Your destiny is to live the life of your dreams – Brianna Wiest

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Brianna Wiest is a writer, author, and editor. She has published thousands of articles that have been read by millions of people throughout the world. She writes daily for multiple national publications, and has travelled internationally as a reporter for Teen Vogue. Brianna is currently an editor at Fine Living Lancaster, and does copywriting for PR companies and nonprofit organizations, specifically focusing on mental health and wellness issues for young adults. Brianna is the author of four books, her first of which was a bestseller on Amazon for two years straight.

In 2014, Brianna’s writing amassed 70 million reads on Thought Catalog alone while serving as their Editorial Director. The year prior, Slate ranked two of her articles on the Top 20 most viral of 2013. She has done sponsored content for companies such as HBO, Lena Dunham’s GIRLS, Smartwater, Sleep Number, Away, Lucid and Care/Of. Brianna has interviewed dozens of celebrities and public figures, including black-ish’s Marcus Scribner, when she flew to Jamaica to cover a story about his contributions to The Sandals Foundation, and the cast of Riverdale, when she flew to Vancouver to interview them on set and appear in the final scene of the first season.

Previously, she was the award-winning Editor-in-Chief of The Etownian (“Best Newspaper,” 2013 Apple College Media Association Awards; “Excellence in Leadership,” Elizabethtown College). Prior, she worked as their news editor and copy editor.

She grew up on Long Island, NY, and became a writer when she was 20. She graduated college early and started working as a professional writer. Her dream was to be an editor, and she definitely didn’t expect her life to go in this direction, but now, five years later, she is really happy that it did. She went to school in Pennsylvania, and now she live here with her fiancé. She does a lot of different types of writing, but she is probably best known for her work on emotional intelligence.

She has just finished writing her new book Salt Water which is a hybrid of self-help and poetry. When she was growing up, she lived near the beach, so she spent a lot of time there in the summer with her mom. When she had scrapes on her shins, she’d tell her to go stand in the salt water, because it heals. That’s where the title comes from: the idea that everything that breaks us makes salt water (sweat, tears) and the idea that both nature and the willingness to embrace the sting of life, at times, can be transformative.

Her other 101 Essays is a compilation book. A lot of the writing in there had been previously published, a few pieces are new.

According to her, the feeling of holding your own book in your hands is a very, very cool experience. It’s probably something that she dreamt of but never thought she would actually do. She just writes what interests her, or what she is feeling or thinking about… and how people respond to it is kind of out of her control. It’s humbling that people have responded the way they do. Something she learned through writing a lot is that if it doesn’t flow somewhat naturally, it probably isn’t right. She has done most of her articles and books in a short matter of time. As soon as she is clear on what she is trying to say, it’s effortless. She thinks that we use the term ‘hard’ work when we mean ‘dedicated’ work. She feels that her life is about the latter.’

Struggles in life

Oh man. I think it’s probably self-evident that someone wouldn’t write the way I do without having been through the wringer a few times

She had a lot of struggles with mental health issues, especially in young adulthood. She had really debilitating anxiety and depression, and it touched every part of her life. She was unhappy with her life. “I wasn’t connecting, I was overthinking, I felt powerless, directionless, insecure… all of it”, says Brianna.

She is grateful for everything as she learns from everything. She believes strongly that you reap what you sow, and so her goal is to interpret everything as feedback. Good times in her life shows that she is aligned while bad times show her what she still needs to work on. That’s really what she has learned:

Read the complete story of Brianna in the ScaleUp Magazine Issue 10

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