Professional Writing Sample 3: Content Writing

Client: Plum Paper

Setting Goals That’ll Stick

 Have you ever set a big goal—like losing 40 pounds or cutting out all processed foods, or saving money for a vacation—and started off on the right foot, only to see it fizzle out a few months (or weeks) later? You’re not alone! It can be really tough to make goals stick into lifestyles, but good news: it can be done!  All it takes is a little bit of organization & some effective strategy and you’ll be ready to change your life and meet your goals:

  1. Imagine Your Future Self

If we think of our future self as a separate person than from the person we are now, it can be easier to see the long-term goals play out. What sort of habits or changes are in their life? Does the future version of you exercise three times a week? Maybe they read more or are more confident at work? Write down in a journal or planner how you visualize your future self and then backtrack to figure out how to get there. For example, if the ideal version of your future self exercises more, choose an exercise class you would like to try and set an alarm on your phone a few hours before the class to remind you to go! Find a friend to tag along to the class with you to keep yourself having fun rather than dreading the workout. In no time, you’ll be coming closer to that ideal version of you!

2. Are Your Goals Realistic?

It’s easy to set overly ambitious goals. Instead, we need to remember that for many personal goals, it’s a marathon rather than a sprint. Long lasting change is made through tiny, daily steps. Instead of vowing to cut out all sugar forever, maybe start by reducing sweet treats to just on the weekends. Instead of making your goals rigid and austere, you are helping build a new lifestyle.

You can also try having monthly goals rather than yearly. This can help you set more attainable expectations and also try new things each month. It’s easier to finish a series of smaller goals than one looming deadline! Personal planners are a great companion for monthly goal setting; it helps to visualize your goal, create the steps necessary to meet it, and show your progress along the way.

3. Let yourself change and grow.

You may find that a goal you wrote a few months ago no longer fits your current mindset or plan. Life happens and people change as time goes on. If a goal falls through, it’s important to understand why it didn’t work out so that you can move forward or try again. Give yourself grace if you fall short of an expectation; you may not have been able to control what happened, but you can always control how you respond in life. For example, if you have a specific financial goal, but your progress was hindered by an unexpected bill or car troubles, know that sometimes, circumstances don’t always work in your favor. Keep going towards your goal, even if you have to make ongoing adjustments to the scope.

4. Reward progress

You’re doing it! You’re making your dream happen! It’s especially important to celebrate progress, in whatever way you find most rewarding. If you’re trying to lose weight, you can save $1 for every pound you lose and treat yourself to a new outfit! If you’re trying to be more confident at work, you can decorate your workspace with motivational quotes or photos that make you feel ready for the day. Think of your best friend: what would you do to make them feel encouraged or motivated if this was their goal? Celebrate yourself and the good work that you’re doing. You deserve it!

5. Keep going!

It’s tempting sometimes when we meet a mini goal to celebrate a little too much and get totally off track. Keep your eyes on the prize of your main goal! Make yourself accountable by sharing your goal and progress with family or friends or through documenting your achievements in your journal. Find someone with the same goal and partner together! It just takes a nudge from someone else to keep us going when we get in a slump.  Plan a big celebration for yourself when you meet your goal to give yourself something else to be working towards.

And there you have it! Five potential strategies to stay organized and ready to conquer those dreams. By creating goals with your future self in mind, making monthly short term and realistic long-term goals, giving yourself grace, rewarding progress, and keeping your eye on the prize, you’ll be better equipped to make those dreams a reality. Meeting a goal is a big deal; you never know who is watching your progress and will be inspired to start their own journey.

Are you ready to take the plunge and see your life change with goals that will actually stick? Grab a pen, a planner, and a friend and you’ll be ready to see your goals blossom into a new lifestyle in no time at all.

 

 

 

Professional Writing Sample 2: Press Release

March 1, 2019

Greensburg Civic Theatre Soars to Neverland with Peter Pan and Wendy

GREENSBURG, PA–This March 15th through 16th, join the talented cast of “Peter Pan and Wendy,” presented by the Greensburg Civic Theatre’s youth program, the Greasepaint Players.  Directed by Latrobe resident Margie Griffin Hillebrecht and written by Doug Rand, this stage adaptation is based on the classic story by J.M. Barrie. Featuring a cast of all ages, the whole family will have fun in this faithful retelling of the boy who never grew up.

“Peter Pan and Wendy” stars Kacie Craig of Weirton, WV as Peter and Tika Gill of Trafford as Wendy. The cast also includes Ella Damico of Ligioner, Jacob Lazarchik of Latrobe, Dan Shaffer of Jeannette, Jace Baldassare of Greensburg, Rachel Lewandowski of Greensburg, Lizzie Murphy of Monroeville, Kassie Branham of Bobtown, Rory Branham of Bobtown, Paighton Yekel of Fairchance, Tyler Shaffer of Jeanette, Jackson Scott of Monroeville, Ethen Kerber of Herminie, Layla Klosky of Greensburg, Emily Stinespring of Weirton, WV, Charlotte Mankovich of Murrysville, Marcus Greenberg of Greensburg, Teagan Brennan of Trafford, and Zach Lasko of Adamsburg. Katie Hillebrecht of Latrobe is the stage manager.

Featuring performances Friday, March 15 at  7:30 pm and Saturday, March 16 at both 12:30 pm and 4 pm, Greensburg Civic Theatre is excited for this fun show to take the stage and the skies of London. Performances will be held at the Greensburg Garden and Civic Center, 951 Old Salem Road, Greensburg, PA.  

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $10 through The Palace Theatre box office by calling 724-836-8000, online, through GGCCevents.org, or at the door for $12.

Professional Writing Sample 1:

Press Release: 7/18/18

 

Cornerstone Television Live Call-In Show Answers the Question: What Is True Love?

PITTSBURGH, Penn., July 18, 2018 – Cornerstone Television Network WPCB-TV40, Pittsburgh’s leading Christian network, tackles the tough questions of love, as it continues its “Real Answers” live call-in summer series on August 3, with “Real Answers: Love 101.”

According to the American Psychological Association, more than 90 percent of people marry by age 50, yet, as of 2018, a staggering 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. On “Real Answers: Love 101,” Cornerstone will focus on how to build strong, Christ-centered, long-lasting relationships.

The live one-hour relationship special will feature the expertise of Cornerstone’s Sister 2 Sister cast, and experienced couples – Pastor Buck and Amy Schafer and Pastors Jay and Tiffany Gilbert. The Love 101 hosts will answer questions like, “What are the signs of a healthy relationship,” “What do I do if I feel like I married the wrong person,” and “Can a cheating spouse truly be forgiven,” along with questions posed by viewers. Live calls and texts will be taken during the show to provide instant answers to the audience’s most perplexing love questions.

“Real Answers: Love 101” is the second episode of a five-week summer series produced by Cornerstone Network. Each week, “Real Answers” strives to discuss relevant, real-life topics, such as addiction, deliverance, health, and more. The live program airs every Friday night from 8 to 9 p.m. ET.

Cornerstone Television Network is a Christian media ministry based in Wall, PA. Through its national affiliate network and Western Pennsylvania broadcast markets, Cornerstone reaches over 6 million households across the U.S. — including the 1.45 million TV Households in Pittsburgh-Altoona, PA.

 

Killing John McClane: A Mental Health Journey

When it comes to mental health, for the last few years, I’ve been rather unhealthy. Depression and anxiety have crept in, stealing my joy, my sleep, and almost my life on a few occasions.

I’m a doer, so instead of just mulling, I’ve been working VERY hard at figuring out how to combat both of those unwelcome mental guests. My obsession has easily reached that of an Olympic level athlete training for their big day. I go to therapy every other week, I have currently 9 different mental health/meditation/”calm yourself down, child, things are a little crazy right now” apps on my phone. I’ve read most of the trendy self-help books, like the one that suggests you hug your lamp to see if it brings you joy (if not, into the garbage it goes) or the ones that use the word “fuck” as a way of being charming.

I’m a twenty-something in 2017–mindfulness has become like a second job.

But honestly, all those self-help tools are like quick fixes. I listen to a podcast, read a book, have a great therapy session & it’s an awesome rush…for about two days. Then I’m back to where I started, dealing with mega anxiety and my frenemy depression.

I even went the medication route for a while: one drug made me have horrendous nightmares every night (Freddy Kruger style) and the next made me forget simple vocabulary words. It wasn’t great. I tried smoking for a minute and found I am very bad at smoking haha. I tried drowning my anxiety in boxed wine and while that was a little more fun, I hated the headaches. I tried just eating my way to happy; now my pants don’t fit.  I tried sabotaging my relationships and isolating myself in a way of “I’ll just fix myself and then get back to them,” but that just let the dark voices get amplified.

(Spoiler alert: unhealthy methods don’t fix what’s broken. They just make you worse.) 

So, I’ve come back to writing. I know that hey–I’m a twenty-something in 2017–we are ALL struggling right now with mindfulness and mental health issues in some capacity (and if you aren’t, that’s really awesome!)

One thing I’ve learned is that I have to kill my inner John McClane. My thought mentality is basically like every single Bruce Willis character (minus a few, like “Look Who’s Talking” so thus, I had to call this John McClane. Plus I didn’t want Bruce googling himself and finding what he thought was a random blogger murder manifesto out for him. You do what you gotta do.)

Paranoid, angry, defensive, easily provoked, always wearing wife beaters.

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Not the type of person ANYONE wants to be and mentally, that was me all the time. I was always assuming the worst. Welcome to the party from hell, pal! 

Okay, so imagine your mental process as a person. Do you have a Bruce Willis archetype conducting your thoughts? All you need is a machine gun and you’re ready to go, even though you always end up alone, majorly hurt, and reliving the same mental horrors again and again, sequel after sequel?

Yeah. That’s why we have to finally kill John McClane. 

Imagine the qualities of someone who is the opposite of that: trusting, kind, patient, even-tempered. 

When you feel like a Die Hard sequel is happening in your brain about a situation, imagine that opposite person (who, by the way, is really you. You were not made to be a paranoid, angry, defensive person; that is learned, not original behavior) taking over the reigns (a la “Inside Out”) and telling old John McClane to go take a vacation day.  hqdefault

Studies show that when you change your high stress mindset, your mental AND physical health improves, including positives like “better health, greater life satisfaction, lower cortisol reactivity (the “stress” hormone), and are more receptive to performance feedback by others.”

Paranoia is a self-defeating mindset, but we don’t have to choose it anymore. First things first, kill John McClane.