Seizing Opportunities

I’m not really the most qualified to write about this. I’ve not actually had many opportunities worth mention come my way, let alone seized them. But that’s part of what this is about. The opportunities I have had have been beyond incredible, and I couldn’t imagine my life without them. But I passed others by and dreamed of others without them appearing.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel to Europe on three separate occasions, each for a month or longer; to freelance edit through a small publishing company; to become friends with some amazing people; and to write on a daily basis and have people actually interested in my work, even if it’s only a handful of people.

Some of these opportunities were handed to me; others I worked my butt off for and still am. But here’s the thing a lot of people don’t tend to think of about opportunities: most are not handed to you; most of them you have to make.

I’ve never been very good at taking initiative. I enjoy being given assignments and then working until they’re finished. But the things you really want in life rarely come in such a fashion. My study abroad trip was an opportunity that was presented to me, but I had to work like crazy trying to raise the money to go and studying French with vigour, and it was the same for my internship a couple years later. I’m awful at fundraising, but I worked as hard as I could until I got to where I needed to be. And after I arrived in France, I did everything I could to ensure I was giving 100% to getting the best grades possible and do the best work I could with the best attitude. Some days seemed easy, others seemed like death, and others could almost be ignored. But I never stopped working with everything I had while I was studying or interning.

When I started freelancing, I rarely got any work, and most of it ended up being pro bono. Eventually I started getting asked if I could edit things for particular prices, and who was I to turn them do? I started to build up my resume bit-by-bit, and I will continue doing so my entire life. But if I hadn’t started editing for free and trying to get my name out there among friends and such, I never would have gotten the recurring position I have at the publishing company. I’ve only had three projects with them so far, but each project has taken well over 35 hours of work and taught me more than I could have ever expected about the editing world, the different writing manuals, and my own ambitions in editing. I’ve learned that I definitely prefer editing fiction works, even though most of my paid editing work has been nonfiction; I learned that I prefer APA to MLA or Chicago, despite the fact that I know MLA the best; and I learned that I will never know everything about editing, no matter how much I study and work.

Many times over the years, I’ve let my anxiety stop me from meeting people and becoming friends with them. Thankfully, I’ve not let each opportunity to make a new friend pass by because my life would be quite drab without those humans whom I’m lucky enough to call my friends. It can be odd to think of friendship as something that you have to work at, but it can be really difficult sometimes, whether it’s because of drastic differences in current moods and opinions or busyness and full schedules making it near impossible to talk to/see your friends. For me though, I have to work a little harder. I tend to feel on a regular basis as though even my closest of friends hate me, even though I know it’s far from true. The negative thoughts and overwhelming fears that are constantly flooding my mind tell me that I’m an awful, worthless, despicable, clingy human being. And they also tell me that if I think that of myself, then others must think far worse. Feeling like that can make it nearly impossible to talk to friends, let alone strangers and acquaintances, and I constantly have to remind myself that those things aren’t true. It’s difficult to think positively about such things, and it’s even more difficult to act upon the positive thoughts by messaging people and showing them that I care about them, no matter how I feel that day.

Almost everyone has the opportunity to write nowadays and even the opportunity to have a public audience of some sort. But writing is one of the things I am most passionate about, and it’s also one of the things I have to work the most at. Sometimes writing can seem easy, and it tends to get easier the more I do it. But it is also one of the most difficult things to do, especially when trying to write things that appeal to your audience, that you enjoy writing, that are well thought through, and that are entertaining to read. And all of those things changes so much from post to post and project to project.

I—we—need to stop letting opportunities pass us by. We need to stop waiting for opportunities to present themselves and get up and create our own opportunities. Because the ones we make for ourselves tend to be the most satisfying. I know I’m going to keep creating more opportunities to grow creatively and to encourage others in their lives, their creativity, and their imaginations. What opportunities are you going to create for yourself?

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My Top Three Pet Peeves

This certainly isn’t a topic I’d usually write about, by why not give it a go?

Let’s start with the lowest first, shall we?

  1. People clipping their nails in public.

I’ve never understood how people can do this. I understand wanting to even them out and trim them, but why not wait until you’re home? Okay, I know this one is a little ridiculous, but I hate the sound of it. I don’t know why, but I do. The sharp clicking and snapping that occurs as the metal pinches through the keratin makes me gag. I don’t even like hearing the sound when I’m clipping my own nails, and I can handle it far better than when I can hear others doing so. I definitely know how it feels to break a nail and to want to fix it, but you can use a file for that and shorten the others when you return to you abode. Am I right?

  1. Not following the enter and exit signs for stores and the like.

Seriously? They are clearly labeled. Very clearly labeled. Unless it’s the Walmart Neighborhood Market across the street from where I’ve been staying…then one door is marked “Entrance” with the small red “Do Not Enter” sign below it, and the other is marked “Exit” with the small green “Enter” sign underneath it. When it’s raining or you’re in a giant hurry, it can be really tempting to go in through the exit if it’s closest, but taking one or two seconds longer to enter won’t make that much of a difference. Plus, it makes it difficult for those who are (italics) following directions to get through the doors. Yet again, this is fairly silly, but there are stickers and signs everywhere.

  1. “Learn English!”

This is by far my biggest pet peeve, especially when these words are uttered by travellers. I’ve met countless Americans who only speak English that think anyone and everyone in the world should as well. When I hear people say, “This is America! Speak English!” it breaks my heart. Many of the people who are recipients of such verbal abuse do speak English, sometimes as their first language, but they are communicating with others who may not or prefer not to speak English. But also, if just going on holiday or on a brief business trip, one might not want to or be able to fully learn a new language.

When I was returning from my first stay in France, Karissa and I were in the waiting area near our gate at the Montreal airport, and we heard a group of people talking. They were clearly American and were speaking loudly about the announcements coming over the PA system.

First man: “What is that? Is that two languages?”
Woman: “I think it’s Spanish.”
First man: “No, I think it’s Italian.”
Second man: “Why on Earth would they do that?”
First man: “Don’t they realize we’re in the US of A??”
Woman: “Apparently not.”
Second man: nearly yelling “Why won’t everyone just speak English?!”

Clearly, they didn’t know we were in Canada. And even though they’d been on our flight from France, they couldn’t recognise the French language in the least bit. They continued complaining until we were boarding our flight to Chicago.

If these people had put any thought into what they were claiming (even if we hadn’t been in Canada at the time), they would have noticed their blatant hypocrisy. They were complaining about people not learning English while traveling and the like, when they had just spent time in France without learning French. This isn’t something that many Americans think about, specifically those who make these remarks, but it’s true. They wish to force foreigners to speak English, but they are not usually willing to learn the languages that are spoken in the countries to which they are traveling.

I’m on the opposite end of that spectrum, as I’ve gone a little overboard with the amount of languages I study. I’m currently studying French, Spanish, and Italian, and although I can’t speak Spanish or Italian at all, I’m certainly willing to try. I just wish others were as well.

What are your top pet peeves?

Talking about Writing

All writers do it. We babble on and on about our current and future projects, we make promises we have every intention to keep, but no determination to do so, and we talk about our work some more. We can spend hours—years even—talking about our blog, novel, poem, and short story ideas. But if we never start planning and writing, what is all the rambling about?

We spend too much time talking about what we’ll write and not enough time putting the words on the page.

I am just as guilty of doing this. I’ve spent nearly three years talking about my novel, but at the beginning I only wrote around 350 words, planned about four scenes, and jotted down a semi-detailed plot. Two years later, I completely scrapped everything but two specific characters and the overarching plot. Now I have approximately 6000 words written, but I haven’t touched it much for over six months. I keep talking about it to everyone, but I never really try to create Zoe’s story.

Don’t get me wrong, talking can be a huge help in plotting, writing, and getting past writer’s block, but it can also be a wonderful tool of procrastination and even kill your desire to write.

When you spend all your time telling others about your ideas and giving them detail after detail, you may lose your yearning to actually create the work you’ve been rambling on about for ages. You start to feel as if you’ve told everyone who matters all the important things about your project, and as a result, you don’t feel as though you need to write it anymore. This has definitely happened to me, multiple times. It happened when I first started writing my novel. That’s one of the reasons I started over almost completely. It happened when I started my blog back of last time. I talked about it, but when I sat down to type my posts up, I couldn’t think of anything because I had already told a large part of my audience what I would be saying in my posts. At that point, it didn’t seem to matter anymore. So I stopped writing as much, and eventually stopped writing altogether (though there were other circumstances that played into that poor decision as well).

Speaking to your friends about it can actually wear you out and cause you to get bored of the project. I’ve done this with a few short stories. I’ve talked about them so much that I got tired of them, set them aside, and never picked them back up again. Thinking of which, I should probably look through some of those. But if it’s all you talk about with people, they’ll start to think it’s the only topic you want to discuss, so they’ll ask about it. And you’ll have to talk about it more, answering questions that may or may not be sincere and wishing you were talking to a cat about sleeping all day instead.

If you’re rambling on about your project, make sure you’re actively working on it as well. And leave some mystery! Don’t delve into all the details, just mention what you’re stuck on, how much you’re writing or plotting currently, or some broad ideas. When you omit details in conversations about your projects, you may spark their interest and they may become one of your most avid readers. Leave a possibility for intrigue, work your butt off, and see how your stories flourish.

How do you talk about your writing projects? Do you indulge your listener with loads of details? Do you talk about it until you’re bored? Let me know in the comments!

Andrew: I Love the Sound

I’m starting a blog. I’ve never done this before, but Zoe has been bugging me about it for a while. I’m not super sure of why she wants me to, because her reasoning is ridiculous. She says that one day we won’t live so close to each other anymore and that it will be the best way for us to keep in touch. I asked her what I should write about, and she just told me to write about myself and the things that happen to me. Because those things are so exciting. I managed to talk her into sending me some blog prompts though.

Oh yeah, my name is Andrew. *waves from a distance*
I work in a shop. My grandma is famous. I live in London, but I’m actually from The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Tennessee. And that is basically my entire life.

Anyway. The first prompt is “I love the sound of…”

Do I just list these?
I guess so.

  1. I love the sound of popcorn in the microwave.
  2. I love the sound of a movie on the tv.
  3. I love the sound of American bacon in the pan.
  4. I love the sound of Zoe’s laugh.

This looks really stupid…

I love the sound of:

  1. Carolers in the park.
  2. Friends knocking on my door.
  3. The pizza delivery guy knocking on my door.
  4. My best friend’s singing (she sounds awful).
  5. A filling bath.
  6. A movie in a theater.
  7. The kettle whistling (because tea!).
  8. My grandma’s weird accent (she’s half British, half American and sounds a bit like Angela Lansbury).
  9. Zoe yelling at her computer.

So yeah. I hope you all have a great day. I don’t know if I’ll ever post again.

Writing with Anxiety

Having an anxiety disorder is always difficult. From getting out of bed to looking into the mirror and from saying hello to ordering food, general and social anxiety find way to take even my most positive thoughts and turn them on me. Even my favourite compliments can turn into my greatest enemies. Upon waking, if my first thought is the least bit negative or stressful, my anxiety plagues me horribly the rest of the day, and it’s difficult for me to accomplish anything. When I look in the mirror, I usually see that I’m unhealthily skinny, but I still think I’m pretty dang gorgeous. But on bad days, I’ll fixate on the fact that my face is slightly curved or on my deviated septum or just how stinking skinny I am, and then for days, I’ll cover my face when I’m talking or laughing or cross my arms to try to hide my “faults” from the prying eyes of other human beings. Saying hello to anyone can cause me great fear that I’m being clingy or annoying or awkward, even though saying hello is usually perceived as just that, a greeting. Ordering food or drinks at cafes and restaurants stresses me out so much. I get overwhelmed by the amount of choices (and I’m already super indecisive when I only have two options), but speaking with the person behind the counter, even when I know them, can cause me to freak out internally, although they think very little of what each person gets. And these are more minimal things that my brain tends to find overwhelmingly terrifying.

So when pursuing a career in editing and writing, my anxiety is a major battle. I know I am mainly writing for myself. But I do also write for others. So what others may think about my stories, blogs, and poems is incredibly important to me. I’m constantly receiving support and encouragement, but I do also receive critiques and negative comments. Usually I take those and use them as constructive criticism, even if they aren’t meant to be taken that way. I know I can’t please everyone, but I still like to take what each person says to mind.

Anxiety can keep you from writing.
I’ve struggled with this countless times. I let my fears of failure to meet my goals or my fears that people won’t like what I write keep me from writing. So instead of working past my worries, I dwell upon them, and they become all I can see. When I do sit down to write, I can’t get words out because I keep thinking about if I’ll use the right words, if people will be impressed with my plot or my characters, and if I’ll being able to meet my word goal.

Anxiety can stop you from sharing your work.
I don’t want to know how frequently I’ve written something for my blog or for reading nights and not shared it because of how terrified I am to hear what people think about it. I spend hours preparing it, I’ll even print it off or save it as a draft for my blog, but then I get to reading or posting it and back out at the last minute. The fear of what others might say overwhelms me too much, and I just can’t bear listening, even to the compliments and positive feedback.

Anxiety can take the positive feedback and encouragement you receive and turn it against you.
I do this constantly with many areas of my life, but I think the most difficult to handle is when it is in reference to my writing. Just the other day, I was told that my unique, sassy, and quirky voice in my writing is a favourite thing of my Creative Writing professor’s. She has encouraged me to pursue fiction and to never stop writing more than I could have imagined possible by a teacher. So when she complimented my bizarre writing voice, I couldn’t help but awkwardly blush and thank her as I searched the recesses of my mind for a response. But just a few hours later, I sat down to write for about fifteen minutes, and all I could think was that I’ll never be able to write that quirky of a voice again, even though it’s my favourite way to write. I sat, overwhelmed in fear that she is the only person on the planet who could ever like such a tone in fiction, despite the fact that I know of at least ten other people who have told me that they adore how I write.

A couple days later, a friend complimented my blog posts, saying that she could definitely hear my own voice flowing through my posts. Now this is something that should be happening, whether I try or not. But after she said it, I fixated on the fact that the voice in my head might be the one that people hear, and that is the last thing I want. I don’t want the negative thoughts that overwhelm me to plague the minds of my readers as well. I want my blog to be a place that people can read and be uplifted. I want my blog to be overwhelmingly positive and optimistic. But my voice can frequently be mingled with the voice in my mind that tells me everything is rubbish, so even the best of compliments can turn into anxieties.

Anxiety can cause you delete what you’ve written.
I’ve done this so many times. I’ve spent hours, sometimes days or weeks, working on a writing project and then been so overwhelmed by all the possible negative outcomes or the fears of how others may (or may not) respond that I delete the entire project from my computer and my blog and tear it out of my notebook (I’ve even burned some works before) because I’m too full of negative thoughts towards my abilities and those particular works.

Anxiety can get you to abandon writing.
This happened to me just earlier this year. I didn’t tell anyone that I had outright given up, not even myself. But I did. After losing my blog and about six months of work as well as all the feedback (positive especially), I didn’t want to try anymore. What if such a thing happened again? What if once I started writing again people didn’t like my work? What if I couldn’t meet the expectations that had arisen in the minds of my readers, friends, and family because of the previous website? What if, what if, what if? I completely stopped writing for about six months. And I wouldn’t let anyone call me a writer, claiming it was because I wasn’t actively working on any projects. I had abandoned writing.

 

BUT!!

 

Anxiety isn’t your master.
It doesn’t have to control you. You don’t have to succumb to the fears and the negative thoughts. I know it’s incredibly difficult to fight them, but once you start, each day tends to get a little bit easier. The fears may still be running through your mind constantly, but you can push them to the side and remind yourself of the truth and of the positive aspects of yourself, your readers, and your writing. Sometimes it might require additional help through medication, tea, yoga, breathing exercises, and the like, but you can fight your anxiety. And you can win.

Anxiety can be a tool for your writing.
Lately, I’ve been taking my negative thoughts about my writing and myself and using them as motivation to prove myself (and potentially others) wrong. When my thoughts are overrun with negativity about not being able to write in my favourite voice, I run through a few short writing exercises to get into that voice to prove to myself that I can and will write like that again. When I fixate on the idea that no one will ever appreciate, let alone like my work, I look back through the comments I’ve received on my blogs and from different writing exercises and critiques in my writing class and see that there are already many people who do, so why wouldn’t others? When I get scared that I won’t meet my word count, I create a special reward for meeting my goal and force myself to write until I meet it, thus proving that I can while getting a treat.

Anxiety won’t stop others from appreciating your work.
Even if you can see past the thoughts that others hate your work, there will always be someone who appreciates what you write. There have been things that I’ve written that I’ve been proud of and incredibly excited to share, but nearly no one has even given it a second look. But there has never failed to be at least one person who has come up and paid me a compliment on my work. I know it’s incredibly rare for me to read something and say “I hate this so much that I can’t even appreciate it!” I usually find at least three reasons to appreciate the things I’ve read, if not hundreds.

Anxiety may plague you, but you can overcome it, time and time again.
These negative thoughts might not ever leave. You might battle them day after day and moment after moment, but you can do it. Each tiny step to improvement is just that—improvement. Even on my best days, I struggle with my anxiety more than I would ever care to admit, but on those days, I tend to be so happy, positive, and focused that I can easily ignore the negativity or take it and change it into something positive. Whatever you do, don’t give up! Work through the hard days, take breaks when you need to, and open your eyes to how much you and your writing truly is appreciated. Because you are special, and no one could ever write about the things you do the way you do it.

Getting in the Write Mood

Not everything that has been suggested in books and blogs about getting in the mood to write helps every person. I know I’ve tried listening to melodious music, taking wonderfully wandering walks, drink out of inspirational and creative coffee cups, and writing without withholding words. But those don’t usually spark my interest into writing. The first few just make me want to read, do art, or knit a hat. The last just frustrates me to the point of jamming my fingers onto the keys at random to see if I can create any words until I get so annoyed with the sound that I delete the two pages of garble that I left in my quake. So here are some of the tricks I’ve tested, and found to work, at least on occasion.

Go for a walk.
This is just a good idea in general. The fresh air, the sounds of the leaves being ruffled in the breeze or the cars driving down the road, the blood pumping through your veins… It can truly clear your mind and put you in a better mood. But beyond that, going for a walk can help you look at your surroundings in a new light, which could spark some writing ideas and solutions. Plus, as you probably spend a fair amount of time your computer, the vitamin-D is always a huge bonus.

Read your favourite author.
When I read certain authors, I feel inspired to write. This is a big thing for me. I’ll sit down and expect to just get lost in the story, but I’ll stand back up with my mind racing with ideas or an overwhelming excitement to create a beautiful work of art with the keys on my computer. The author whose stories and writing styles inspire me the most is Douglas Adams. His works are just so unique and wonderfully nihilistic and sassy, and he breaks so many rules about descriptive language that I can’t help but stand in awe of his writings. Not only does reading help inspire me to write, but it also helps me write in the style and voice I enjoy most. Even if I am not emulating him, perusing his tales sets my mind running with descriptions, story ideas, and excitement for creating something that might be able to bring such joy to another person some day.

Watch an inspirational video or TED talk.
I find this tends to help me most when I am wanting to write an inspirational nonfiction piece for my blog. Sometimes the videos leave me so overwhelmed with emotion, that I have to step back from the computer for a while before I do any writing, but once I sit down, I still have so much to say (not to mention slightly more organised thoughts). Occasionally though, watching such videos can actually inspire me to sit down and just write out as many words as I can in one day for a short story or my novel or several different projects.

Listen to a favourite album or soundtrack.
Music can always be a great help for focusing while trying to work, whatever the project is. However, you have to know what music distracts you and what music inspires you and helps you stay on task. I often listen to a Harry Potter playlist on Spotify. The music is shuffled, and I have to skip certain songs, otherwise my brain becomes far too nostalgic. But hearing the wonderful scores can help me set the mood of a story or sit down and write for hours.

Go on an adventure.
Doing something new or something that you’ve not done in ages can generate various ideas for stories or scenes, especially when you imagine your characters going on the same adventures. While in Europe this summer, I had the opportunity to experience more than I could have anticipated, and those experiences have given me a few story ideas or situations in which I could place my characters, like riding in a cable car, riding a boat across an underground lake, roaming palaces, and hiking atop the Alps. Story ideas and inspiration await you at the ends of your journeys.

Get dressed for the occasion.
Sometimes just getting dressed as if I’m going to the office or putting my hair up can help me feel more put-together. When I feel like that, I can usually accomplish much more than if I just wake up, roll over, and grab my computer. If I dress like it’s my job, then I’ll treat it as such. Which I should do, especially considering that I would love to write full-time some day.

There are other times, though, in which I need to change into my comfies, cuddle up in a blanket, and whip out my notebook or computer. I tend to gauge my mood and my environment and act accordingly, which tends to end up with me wearing a high-waisted skirt and a blouse and putting my hair up as best I can.

Come up with stories based off your top interest or fandom.
This may sound a bit silly. But sometimes you need a break from your planned writing topics and projects, and you just need to write for fun. I find that this can help me stop procrastinating and actually sit down with a pencil in hand or a keyboard at my fingertips and write. And once I’ve finished (or at least started) whatever bizarre topic or story I’ve decided upon, I have an even deeper desire to write. Once I get to that point, I switch to the projects I need to be working on and write as much as I can until I finish or hit a good stopping point. I tend to choose various creatures from Doctor Who or Harry Potter or my favourite animals or places. Whatever works for you, fiction or nonfiction, write about it. It may surprise you how much changing projects can help you with your current ones.

What are some of your tricks for getting into a writing mood? Let me know down below!

Lessons from a Drummer

I just finished watching the movie Whiplash for the first time, and I have no words that could fully describe the aftermath of wonder and confusion in which I am sitting. The confusion doesn’t come from the movie in any way, but instead what the movie provoked inside my mind. The thoughts of amazement and desire, inspiration and shame. This dramatic rendition of what it is like to be in one of the world’s best jazz ensembles shows what many people may go through in an attempt to reach their biggest dreams. However, most people are never so committed as Andrew, the main character.

My entire life, I have always wanted to be the best at whatever I do, but I have never put my absolute best effort into anything. In the movie, Andrew moves into his practice room so that he can spend more time dedicated to becoming his absolute best. I have never even dedicated just one entire day to doing something so that I could get better at it. I barely spend fifteen minutes to an hour per day in an attempt to improve. Why am I not willing to dedicate my time to pursuing my deepest desires and biggest dreams? Why am I not willing to work past my fears and inadequacies to become even the smallest bit better?

I need to break the habit of being apathetic or doing just-enough. I need to stop living life as though the things I want will eventually be handed to me because they won’t be; I will need to fight myself and possibly the world to get what I want. I don’t know much of how to begin, so I’ll follow Andrew’s lead and start doing seven things which I observed him doing throughout the film.

1. Know your exact goal.
For me, this is usually a really difficult thing to accomplish. My goals tend to be along the lines of “Learn French,” “Learn to play ukulele,” and “Start a blog.” These are nowhere near precise enough. I’m changing them to “Become fluent in French, enough to read L’Éducation Sentimentale by Flaubert without using a French-English dictionary,” “Learn how to play scales, learn strum patterns, and learn picking patterns for ukulele well enough to write your own songs and create tabs,” and “Write one non-fiction piece, one fiction piece, and one book review for your blog every week.” I know I will likely mess up at times when working to achieve these goals, but I still have something specific that I am aiming for instead of a broad idea.

2. Dedicate your time.
Sometimes spending all my time on one goal-oriented task is easy, but that is only on rare occasions. Usually I loathe spending fifteen straight minutes on one task. However, when a goal to do your absolute best is set, it takes far more than just an hour a week. It takes hours every day. I have improved with this a little lately by spending at least 45 minutes practicing French every day, but I probably wouldn’t be spending so much time practicing if I weren’t going back to France for three months in just a week. I need to spend this much, if not more, time practicing French no matter the circumstances, especially when I know I will not be speaking it regularly for quite some time because the less I practice, the poorer my French will become.

3. Practice even after it starts to hurt.
It can become incredibly painful or frustrating to continually work on one specific task until it’s perfect, but the continual work will help your body and mind find better, easier, more efficient ways to accomplish your goal. I tend to give up pretty quickly when I become frustrated with the task I am working on or when the goal seems too difficult to be achieved. Sometimes pushing through the pain is done by giving yourself rewards at certain intervals or by asking for someone to help you. However you do it, perseverance is difficult, but it is definitely worth it in the end.

4. Let people inspire you.
The people around us may not be the people we admire or up look to in our field, but listening to the encouragement and advice of others can sometimes be the only thing that gives us the last bit of hope, strength, or belief to take us through the last steps of reaching our goals. These words can sometimes be directly related to the work we are doing, but sometimes they are completely unrelated and still incredibly inspiring. Allow the people around you to speak hope into your life, and believe what they tell you, especially when it is someone that you admire in the field in which you are working..

5. Don’t let people tear you down.
Sometimes the people around us, and even our mentors/heroes, will tell us that we aren’t good enough or that we aren’t capable of doing something. However, we cannot let that stop us from pursuing our dreams. It’s often difficult to believe in yourself, but there are times that you may be the only one who does. When that happens, do not let the people around you or the people you look up to stop you from reaching the goal. Keep pushing through and prove to them (and yourself) that you are more than good enough, that you are more than capable, and that you will succeed.

6. Take the final step and achieve your objective.
Often times taking the last step towards achieving a goal is the most difficult. Maybe it’s because you don’t want the journey to end, maybe it’s because you’re scared, or maybe it’s because it is the most advanced task you have to accomplish. Whatever the reason, we cannot let ourselves stop so close to achieving what we have spent countless hours and unimaginable energy and focus working towards. We must take that final step and welcome the reward of satisfying success.

7. Keeping working after the goal is accomplished.
Even after we have reached our goals, we need to continue to work on what we have accomplished and learned so that we can continue becoming the best we can be. This usually means setting a new goal to reach and going through the same gruelling process again. But life will never be as satisfying as when a goal is met, so we must strive to become better still.

For those of you who may be interested in watching the movie Whiplash, be warned that it may be a trigger for those who have experienced verbal, mental, emotional, or physical abuse. Even without experiencing any of these, it was difficult to watch at times. The physical abuse is fairly minimal; however, the verbal, mental, and emotional abuse is a theme seen throughout the entire film. If you can make it past these triggers, the movie may still be difficult to watch for some because there is a lot of language. The dialogue, soundtrack, and cinematography are all amazing in quality and strength. It is definitely a powerful film and is incredibly artistic, and I am very glad I took the time to watch it.