No One’s Perfect, Not Even the People on the Internet

It’s such a weird position to be in: here you are, living a normal, sometimes boring, often not perfect life, yet one glance at any social media site has the power to set off feelings of inadequacy that might have stayed in check if it weren’t for the megaphones of perfection that are Facebook and Instagram.  Or is that just me?

I recently wrote about taming the feelings of envy that the internet tends to set off. Today, I am reflecting on this concept of the inaccurate portrayal of perfection on the internet, particularly on social media.

One of the most inspiring sessions I attended during Alt Summit Summer this past week was entitled “Blogging with Bravery: Finding Courage and Your Authentic Voice in the Online World” presented by Tiffany Han. Let’s just say Tiffany Han is my new idol.

Even if you don’t have a blog, you probably have Facebook, or Instagram, or Pinterest, or all three and more. Tiffany’s message about telling your real story is for anyone on the internet, not just bloggers or entrepreneurs. It’s for your kids, too, as I will explain later. continue…

Creating for the Sake of Creating

Do you consider yourself to be a creative person? What do you like to create? Have you been creating lately?

I have been following Alex Beadon for a little while, and she recently started posting personal vlogs. She has been saying in her vlogs that after getting into vlogging, she realized that she missed the act of creating for the sake of creating ever since she let her photography business go.

This got me thinking: I love writing for the sake of writing. I get so caught up in how I might turn doing what I love doing into how I generate income, sometimes I forget that it is purely joyful for me.

I am in no way talented at painting, singing, or other forms of art. Nor do I want to be. But writing is the form of creation that I love.

The Cycle of Creativity

Kids are encouraged to create to develop their minds and just to have fun. As adults, we can get caught up in making a living and making everything work and forget to just do things because they are fun. And even if they are fun, it feels like they have to be associated with achieving some goal or getting something out of it. Otherwise, what’s the point? continue…

Be Unapologetic About What You Want

I thought I wanted to be a writer. According to everything I have read, by the act of writing I am a writer. I don’t even have to be any good at writing, apparently. As long as I want to be a writer and I write, then I am a writer.

But I have apologized with every inch of my being for wanting to be a writer ever since I first was told that math and science are where the money and value are – not reading and writing. I have grown and come to terms with my writer ways over the years. But not without apology.

I often feel guilty telling people that I have a blog when asked what I do. I usually tell them the “real” thing that I do, as in the thing that actually produces an income. Then I slip in at the end (nervously) that I have a blog. Talking about myself as a writer makes me feel super apologetic. Like I haven’t earned the right to call myself a writer, or a blogger.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

I will be attending Alt Summit Summer this year. Alt Summit is a design and blogging conference held twice a year (January and June) in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have known about it for several years now but could never bring myself to attend a conference for bloggers, not feeling like a “real” blogger myself.

Fortunately one of my favorite vloggers, Jennifer Ross, pushed me over the edge this year with her vlogs and blog posts from the January conference. I am so excited to finally be going!

I received an email recently with links to the keynote speaker presentations from the January session. One was by Lisa Congdon, the other by Dallas Clayton. Both are amazing and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Lisa Congdon talked about the path she took to get where she is as a creator of lots of different amazing things. She talked about being unapologetic about what you want, and that got me thinking. continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

A Year Ago on Awaken & Begin

A year (and three days) ago, the first post was published on Awaken & Begin. Starting a blog was a dream come to life in itself, and continues to be part of a much larger dream.

So far, Awaken & Begin hasn’t produced a penny of income, has attracted less than 50 likes on Facebook and followers on Twitter, and less than 10 subscribers. And I am still smiling. continue…

Daring Greatly: Giving Up Perfectionism for Creativity

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett

I have been listening to Daring Greatly by Brené Brown over the past few weeks. Brené Brown is famous for her TED Talks on vulnerability and shame, which is how I came to know of her. I previously read her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which had my name all over it!

When I saw that Daring Greatly was available through my library as an audio book, I was ecstatic. I have been listening to her words on shame, vulnerability, scarcity culture, perfectionism, and other topics that affect our ability and willingness to dare greatly over the past few weeks, and was inspired to write about a couple of these topics that I identify with in my own life.

Rather than write one review post on the whole book, I will be writing a short series of Daring Greatly posts inspired by Brené Brown’s research and book of the same name. continue…

Giving Up is No Longer an Option

“Well you always throw away the first pancake.” – Reba on Malibu Country

The other night I watched a movie called A Case of You about a writer (my favorite kind of movie!) and it got me thinking about my dream of being a writer. This thought frequents my mind, but it often gets pushed to the backburner.

I have almost finished or barely started reading so many books about writing with titles like Writer with a Day Job, The Right to Write, and No Plot? No Problem! (written by the founder of NaNoWriMo), not to mention On Writing by Stephen King. To say that I am slightly obsessed with being a writer would be an understatement.

The Fear of Starting

A Case of You begins with the main character (played by Justin Long) agonizing over the first sentence of his book: starting, loathing, deleting. Some of the sentences were mediocre, others seemed really good, but they all had one thing in common: they all got deleted.

I know the feeling of attempting to start “chapter one” of some crazy idea I dreamed up in my head. What if it totally sucks and I pour all of this time into it and then it ends up being nothing? This is my ego trying to talk me out of doing something that makes me happy. continue…

Reflections on Blogust

Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  – posted at 60 Empowering Quotes to Help You Get Things Done

Today is August 31. I am so proud to say that I made it through Blogust! I honestly have no idea what I am doing, but I have started and that is an accomplishment in itself.

For the past year, I have tried to get inspired, motivated, and disciplined enough to post to this blog everyday and get it going, but I just could find the magic formula to get myself to do it. I am so glad that I got the idea to do Blogust, because at least for the month of August, that did the trick!

I absolutely love writing, and have been writing for myself, to myself, for the past several years, but was too afraid to share my ideas. I know that I have A LOT to learn about blogging and writing in general, but I have to remind myself that just doing something puts me so far ahead of the version of myself that just did nothing. continue…

Focusing on the Bright Spots and Beginning Again

“Nothing in the world is ever completely wrong, my dear…Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” – Brida’s father to her in Brida by Paulo Coehlo

I remember reading in the book Switch by Chip Heath and Dan Heath about the concept of focusing on the bright spots – figuring out what it is that is working in your life and examining why, and then applying the same principles that make those areas work to areas in your life that you want to improve.

A few years ago, I got the idea to start a blog from a friend. I actually didn’t realize that just anyone (like me) could start a blog. I have been writing in journals forever, and have always felt that I am a writer. Blogging seemed like the perfect fit for me, so I went ahead and started a Blogger blog, but I didn’t really feel connected to what I was doing. I was too afraid to put myself out there, so I didn’t reveal the “real Annie” for fear of judgment (from my 4 followers).

I soon abandoned my Blogger blog, and decided I wanted to create something bigger that more people could relate to (my first blog was called “Annie Words” and I didn’t think many people, besides my 4 followers perhaps, would really identify with that blog name as a brand).

So I decided to start a WordPress blog. This blog was born just over a year ago. I came up with the name for Awaken & Begin one day after agonizing over the perfect blog name for several months. I quickly proceeded to sign up for a WordPress blog and follow the steps to get the domain name and self host the site. Then…crickets. continue…

The Joy of Starting

Or the agony; take your pick. Sometimes it is fun to jump into a project, while other times the initial enthusiasm is met with a crippling paralysis due to the many, many choices we are presented with any time we want to do anything new.

So you want to take up yoga? How do you choose between the 25 different yoga studios (or videos) and variety of styles available? How about starting a blog? There are a seemingly infinite amount of choices in font, color, layout, images, etc. continue…