the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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hello again, friend

It’s been a while.

Things have changed, rather drastically, and dare I say that I feel like a different person? I think so. It’s December, and 2015 is coming to a swift end, which, obviously, calls for reflection!

Couple things!

I’m looking into re-launching this blog/website, but I’m ready for it to be a little more focused, and little less personal, and a little less commercial (in those few and far between posts that seemed so much like random articles we read online). But I’m not sure what that means! I do know that it means I want to add a page for my freelance writing services and possibly merge my portfolio onto here, while also keeping the other site as well.

I also know that I want the book reviews to come back and the reflections on literary events series to be in full swing. I mean, I get to experience SO many every month now!

Which brings me to my career update (and the bringer of joyous news!): 

  • I took a hiatus from blogging when I was hired by an independent bookstore (and the best, IMHO) as the Events Assistant. I have been privileged to work alongside authors such as Nick Offerman and Marlon James, to name a few. I also assist with social media and general retail in the store. (YES, I get to touch books all day, new and old!)
  • I started freelancing more and am currently a company newsletter producer and designer (and writer and journalist all in one!).
  • I became a barista at an independent coffee shop and trained in Dogwood Coffee classes.
  • But the best part is that I was hired as a Marketing & Publicity Intern at the prestigious Graywolf Press in Minneapolis!

I could have written a big giant post about all my excitement, but I realized that with these 4 unexpected new opportunities, I would need to concentrate on giving my 100% to all of the above. And being at Graywolf really showed me that all my 8 months of planning, researching, networking, and prepping to break my way into the publishing industry had paid off and helped me step into the glorious book publishing world.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Now as the internship draws to a close, I turn to the new year with more hope than I have ever had for my future career — no matter the timing, I know I can succeed (without moving to New York!).

So I will be brainstorming and deciding what this blog is really going to be. It was a journey to get to where I’m at now, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and share even more of what this creative world holds.

Cheers to change, hope, and reinventing creativity.

 

 

 

 

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you don’t need to achieve everything before 25

With my recent birthday – 23 – the age where I could no longer deny my post-college age and lifestyle, I have been thinking a lot about the way I function through my age. We 20-somethings deal with so much social pressure to be the best we can be right now without realizing the age we actually are.

Now, I agree with being your best (you should always be your best), but maybe we should define what “best” means for you. Maybe that means being the best at the age and place you are – excelling at your current job, building your experience, and meeting people.

For me, it means doing a little something towards my future every day, even if that just means going to work to earn my paycheck. Recently I’ve been getting down over not blogging every day, not working on my poetry/creative work, not “doing” anything to make myself the 20-something I want to be soon, career-wise.

What is this sense of urgency that drives me to feel this way? I don’t need to achieve everything before I’m 25 (or 27, or 30)!

I find myself becoming self-conscious when I see someone’s resume with tons of internship experience, or a literary agent’s assistant with all of his or her credentials, or a published article written by someone who has so many more. I think I want to be like them! Why am I not there yet!? 

But when I think about my actual life, I remember that I’m only newly-23. They probably are not, and if they are, good for them!

I’m only one year out of college – a year spent getting to know the special needs and health care community, a year spent getting to understand their behaviors, thoughts, and actions, a year spent figuring out what direction I want to go besides to be an advocate for them, and a year spent forming my marriage to my husband (don’t laugh at me, but since I’ve always treated marriage as the beginning and not the “end life goal,” I act like it’s no big deal that I got married. It is. And I shouldn’t take it – or the fact that it took a lot of work/time/energy to get here – for granted).

We are told the lie that we have to be achieving things now to be getting to where we want. But the fact is that these things take time. 

Have you made a LinkedIn profile? Edited your resume on InDesign? Written cover letter after cover letter, editing and making sure that everything looks perfect? Given yourself a well-earned episode of Friends after submitting your application, resume, and cover letter because you just spent all your energy on that one job application?

Well, I have. And even if you get that dreaded rejection email/phone call, know that your time was still well spent.

You don’t need to write a novel, publish a million articles or poems or creative work, or land a starter position at your dream company before you turn 25 (or 30). If you’re a 20-something like me, relax and keep at it. If I do achieve things in the next 2 years, I hope it’s something I can be proud of rather than something rushed or that caused anxiety, too much stress, or made me forget my other priorities in life.

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(Credit: Buzzfeed. Quote: New Girl)

What other priorities? Exploring my fabulous city, spending time with my husband and close friends, reading great books, trying the best food at recommended restaurants, and keeping up with pop culture, world news, and the best new music.

I’m learning how to be content with 23, with slowly working my way up in the world while also enjoying my life. Are you?

Can you relate to wanting to “do all the things” before you reach a certain age? What are your priorities that you don’t want to let achieving your career overshadow? 


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narrowing it down, but still keeping it big

Interests-Julia-ChildsIn light of my post from yesterday where I hinted at what I’ve been doing and how I don’t know exactly what I’m doing, today I’m going to give you some of my ideas and dreams.

I often get overwhelmed because of my many interests or things I want to try. But then I think about it. Trying something is quite different from doing or committing to doing it for a long period of time. Someday, my career will be something I’ve tried, tested, and found to be exactly where I need to be – doing what I love. I don’t have a ton of requirements other than that: doing what I love and doing something to impact many.

I’m also not about dropping everything I’m doing just to pursue one dream or idea that I love. I get ideas, I weigh them, maybe even try them, but I know it’s impossible for me to do everything at once or even everything I love!

For example, a couple weeks ago in a bad fit of depression, I found that dancing to hip hop music was therapeutic for me and decided I needed to pursue my dreams to be a really good hip hop dancer. I was stoked. Determined and on fire, I looked up dance classes in the Twin Cities area and realized that all things come at a cost – a good dozens of dollars that I either don’t have or that will only last me a short time. No, I didn’t “give up” on this “dream” of mine because of some funds, but I did realize that 1) I’m a pretty clumsy person to begin with, and 2) I just don’t have the time or money to be enrolled in the classes for as long as it takes. It’s still something I’d like to try one day soon, but realistically, I will not be that figure on the next “Just Dance” Wii game.

But back to career and writing-related topics: I have recently been told that I am wasting my time in my current job as a PCA. This specific, much-older-than-I friend told me that I should start my own business and become a writing coach, assuming that I wasn’t doing a thing in regards to my writing dreams.

However, I am. I have this blog. I am writing more magazine-based articles to query for and seek publication. I am working on becoming a contributing writer to one or more webzines, and I am in the application process of at least writing/social-media-related internship!

To me, that is way more than I was doing a year ago as I returned my graduation gown and rejoiced the first day I didn’t have to go back to school.

But where do I want to end up one day?

The more I read about book publishing, I want to intern at a publishing house, be an editor, and one day work my way up (because to be honest, I don’t know how the process works) to become a literary agent. Writing coaching sounds great, but I don’t feel I have enough knowledge/experience to don that name quite yet.

But why literary agent? Because I LOVE books, I love reading, and I believe I have a good eye. I would rather interact with and help others’ writing than publish my own books.

The other side of the coin is non-profit ministry and church planting work. I’ve already dabbled in both and loved it, but I haven’t had a heavy writing-based position in either. One day that is what I want to offer to a ministry that shows others the love of Christ – my writing skills.

Thus, I believe I have been (somewhat) able to narrow down my passions, interests, and dreams into cohesive goals and/or aspirations that could actually come true! It will just take commitment, focus, and determination. It may change, and I may discover other things I am better at.

Some of my interests include: books/writing/poetry/memoirs, editing/copywriting/freelancing, design, travel/Italy/Europe, DIY projects, knitting, coffee/being a barista, hip hop music/dancing, ministry (pro-life, church/church planting, art and faith, writing-based), eating healthy…. (I could truly go on and on).

But which of those am I truly passionate about to pursue to the next level? Sometimes I think my 3.5 years in college only taught me how to narrow down or eliminate things that I like and things that won’t work out. For example, I LOVED theater and acting when I started at Northwestern, and after many disappointing auditions and a lot of frustrating back-stage work, I realized that I wasn’t ever going to act at the Guthrie one day.

Here’s the thing: I am only 22. I have time. I have time to decide what I want to do, what I’m passionate about, and what will become my hobbies rather than my professional work. It’s healthy to have both! Besides, I’m always changing and discovering new things! And as for the things I haven’t “eliminated” yet, maybe one day I will open a quaint bookstore with my darling husband, being a barista included. Maybe I will be a literary agent toting two toddlers and a cat, writing essays on the side. Maybe I will go live in Europe again.

Who knows. I’m trying to push past the anxiety and enjoy everything I do, living 100% in each moment and doing it one step at a time. That’s the best advice I’ve ever heard on this subject.

Do you ever get overwhelmed by all your desires and interests? What has helped or did help you narrow it down?


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thoughts about my career life

Today, I am doing Writing for Magazines homework, which, at this moment, entails finding a magazine that accepts freelance writers that I could submit a piece to.

My last project was a zombies and spirituality article I wrote for relevantmagazine.com (which is still in the drafting process, though I plan to share it with you soon!). For round two, I’m having troubles. The travel bug in me has turned into somewhat of a zombie itself, whispering “italyyyyyyy. ITALYYYYYYYY” in my brain until I just can’t take it anymore: I have to stalk my study abroad school’s photos to see what they’re all up to. 

Then I start getting sentimental, I think of ideas for my personal essay I’m writing for senior project about my experience, I get on Tumblr, turn on the Candlepark Stars… and I’m gone. 

This time, I stopped myself. I googled freelance writing magazines and have been perusing the travel writing guidelines and submission possibilities ever since. Then the idea occurred to me. Haven’t I been born and raised in Minnesota? Can’t I write something fresh and new about my very own homeland? 

Pushing away the doubts and lies of “oh you’re too young. You haven’t really experienced Minnesota or city life at all, how could you write a piece and expect to get accepted when you haven’t even kept up on these magazines,” etc etc and blah blah blah, I decided to see what’s out there.

#boom 

And then I start to get dreamy again. 

http://www.minnesotamonthly.com/media/Blogs/Minnesota-Journeys/Meet-the-Bloggers/

I mean, look at these people. They’re living in their amazing hometown city and they get to explore and write about it for a living (well, I assume). And then they get to travel elsewhere too. 

Is it too late (or, rather, too soon) for me to dream? Can’t this just be me one day? 

And yet, I soon think about other factors: my introvertism and how I’m not sure city life would really be the thing for me (we’ll see what happens when I start living next to noisy neighbors in an apartment complex), or how what I really really want to just write for a ministry of some kind and get to work by forming relationships with people and serving them, or how… or how… 

Excuses. 

Who knows what’s going to happen. Maybe one day I will write a mind-blowing article about some awesome thing to do in St. Paul. Or maybe I’ll write a homeschooling article (now there’s where my experience comes in. Ha. That could be interesting) or a piece on “going up north” and all those things we Minnesotans do (don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. You betcha). 

Finding something fresh and new that hasn’t been written before is so, so challenging. But I can’t let that stop me from engaging in what I am experiencing and writing it all down. The fear of rejection can be a harmful anchor, and I refuse to let that prevent me from trying to succeed at something I love. 

This degree will be worth it. Prepare to see my fruit. Image

(photo courtesy of http://srephoto.deviantart.com/art/Minneapolis-Skyline-165237664)