Accepting Rejection – You’re Not Alone

By Melody Wolf

Not everything is “meant to be.”

Rejection is one of the worst feelings. It’s the kind that sits at the bottom of your stomach, pulling at your insides. Even if you weren’t craving the part or position, being told you aren’t good enough is never easy.

When I was in high school, I wasn’t told “no” very often. The easy access to leadership roles made it easy to blow up my resume with little effort. I was flying high, and man oh man, ignorance was bliss. Then, I got to college.

Stepping onto the college campus was overwhelming to say the least. I wanted to get involved, but with no idea of where to start. As I started finding my feet, I soon realized that I was coming late to the game. I started applying for every organization that I was even slightly interested in, and I soon found myself dealing with a lot of rejection, doubt, and loneliness.

College is a reality check – especially when you go to a school like UF. All of a sudden, you’re surrounded with so many bright, young minds that it’s easy to lose confidence in your ability to stand out.

Recently, I went through the interview process for a second time for a club I have had my eye on for a long time. I truly believed that these people would enhance my college experience and that my time spent with them would be both productive as well as socially uplifting. I’m nearing the end of my second year, and I still feel like I haven’t found my place.

I made it to the final interview. When I got the final email saying I had been once again been rejected from this organization, I was devastated. I had told myself that this was my one shot at college and that if I couldn’t get into a college organization, how was I supposed to find success in my career?

The amount of overthinking drove me up the wall. I was at home at the time, with my dad and sister. I didn’t want to go back to college. I didn’t want to explain it to my friends. I didn’t want to face the rejection. I just wanted to watch trashy reality TV shows all day, because you can’t get rejected if you don’t put yourself out there right?

As the week went by, I slowly started to realize that I had made this all up in my head. I had no real gage off who these people were – sure, I’d seen pictures, but everyone at this point knows that pictures are just an inflated version of reality.

You see, when it comes down to it, sometimes we long for something so bad that we make it out to be a life or death situation. By doing this, we are only killing ourselves in our drive to do better – to be better. The truth is, there are so many opportunities to grow that focusing on one is a waste of our precious time, and we only only get one shot.

I wanted to write this blog post is to make other people aware that they are not alone. To the naked eye, it may appear as though every person that passes you by knows exactly what they are doing. Want me to let you in on a little secret? They’re just as dazed and confused as you are.

Letting yourself give up after being turned down is so incredibly easy. Don’t give in to the little voices telling you that you aren’t good enough, and don’t give up the drive that you had coming into college. Swallow your feelings of self-pity and use your rejection to your advantage.

While rejection is inevitable and you won’t get every position you apply for, it’s important to be as prepared as possible. For advice on how to nail the interview, check out our book: The Young Adult’s Survival Guide to Interviews: Finding the Job and Nailing the Interview.

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Relaxing Reads: Recommendations for Spring Break

By Kylie Widseth

As you might have guessed, when I’m not editing books my favorite pastime is reading. My favorite genre by far is contemporary, so spring break is one of the best times of the year reading in bed.jpgfor me: I get to read my favorite genre for a whole week straight!

I compiled a few of my favorite contemporary books, ones that I think would be perfect to read on spring break, wherever that may take you. Whether spending break at the beach or in your bed at home, these reads will be sure to delight and entertain.

  1. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon — I want to start out with the book that I most recently finished. I thought that this book wouldn’t be as good as everyone said because I had seen so much hype for this book, but oh my goodness, was I wrong! This book follows a Jamaican girl named Natasha and a Korean boy named Daniel. The two end up meeting up on a street in New York City on the day that Natasha is supposed to be deported. This book takes place over the course of a single day, and that idea alone still blows my mind. Please do yourself a favor and read this.
  1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover – Now I know Colleen Hoover can be quite a controversial author, but I really like her. If you like a good romance , she could be the author for you. Now I really can’t say a whole lot about this book because one of the big things that makes this book successful is just going in blind to the book. Don’t look up reviews or anything because even being spoiled a little can really ruin the beauty of what this book is. I’ve heard people say that her books keep getting better and better, and I definitely agree.. This book was the first one I read by her, and I almost regret it because none of her past books can match this one.
  1. The Status of All Things by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke – Sometimes I really believe that I’m a middle-aged women trapped in a young adult body. Either that or I am really starting to “grow out” of young adult books because I find myself reaching for adult books more and more. I think this book is a good in between because it has a really unique plot line that can appeal to younger and older audiences. It’s about a 35-year-old woman named Kate. Her fiancé, Max, decides to call off the wedding while they are at their rehearsal. As expected, Kate is heartbroken and confused. She struggles to really understand what went wrong when she discovers that her Facebook statuses are changing the outcome of her life, whatever she writes in her Facebook status comes true. Now just take a second to really imagine what they would be like! This could be a really great and exciting thing, but it also could create some issues. This book revolves around Kate really trying to understand why Max left her.
  1. Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult – Sometimes spring break can be the perfect time to tackle longer novels, or at least that’s what I like to do. This list wouldn’t be complete without a novel from my absolute favorite author, Jodi Picoult. I’m sure you know of some of her more popular books, but this is one of her most underrated books and my personal favorite. This book follows a wife and mother named June. Years ago, one of June’s daughter and her husband were murdered and a man named Shay is on death row for their murders. In present day, June’s daughter, Claire, has been diagnosed with a terminal heart condition and needs to have a heart transplant to survive. Since Shay is already on death row, he wants to donate his heart to Claire as a way to redeem himself. This book follows the trials and tribulations of whether Shay can actually donate his heart and whether June will let the man who killed part of her family donate his heart to her child.
  1. More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera – This book is by another one of my favorite authors. This book can be a little bit of an emotional one, but that only adds to its beauty. As with It Ends With Us, I’m only going to give a little bit of the book away. The main character, Aaron, is battling a decision about a Leteo procedure. This procedure would allow him to completely alter any memory in his life, and throughout the book he contemplates whether this is a good idea and what particular memory in his past he should change. I know that was an incredibly vague description, but once you really get into the book, it will all make sense. This book was incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite books of all time.

beach chair reading.jpgI hope at least a few of this books sounded interesting to you, and if you decide to pick up any of these books let me know what you think of them! Whether you decide to read this books or not, I hope you find just the perfect book to curl up with over your spring break! I know I’m particularly excited to read any and every spare moment I have.

Happy reading!

Mo’s Bows: Fashionable Advice From a Young Entrepreneur

by Danielle Lieneman

We’ve decided to try out something new here at Atlantic Teen! In addition to our regular content, we will have some featured spotlights that correspond with upcoming releases to provide real life experience and advice from young adults just like you! For our first feature, we have Moziah “Mo” Bridges, a 14-Year-Old Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur.

ya_fashiondesignercoverMo will be featured in our upcoming release: So You Want to Be a Fashion Designer: Here’s the Info You Need, which will be available for purchase in early 2017. This book provides all of the information you need to get your foot in the fashion industry, even from your own home! No need to live in New York City with this book in your hands. Reading this book, you will learn how to pursue an education in the industry, how to determine your specialty, pattern-making, bookkeeping, and everything in-between, all explained simply and thoroughly.

 

From Mo himself:

Mo’s Story 

I started my company when I was nine years old, and I started because I couldn’t find any other bowties that really fit my style or my personality. So, that’s when I asked my grandmother to teach me how to sew…From that point, I started an Etsy and then, I would sell my bowties for bags of chips or trade them for rocks… We would go out to farmer’s markets, and we would do local shows and local trunk shows. After that, I would make it into the newspaper, and then the newspaper contacted the magazine. And then the magazine went to the show, and then the show went from show to show to show to show. I didn’t think it would get this big, but my hard work and dedication led me to this point.

Shark Tank actually called us and they wanted us to be on the show. Originally, my mom said no because she didn’t want to have us crying on the show. We went out to LA, and we shot the show, but it wasn’t for sure that we were actually going be on the show; it was just, like, a thing that we did. But then, when it got to that point, we were so excited that we got the opportunity.

If you didn’t see the show, I didn’t walk away with the check, but Daymond [John] did offer to be my mentor… and so, after that, he’s just been guiding me through the practical aspects of owning my own company. He’s taught me always to stay true to your company and never sell out your brand. Always know your brand, and just be yourself. My particular brand is fashionable with a touch of class, and urban.

[Mo’s Bows bowties] are in a lot of stores. I have twelve to fifteen stores that they’re in right now, but, where I get most of the profit is from, um, online, and that’s my website. Someone helped me [make the website]. We have a whole Mo’s Bows team that helps.

Advice for Teens Interested in Fashion:

I would tell them to always figure out what you like doing and find out how you can make profit out of it. And, also, just to be true to yourself and believe in yourself. I think believing in yourself means invest in yourself, and just stay true to your brand, like Daymond always taught me.

I do give back to the community. I have my Go Mo! Summer Camp Scholarship, and 100% of the proceeds help kids go to summer camp because in Memphis it’s hot, and childhood hunger is at its highest in the summertime because kids aren’t eating that nutritious meal [that they’re eating] when school time is in. So, I figured they can have fun, go to the movies, go to the swimming pool, and just be kids.

Future Goals:

I want to be a fashion designer, and I want to have my own clothing line by the time I’m 20. I want to go to Parsons School of Design and hopefully get a Range Rover in the process of that.

Don’t forget to preorder our upcoming book here. Hope you enjoy the read and pursuing your dreams to become a fashion designer!


mo-pro-shot-copy-headshot A former Shark Tank contestant, Moziah “Mo” Bridges is the 14-year-old CEO of Mo’s Bows handmade bowties: a Memphis family-run business. Mo’s bowties have been featured in numerous international publications, and are sold online at mosbowsmemphies.com, as well as Neiman Marcus and other retailers throughout the United States.


 

5 Tips to Combat Procrastination

By: Yvonne Bertovich

I’ve been there, you’ve been there, we’ve all been there. The clock ticking, your palms sweaty, knees weak, heart palpitations ensuing after too much caffeine (see, I’m no Eminem) — all the while a looming deadline hanging over you like a Floridian storm cluster.

Procrastination might as well be the most common affliction, causing us to put off essays, projects, studying for tests, or trips to the DMV (it’ll only get worse as you get older, kids).

There’s something about the thrill of a deadline, or maybe it’s our own egos that often put us in situations of extreme time crunches.

If you’re one of the lucky ones on a traditional summer break without online classes or responsibilities, consider this your wake-up call: you have less than a month left.

If you’re also one of the lucky ones that has a summer book project or reading assignment due when school starts again, you may be thinking you have all the time in the world — so you might as well watch the thirty-ninth episode of Netflix or stare at the ceiling, ’cause gosh darn it, you can.

However, whatever your situation, I’m here to tell you that productivity isn’t a scary thing. It can be done, and your grades (and blood pressure) will thank you for it. Here are five tips to combat procrastination.

1. Break yourself off a piece of that…

No, I’m sorry, I wasn’t going to say Kit Kat bar. Maybe later (see tip #5). Breaking up large tasks into smaller sections is a great way to get things done without feeling overwhelmed.

Let’s say you have a 10-page research paper due on the history of the fork.

First of all, my condolenc862_4047396es.

If you attack the paper one page at a time, it will seem much more manageable. One page a day is much more friendly than 10 pages at 2 a.m. before the deadline. If you’ve gotten yourself into more of a time constraint, try to do two pages a day or even a page an hour with breaks in between (see tip #2).

If you have a project with multiple parts or tasks, break them up into mini projects for yourself and check them off as you go. Just take it one thing at a time.

2. Take a mental “staycation”

What on earth do I mean by this? Well, one of the best methods of planning for myself is mental planning, especially if I’ve reached a stopping point in a project and don’t know where to go next.

Going for a long walk outs767_4827930ide (yes, Vitamin D is important) or doing a few sets at the gym while sorting through ideas or main points in your head is a lot less stressful than sitting there staring blankly at the computer screen.

Even going for a drive can help fuel some inspiration that sitting in your room may be stifling.

Jotting down key points in a note app on your phone while you’re away from your desk (because let’s be real, it’s definitely in your hand or chilling in your pocket like a kangaroo offspring) can help you stay organized when you return.

3. Use the Rocky method

He may not have been a champion in the classroom or at stand-up comedy, but he got the job done. Please don’t eat any raw eggs, though.

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Making sure you’re completely prepared before you buckle down to work on an assignment can greatly benefit you in the long run.

Eat balanced meals to stay sharp throughout the day, and take a snack break or two. The more wholesome the foods you’re eating are, the better you’ll feel and the better you’ll be able to work. Groundbreaking, I know. Try to mix in a sensible combo of protein, fruit and veggies, healthy fats, and whole grains whenever possible.

Practice breathing. Keep a cup of your favorite beverage by your side, and please (not to go all Mom on you), drink some water, too. Your brain will thank you.

Rocky is also known for his great soundtrack. Creating a playlist of motivating songs such as some hardcore rap, classical, country, EDM or whatever YOU like and having it play in the background can help keep your momentum going. Chair dancing is all the rage, too.

4. Think about the bigger picture

Usually, the hardest part of any project or assignment is simply starting it. Whenever you find yourself thinking “I’m soo bored,” maybe open up that rubric or that novel and knock out some work.

403_2918083.JPGWorking on a project for 20 minutes a day may not seem like a lot, but in the long run, it’ll quickly build up. Especially if you start, like, right now.

The sooner you start that project or assignment looming over your head, the more peace of mind you can have later. Plus, the quality will undoubtedly be better, because you’ll leave more time to review your work and avoid sloppy mistakes.

You’re right, it may be one dumb project. You may never need the information you’re mindlessly regurgitating ever again. It may temporarily occupy brain space and energy you’d rather be devoting to catching Kardashians or keeping up with the Pokemon — or something like that.

But the sooner you commit yourself to exerting effort and focusing on quality, the breezier the rest of your school years will be; trust me.

5. “Treat Yo Self”

I’m all about the reward system, because it works. It worked training my puppy 10 years ago (where does the time go?) and it works for training myself, too.

Rewarding yourself with breaks as you progress on your project keeps you from getting burnt out, and it helps with maintaining energy levels. Let your brain relax with one episode on Netflix (emphasis on one) every few hours, grab a smoothie, or whatever you choose.

You can also make a promise to yourself to cash in on something once your project or assignment is complete. There’s honestly no better feeling — to me at least — than hitting that submit button or sending in an assignment. Maybe your reward is something as small as your favorite meal out, or, if it’s a bigger project, a weekend away at the beach with your friends to unwind. Or, even better, go for that Kit Kat bar. You’ve earned it.

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7 Revision Tips You’ll Find Useful For Big Projects

1267_4944364By: Grace Hudgins

I’m currently revising a book about team building exercises in the workplace, which is a lot let me tell you. But it’s only overwhelming because of all the tasks that go along with revising a second edition book — or any edition for that matter.

I’ve learned a few things this past month that have helped me organize my thoughts and ideas when it comes to editing in general, so I’ve decided to share them with you all.

1. Read through your script

Whether it’s a book, paper, or article you’re editing, read through it first before making any changes. It’s easier to see which sections need to be edited or taken out this way.

Reading your copy will make it easier for you to know the type of content you need to add to it, too. Sometimes it’s hard to follow the tone of other authors, but once you get a feel for their writing style, you can adapt to it quickly.

It’s important to actually know what you’re editing or writing — I mean actually know it and understand it. If you’re looking for sources to contribute to your assignment, you need to be able to give them a summary easily. Nothing is more embarrassing than having a professional ask for details about a story you’re reporting on or a book you’re writing, and you end up providing them with inaccurate information or no detail.

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2. Make a to-do list

Once you’ve read your material, you’ll have a greater sense of how much work needs to be done. Even if the workload is small, make a to-do list for yourself. This way, you can keep track of what you have and have not done. Setting deadlines for yourself is also helpful; that way, you can avoid procrastination (don’t lie to yourself, we all do it).

3. Make an outline

My editor suggested this to me, and it’s been really helpful. Instead of getting to certain sections of the book as I go, I made an outline of the entire book instead. Now, the content is organized in the way I want it to be before I try to write multiple chapters in one sitting.

This helped me gather my thoughts, and it made me feel more organized. I had 365 team building activities to sift through, so categorizing them and then placing them in an outline made it easier to decide what to write about and where to put it. It also makes the book flow better. It’ll be easier for my readers to pick activities that relate to their teams.

4. Check all facts and update all research

It’s common to have facts in nonfiction books. It’s one of the reasons books are revised. But, just because a fact was published before doesn’t mean it’s still accurate. Always double-check. It’s embarrassing to publish inaccurate information, and it looks bad, too.

If there are facts in your paper, book, or article that are more than five years old, then I would update them. There is an abundance of research on just about every person, place, or thing on the internet, and chances are new studies have been published on the topic you’re writing about.

5. Pace Yourself

Deadlines are hard, but don’t lose sleep over a project — unless it’s due the next day. Start early, and be productive; that way, you can give yourself time to take breaks in between editing long sections.

It’s easy to overlook small errors because you’re tired or not focused, which leads to more mistakes that you’re suppose to be catching. So, take as much time as you need on parts that you think need it, and don’t try to rush your work.

6. Remember the basics

Of course, don’t forget your basic writing and editing skills — grammar, spelling, grammerpunctuation, sentence structure, and if you’re a reporter, AP Style. If you aren’t sure about a hyphen or the spelling of a word, look it up online on Merriam-Webster’s website. It’s the most accurate for spelling. English websites are also great guides for the rest, and AP Style has it’s own guidebook for journalists, but you can see a brief overview of the main points here. Utilize your resources, in print or online, and trust your gut feeling. If you think a sentence sounds wrong, then rewrite it.

7. Breathe

Editing and writing big projects can be a little overwhelming at the beginning, but remember to breathe and take your time. Not rushing through your work gives you more time to think creatively and come up with more ideas. I thought of some of my best ideas when I wasn’t staring at my MacBook or rough draft.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, too. You can ask professors, editors, or your peers who have experience for guidance on big projects. It’s nice to get ideas from other people. They might give you the perfect idea you’ve been looking for or catch a small error that you overlooked.

Revising any project takes a lot of time from what I’ve learned so far. I’m used to banging projects out in two days or less, which is why I felt so behind and overwhelmed at first. But I realized I needed to take my time and ask my editor for advice when I felt stuck.

Now, I’m almost finished with my team-building book. Next week, I’ll fine-tune it before I send it back to my editor, which I wouldn’t have completed so smoothly if I hadn’t organized my time and taken advantage of all the things I just talked about above.

Oh, one more MAJOR tip: don’t ever send your work back to an editor (or someone higher than you) without proofreading the whole thing first — it’s unprofessional. It’s OK to have a few minor mistakes in your copy, but you were editing the project for a reason, not making it worse.

Have fun, and happy revising!

Five Things I Learned from My Internship at Atlantic Publishing

By Taylor Gaines

It’s hot outside. You probably feel like you need to shower two to seven times a day to deal with the humidity (that’s not just Florida, right?). The days are actually longer during summer than any other time of the year. But for some reason, whether you are in school, working at a job, or just hanging out at home, summer always seems to be gone before you know it.

This summer was certainly no different for me, one that I spent here at Atlantic Publishing blogging and writing and editing and phone calling and twittering and sitting and standing and driving and much, much more. I did and learned more than I could have ever hoped for during my internship here at Atlantic. But for my last blog post as an intern, I want to take the time to talk about some of the things I’ve learned from my time here.

So, without further ado, here are five things I learned from being an intern at Atlantic Publishing.

1) Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect, but It Sure helps

The old adage about bringing your lunch pail to work every day is certainly tired and more than a little cliché. You’re probably pretty close to journeying far away from this part of the internet just because I brought it up. But listen. There really is something to it!

As a writer, there is something I find incredibly soothing, nourishing, and beneficial to coming in every day and working on my skills. Whether I was writing blog posts, editing upcoming books, or making phone calls to sales reps, I felt like I was improving my skills in one way or another on a daily basis.

In my first blog post, I wrote about the importance of reading and writing a lot if you want to become a good writer. I have to say — and I’m far from perfect — I feel more strongly about that than ever. Writing is not about being struck by creative inspiration and writing the Next Great American Novel. Writing is about sitting down at your desk every day and spitting out words. You can’t get better if you don’t put anything down on the paper (or the screen).

2) Hard Work is Contagious

Maybe you’ve been vaccinated and can’t be infected by it, but in my experience here at Atlantic Publishing, I’ve found that hard work is incredibly contagious. Whether it was our editor, Rebekah, working in the cubicle across the way or the warehouse guys working their butts off next door, I always felt like I had to work harder just to keep up with everyone else here at IMG_2008Atlantic. Looking around and seeing that everyone else wants to do a great job definitely makes you work a little harder so that you feel you deserve to be working alongside them.

It’s like when you watch the Super Bowl-winning team rant and rave about how great their locker room environment was and how they really pushed each other to success. Listen, I’m not 100 percent sure if we could put together a Super Bowl-winning team here at Atlantic. But I like our chances.

3) We Are Not Atlantic Publishers

I’m sure that when I was telling family and friends about my internship this summer, I may have accidentally called the company Atlantic Publishers once or twice at the beginning. Heck, I’m Criminalssure we’ve all done it. Publishing, publishers; they’re pretty similar words, I don’t blame you. But let me tell you something.

WE ARE NOT ATLANTIC PUBLISHERS. We are Atlantic Publishing. Atlantic Publishers is a scam magazine subscription company based out of Colorado who tries to steal money out of the pockets of the elderly. They send fake bills to people and ask them to send money in. Do not send them money. Do not pay $200 a year to subscribe to People Magazine. If you do either of those things, don’t expect the magazine to actually come in the mail. If you get a bill from Atlantic Publishers, throw it out. It’s not real. And it’s not us. It’s a completely different — and far less legitimate — company. We don’t like them either.

Trust me, we get a lot of calls about it.

4) Commuting Isn’T Really that Bad (But it Kind of is)

I don’t think I ever really understood why my dad was always complaining about his hour-plus commute to work. I wasn’t necessarily running around going Get over it already, Dad, but I definitely didn’t get why it wasn’t something you didn’t just get used to. But you know what, I get it. I drove 45-50 minutes three days a week to work at Atlantic, and I got annoyed by it sometimes. It can be long, and draining, and really mess with your sleep schedule when you have to factor a couple hours of driving into your schedule every day.

But it’s also kind of comforting and soothing to hop in the car and go into the office like a grown-up. I took a route without much traffic, and I have a pretty healthy podcast diet. So I usually had something to look forward to. I’ve always been one to be catching up on podcasts a week or two after they come out because there are just too gosh-darn many that I really like listening to and not enough time to listen to them. But you want to know something about commuting? I am always caught up on podcasts. Not only that, I find myself looking forward to new episodes coming out rather than dreading having to catch up on all of them. It’s an entirely new cultural experience for me.

(Okay, maybe I care about the podcast thing a little more than I should…but still! It’s pretty great!)

5) Publishers Do a Lot of Stuff

I never would have considered how many different things go down at a book publishing company.

There’s writing and editing; those things I expected. There’s emailing, answering phones, and having meetings; those things I should have expected. Then there’s inputting book data into something called ONIX, calling sales reps for libraries and schools around the country, and finding reputable professionals to write forewords and case studies for our books. Those things actually make books and book-selling happen, and I never even considered them.

There are a million more things, too. We check books for plagiarism, we look up BISAC codes, and we make glossaries and indexes for our books. We even have a distribution center right next door to our editorial office. Really, it all happens here. I may have thought I would come to Atlantic, do some writing, do some editing, and be on my way. Instead, I did that and much, much more, getting a ground-level look at the publishing world and seeing the ways it is changing and evolving every day.

I’m not sure I’ve earned the right to pull of some kind of poetic ending to this post or to make some kind of memorable goodbye (and hey, it’s not like I’m dying, my internship is just ending), so I’ll just say this. Thank you for reading. I hope you learned something at some point, or at least enjoyed something. Keep reading, and keep writing. We’ll see you real soon.

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Writing Help + Life Tips: How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

By: Lauren Capps

As writers, we all have struggles to overcome when we start out and are knee-deep in an 80,000-word book. The constant questions and doubts running through your mind can start to overwhelm you, and if it does, maybe you think it just isn’t worth it to keep going. Or that you need to delete the whole project and forget about it.

Well, I am here to tell you, do not do anything of that sort. You are a writer. You live, sleep, and dream about characters, plots, and even movie adaptations that you hope will become a reality someday. Don’t give that up just because it’s hard or you don’t think you are good enough.

Some of the main struggles that I and other writers have gone through or even worried about are:

“Am I a good writer?”

“Does this sound right?”

“Good Lord, this is awful. I’m deleting that and starting over.”

“What is my writing voice?”

“How would this compare to (insert author here)?”

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And many more.  But the main topic of this post is to help you stop comparing yourself to other writers. If you clear that doubt from your judgment, you will be one step closer to success. Here are some ways to show how comparing impacts your life, and some tips to help you overcome it.

“Comparing yourself to others is an act of violence against your authentic self.” -Iyanla Vanzant

1. Comparing Stops the Learning Process

By focusing on others’ work and always envying what they do, it can stop the process of learning how that person is successful or how they write so well. If you focus on finding their secrets to success, then you will be able to apply it to your own work.

2. Don’t Compare Yourself to the Likes of, Say, Stephen King

If you are comparing your unpublished, never-before-seen-by-the-public work to the likes of the best books by the best authors, you are only putting yourself down, and it will negatively impact your work. As a first time author or a newly published one trying to get your work noticed, you can’t expect to be as good as them. I know it’s hard to hear, and sometimes the truth hurts. Focus on yourself only. Think of ways you can be successful in your own right. Sit down and write the best way you know you can, so you don’t even need to think about those high-end authors.

3. Comparing Takes Away Control

By constantly comparing yourself to others, you are letting it not only impede your judgment but also take control of your life. It will negatively impact your emotions and values. It’s a destructive habit that only you can get out of. By taking back the control over your life, you can choose to be positive and focus on what really matters — your own work.

“Personality begins where comparison leaves off. Be unique. Be memorable. Be confident. Be proud.” -Shannon L. Alder

4. If You Need to Compare, Compare Yourself

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Sometimes comparing and competing can be beneficial instead of negatively impacting. Don’t compare yourself to James Patterson; instead, compare yourself to yourself. Think about what you have achieved in life and see how successful you have become already.

Look at the progress you have made in your book — have you written 50,000 words? That’s awesome! Use this shift of thought to help you overcome negative habits, and it will only show in your work to come.

5.  Break the Habit

If none of those tips helped you, and you are still having a hard time with comparing yourself to others, try to break the habit. The first step is to be aware of when you are judging yourself or your work to others. When you do, stop yourself and think: “I am better than this. I am a good person and a good writer.” Think about positive things like how you won that writing contest, or any positive aspect of your life. Don’t focus on your weaknesses but rely on your strengths to help you overcome negative thoughts. And finally, be yourself.

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If you are OK with who you are and how you do you, you won’t need to compare yourself to others. Stay focused, stay positive, and kick that nasty habit to the curb. By doing this one simple thing, the only direction your life is going is up!

“Whatever your passion is, keep doing it. Don’t waste time chasing after success or comparing yourself to others. Every flower blooms at a different pace. Excel at doing what your passion is and only focus on perfecting it. Eventually, people will see what you are great at doing, and if you are truly great, success will come chasing after you.”-Suzy Kassem

 

 

 

When I grow up I want to be a…

internship

By Grace Hudgins

So a little bit about myself: I’m about to be a college senior at the University of Florida. I’m a journalism major, and I currently have one job as a student affairs coordinator, and two internships — one is at a TV station and the other is, well, here.

Yeah, I know it sounds like a lot but it’s not over the summer. I organized my schedule to fit them all in. Anyway, I’m not telling you all this to brag; in fact, it’s the complete opposite. I want to tell you all — whether you’re in college, about to be, or have already graduated — that it’s OK to change your mind. It’s OK to start over and try something different.

I wanted to tell you how I’ve changed my mind, even though I’m still in college, and the experience that led me there.

In college, you’ll probably be overwhelmed with all of the different things you can do. Kind of like what my co-worker Taylor mentioned yesterday in his blog post about choosing a major. I definitely was. It’s good to narrow down your choices and gain experiences in a field you’re potentially interested in.

That’s how I landed two different internships this past year. I was interested in two fields, one more than the other, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try both. I thought I was going to be in news, and that publishing was something I’d just give a shot at. But that didn’t turn out to be the case for me this summer.

If I’ve learned anything this summer, it’s to not be disappointed if you don’t like the field you thought you could make a career out of. And don’t be afraid to try something different. I thought news was an industry I always wanted to be a part of, but after this past year, I learned it wasn’t for me. news

At first, I felt like news had to be what I did after graduation. I felt like if I didn’t pursue a career in reporting and breaking news, I would’ve wasted my time in college. I’ve had a lot of experience with reporting, writing, editing and telling stories that would fit the news industry, but it’s different once you go out in the “real world.”

I gained most of my news experience at an independent newspaper in my college town and through hands-on classes. I loved what I did at my school newspaper. I liked the different content we would write and the different sources we would come in contact with. It made me fall in love with telling stories and talking to people, hence my internship at a TV station.

But my internship at the station was completely different from what I was used to. It’s breaking news, like the Pulse Nightclub Shooting breaking news (yes, I was there for that). And it’s a great experience to be a part of. Watching the newsroom that week was an experience I’ll never forget. (Oh, and my TV internship is in Orlando.) I love watching professional reporters and producers tell these stories all in their own, unique way. But breaking news is fast, and sometimes, it’s not always happy.

Now, I know news isn’t known for being happy content. But I didn’t like being the one delivering the bad news to the community, even though I love being that bridge for people. I was so upset when I figured out I dreaded it that I didn’t know what I was going to do. But that’s when I remembered I had another internship that I actually really, really enjoy.

Even though publishing and editing isn’t exactly the journalism I learned in school, it’s still pretty similar. All of the basic rules still apply — grammar, spelling, punctuation, and editing; storytelling and creative-thinking skills are all still required for this profession just like journalism and news.

Books on tableI feel better now that I figured that out. But, I also figured out that I still don’t know what I want to do, exactly. But I do have a better sense of direction of where I want to go. The best thing is to be open to new things and new possibilities. Be able to step out of your comfort zone. For example, right now I’m revising an entire book for Atlantic Publishing. That means I get to rewrite the book on my own. I never would’ve thought my journalism degree would lead me to this opportunity, but it has.

My point: Don’t feel stuck in a career that you don’t like. And seriously, I’ve said it about 100 times, but try new things. Try something you’re interested in. Don’t pursue a career just for the financial benefits unless you really like it. In the end, you’ll be much happier with your choice. And if you’re in college or about to start, then you’ll have a clear mind like I do now. I know I want to pursue a career in books or editing after I graduate, I’m just not sure where or what position. But I wouldn’t have figured out the first bit if I didn’t have the TV internship this summer.

The experience I’ve gotten at the station is phenomenal, and the people I have met are some of the best in the business in my opinion, which made my decision even harder. But I did, and I’m more than content with the path I’m on at the moment.

But, hey, you never know. I could change my mind — again. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Writing Hacks: 5 Tips to Help You Start Your First Nonfiction Book

By: Rebekah Sack, Editor

Starting a book can be a pretty daunting task — especially if your goal is to write a fiction book that carefully reflects the life you’ve lived in some profound, poetic, literary way. However, if you really need to get your name in print, starting with a nonfiction book can be the perfect way to jumpstart your career.

Nonfiction is much easier to write and edit than fiction. There is less “creative justice” that must be served — though being creative certainly shouldn’t be dismissed — but that means that the editor won’t get caught up in ambiguous territory. Most nonfiction prose is pretty straightforward: that sentence isn’t parallel? Fix it. This chapter seems out of order? Move it around. This date is wrong? Change it.

The writing process also closely imitates that of a research paper. You do the research on the topic at hand, take close notes while doing so, and then you begin.

But, for many people, that’s where the “ummm, what?” faces start to form. How exactly do you begin? Here are 5 easy tips to get your first nonfiction book in print.

1. Figure out who you’re writing for

So, you want to write a book. You’re a natural-born writer, but the writing world seems like a catch-22, right? If you don’t have something published with your name on it, the big publishers won’t take you seriously.

That’s where considering a work-for-hire job can be useful. These kinds of jobs mean that you take the topic that the publisher assigns you, and you churn out the book for a set amount of pay. You don’t earn royalties on the book, but you do earn the invaluable experience of working for a professional publisher as well as an editor. Many fiction writers spend years working on their drafts, and they never see their work come to fruition (meaning they never earn a dime).

To find work-for-hire writing jobs or freelance writing gigs in general, check out Upwork and LinkedIn. I get messages on LinkedIn often about freelance opportunities, and you’d be surprised how successful this kind of networking can be. There are others, but as an editor for a publishing company that frequently hires work-for-hire freelancers, these are the ones I would recommend.

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2. Research similar books on Amazon

Whether you land the work-for-hire job or you plan to start your book on your own, it’s important to be clear about what’s already on the market. For example, let’s say you want to write a book for young adults about bullying. The logical first step would be to type “bullying book for teens” or something of that nature into the Amazon search engine and to look closely at the first page of results. Take note of the titles (unless your publisher has already finalized the title in a work-for-hire circumstance) and use the “Look Inside” feature to browse the table of contents. What appeals to you? What kinds of topics are being covered? What appears to be missing? You may find areas that you wouldn’t have thought to include in your book, but your key is finding the missing stuff — what are people in need of that isn’t being given to them?

That’s the sweet spot, and that’s exactly what you need to capitalize on to make a name for yourself in the industry.

It can also be useful to test out questions on social media or to your target audience. You might come up with a list of questions like these:

  1. How prevalent is bullying in your life?
  2. What do you want to know about bullying?
  3. Do you have any personal stories regarding bullying?
  4. What do you think other people should know about bullying?

3. Draft up an outline

Once you’re comfortably familiar with what is already on the market, it’s time to draft up your outline. Again, some publishers might actually already have an outline for you to work from, but many won’t — they’ll expect you to come up with one yourself that the editor will approve.

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I have seen many outline submissions myself, and I have a few do’s and don’ts:

DO

  • Format your document carefully.
  • Include brief statements explaining what your headings mean.
  • Be thorough — a half-page or even a one-page outline is lazy.
  • Try to group things in threes — If Chapter 1 has 2 subheadings, do your best to come up with a third. In general, when things are grouped in threes, it feels more right.
  • Make note of sources you have that might help with a certain section — this will help you in the long run.
  • Do NOT send in an unpolished outline for an editor to review. You will drive me her crazy.

DON’T

  • Be sloppy.
  • Include too many details — while a 6-page outline with paragraphs under each chapter heading might seem like a good idea, at the end of the day, the editor expects an outline review to take a short amount of time. If she has to sift through a 6-page paper, you’re making her life a bit more difficult than it needs to be. Keep your detailed notes in a separate document and only include short descriptors.
  • Have underwhelming titles. Your goal is to impress and to have an outline that is as close to the finished product as possible. You will have leeway as you write, but do your best to brainstorm the best titles and headings.
  • Leave out key information. This is why researching what is already out there is so important. Take careful notes of what everyone else is doing so that you know you aren’t missing something. If you’re writing a book about managing a restaurant and you forget to mention scheduling issues, you’ve missed the mark.

4. Stick to a schedule

I’ve seen it happen, and it’s not pretty. The deadline is at the end of the month, and you’re only one-third of the way there. While setting a writing schedule can be intimidating, do your best to plan a certain amount of time to work every single day. I would advise against a specific word count (I’m going to write 1,500 words every day), messy deskand I would steer you more towards a time-related goal (I’m going to sit down for 1.5 hours every day). The reason for this is that not all of the work you’re going to be doing is writing.

With nonfiction work, there’s a lot of research and documentation that needs to be done. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself sitting down and spending 30-45 minutes just reading the latest research. That doesn’t directly translate into a word count goal, but it does count toward the progress of your project.

The important thing is that you’re sitting down every day, and you’re progressively working toward the finish line. If you don’t keep up with it, you might find yourself being kicked off of the project, or worse, never finishing the book you set out to complete.

5. When you’re done editing, edit some more

This is particularly important if you’re not doing a work-for-hire job, but no matter how you slice it and dice it, it’s still key to producing quality writing. When you submit a manuscript to anyone, whether it be an agent, a publisher, or your editor, it should be, for all intents and purposes, an edited draft. There should not be any grammar or punctuation mistakes, the sentences should be coherent and well-formed, and there should be little to no thoughtless mistakes, such as the word “or” being “of” on accident.

An editor expects to fix things, but not careless mistakes. She expects to fine-tune — move this sentence here, add a paragraph here, create a hook there — not to be doing spell-check for you on what was supposed to be your final draft. Take pride in your work. Sure, you might be working for a miniscule paycheck, but your reputation is on the line. This is your stepping stone, and you’re making a name for yourself. Only submit work that you’re proud of, and you’re on your way to becoming a successful author.

Happy writing!

Break The Ice: Five Team-building activities to use this Fall

By: Grace Hudgins

Getting acquainted in a new place is probably one of the hardest things to do as a young adult. I’ve heard it doesn’t get much easier when you’re an adult either – not to be a Debby-downer or anything. But as students, we’re constantly meeting new people, becoming a part of a new team or leading a set of students on our own.

I’m currently rewriting a book that has 365 team-building activities – emphasis on the 365 – so icebreakers and team bonding exercises are the only topics that I can think about this week. It’s kind of beneficial for me though because of the leadership positions I have in college. I’m always trying to think of new activities to bring my group members closer together, and this book has given me a couple of great ideas.

So this week, I’ve decided to pass along my now expert-knowledge on teamwork and introductions to you all just in case you have a leadership position back at school like me.

Below, I’ve listed 5 icebreakers that don’t suck are sure to make your first few classes/team meetings/orientations a breeze.

1. Two Truths and a Lie

This is a classic icebreaker that’s used at pretty much every orientation, team meeting, or first day of school/classes. It’s a great way to get to know people. No matter if they are just your classmates, teammates or club members, it’s a great start to conversation.

How it works: Everyone will write two true facts about themselves and one lie. Taking turns, everyone will read what he or she wrote and have the others guess at which fact is the lie. It’s fun to include personal facts that are surprising to people, and hear about what people actually have and have not done.

78_32944772. The Name Game

I’m sure there are more versions of this game, but the one I’ve listed is a lot of fun. I’ve played it at many leadership retreats and dance camps, and it’s always successful.

How it works: Each person writes his or her own name on a tag. The leader then collects all the names and the team sits in a circle. The leader then sticks the tags on the backs of the people at random. When the leader says, “go,” everyone gets up and tries to find his or her tag. Each person also tries to prevent others from seeing the tag that is on their back. When team members find their tags, they grab them and put them on their chests. The game ends when everyone has found his or her tag.

3. Find the Common Thread

Different details can be added to this exercise to make it fit the occasion you’re using it for. It’s fun to play because you get to see how much you have in common with those around you.

How it works: Divide your team/class/group members into two, and give them a chart with how many ever slots your heart desires. From there, your team will have to walk around and talk with others to find out if they have anything in common. Ten is usually a good number because it’s not too long or too short. Whoever has the most first wins.

4. Gifts and Hooks

As I was researching different team-building exercises for the book I’m revising, I came across this one written by a managing director for leadership strategies. It’s simple, will get your team talking, and maybe even form a bond of trust between group members. It can be used for students also to help with group projects and assignments.

How it works: Have each person write down their “gifts” or skills they think they can contribute to the team, along with a “hook,” which is a flaw, that they think they could improve. Once that’s finished, have them walk around and discuss it with a partner or have them post their answers on a wall. From there, the leader (if that’s you) can decide who will work best with whom or figure out how to tackle the year ahead. For more details, read the instructions here.

5. Color Personality Tests

These are a lot of fun, and they make people think about their everyday actions. You can find these online anywhere, but it’s basically a survey that will tell your team members what kind of personalities they have. Once everyone has figured out what color and personality type they have, it will be easier to group certain students together based on their results.

How it works: Check this one out as an example.


Here are three that suck are not very good.

1.What Animal Are You?

Yeah. I saw this one as an employee team-building activity. I don’t really think I need to explain it either. Piece of advice: Don’t make students who are in high school or college play animal charades as an icebreaker, much less full-grown adults at work. Just take my advice and don’t do it.

2. Make the Largest Bubble67_3979458

Yes, you read that right. This is an exercise where team members have to make bubbles out of soap. Not sure why anyone would think this activity builds character, but I wouldn’t suggest it to people 10 and up (or period, but that’s just me).

3. Share the Crayon

This is another one I researched that didn’t really make sense to give to people older than 10, but to each his own, you know?

How it works: Each team member gets a different color crayon. Give the team a subject to draw and color. They must create the object together. Everyone must use his or her own crayon and only one person can draw at a time. The goal is for everyone to use his or her crayon at least once in the picture. You can choose different objects to draw.

At the end of the day, you know your team the best. So, if the last three activities I listed would work well for your team, then by all means give them a go. Just try to keep in mind the age group of your team’s members and what your team needs to become stronger.

The Internet is a great research tool, as well. So if you can’t wait for my new book to come out in a few months or so, I know Google would suffice until then (wink). Happy preparing to all you fellow leaders/presidents/board members!

Good luck, and have fun team building!