I don’t feel confident this morning. I’m anxious, overwhelmed, and unmotivated...but I’m doing the things I need to do anyway. . . Being a badass doesn’t mean you’re on top of your game 24/7. It doesn’t mean you have everything figured out, that your life is perfect (mine certainly isn’t), or that you’re fearless. . . It just means you keep moving. You can take a break if you need to, but never let your fears, your thoughts, or your insecurities overwhelm you until you stop. . . Keep going. You got this. ✨
What’s the one book you could read over and over again without getting bored? . . For me, it’s definitely Pride & Prejudice. I stopped reading for a full year when my anxiety first started (yep, a year without books), and Pride & Prejudice was the first book I (re)read to break the cycle. Even though it’s not my favorite book — or even my favorite of Jane Austen’s works — it’ll always be a comfort to me. 📚
Last one, I swear. If you’re in Nashville and need some portraits (or if you’ll be in NYC for @wattpad’s #WattCon2018), hit me up. Let’s adventure together. ✨
I’ve said this a lot recently, and I’ll say it again — surround yourself with people who inspire you, motivate you, and encourage you to be yourself. (And who aren’t afraid to ham it up on camera while you practice your portraiture 👌) . . When I walked into @wattpad’s office for WattCon last year, I don’t know what I expected — but I certainly didn’t think I’d meet another writer from Nashville who’d become one of my best friends. I’m beyond grateful for @itsonlyariel (and every other amazing person I met last year), and I can’t wait to connect with more people this year at #WattCon2018!
It’s been ages since I’ve done a photoshoot (almost ten years, to be precise), so I’m pretty thrilled to be behind the camera again. It’s a powerful reminder that life happens, dreams get put on hold, and that’s 100% okay. Keep pursuing your passions, find what makes you happy, and don’t be afraid to give it all you’ve got. ✨
Who’s the number one person who pushes you to be a better person? What do you love about them? (Bonus points if you tag them and share the love!) . . Surround yourself with people who inspire you, support you, and let you practice taking portraits even when they REALLY don’t want to (and end up pulling faces). . . In all seriousness, your tribe matters. The people you choose to spend your time with matter — whether that’s when you’re relaxing or working — because they help shape who we are (whether we realize it or not). . . If you don’t have an epic community in person, a virtual tribe counts! I can’t tell you the number of wonderful people I’ve met online who continue to inspire me even though we’ve never even met (oh hey, @em.harriss + @jill_grun), and it’s those relationships that build me up and keep me moving.
What are your dreams? What are your goals? They might seem similar, but — to me — dreams are the BIG things you want in life. (My dream involves selling millions of books, traveling the world, reaching 1 million followers, and helping people.) . . On the other hand, goals are a little bit smaller. (Some might call them realistic, but that makes it sound like your dreams aren’t possible! They are.) Instead, think of your goals as HOW you’re going to reach your dreams. You can set all kinds of goals — short-term (get out of bed on time) or mid-term (save $10,000 in the next year) or long-term (write 5 new manuscripts in the next 3 years) — but the important thing is that you define not only WHAT you want to achieve, but also WHEN and HOW you can achieve it. Everything starts with a single step! . . From there, we can use our goals to help make our dreams a reality. If you want more followers so you can reach + help more people, then where do you start? You start by learning how to grow your audience. You start with quality content, learning about engagement, and posting regularly — even when you don’t feel like it. . . There are no shortcuts, and your dreams won’t be handed to you. You have to work for them, you have to struggle for them, and sometimes that’s going to suck. (PSA: That’s okay! It should suck sometimes!) . . But it’s worth the struggle. Your dreams are worth the struggle. We just need to learn to enjoy the journey and keep going. So, tell me your dreams — right now, in a comment — and commit to setting the right goals and working toward the life you want.✨
Sometimes I hate myself. (Bear with me, this isn’t an attempt to fish for compliments.) It’s just true, and it’s something we don’t talk about enough. Sometimes I simply don’t like who I am — whether that’s how I look (too muscular), my hair (not feminine enough), my face (too round), my voice (too loud), or my personality (too crazy) — and I wish I could change...everything. . . But when I have those moments, instead of falling prey to the completely unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves (not to mention the world), I try to think about three things: 1) What I *can* change (sorry, voice) 2) What I *want* to change (my handwriting? Nope) 3) What I’m willing to *do something* about . . Because, guess what, it’s okay to want to change. In fact, I’d wager that it’s a GOOD thing. I certainly don’t want to be the same person I was five years ago, and I’m always seeking improvement. But thinking about what I’m able to change versus what’s out of my control, then narrowing my focus to the things that I want to change, and finally selecting what I’m willing to actually WORK for helps remind me that I’m a work-in-progress, and that’s okay. . . We need to stop hating ourselves for the things we’re unable — or unwilling — to change and save that energy for putting good into ourselves and the universe. It’s not easy, but learning to love yourself never is. It is, however, totally worth it. (And I love you, so there’s that.)✨