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Dreams & Goals

How I Landed My Own Column (Without Writing a Pitch)

Photo by Sherri Ross Walters

Just as I do at the end of every year, this past December I wrote down a list of goals for 2014. This time, though, I did things a bit differently. This time I wrote my goals as declarations not aspirations. So instead of writing “I want to land my own column in a local print publication,” I wrote “I will land my own column in a local print publication.” And by January 31 I had done exactly that.

I am now a columnist for B-Metro magazine. My first piece ran in this month’s issue and addresses the issue of whether or not there is a feminist aesthetic. In other words, can you tell a person is a feminist by looking at her?

My column, called Write Like a Girl, will tackle everyday feminism and women’s issues each month. You can read my debut piece “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like” here.

When I wrote down my declaration last year I also determined that once I did snag this column opportunity I would write a post about how I did it. In the post I would examine the anatomy of the perfect pitch. But I didn’t write the perfect pitch. In fact, I didn’t write any pitch. I was actually offered this opportunity before I had the chance to ask for it.

Nonetheless, I do have a few tips to offer.

(more…)

Living the Dream and Leaving a Legacy

Last week on my blog The Writeous Babe Project I wrote about having so many goals and so many dreams that I’m not sure where to start. I want to be a blogging star. I want to write and publish a book on feminism. I want to run a successful online magazine. I want to see my byline in all my favorite publications. I want to take my teaching career to the next level. And I want to grow See Jane Write.

 

While speaking at the 2011 skirt! Creative Conference, author Claire Cook told us ambitious ladies of letters in the audience that we can do it all, but not all at once. I’ve learned just how true this is. When I try to do too much, when I spread myself too thin, the result is mediocrity: I’m good at many things, but great at nothing.

 

So I declared on WriteousBabe.com that I would choose one goal to make my top priority, at least for the next year. But I had no idea how to choose the dream on which I would focus.

 

Enter Eunice Elliot.

 

Eumice Elliott

 

Elliot is a TV and radio personality, comedienne, and motivational speaker based here in Birmingham. Saturday afternoon I had the privilege of attending one of motivational talks at the Smithfield Library. This year Elliot has been doing a series of lectures she calls “Living the Dream” at Birmingham Public Library branches. This particular talk was in honor of Women’s History Month and her goal was to inspire women (and any men in the audience) to boldly pursue their dreams.

 

Elliot first asked the crowd if we know what our dream is. I couldn’t answer, not because I don’t have a dream, but because I have too many. I shared this with Elliot and she gave me a simple question to consider: If, in your lifetime you could only pursue one of your goals, which one would it be?

 

The conclusion I came to was quite surprising. I thought I’d decide to focus on running a successful online magazine. To help us identify our dream Elliot told us to think back to what we loved doing or dreamed of doing when we were children. I’ve wanted to run a magazine since I was 15. But that wasn’t the goal that rose to the top.

 

The thing I want to do most is grow See Jane Write. 

 

I decided that what’s most important is leaving a legacy and the legacy I want to leave is See Jane Write. I want to leave a legacy of empowering women to speak their truth and nurture their creativity through the written word, a legacy of inspiring women to live a life worth writing about.

 

At the end of the day that matters so much more than being a blogging star or a best selling author per even the editor of a successful magazine.

 

Elliot encouraged us to maintain positive thoughts about our dreams by writing down our goals or even creating a vision board. I’m sure my eyes brightened when she said this, since I just made a new vision board last month.

 

 

Elliott believes in the law of attraction: what you think you’ll get something, you will. And I believe that too.

 

Late last year I kept thinking about how much I wanted to have a column in a local magazine. I wrote down this goal and even told a few friends about it. On January 31, I received an email from the editor of one of the city’s best magazine asking if I’d be interested in writing a column for that publication. (More details to come!)

 

But it wasn’t my positive thinking alone that landed this opportunity.

 

On Saturday night I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned in bed until 2:30 a.m. thinking about the question Elliott posed to me that afternoon. The thought that kept coming to me was to have a servant’s heart. Then when I went to church Sunday morning the message of the sermon was about… wait for it … HAVING A SERVANT’S HEART! What I’ve learned through See Jane Write is that when you do good for other people, good things happen to you. I’ve had the opportunity to attend blogging conferences for free and even speak at blogging conferences because of See Jane Write. Furthermore, most of the local freelance writing gigs I have  — including this new column opportunity — I acquired because of See Jane Write.

 

I believe that by focusing on See Jane Write not only will I help others, but I will also help myself. I believe that by focusing on See Jane Write, all my other dreams will come true too.

Eunice Elliott’s next Living the Dream Empowerment Workshop will be held Saturday, March 29 at 2:30 p.m. at Pratt City Library, 509 Dougan Avenue.  

Not someday, do it now

Most of us have our someday speech well prepared, that list of reasons that explains why we aren’t pursuing our dream project now but will do it “someday.” I’ll write that book someday, but I can’t now because I don’t have enough time or enough talent. I’ll start that business someday, but right now I don’t have the money or the knowledge that I need to do it. 


If this sounds all too familiar take a few minutes to read “The Someday Speech”, a recent blog post by food writer Monica Bhide. She says sometimes we all need a “swift kick in the behind” to push us to fight for our dreams. Read this post and consider yourself kicked. 



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