Stop searching and it will come to you” to “Go with the flow.” In other words, we will get what we deserve when we least expect it, and life’s twists and turns are an important part of the path we’re meant to go down.

I want to share part of my life story with you – the story of how all of my dreams came to me by chance…

When I was a junior in high school, a friend suggested that I write for the school newspaper with her. I’d always enjoyed English more than any other subject, so I thought, why not? It was a path I’d never expected to go down, but I loved every minute of it. Interviewing people was a way for me to come out of my shell. Writing articles gave me a newfound sense of confidence.

As my senior year came to an end, our newspaper teacher suggested that I study journalism in college. He said that my writing was strong and it would take me places in life. I decided to take his advice and run with it.

One year later, I was a freshman in college, studying Magazine Journalism. I took two classes, News Reporting and Editing I, with Professor Brunson. I put my all into these classes, feeling (for the first time in my life) honest interest in the subject matter. After earning the highest score on both midterms, Professor Brunson sent me a private email. It was a message I’d never expected to receive. It was a twist of fate that branched out into the rest of my dreams in life.

He said that he was impressed by the work I’d done over the past year. He saw great potential in me and wanted to help me accomplish my goals in life. We had a meeting, discussing my dreams for the  future. He admitted me into the UCF Society of Professional Journalists and gave me the link to their Facebook page, where regular internship and job opportunities are posted.

That Facebook page is where I stumbled upon the internship opportunity at Parenting magazine. It was a life-changing opportunity. I learned the in’s and out’s of magazine publishing, writing for a magazine with millions of subscribers. It solidified my dreams, showing me that magazine writing has the power give me genuine happiness.

Last week, I stumbled upon another fantastic opportunity on the very same website. It was an internship position at Destination Weddings & Honeymoons magazine, located in the same building as Parenting. I slipped away from the Parenting office and went for an interview, and you won’t believe the result.

As I was writing this very blog post, about the luck of finding things by chance, I received a call from the editor of Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. It happened 10 minutes ago, as I was typing. They’d love it if I would be their intern for next semester, my final semester of college.

I tell you this story for a reason.

Sometimes, things that come to us by chance have the power to change our lives completely. Don’t be afraid to stray off of the path you’re on right now. One little risk I took, to write for my high school newspaper, ended up showing me all I want to achieve in life. That one experience led to my dream of being the Editor in Chief of a magazine one day.

It was serendipity, coming across a great thing by chance, that created these opportunities. One small twist of fate led to another. The same thing can, and will, happen to you. All you have to do is be open to it. Be ready to take those risks and accept the twists of fate when they come storming your way. You never know when a fork in the road will lead you to the treasure you’ve been waiting for.

Do you have a powerful story of serendipity? Share it with me. Leave a comment.

A Letter to my Fellow Procrastinators

There’s a good chance (if you’re a bonafide procrastinator) you’re reading this blog post as a way of procrastinating. It’s more appealing to read an entertaining blog post than to write an essay or do the dishes. I only know this because I read other blogger’s posts as my own way to put off more important things.

I’m even writing this as a way of procrastinating, right this very moment. I’m sitting on an airplane, avoiding the homework I know will be put off until last minute, and writing this blog post instead. I am the queen of procrastination.

There are times when I feel like my work comes out better when I have no time left finish it. There’s something magical about that last hour before a deadline, so I wait until that time is near before even starting. I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard from many procrastinators who do the same thing, those who say that it makes their work better too.

But is this just something we tell ourselves? Could it simply be a way to justify our own laziness? Think about it. If we would just begin working on something when we initially hear about it, then revise and revise until the deadline, of course it would come out better than our quick and easy version.

It never works out that way though. I think this might happen because our minds will do anything to avoid hard work. We tell ourselves the most ridiculous excuses, or spend hours doing useless tasks before getting to what really should be done.

I clean the house whenever I have a large homework assignment due. And I’m not talking about just wiping down the counters – I put every little thing away, make the bed, vacuum, and do the laundry, all before even looking at my homework. Every single time.

This, of course, is ridiculous. I’m aware of that, which is the first step to recovery.

So, how do we stop procrastinating?

I can’t remember exactly where I heard this advice. I think it was on Zen Habits, the blog written by Leo Babauta, but I’ve never forgotten it since.

Here is one easy way to stop procrastinating: Start. Just start whatever it is you’re avoiding. Once you take that first step, the annoying task will become effortless. This is what I tell myself when I know I’m procrastinating and have no desire to begin. I tell myself that all I must do is start, and it works every time.

I knew I needed to write a blog post today, but I wasn’t sure how to stop avoiding it. So all I did was begin. I began to write about the topic of procrastination, and everything flowed from there. Apply this technique every time you find yourself avoiding something. All you have to do is start.

But don’t always beat yourself up over procrastinating, like I do. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and relax. Another quote I always remind myself of from time to time is this one:

Time you enjoy wasting is not a waste of time.

What are some of your peculiar procrastination habits? Do you think we really work better at the last minute, or is it just an excuse? Leave a comment.

Unexpected Dreams & Success

Sometimes, it’s the dreams we never even knew we had that prove to be the most fulfilling.

I wanted to write a quick post about a small dream that came true for me, a dream I didn’t even know I had. As I said in my last post, I’m doing an internship at Parenting magazine right now. I’ve been dabbling around in all areas of work, trying to find my niche.

I recently started writing posts for the Parenting – Show and Tell blog. My first post received 27 Facebook likes, 6 tweets, and zero comments. It wasn’t much, but to simply see my name on there made me feel proud. I decided to write to the online editors the next day and ask if I could do another post. They suggested I write about a boy who wrote a letter to the NFL, asking if they would use pink penalty flags for breast cancer awareness.

My mom called me today telling me that my post was the first headline on the AOL homepage. In three hours, the blog post went from having 20-something likes to over a thousand! It went from zero comments to 128, which is more comments than any of the Parenting posts have received this month.

It’s such a gratifying feeling to know that such a large number of people care about something I wrote. This is the dream I didn’t even know I had. When I wrote the blog post, I remember thinking to myself “People are going to like this…” and look at the result. I wrote it for fun and entertainment, and it turned out to be something thousands of people liked.

This is why I push you to follow your dreams in any direction. Things won’t always go down the path you have planned, but sometimes, the new path is the one you were meant to go down. I hope and pray that one day this blog, Powerful Belief, can reach the same kind of appreciation. I hope that I’ll unexpectedly write about something on here that inspires thousands of people.

From now on, I’ll be doing my best to write posts for Powerful Belief on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s. Please leave a comment here and let me know your thoughts, your dreams, and if anyone is out there reading this!