My Road to Becoming a Published Author

As most of you could have guessed by now, writing is my sole passion, it always has been and always will be. Unfortunately, I don’t think I FULLY realized this until recently.

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Blogging isn’t something I just do for fun. While it is fun and I love it, I do it for my love of writing. It has become my way to keep learning and practicing the wonderful world of writing.

 My love of writing started at a young age. I still have scrapbooks of books, poems, and stories I made while I was in grade school. In high school, I became a reporter for the school newspaper and by my junior year, I was the editor. Then came college time, I was accepted into a very well know school for journalism, but due to financial circumstances I could not attend. Instead, I attended junior college for my first two years with a full tuition scholarship. By the time I finished those two years, I’m not sure exactly what happened. Before finally getting my bachelors 2.5 years later, I had gone through a couple different majors. I was a speech pathology major for a semester, changed to English Education, then finally changed to English and a minor of Journalism. Once I did this I was so relieved. I had finally gotten back to my roots., my classes were intriguing and I felt like I was living my purpose. I began writing again, and heavy. I was a part of the university newspaper and magazine, I held an internship in which I blogged for the university, overall I was genuinely happy.

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But, since graduating I have not quite been able to get into the field with a full-time writing gig. For me, this would be ideal, my dream job. As a kid, I always was to be a writer for VIBE Magazine.

I decided to go to grad school, once again with a major that had nothing to do with writing. While my grades were stellar, I had no connection to what I was spending so much time on. I decided to stop running from what I have always known  in my heart I wanted. I made a conscious decision to put more time and effort into my craft. I have taken it upon myself to stay active, to  ensure my skills are elevated and not deteriorating.

It has been such a joy writing for all of you. Thank you to all of those who read, share, comment, and even like my posts. I truly and deeply appreciate it.

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Now to my most recent endeavor. I decided that it was time I stop waiting for my dream job, and start putting some effort in besides applying for jobs, and coming home unfulfilled with the job I have. I decided to write a book. The crazy thing is, once I got started it just flowed. It felt so natural. While in the process of developing it, I had several ideas for forthcoming books.

On June 7, 2017, I published my very first book. “Adulting 101: A Millennials’ Guide to Becoming an Adult.” A self-help book for individuals finding their way through the adult world. You can find the book in the Kindle/ Amazon store. I am so proud of this major accomplishment, and trust me this is just the beginning.
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So, from me to you, don’t wait for anyone to give you anything. Never run from the things you want and that make you happy. Start thinking of your dreams and future. Think about the person you want to be, and become that person. It is never too late to pursue your dream, every day you have breath in your body, you have a chance to start living your passion.

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Will Work for Bill Money.

“Thank you for applying but we have chosen not to move forward with your application at this time, but we will keep your application on file for the future.” Over the past 4 years since graduating with my B.A., I have received at least 200 or more emails like this. Or even better, “Thank you for interviewing, but we have decided to move forward with another candidate.”  

After so many of these emails, many thoughts begin to transpire. “Why did I even go to college?” “What’s wrong with me?” “How can I get experience, if people won’t hire me and give me a chance?” “Why am I trying to sell myself to these employers?” All of these thoughts and more bring on none other than, drum roll please… depression. I’ve had all of these thoughts and more. Even people around me who have gone to college and gotten degrees, have been forced into settling for minuscule positions. It is so frustrating to dedicate so much time to an education and earning a degree, only for it not to mean a thing in the real world. Even the fact that some people find jobs but are unable to work in their field, is a disappointment. Although, many millennials are facing this struggle, our parents generation have a hard time relating to it. See, there was once a time not long ago, where a high school diploma sufficed. People were able to get a job with only a high school education and keep that job until retirement. Sounds like a dream, right? Unfortunately, that is highly unlikely and it’s now more of  a dream deferred.

The societal view and expectation of millennials is also a bit unrealistic. You’re supposed to go to college, get a degree, get a job, get an apartment, get married, buy a house, have kids, and live happily ever after. While this is ideal and what most people strive for, it is a bit of a fairy tale now. Most are barely making ends meet month- to- month. It’s hard to add-in extras or even think to that point, when bills need to be paid, and student loan debt is up the wall.

But, if you’re like me you are trying to remain positive even with all of these other thoughts against you. Even though it is really hard at times to stay focused on the positive, it’s necessary to do so. So, keep this in the back of your mind, eventually the perfect job will come, and life will be perfect. But until then, don’t get sunken into misery or give into frustration. Pick up a side hustle, start doing things that can add and build up your resume and make you more marketable, and do things that increase your knowledge.  Keep applying, keep trying, and keep moving forward. 

Spotlight Series: Rudy Maybell III

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Chicago producer Rudy Maybell III has been blazing trails all year, and showing no signs of letting up any time soon. Rudy is only one part of the production duo, 7th Circuit Productions. He and his partner J-Tempo met and have been working together since 2008.

Rudy’s love for music goes back as far as the Space Jam Soundtrack on cassette! At just 9 years old, Rudy fell in love with the classic song I Believe I Can Fly. That along with Donell Jones classic, Where I Wanna Be, gave Rudy what he describes “vocal development.” He began to study artists such as Stevie Wonder, Aaron Nevell, Marvin Gaye, Donnie Hathaway, and Sam Cooke.  But, he still holds his biggest influence as R.Kelly. “He’s the reason I write songs the way I do.”

In high school he took a music technology class which opened up his mind to the producing side of things. Rudy’s music is more than just a hobby, it’s a “spiritual experience.” This year alone he produced and released 4:20pm, Way Up 7 with A-Way, and Touch Down. He has gained attention and had interviews with Power 92.3, UrbanGrind, Windy City UnderGround, and Illinois Tech. 2016 was a great year for Rudy and 7th Circuit Productions, but there’s even more coming up for 2017.

7th Circuit Productions has a website underway, set to launch on January 1, 2017. From their website, you will be able to purchase beat packages and more. They hope in the near future to start podcasts, and even a blog!

Not only is he looking forward to the launch of the website, but he plans to release 420pm part 2, Ballad of Cottonmouth, Songs in the Key of Pain, Prelude to Pain, and Party Time Magic.  At the age of 29, Rudy knows exactly what he wants, and is putting in the hard work and sleepless nights to make it happen. “All my energy is going into this, this is my lady, this is my child, and it’s going to make me what I want to be in this life…I love what I do I’m leaving and impression a legacy, something people can remember, we’re not just sitting around playing.”

You can listen to Rudy’s amazing passion, soul filled music at https://soundcloud.com/7thcircuit, https://soundcloud.com/rudypmagic/sets/420-pm, and https://soundcloud.com/a_wayofficial/sets/wayup7. You can also follow 7th Circuit Productions on Twitter @7thcproductions and @Alright_Magic.

Spotlight Series: Antonio King

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Chicago native and Western Illinois University graduate, Antonio King has launched Outta Sight Clothing Company. This company offers a variety of graphic tees and looking to add on even more.

Antonio started his company on November 24, 2016. But, his love for creativity began way before then. The 27- year-old Northsider began working with graphic design and logos at the beginning of his high school career. King says, “I’ve lost so many good and bad designs over the years but it has been a fun ride.”

Not only does he have an online store, but he hopes that his brand can become apart of the community to support and uplift the youth. Although Antonio keeps busy with his designing, he still finds time for some of his other loves such as spending time with his family, girlfriend, playing basketball, and playing 2k17.

He gives his family a lot of credit of being one of his biggest influences. He is the second of 7 children. “They’re always straight shooters, I can rely on them when i’m working on a project and need an opinion. They offer brutal honesty. We are all trying to accomplish greatness in our own way, that pushes me incredibly hard to stay awake until the early mornings and working on my brand. Whether it’s creating a design, or marketing strategies: they keep me going. I’m grateful for their support.”

King feels college gave him the preparation and skill set to gain longevity in the business. He is fearless when it comes to making mistakes, instead he sees mistakes as learning opportunities and ways to improve on his skill. King has a great drive to succeed, with such a great source of support there is nothing stopping him. You can find Antonio’s Outta Sight Clothing at outtasightclo.bigcartel.com and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/outtasightclo.

Spotlight Series: Alicia Nolen

For the first of my young entrepreneurs spotlight series, we have Alicia Nolen. This 23-year-old Riverdale, Illinois native has recently started the business “Aspirations Apparel.”  she was looking to make something suitable for men and women alike. “I wanted to create something simple and positive; but also affordable.” Since the kickoff of the company on Thanksgiving 2016, there has been quite a buzz.

Alicia has always been very artsy. Not only does she do graphic design but she was a dancer for the Sankofa Dance Troupe, and a percussionist throughout elementary and high school. She even created her own MySpace and Tagged layouts back in the day! While most of us were scrolling through websites trying to pick the perfect one, she made her own perfect layout. “I’ve always been an extremely creative person, but was too shy to actually pursue my aspirations.”  She double majored in Computer Graphic Design with a track in Print Media and Public Relations & Marketing with a track in Business Marketing while a student at Ashford university. With such a strong background, Alicia is destined for success. She also runs a graphic design business, Nolen Designs. With this she creates logos, business cards, websites, and more.

“What’s stopping me?” That’s what Alicia uses for motivation. With solid education, and a good following thus far, there is nothing stopping her. She possess the drive and motivation and is striving for greatness. She is very family oriented, stating her mom, grandmother, and dad as her biggest influences to succeed.

“In time, and once I am a little more active in the world, I plan on putting on or sponsoring events targeting school children or at risk youth, where I can donate items in need or have a drive, not just the clothing. Thankfully, I have made amazing college friends who are actively working in various communities with the at risk youth and in the school system. I want the apparel in part to show unity and uplifting of one another. Something different from all of the other small clothing and hat businesses. I want to make a difference. I know that things take time and I can be a bit ahead of myself. But nothing comes to the one who plays it safe, its okay to be a risk taker. Going for it with all of my faith and pride is the only way I know how. Its gotten me this far and I am doing great!”

With that being said, let’s support Alica Nolen and her visionary business, Aspiration Apparel. It is not just another business, yet a business with a purpose, vision, and long-term goal. Cheers to you Alicia Nolen! You can find her merchandise at http://www.aspirationsapparel.com and like her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/aspirationsapparel/.

25 Lessons I’ve Learned in 25 Years

It’s hard to believe that in less than two weeks I will be 25 years old. As a child I always thought being an adult was filled with glitz and glamour…unfortunately thats not exactly true. Moments of adulthood are absolutely glamour filled, but as a whole, not so much. So in honor of my age milestone, here’s 25 things I have learned throughout my journey thus far. Cheers!

Friends

1.Some friends are in your life for only a season, and you have to be ok with that.

2.Others are for life.

3.When a friend shows you they are not dependable, STOP depending on them.

4. Just because you would handle a certain situation one way, does not mean everyone will handle it the same way.

5. Even though you get busier, still MAKE time for your friends.

School, College, and Graduate School

6.Pick a major in college that you enjoy AND will make you marketable.

7.College debt is almost inevitable.

8. College is the best time in life, allows you to be careless, and selfish.

9.ALWAYS eat before drinking.

10. Pick a Graduate program according to what makes you happy.

11. The library is your friend.

12. Sometimes it’s better to quit, than be miserable.

13. Find a mentor, therapist, or JESUS! actually all 3.

14. Stay focused on what YOU want for YOUR life.

15. Eliminate any and all distractions that are keeping you from reaching your goal.

General

16. Set goals for yourself and always plan ahead.

17.Have good time management and balance.

18.It’s ok to say…NO.

19. It’s not ok to be petty all the time…

20. Eating fast food all the time will eventually catch up with you.

21. If a relationship is not MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL, walk away.

22. Being bitter does nothing but make you unattractive.

23.Forgiveness is important for peace and happiness.

24. Always seek more knowledge…READ!

25. Appreciate yourself, and others in your life, because tomorrow is promised for no one.

5 Things I’ve Learned Since College

I have been a college graduate for one year now. Things are going well, but nothing like I planned for them to go. As many tried to warn me, the real world is no joke. It’s filled with bills, jobs applications, resumes, and more. As I push forward, I’m starting to realize a lot of different things that I heard about college were head on, as others were as far from the truth as we are from Mars.

1. You’ll get a job as soon as you graduate.

For many this would be ideal, but for most, the harsh reality is that you may not find a job for a few months. This begins to make you think you just wasted 4 years of your life and went into debt for no reason.

2. College is all about partying and “finding yourself”.

Not true, depending on who you ask. Personally, I pushed and challenged myself in college and learned more than I did in grammar, middle, and high school combined.

3. “Thirsty Thursday is not a real day of the week.” Touche.

4. “Procrastinating will get you no where.”

The worst feeling ever is waiting until the night before to start a paper you knew about for weeks. The best feeling is getting that paper back with an A on it.

5. Last but not least, “College is the best time of your life, enjoy it.”

This is definitely true. Looking back I wish I would have done a few more things before I left college. Even though college may have seemed like a major struggle at the time, it is nothing compared to the real world.