milestones

A Change Of Heart

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I will always be a writer. No matter what my job title is or what I do during the day, writing is my passion and I wouldn’t be ‘me’ without it. However, recently I’ve started to feel less like a writer. Maybe that’s because I haven’t really been doing much ‘writing.’ You see, a few months ago I was feeling lost, I had no job, I was on the dole, still missed being at university and had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Then, something good happened. I got a part-time job working for an online magazine and they were paying me, yes, finally, I thought!

Everything started to fall into place after that, or so I thought. I started to volunteer as a Creative Writing Workshop Mentor at a local hostel and I decided to start my own online feel good magazine called Zest For Life. I thought I was finally going down the right path, until I realised that something was missing. I was no longer writing. I was filling up my time with other projects and jobs that I no longer had the time nor the motivation to write fiction, which is a big part of who I am.

I love being the editor and founder of Zest For Life, it’s hard work and I’m not receiving the amount of help from my friends that I thought I would, but I created something from nothing, which is what I love to do. I decided to stop volunteering at the hostel because some weeks I would turn up and none of the residents wanted to take part, I was enthusiastic to inspire them but they didn’t want to be inspired.

I did however, have one really good session with them whilst I was volunteering there. I managed to inspire them to write, a member of staff told me that it was the first time she had seen some of them smile like that in weeks, I had a warm feeling in my chest as I left the hostel. I knew I had made a difference to someone’s day. That’s when it hit me. The epiphany, the impulse to help people, the day that I started to doubt my career choice.

I want to teach. I don’t know why I didn’t realise this before but it hit me and now the feeling won’t go away. Of course, my anxiety reminds me daily of everything that could go wrong if I decide to do it and I am still on the fence about what I really want. I thought I wanted the 9-5 office job, sitting at a computer all day, writing. Now, I’m not so sure. I get bored easily and I want a job that is different every single day. I also have this need to help and inspire people. I have always loved children (even though I am definitely not ready for my own). So why not take the plunge and train to be a primary school teacher?

I’m at a crossroads, I am so confused about what I really want and exactly who I want to be. One thing I know for definite is that I love to write, what ever that may be. I think my lack of writing fiction is due to having too much going on in my mind right now, once I sort through it, I’m sure the ideas will come and I will start writing again.

I was so sure that I wanted to go into publishing and magazines and a small part of me still wants to, but I would have to relocate to London and I’m not willing to do that. I have definitely had a change of heart, I just need to decide what to do with it. Do I ignore it and carry on knowing I’m not full happy with my career choice? Do I leave the world of publishing and magazines behind after all of my hard work and go into teaching?

What ever decision I make, it will change my life. I just have to picture the future version of myself in my mind and decide exactly what I want that picture to be.

milestones

The Need To Succeed

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Energy and persistence conquer all things – Benjamin Franklin

I may have lost my way for a while but I now feel back to my old self. My ambitious, hard-working and motivated self that wants to succeed. I have so many projects and exciting opportunities happening right now that I haven’t even had the time to blink and really think about how far I have come in the past month.

Persistence is something that comes naturally to me. Sure, I can give into the temptation of being lazy for a day and say that I will do something tomorrow but in the back of my mind, it all keeps on turning. Like an old grandfather clock, my mind never stops. The hand always goes round and round and even when I don’t think I’m thinking about everything I have to and want to do, it’s still there, encouraging me to keep going. I have this ongoing need to succeed.

I want to update this blog as much as I used to but there are not enough hours in the day to achieve everything I want to and I have to learn to prioritize. In the last few weeks I have managed to land myself a paid part-time freelance writing job, volunteer at a hostel as a mentor in Creative Writing, sign up to be a volunteer at The Manchester Literature Festival and start my own online magazine Zest For Life. It’s in the very early stages but please follow the Zest For Life Blog here.

Adding to that I have a novel that is still stuck on 4,000 words because I haven’t had the time to focus on it. I am still writing short stories and poetry for collections that I will put together one day in the future. I still contribute articles for two online magazines and I also have this blog. If that wasn’t enough, I’m also signing up for a night class once a week, the class is being taught by a successful author who will be teaching the different ways to publish your writing.

I know I have a lot of things going on in my life right now but I like to be busy. The days were so long when I had nothing to do and no motivation to start anything new. Now, I feel my old self again. I am ready to take on anything life throws at me. I still think about the future but I am really in love with my life right now.

There’s a burning passion inside of me for words. I want to write. I want to be a successful writer. One day I want to be a successful author. I want an amazing career. I want to complete all of the projects that I have set for myself. I want to take every opportunity that comes my way. I want to succeed and I’ve decided to start enjoying every second of my life.

milestones

Good Things Come To Those Who Work Hard

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Today is the day I’ve been waiting for, I’ve finally got a job. It’s been a year since I graduated university with a degree in Creative Writing and it’s been a tough year with a lot of rejection and a lot of disappointment but perseverance has finally paid off. When they say good things come to those who wait, it’s true but you also need to work hard and not expect anything to be easy. When I left university, I was blindly optimistic and perhaps a little naive, I thought I would get a job straight away. It’s fifteen months later and I’ve finally landed to job that I wanted. I am finally going to get paid to write. Good things are finally happening for me.

It’s been a long year and I have struggled with having no money, no job and no sense of purpose. There were some days that I didn’t want to get out of bed because I didn’t see the point. I was frustrated by the lack of momentum in not just my career but my life, I felt stuck. However, I managed to live day by day, I did my best to stay positive and I never stopped believing in myself. Now I can say that I have made it through. Years of working for magazines for free and now I will be paid to write for Female First, an online magazine that I previously worked for two years ago. They were impressed with me during my internship and contacted me directly when the freelance position came available. I believe that this will be a great opportunity for me and it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

I am learning that if you really want something in life you have to stay positive, work hard and believe that you can do it. I still have a long way to go, I don’t know where I will be working or what I will be doing in one year, five years or even ten years but if there is anything I have learnt from being in limbo waiting for a job it is this, you have to live day by day. Think about the future sometimes but don’t focus too much on it, don’t dwell on what you don’t have, what you haven’t achieved and what you will never be. Focus on being present, live your life with a positive attitude and be grateful for what you already have.

milestones

Twenty Two

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Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday.

I was re-reading my post Twenty that I wrote two years ago today. I remember writing it like it was yesterday. I am still the same person that I was when I wrote that blog post, I still have the same dreams and I still believe that turning twenty was a defining moment in my life. Since then I have graduated from university, I have visited Dublin with my boyfriend, I have started an internship at VIVA magazine and I have started to make plans for my future.

Honestly, it has been a hard two years, there have been a lot of struggles but everything I go through is making me a stronger person. I’m trying to live my life day by day instead of year by year but my mind always wanders to the future. I’m a dreamer, I always have been and always will be.

Another birthday is passing by and I might not be where I want to be but I have to be patient, I have time. I have years to accomplish everything I want to do. I am enjoying my life right now. I might not have a job or enough money to buy the things I want to buy and go to places I really want to go to but I am surrounded by love. I have to believe that my future will be bright. I have to believe that things will get better and I have to believe in myself.

If there is one thing that changes every year on my birthday, it’s my perspective. Whenever my birthday approaches, I look at life in a different way. I look back on the year that has passed and what I have achieved in that time. Life is a journey and sometimes we don’t appreciate moments until they are memories. I’m going to start enjoying the present. I’m going to be patient and grateful, I am going to smile even when I feel like I can’t and I’m going to keep hoping and dreaming that I will make it to my next birthday and I will be one step closer to my dreams and one step closer to the person I want to be.

milestones

2014: A Reflection Of 365 Days

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2015  is fast approaching and when the clock strikes at midnight tomorrow and the celebrations begin, I will do just that with a smile on my face because I really have had an amazing  year. 365 days ago I was a different person, I was in a different situation and I had a different perspective. Now, I am one step closer to being the person that I want to be. There have been many moments in 2014 that I have felt proud, happy, grateful and optimistic and unfortunately, there have been hard times when I have felt like giving up. However, I’m starting to discover the way that life works and although 2014 had its challenging times, the amazing moments still shine for me. It’s the little things that make me smile when I reflect on the year I have had, walking hand in hand with the one I love alongside the River Liffey bridge in Dublin on our first holiday together, shaking the chancellor’s hand as I completed my university journey and was awarded with my degree and the feeling of wanting to dance all night as I celebrated with my best friends at our graduation ball.

I don’t like to make new years resolutions because I no longer feel like I need to resolve anything in my life. I can always change however, every morning when I wake up I have the choice to change my life or my attitude, I don’t want to give anything up or set myself unrealistic goals. What I want to do instead is carry on growing as a person and learn to be happy. I have discovered this year that happiness isn’t something that is guaranteed. It’s so easy to slip in and out of happiness and despair, there is no secret to happiness, it must come from within. I need to learn to be happy with how my life is now, rather than think about the future or the past. Only then will I be truly happy.

This year I have started to believe in myself and my abilities. I wrote a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days. Before November, I didn’t believe that I could do it but I did. I graduated university with a 2.1, the three years of hard work and determination finally paid off and wearing my cap and gown was one of the best days of my life so far. I want to do my masters one day and hopefully I will get there because I want to keep going. I have started to learn sign language this year and I have really enjoyed it and I am going to carry on with it in January. I have had many voluntary writing positions this year, I am getting my articles out there and making a name for myself. I am slowly getting to where I want to be and although I can often be impatient, I am proud of what I have achieved so far.

I like to think of a new year as a new book, with empty pages and I can paint them with words and memories. I need to think of the future but also need to stay in the present, enjoy every moment and seize every opportunity. I have learnt many lessons this year and I’m sure there will be many more to come in 2015. My biggest problem is I like to plan things, I like everything to be perfect and I like to control everything in my life but I need to try and let go and let life happen. I’m starting to realise that I can’t control everything in my life and the future will write itself and I will never have control over what happens to me and the people that I love. 2014 has been a year of growth, a year of learning new things and a year of new adventures. That’s exactly what I see beyond the horizon of January the 1st, 2015 is a new adventure and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

milestones

The Final Chapter

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The final chapter has ended on my university journey. The graduation festivities will kick off with the graduation ball next week and I will be handed my Creative Writing degree in July at the ceremony. I can’t believe I am almost a university graduate! I can’t believe how fast the past three years have gone! Before I started university I was lost, I didn’t know where I wanted to go or who I wanted to be. I was struggling to make a decision.

So I took a leap of faith and enrolled on a Creative Writing course, I believe that it’s the best decision I have ever made. I can proudly say that I am a writer. I always have been but I never had the confidence to really give it a go. I didn’t believe that I had enough talent and I knew that I didn’t have the right dedication and discipline it took to write for a living. Now I do.

There have been many flaws in my degree but each individual takes away something different from the experience and I take away confidence. I now believe in myself. I believe in my writing. I may still be unsure about what the future holds for me but I am no longer lost.

I have found my voice, I have found my purpose and for me, that’s the only thing I set out to do. So, will this Creative Writing degree help me get a job? Probably not. But it wasn’t the purpose I was striving for. I will get a job, any job and I will write. In a perfect world, I would love to do a job where I could use my talent for words but it isn’t always possible so I will settle for what I can get. As long as I have the time to write and I can publish my novels, I will be happy.

The chapter may be ending on this part of my life but I am excited for the new and exciting experiences that come my way. I don’t know where I am heading but I’m sure about one thing, I am a writer. I live and breathe words. No matter what happens, I am proud to say that I now have the confidence to follow my dreams of being a professional writer.

 

 

milestones

There Are No Shortcuts To Any Place Worth Going

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I sit here now and I really cannot believe that I am in my final year of university. I know the journey is far from over but I feel like I can reflect back on my time at Edge Hill from this point and smile at how much things have changed. I have learnt many life lessons, met some great friends and I have finally found my voice as a writer. The next priority on my list is to get the best possible grade that I can achieve. I would love to get a first but a 2.1 is what I am aiming for. I also believe that it is never too early to start planning the future, I have started to search for graduate jobs. We had a career talk in class on Friday and the realisation was that over three quarters of students who graduate fail to get on the career ladder of their chosen field. I want to be in the minority that manage to get their dream job. I know I am optimistic but you never get anywhere in life if you fail to try. I have become very interested in magazine journalism and I would really love to pursue this after university. The one problem I have come across is that a large percentage of magazine companies are in London and I live in the North West, so I want to work in either Manchester or Liverpool.

I am going to try my best to get as much experience as possible, if this means doing another unpaid position when I leave university then so be it. The recipe to success is a mixture of talent, determination and hard work. You have to push yourself to achieve your goals. Recently I have acquired a new attitude. That you have to push past every person on the way to the top, they are your competition. This is a competitive field, better yet it is a competitive world and sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be. When the man who was leading the careers talk asked how many people in the room had contacts in the business or work experience that was writing related, three people put their hands up (including me) Three people! Out of a class of thirty students. He was surprised by this. He told me and the other two people that we were ahead of the others and were more likely to get a graduate job because of our related experience. I think he used the phrase – you already have one foot in the door and that’s all it takes.

I like to think of my career as a ladder and I have already placed my foot on the bottom step by working at Female First this summer. I have a long way to go and I have this ideal dream in my head that I believe is possible. I am not deluded. I know that it may not happen but I will use every bit of strength I have to make it happen. If there is anything I can take away from university, besides my degree and writing experience. I can walk away and say that I am a strong, confident women who is ready to grab hold of her dream with both hands. I want to inspire. I want to write. That’s all I have ever really wanted to do deep down. Even at a young age. I wanted to create stories. Start with the idea of a character and a place and create something wonderful.  I am one voice in a sea of people, just hoping for my voice to be heard. 

I cannot predict the future. But I would like to see myself working for a magazine, I would be happy with this career path. There are two types of people in this world, those who sit back and wait for things to happen and those who make things happen. I want to be the second type of person. I want to make things happen for myself. I want to achieve my dream. It is possible. If I keep believing this and if I stay positive no matter how much rejection I face then I will be okay. There are no short cuts to any place worth going.

There is no easy way to reach your dreams. I believe that it is never too early to think about the future. I will blink and my life will be ten years from now. Life is incredibly short and we don’t have time to sit around and wait for good things to happen. I want to make the most of the next twenty years or so because these are the prime years of a person’s life. These are the years that will be the foundation of my career. I will learn all of the valid life lessons I will ever need in this time and I will grow as a person and as a writer. I still live in the present because I believe that it is the best place to be but I still need to think about the future. It is quickly approaching. In eight months time I will no longer be a university student. I will be looking for work just like the hundreds of thousands of other students across the country. I need to stand out. Why should they hire me over another Creative Writing student? What do I have that makes me different? That is what I need to think about. A year ago I didn’t have this mentality, but now I do. Now I am ready. Ready for the long and agonising path that is, my future.

milestones

Twenty

As you get older you gain wisdom that will stay with you for the rest of your life, you learn lessons that will only come from the mistakes and bad choices that you make. Wisdom is just another puzzle piece to the journey. What you learn about people and what you learn from others will shape the person that you become. I am reflecting on the lessons that I have learnt recently and even though I can still sometimes feel confused and deluded by this crazy world that we live in I feel a step closer to knowing who I am. I am turning twenty years old tomorrow and that doesn’t scare me, it excites me. I am one step closer to finishing education, I am one step closer to finding the perfect job and starting my career and I am one step closer to my future. Age is just a number but it can also represent different stages of a persons life.

The last decade of my life I started as a young ten year old girl with dreams of being on stage but things changed. I grew up. I struggled through my teenage years, the most challenging years of a person’s life. I realised through my teenage years that you lose friends and you gain friends. I learnt how to control my emotions and that there were more important things in life than worrying about things that don’t matter. As I got older I gained more responsibilities and I took charge of my own life and my own decisions. Turning eighteen was a milestone that was always going to effect my future. Choosing to take a chance on a Creative Writing Degree was the best decision I ever made. I lived on my own, I gained and lost more friends and made the decision to move back home because living with people I didn’t get along with was jeopardising my happiness. I am now turning twenty and starting a new decade of my life. I can see the future in front of me and I am excited for what awaits. I am my own person, with my own goals and my own dreams and I am not going to let my life pass me by. I am going to make something of my life.

I have found my soul mate and best friend, I have great friends and I know what career path I am going down. I want to travel the world with my boyfriend Declan, I want to get married and buy a puppy. I want to laugh and enjoy every moment of happiness I get. I want to have children of my own and teach them all of the things I have learnt in life, I want to watch them grow into amazing people and I want to enjoy every milestone they reach. Twenty might just be a number to most people and it doesn’t define anything but the number of years you have been alive but for me I always use age to define the steps in my life. Twenty defines the start of official adulthood. Twenty defines the start of great things. Twenty defines the next stepping stone towards my future.

milestones

For Something To End.. Something Else Must Begin

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So my second year of university is actually over. One more year left of university and then I will be pushed into the ‘big wide world.’ The thought doesn’t scare me as much as it used too. I think I am ready. Ready to follow my dreams and I look forward to what the future holds for me. This academic year has been both challenging and life changing. I have lost friends, I have gained friends. I have made the right decisions and I have made the wrong ones. I found a strength in me this year that I didn’t know I had. I guess your attitude on life changes as you get older.

I have learnt so much this academic year about me as a person and me as a writer. I think in the first year of university I was still a newbie, everything was fresh and new like a blank piece of paper. I threw myself in the deep end, I came from a performance background straight into the writers world and I even though I knew it was what I wanted, it was still a scary concept at the time. This year however, I feel at home. There might be flaws when it comes to the Creative Writing degree but we all feel like one big family.  We all have the same dream. We all have the passion to write. We want our words to be heard. We want someone to read something we have written and be inspired, just like the authors that we admire inspired us. I have finally found my voice, I’m still not sure what I will be writing in the future but I now feel confident enough to pursue it.

As for the personal aspect of my life this academic year, I have dealt with some difficult situations but life is a fight and you just have to keep going. Life is too short for sadness and life is too short to feel that you are not good enough. Now that one stress in my life is over for the next five months another one begins. One word. Family. I guess it doesn’t matter how old you are, you still hope for your parents to stay together. But that isn’t real life. Not everyone can carry on when unhappiness clouds every part of their mind. Not everyone can stay in the same monotonous routine day in and day out.

Sometimes you have to deal with a little heartbreak in life and even though it’s a painful time watching my parents separate, I know that things will be okay. They have to be. I know that things are never going to be the same, I know that life is going to be awkward for a little while. But all I can do is offer my support and my love to them. My mother believes that because me and my older sister are all grown up and living our own lives that it doesn’t effect us, but it does. I find it hard to deal with because my family is breaking in half and there is nothing I can do about it. All I can do is sit back and watch, watch my father’s heart wither to nothing, watch my mother make a fool of herself and watch as my young siblings confuse a new room and a new house with a new adventure. It breaks my heart that I have no power, no strength to change the events that are taking place.

On a positive note, I finally have the freedom to do what I wish. No university assignments tying me down I can finally relax. I also have a meeting with an editor of female first magazine this week about a possible intern-ship this summer. Even though the troubles in my family are still present in my mind I have to think about myself. I have to think about my life and my path. I can’t spend my time worrying about other people. This is a lesson that I have learnt recently, with the help of my boyfriend and his mum I have realised that sometimes I care a little bit to much other people and I lose focus on myself. I am far from selfish but sometimes you have to have selfish moments. I need to think about my future, my relationship and my goals.

There is one good thing about this summer. I can write, get a head-start on my novel for my dissertation. I can read – finally! I have a bookshelf full of unread books and I have just bought four more – oops! I think I have an addiction. I can finally read all of the books that I have had to push aside. I can go to the gym, I can go shopping. I can go swimming. Do what I wish. This sounds rather exciting but after a month or so I will get bored. So that’s why I am grateful for the opportunity to work at a magazine and gain some experience. I have been thinking about it a lot recently and I would quite like to work for a magazine when I graduate.

Of course I will have to start at the bottom and make my way up the ladder but that’s the best way to get a good career. And that’s what I want. A career. I want to have my loving boyfriend by my side, every step of the way. I have amazing friends. I have my health. I am very lucky. I need to focus on the good things in my life and be grateful for them because somewhere out there is a person hoping to have what I have.

A chapter of my life may be over but I have a new one to begin. I’m going to take the next five months to relax. Enjoy life. See my friends. Spend time with my loved ones. Before the manic third year of university starts. I had my fair share of stress this year with my university work and a lot of people told me to just chill. I’m a workaholic, a hard worker and I always want to achieve better grades.

Being a perfectionist isn’t always a good flaw to have but it’s part of who I am. At least now that it’s officially my summer I can take their words and turn them into reality. I can chill, I can do what I want to do. I’m going to enjoy this time because hopefully when I finish my third year I will be going straight into graduate employment. My second year of university may be over but for something to end, something else must begin. And that something else is five months of freedom.