I Think I Can…

Had to use it. Way too adorable!

This is what has been incessantly nagging at my brain lately. Things keep popping up that lead me right back to thinking about success, what it is, what it means to me,  and how I can achieve it. Class lectures, memes, and my multitudinous readings all have this theme of success ingrained into them but little explanation as to what it is. I’m left to figure out what exactly constitutes success.

So I turned to my beloved dictionary and looked up the actual definition of the word success. This is what I found:

Success, n.:

1. (obsolete) outcome, result

2a. degree or measure of succeeding

2b. favorable or desired outcome; (also) the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence

3. one that succeeds

Since I hate the idea of defining a word with another form of the same word, 2a and 3 are automatically out. And of course, 1 is out because, as noted, it’s obsolete. So that leaves 2b.

For me, definition 2b seems to be the best definition of success. The first half, anyway. “Favorable or desired outcome.” It seems to imply that there isn’t really one set definition of success, which is completely true in my opinion. Success holds a different meaning for each individual.

My definition of success holds true for me and me alone. I would consider myself successful if I developed into an independent, sociable, financially stable young woman. But that’s only part of it. I wouldn’t consider myself a complete success until I established myself as a professional writer. This does not necessarily mean a famous writer, but merely a regularly published one who might get paid for her work. Becoming a reporter would fulfill my requirement. And if I do become a household name in the process, then so be it.

That’s it. That’s all that it would take for me to be a self-proclaimed success. Maybe that isn’t someone else’s idea of success. Maybe they’re more interested in the second half of definition 2, “attaining wealth, favor, or eminence.” And that’s far from wrong. Society seems to tell us that these are the keys to success, and in some realms that could very well be true. A businessman would certainly want his business to be lucrative; his life is devoted to making money. An actor would love to score a role on Broadway or in Hollywood. These things all define success. And all these goals express the individuality of what success actually is.

But there’s more to success than just knowing one’s personal definition. Now that I have my definition of success, I need to figure out how to get there. That part is really what’s been so thought-provoking and stress-inducing. The field I want to go into is so mercurial and competitive that I need to make myself stand out among the throngs of people vying for the same position. I need to do everything right, then do a little bit extra, to reach my goal of success.

My New Year’s Resolution is part of this. Writing more and in a variety of styles will help to develop my writing skills and build a portfolio of writing samples. This blog, my contributions to the school newspaper, and whatever fiction I have time for will bring together a diverse sampling of my skills, which could be very beneficial.  Yet there’s even more to it than just writing.

A huge part of whether or not I will be successful in the writing business comes down to being a savvy job-hunter and self-marketer. Resumes, networking, internships… These seem to be the necessary items for finding a job. And I’ve been focusing a great deal of my attention and energy on theses things, particularly since the very beginning of 2012. I’m determined to make myself look good on paper (writer joke!).

Success has been taking up a great deal of my time, even though I haven’t quite accomplished it yet. It’s work– work that I need to get a jump on. Four years of college won’t hide me from the real world for long. I’m already in the second semester of my first year. And by starting to work toward my goal of success, it’s more likely that I’ll reach it. Wish me luck!

P.S. I apologize for being late on this post. Kind of a crazy week. I’ll be sure to stay on track in the future.


Where Are We Going?

The New York Times has been a staple in my daily reading diet lately for two reasons. The first is that as an aspiring journalist, I should have some idea of what the standard for journalistic writing is, and possibly a favorite columnist or contributing writer to inspire me. The second… We are certainly living in a tumultuous time.

For anyone who says that the world today is boring, that there are no battles left to fight and no walls left to knock down, I challenge you to pick up a newspaper, open a news feed online, or turn on a local news station. Protests against banks and governments; legislation threatening the World Wide Web; human rights still being disputed in “developed” countries in the twenty-first century… please, stop me when something captivating comes up. All these events and more are pouring out of news sources. We are witnessing history being made. No, more than that. We are LIVING IT. And I find that exhilarating.

I used to think that I was born at the wrong time, having missed all the important events like the World Wars and the Sixties. Those were exciting times, and I felt like I had somehow missed out. But when I take a look around, I realize that I haven’t missed out at all. In fact, the elements of these eras seem to be present in all the changes that are occurring today. The Middle East is our World War, Vietnam, and Korea. The Occupy Movement is our Civil Rights march. Women’s Rights has turned into Gay Rights. Even the Cold War is still being fought, regardless of its “end” in the Eighties. And the Internet is our medium for these issues– our radio, our newsreels, our headlines, our picket signs and banners.

We are living in a dynamic and volatile era. Constant technological evolution and overdue social revolution encompass the entire globe. Communicating with others on different continents is as simple as the click of the mouse, lending an ease to the transfer of ideas and philosophies that was previously unheard of. One social movement inspires another, even when separated by an ocean and thousands of miles. Change is happening, for better or worse, and we are right in the midst of it.

I haven’t the slightest idea where all of this is going to take us, but everything will have an impact on the world– monumental or minuscule, positive or negative– that my generation and those following will have to face. As thrilling as it is to know that someday this era will be studied in history classes, it’s frightening to think about what else this chaotic time means for us, the children of financial instability and social unrest.

What kind of world will be left for us?

The Dictionary Is My Friend. And So Is His Cousin the Thesaurus.

As an English major, a writer, and a reader, one would think that my vocabulary would be astonishingly diversified and completely grandiloquent. It isn’t. That’s not to say that I don’t know a plenitude of words and their meanings. But the usage of my vast lexicon is essentially nonexistent in the course of my writing and conversation. I use the same words over and over and over and over… Well, I think you get the point.

Shortly before winter break, I was overcome with a sudden urge while on Dictionary.com (more accurately, I was distracted in the course of looking up a word from some reading homework) to play a word game. I noticed quite early on that most of the words they were giving me in this game were familiar and not challenging at all. I also realized that I never really utilized any of them in everyday writing or conversation, and I became a bit depressed. So I went on a word-seeking rampage. I copied down several of the vocabulary lists from the game onto note cards, which are now plastered all over my desk. And in some fortuitous twist of fate, I received a dandy little calendar that gives me a new word for each day of the year. Granted, I’m eleven days in and have known about half the words already, but the important part is that there will be words I won’t know.

I am aware that most of these words are far from everyday use in everyday situations. I also know that should I decide to use them, I risk sounding pretentious. I would like to avoid this at all costs. But at the same time, I’d also like to be able to use words that are more interesting than, well, “interesting”.

So in my word-search craze, Here are some of the words I found, which I was told by a very respected person in  my life were “good words.” Thank you for doubting my English major-ness…

  • Bombast: n., speech too pompous for an occasion
  • Vitriolic: adj., very caustic; scathing
  • Quixotic: adj., impulsive and often rashly unpredictable
  • Lachrymose: adj., suggestive of or tending to cause tears
  • Ebullient: adj., overflowing with fervor, enthusiasm, or excitement; high-spirited
  • Didactic: adj., 1. designed or intended to teach; 2. making observations
  • Vinaceous: adj., of the color of red wine

These are only a few of the forty-five words I have taped to my desk and pinned to my message board. They’re all fantastically enjoyable to say, and I can’t wait until I’m able to put them to use. In fact, I might try to slip a few into my posts.

Words could almost be described as Elysian for me. The dictionary is a necessary tool for me, as is the thesaurus. And I’ve come to be very good friends with both.

Writer’s Plea

Alright… I promised to post more regularly. So I’ve decided that Wednesdays are going to be my posting days. However, today, which will be yesterday by the time I get this up, did not hold any sort of inspiration– or time– for a decent blog post. So in order to prevent this from happening again, I’m going to challenge anyone reading to become a muse.

Feel free to leave a thought-provoking question, a muse-awakening prompt, or an intriguing quote. Either post it as a comment on this post or head on over to the “Ideas, Suggestions, A Bit of Help” page and sound off there.  That way, whenever I’m at a loss for a post, I can pull from you, my readers. I’d like to stick with this resolution, and I’d hate to let anyone down who’s looking for more from me. I’ll accept all the help I can get, and show my appreciation as well.

Hopefully, this isn’t an omen for this next year of blogging. I’m looking forward to having a great deal to write about in my life, but it would be nice to have something as a backup. Thanks, everyone!