Monday, July 30, 2012

So You Want to be a Writer: A Letter to Myself

This is a letter I wrote to myself when I decided to give up the pre-med track a while ago. Part inspiration, part BS, it was a way to make myself feel less guilty for making a decision that not everyone was happy with or proud of. Moral of the story: everyone's not going to like your choices, but as long as it's moral and legal, do you. The end. 

So, you want to be a writer. Not a doctor? It only took a solid 12 years to realize it.

You've been writing poems since you were eight. You wrote your first novel at 11. You made a self-published seasonal magazine and sold it to your class for ten cents in the fourth grade. Who were you kidding? Yeah, you were good at science, but you liked writing better. You knew it and so did everyone else.

You've wanted to write since you realized that writing was the best way to get out what you needed to say. Hopelessly and painfully awkward in person, pen and paper (or laptop, now) made you charming and eloquent (and yes, still awkward, like now). You've finally decided to care a little less about what people think and a little more about what you want and that's good. By doing this you're letting go. A little. I hope.

So here's the deal: You're never going to get to live a crazy lavish lifestyle. You aren't Carrie Bradshaw, but one day, maybe you can be Eva Chen or Jane Keltner or Amy Astley (which, to be perfectly honest, would be better than being Carrie Bradshaw--sorry SJP!). You're probably going to have to work ridiculously hard to get by. You'll need a mind like a diamond and the kind of charm nobody's experienced before. You're not entering a dream come true. To be perfectly honest, all of the people who have told you that you're taking the easy way out are full of it. The easy way out would be to go to med school and become a doctor. It's so safe, so Elise. It's not easy to be creative or enter a super competitive world where you're not guaranteed a thing.

Yeah, you're going to have to give up the notion of job security, but it's worth it to get your ideas out, right? Wrong. But only sometimes. There are going to be people who don't want to listen to you (and by listen I mean read). Someone's going to have an opinion about everything. You're going to have critics. Everybody's not going to get it. But you get it. That's what matters. You love it, right? Right. And if you're really lucky and light enough church candles on Sundays, there might be people who like you. And think you're funny. And want to read what YOU write. That's when the struggle is more than worth it. That's the goal.

You're determined. I know you are. If you want it, you'll find a way to have it. You have a sick amount of drive. And OCD, but that's ok, because for some reason you let it go when you write.

And it's not like you want to be a novelist or creative writer. There's nothing wrong with that. But I know you, because, well, I am you. And you want a whole repertoire. You want to write articles, you want to edit. You want to make drafts of press releases and pitches. You want to write content and witty item descriptions. If you could tweet professionally, you'd probably do it.

My writing persona is my Sasha Fierce. Yes, that was, in fact, a Beyonce reference. I like Nabakov and Hemingway. I like Beyonce. My mind's a random amalgamation of cultural contradictions. My love for that fact is undying. I think it's what motivates me to write. I have such random ideas floating in my head that I need to purge them and share them. I couldn't really do that had I decided to become a dermatologist.

The moral to this stream of consciousness is this: being a writer isn't going to be easy. Sometimes it isn't going to be fun. But you love it, so you're going to do it and it's going to make you happier than being a doctor. It doesn't matter what anyone says. If you want success badly enough, you'll work toward it and find it. Don't ever let people stop you, but take a second to evaluate their criticisms. Prove them wrong, because if there's anything you're exceptional at, that's it. Stop doing what's safe and what people want you to do. It's your life, not theirs.

I hope you read this a little down the line and realize you made the right choice.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Getting Organized

Being the Type A super OCD person that I am, I spend much too much time organizing my things, making to-do lists and writing reminders in my planners. With an "s." Yes, I have multiple. As a burgeoning professional and especially as a student, it is crazy important to be organized. So here are 5 simple steps to turn you into an organizational pro.

1. Start with your computer. I've been obsessed with my MacBook Pro since the day I got it. But not until recently has it been glued to my hip. I spend so much time writing and getting things organized for school and my internship and my personal projects that to have a disorganized laptop would result in chaos. And I do not do well with chaos.

Make folders for your classes or jobs and put them in folders dated by year or semester to keep your files organized. Here's an example of mine:

Within each of these folders is a subset. For example, my school folder is organized by year (freshman, sophomore, etc.) and within each of those is fall and winter semester. My work folder is organized into resumes, cover letters, and writing samples. It takes a little time if you don't already have a system, but it pays off in the end. Promise.

2. Use a planner! I don't care if it's iCal or Microsoft Outlook or something on your phone. I would love it if it were a notebook style planner (but that's just because it's my preference). Anything that helps you remember appointments and to-dos in a streamlined way is a vital step toward being organized.

3. Have a file system. I am a huge proponent of file systems. It's really important to save things (like anything finance related, papers and exams that will help later in the semester) because you never know when you'll need certain items or pieces of documentation again. This doesn't mean become a hoarder and keep absolutely everything, but get a small file box that can fit about 10 folders and label them with what they're needed for. It will be a life-saver one day.

4. Label. Label. Label. If you label things, you know what they're for. It's as simple as that. Label tasks with priority, label folders for classes, and label anything that seems important and you're golden!

5. Make it a mental thing. Being organized means following tips like these to get your things together and your priorities straight. But staying organized is a mental process. You have to want to keep your life neat and in order to stay organized. Remember to add that assignment to your calendar. Put important financial forms where they belong. Don't just "be ok" leaving items in random places on your computer. Change the way you think about organization and pester yourself to follow these tips for 21 days and they'll become unbreakable habits. Plus, being organized will help you save time, so you can squeeze in that nap or fun activity!

I hope these tips have helped inspire you to get organized. Whether it's for work or school or just because you need a little bit of order in your hectic life, getting organized is the best way to sharpen focus. Have a tip that I didn't get to? Something you want to see featured? Let me know via twitter or the comments!

Good luck!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Industry Insiders: Anuschka Senge

It's been a hot second since we've had an Industry Insider but this one is a real gem. After perusing Refinery 29's post from oh-so long ago on NYC's 30 Under 30, we were inspired to share one of their picks, PR maven Anuschka Senge.

Photo Credit

Fashion PR is Anuschka's game and the industry really loves her. With a knack for branding any client, she is truly one of PR's rising stars and someone we at Under PRessure hope to emulate career wise. The fact that she is amazing at what she does at such a young age is not only inspiring, but a testament to the fact that if you're doing what you love, you're going to find success.

Peep the rest of the 30 Under 30 picks here.


The Girls Under PRessure

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The PR Playlist- Elise's Picks (A Top 10 List)

via Tumblr
There's nothing that gets me through a long day, a paper writing marathon, tedious errands, or major traffic quite like a phenomenal playlist. As future PR/editing/media marketing girls (and guys), we're probably going to need some crazy good music to get us through stressful days at school and work. So I thought I'd share a few songs that make my day a little brighter, more fun, and ultimately, more productive...because good music = good day.

I have quirky taste in music, so I jump around from genre to genre a lot in one playlist. And in typical Elise style, I feel the need to justify all of my choices. You love it.

1. Settle Down- No Doubt (or anything No Doubt, for that matter). Gwen Stefani is a rockstar.

2.Australia- The Shins. It's just really good.

3.Chasing the Sun- The Wanted. This is my summer song.

4.Radio and Lolita- Lana Del Rey. I know. Don't hate me. Girl has a slight obsession with Nabokov. I don't hate it.

5.Mercy- Kanye West. This is my rap jam. (I think I just lost any musical credibility I ever had with that statement...)

6.Oxford Comma- Vampire Weekend. Because it reminds me that I'm an English major and that I really, really like Vampire Weekend.

7.Patricia the Stripper- The Wombats. Favorite song by my favorite band. Fun but unnecessary fact: this song has the most plays on my iPod. Wish I could justify why I needed to share that.

8.Ma Cherie- DJ Antoine. Because no playlist for a future PR girl is complete without a little EDM. Am I right? I am, because this has played more times than I can count during my workday(s).

9.If You Wanna- The Vaccines. This is the song that gets me through afternoon lulls.

10.I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You- Black Kids. Un-PC name, really good song.

So that's my top 10. There are probably a million one more songs that I could throw onto here, so expect another post when the school year starts.

Have a wonderful day, my PR lovelies! I look forward to hearing some of your favorite songs via the comments and twitter!



Thursday, July 5, 2012

Monthly Mani: Pshiiit

As a future PR maven, it's important to look put together. This is especially important when it comes to your hands--you'll be meeting people, shaking hands, working with papers--and it's super important to have a nice manicure. This is a monthly series that will show you perfect colors so you can always be polished.

All right, this month we're not featuring just a manicure, we're featuring a entire nail-art blog.

Pshiiit is easily the best nail-art blog on the web. Le blog est fran├žais. But don't let the language barrier deter you.
Also, you can translate it through the Google Translate link on the side menu. But good art doesn't need translation. Plus, pictures are worth a thousand words.

That said, I can only imagine what animations are worth. One of the best features of this blog is the .gif files in the tutorials. They're a quick, ingenius way to showcase all the steps.

You can't look at that and not tell me it's cool.

On Pshiiit, you'll be able to find a look for any occasion or great reference photos for whichever nail trend you have been itching to try.

Go! Give it browse. You won't be sorry.

What nail trends are your favorites? Let's us know! We're always looking for reader feedback and inspiration.


Your Girls Under Pressure

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Constructive Distraction: Mashable

Procrastination doesn't have to be a total waste of time. This monthly post highlights websites to make your time avoiding research papers and textbooks productive.

via Google
Hello, lads and ladies.

July's Constructive Distraction is Mashable.

Haven't heard of it? Please, join us in the twenty-first century.

Mashable is my favorite source for all things technology and social media. It covers both sections in all industries. Remember, we live in a technologically-driven world. If you're not keeping up with the Joneses in techie terms you're not going far.

Check out Mashable. Subscribe the mailing list or bookmark the homepage.

Happy 4th of July to our fellow Americans and I hope our Canadian readers had a wonderful weekend!

Until next month...


Your Girls Under PRessure

Monday, July 2, 2012

The Advantages of Starting Your Own Website

In an age where everything is digital, there's little need for job seekers to send out copies of resumes or cover letters. Everything about them can be found online somewhere, be it social networking sites or blogs.

That's where having your own website would come in. By starting a blog with a super professional domain, preferably your name, you can really brand yourself. You can make a page for your resume, one for contact information, one that gives information about you, and then the main page can showcase your writing skills as the main blog page.

Here are 5 reasons you should try this out:

1. You're being green. By digitizing, you are saving paper and being very eco-friendly. You're also saving space, which is a real plus.

2. You REALLY put yourself out there. You're showcasing your talents to a larger variety of people than you would if you just mailed it to certain individuals. Which brings me to...

3. You can get discovered. Say someone stumbles on your blog and thinks you're immensely talented. Instant job, burgeoning internet fame. It doesn't get better than that. I'm not guaranteeing anything, but there's always a possibility!

4. You can easily keep track of materials. With everything being on one site, you can edit or access materials of yours quickly and easily. Gone are the days of freaking out because you sent someone your resume and realized it had a typo. Just log in and fix it.

5. It's permanent. This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. If there's something unsavory about you that's floating on the interweb, you're kind of screwed. BUT, it works positively as well because all of your best work will be documented forever, clear of floods, fire, or natural disater. You'll always be able to track your information.

There are obviously also downsides to starting a website for yourself. For example, if you can't properly protect your work, writing samples could get stolen. You also run the risk of people you may not want contacting you making contact. But in this world, the advantages such as those listed above, greatly outweigh the disadvantages, and you'll be ahead of the game.

Good luck!