HOW BLOGGING CHANGED MY LIFE: ONE VINA’S PERSONAL ESSAY ON THE POWER OF WRITING

Let me set the scene:

I’m in an aesthetic coffee shop as I type out my last passion-filled sentence and close my laptop. The first draft of an article I’m writing is complete, and I’m basking in the glow of the cleansing feeling I now have. My skin is clear, my crops are growing, the sun is shining, and it’s all thanks to blogging.  

Of course, this is the ideal scenario. Usually it’s more like I start with a half baked idea, play with it in my mind for a week or two until I finally put pen to paper (or, more likely, fingers to keyboard) a couple days before my deadline and crank something out. This process isn’t one I’ve always had, but I am thankful I get to experience now.   

I started writing as soon as I could hold a pencil (I’m not exaggerating). I was inspired by Lemony Snicket and Barbara Park’s stories that were gripping, sassy, and self-aware. I would spend recess on a bench writing pages and pages of stories in an attempt to replicate good dialogue and spunky characters. Any “quiet time” was used to ask my teachers how to spell big words like “unfortunate.”

As I grew older, I started struggling with mental health, and, before a therapist could tell me that writing was a good coping mechanism, I was pouring myself into stories. My darkest times spurred my interest in sharing my experiences. I was admittedly shy about my writing, mostly keeping it to myself, but what I did put out into the world made me feel good and in control of my life.

In college, I went through a phase where I wanted to do anything except what was expected of me, which meant that being known as “the writer” inspired me to enter college as a Business major, change to a Nursing major, and then finally coming back around to Communication when I realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by not following my heart (as cheesy as that sounds). Letting myself really write led to me starting an online magazine where I got to interview amazing women and work with international companies and organizations. It didn’t last, however — I was only a Business major for a hot second — but I did use my final year of college to be the Editor-in-Chief of my school’s newspaper.

My goal in all of this? Making hard conversations possible and accessible. Conversations about Black Lives Matter or the systematic influences on mental health or ways that all genders can have good sex weren’t being had, but my staff and I made it happen.

For me, blogging and writing in general has always been cathartic. I can process and come to terms with my emotions, making me a better communicator and friend. I can talk about serious matters in a way that’s palatable to the everyday person and even, at times, fun! I can express myself in my most authentic voice and have my experiences be relatable to readers. I know I’m not alone, and someone else gets to know they aren’t alone either. Where’s the downside in that? That feeling you get when you read an article and wonder if the author spied on you to be able to write such similar experiences? It’s a two-way street. Though sometimes it feels like I’m shouting into the void, I often feel like I’m talking to a bunch of my favorite vinas.

Whether it’s been for needing to cope with the stresses of life, having the opportunity to meet amazingly inspiring people, or engaging with my vina community of the internet, writing has always been there for me. As I finish this blog post not in a coffee shop with a great aesthetic, I know that blogging really has changed my life and made me a better person.

Want to start blogging or writing for an online publication? VINAZINE is the place for you! Check out Hey! VINA to swipe and find your writing soulmates.

TABOO TOPIC TUESDAY: RECEIVING CRITIQUE AS A WRITER OR AN ARTIST

It’s finally that time. You’ve finally created something that you’re confident enough to put out into the world. You’ve written the ultimate poem; You’ve drawn the perfect portrait—you are READY to self-publish it for the universe to see. But what happens when it isn’t received the way you hoped it’d be?

I’m studying creative writing as a minor at my university. In my classes, I’ve written dozens of poems, short stories, memoir pieces, and more. It’s taken a lot of courage from me to feel comfortable enough to raise my hand in the middle of class and read what I’ve written to the room.

But I do it despite the butterflies. Why? Because I feel confident in what I’ve written.

In my classes, I’ve received a majority of positive comments about my writings, and I’m thankful for that. I’d like to add that I believe genuine and constructive criticism falls into the category of positive comments because I can tell when my classmate is truly trying to give me advice to make my piece even better.

However, there is a major difference between constructive criticism and blatant rudeness. Please don’t cross that line.

I’ve gotten rejected from multiple publications. I’ve been told that my piece was “stupid.” I’ve had eyes roll as I’ve read my pieces aloud. That doesn’t mean I will stop writing. I won’t let negativity stop me.

I do, though, have friends that have given up on their art because of this type of negativity. Instead of being given advice on how to improve a piece, they’ve been treated with meanness and insensitivity. I’ve made it my mission to have my best friend feel brave enough again to share her work.

If someone finally has built up enough courage to put their piece out there, treat that piece with the utmost respect, even if you don’t necessarily love it.

Just be kind, vinas.

Have some pieces of writing you’re working on and want some feedback? Visit Hey! VINA and join the Bloggers community!!

MEET OUR INTERNS: SUMMER ’18

We’ve got two incredible vinas to introduce you to! If you’ve been loving VINAZINE, you can thank our rockstar editorial interns, Amanda and Samantha. We asked them some get-to-know-you questions, so learn more about these two vinas below!

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AMANDA, UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Ice cream! I will literally scream for ice cream (if I don’t have my fix) at least twice a week.

Describe yourself in 5 emojis!

🌻🍦 🔮   ☕  ♎️

Which famous gals – from history or pop culture – would you swipe right on?

OK, OK – I know Carrie Bradshaw is a fictional character, but come on! May SAC live on in our hearts FOREVER.

Beyonce – Because, BEYONCE. Whenever I need motivation – she would be my hype woman.

Meryl Streep. All hail!

SZA! We can sing, write in our diaries and talk all things #girlpower together.

What has been your favorite thing about working for VINA?

I feel so grateful to work for a company that inspires females to come together. There’s this magical shift going on in the land of women! What a time to be alive and what a time to work for a company that empowers and uplifts women. It feels very meaningful to me.

Ladybrag! What’s something you’re proud of?

I went through a little period of time, content with just getting by and feeling pretty uninspired. I think I was trying to live the lift society wants you to start living your mid-twenties, but I couldn’t really fit the mold. So I took a step back and followed the direction my spirit was telling me to go which was back to the creative arts world! And in this short year, so much transpired! I took on a bunch of Virtual Assistance (cyber gal) positions while catering to my creative needs, met many wonderful people along the way and feel for once that I’m on the right path working with the right timing. I’m proud of my hustle.

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SAMANTHA, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Bachelor in Paradise!

Describe yourself in 5 emojis!

🙅 🤘  😑   😳   🙌

Which famous gals – from history or pop culture – would you swipe right on?

Rihanna, Sandra Bullock, Amy Adams, Eleanor Roosevelt

What has been your favorite thing about working for VINA?

Reading so many amazing articles by our very own vinas!

Ladybrag! What’s something you’re proud of?

I’m proud of moving to a new city, knowing no one, and making it my home.

Want to intern at VINA too? We’re hiring Fall Marketing & Editorial Interns! APPLY HERE!