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writing

Lifestyle

How to express yourself in writing

June 20, 2018

Today’s focus on social media and the rise of visuals and video tends to eclipse the enduring power of writing as a form not only of communication but also of self-expression. All creative outlets take a little bit of skill to really enjoy, so here’s a few different ways to get started.

Freewriting is simple, expressive, and often revealing, but tends to be more oriented toward the writer’s experience. You simply sit down with a journal or keyboard, pull up a blank sheet or screen, and let the words flow.

Often, writers find just a few parameters can help them overcome the glaring whiteness of the blank screen or page. Try setting a timeline or “writing sprint” where you get as many words down as you can in an accessible amount of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation, or sense. You may find a topic, theme, or image helpful as a prompt, or simply opt for whatever presents itself in the moment.

You can use this approach to reduce stress, explore your subconscious, or generate raw content, but the unedited stream-of-consciousness output of freewriting tends to need a lot of trimming and rewriting to make it presentable for outside audiences. It’s well suited to journaling, or maybe even certain types of blogs.

At least a little bit of structure tends to help most writers get started and to keep going. When it comes to writing for an audience, it’s important to learn the conventions of your chosen creative form like any other. Readers of short stories or genre novels have specific expectations, for instance, while different types of poetry offer sometimes extremely rigid structures.

Creative writing guides, techniques and advice are a great help, and it’s worthwhile doing some research on your chosen format (genre novel vs. poetry, for instance) and trying out a few different techniques and approaches to see what works best for you.

In fiction writing, there is much controversy between “plotters” and “pantsers”–those who sketch out the story elements in advance, versus those who write to find out what happens. Nonfiction writing has a similar divide between intuitive writers and those who sit down with a plan of what they want to cover.

Neither approach is wrong, but if you want your creative writing to be read by others, you should spend some time learning about the expectations of your form, since readers tend to react strongly against writing that doesn’t conform to genre and format conventions. If your motivation to write is more about “free” creative expression and you’re not bothered about finding readers or making money off of your hobby, you can afford to be more experimental.

Feedback can be crushing or helpful–and usually offers a little bit of both at once. You can find many resources online, but if you enjoy a more social, interactive learning and creative experience, you could join a class or critique group to exchange pieces with other writers for feedback and creative stimulation.

There are surprisingly few hard and fast rules when it comes to creative writing. You learn by doing. But if you want to reach a specific outcome, such as finding readers, being understood, or selling your work, you do need to learn the genre or format conventions and either conform or subvert them in creative and intelligent ways to please the audience.

Lifestyle

How to Balance Your Life and Responsibilities

April 13, 2018

Many people are juggling multiple responsibilities every day, as they may need to be a parent, employee, caregiver, and friend all in one go. Life can, therefore, feel a little overwhelming at times and could take its toll on your physical and emotional health. Find out how to balance your life and responsibilities.

Know Your Limits

If you do not know your limits, you could risk over-extending yourself and burning out. To ensure you never spread yourself too thin, you must set realistic goals for both your personal and professional life. By doing so, you will help ensure you never take on more than you can handle, so you can succeed at every task you attempt and maintain your health.

Prioritize Your Responsibilities

Whenever you feel a little overwhelmed by your responsibilities, you should sit down and write a list of priorities – and the first things on the top of a to-do list must come first, such as your children or health. Writing a list of priorities will not only help to clear your mind, but it can help you identify the immediate tasks you will need to perform and what can wait for another day.

Consider Altering Your Lifestyle

Some responsibilities might be more demanding than others. For example, an aging parent with ailing health might become more dependent on their children. Of course, this can take its toll on a person’s career. If you have a dependent parent who needs part-time or full-time care, you should consider the CDPAP initiative, which can pay adults to care for their family or friends. Learn more at www.freedomcareny.com.

Try to Delegate Tasks

Are you taking on too many responsibilities and tasks? If so, you must start delegating to take back control of your life and happiness. Ask yourself who else could perform a task on your list and request their assistance. It could be as simple as asking a loved one to buy weekly groceries for a struggling parent or asking a colleague for support on a project, which could take away some of the burden and help to reduce your stress levels.

Start Writing

In addition to writing a list of your priorities, you should also regularly write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. This will provide a helpful forum to articulate your emotions and free your mind of any tasks on your to-do list. Writing can ultimately help you make sense of your feelings and can declutter your mind; for example, if you regularly write you are feeling sad, numb or lost, you could identify you are suffering from anxiety or depression, which could encourage you to seek medical assistance.

Eliminate Noise

Many people often fill their lives with unnecessary noise. For example, they can spend too much time on social media or focus on one-sided relationships with toxic people. If you want to embrace a happier, simpler life, it might be best to clear out all clutter that’s taking up your life and negatively affecting your mood.

Lifestyle

New to Photojournalism? These Tips Will Help You Get Published Online

March 12, 2018

One of the most amazing things about the Internet is in having the ability to reach millions of people to share our passions. Perhaps you love animals and have made it your life’s work to travel around seeking out endangered species to help promote an awareness of what we can do to protect their habitats. Or, perhaps you simply love to travel and would like to share the places you’ve been, the interesting sights you’ve seen and some of the amazing people you have met on your journeys.

Blogging is one way to do it, but as the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words because it captures authentic emotions and you want others to see what you are feeling. However, you haven’t the first clue on how to get started as a photojournalist. You don’t know how to begin getting these photos you are passionate about published online. These tips should help.

1. A Really Good Camera Is an Absolute MUST

There is a difference between snapping a shot to put on your social media pages and taking outstanding, crystal-clear images for your photo journal. You may get published on a low-ranking site, but if you want to get published on a site to gain recognition in your industry, a really good camera is an absolute must-have. Check out sites like bestcamerasforthemoney.com to find an affordable starter camera of good quality and also check out a variety of lenses you’ll need at the same time.

2. Research Sites of Authority in Your Niche

If you are looking to become a professional photojournalist, you want to get published on sites of authority. These will help you gain instant recognition in the industry, and from there, other high-ranking sites will be eager to publish your work as well. Bear in mind that some sites may offer to buy the rights to your photo journal, and that will add to your credibility as a photojournalist.

3. Let Your Passion Shine Through

Some people naturally have what it takes to be a successful photojournalist. They are passionate about life and those pictures they publish inspire others to passion as well. Let your passion tell the story, but also your words are important. Don’t forget that you need to use strategic keywords if you want to get published online because this is how searchers will find your work. Read, re-read, and edit your work until it is grammatically correct and highly engaging. If your pictures are great but your story is lacking, you may never get published. Those photos are important, but so too are the descriptions you use to document what viewers are seeing.

It takes time, effort, and patience, but if you shoot high-quality pictures from a professional camera, your chances are good. They are even better if you learn the art of writing informative and engaging corresponding content, but perhaps the key element is your passion. Get the angle and exposures needed to capture what you are feeling and you will draw your viewers into the picture you want them to see. Every picture tells a story and that’s what you need to remember.

Business

How to start a home business

January 13, 2018

For many people, working part-time or full-time at home can be an attractive option, whether you’re trying to earn extra money or start a new career. However, starting a home business, as with any other business, requires a considerable amount of planning and personal commitment. You will have to plan your strategy, solve the small details and then strive to succeed. Fortunately, using your home as a work environment, you will avoid some of the costs and difficulties involved in traditional businesses, such as renting a commercial space and meeting certain authorization requirements.

Decide your type of business

Evaluate your talents. Keep in mind that there is a big difference between the talents and the things that you enjoy. Just because you enjoy something does not mean you can turn it into a business. Think of the skills or hobbies in which you are better than anyone else. Your business can also be based on a professional skill that you have developed or in which you have prepared.
Make sure this is also something you enjoy doing. You will invest a lot of time in the creation and direction of this business, so you have to be able to tolerate it.

You must know your competition

If you plan to work at home locally, check out other businesses in the city that offer the same services or products. You’ll have to find out if there’s enough business left for you in your area. If you plan to work online, you have a very saturated market in front of you in most cases, so you will have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the competition. In any case, be sure to check and analyze the prices of the competition. If you can offer the same product for less, you may be able to attract some of your customers.

Understand the needs of the market

Listen to what people say and what they need in the area. If something you mention is one of your interests and you are good at it, you should definitely try it. This applies locally, but also to online businesses. Every good business idea satisfies a need in the market.

Consider some of the most common ideas

If you can’t think of any business idea, think about some of the proven types of home business. Some highly lucrative home business ideas include tutoring, tax preparation, business training, counseling, marketing consulting, accounting, web design, interior design, dance instruction, service of news, the service of revision and the service of writing of resumes. These home business ideas only require your personal skills instead of big investments.

Find out if you can make this business profitable

How much will people pay for your services? Can you get a good income with this business? Many people see astronomical figures in their futures until they take the time to determine their earnings. Make sure to consider how much time you can reasonably devote to your business and how much profit you can get back for your time and money investment. In some cases, a good business idea, in theory, may actually be unprofitable. You can also consider such additional funds and if you have a bad credit history, unsecured loans for bad credit can be considered.

Lifestyle

The 5 Best Watersports to Try at the Beach

December 29, 2017

There are many fantastic watersports that will allow you to make the most of the sunshine. If want to master a new outdoor activity at home or on vacation, but have no idea where to start, read about the five best watersports to try at the beach.

  • Jet Boarding

Many people might be unfamiliar with jet boarding, but it is easily one of the most adrenaline-fueled activities on this list. You can surf or kayak at great speed across the water and its waves, using your body to take control of the jet board. It is the ideal activity for those who like to surf, as you can ride the waves at a faster rate than your standard surf experience. Visit jetsurfny.com to check out their range of jet boards.

  • Scuba Diving

Scuba diving allows you to put on a wetsuit and make your way down into the ocean. Of course, there are some locations better than others to enjoy scuba diving, as you will want to view amazing wildlife or sunken ships under the water. For example, Australia and Tobago are two of the finest destinations for the water sport.

  • Windsurfing

Those who are looking for a more technical watersport should consider windsurfing, as it is a combination of both sailing and surfing. Your body will be in control of the board, whilst the sail will help you to ride the waves with ease. While it can take much practice, it will be worth all the hard work and effort once you are windsurfing along the surface of the water. To quickly improve your skillset, it is a wise idea to get an instructor who can teach you how to windsurf, so you can quickly iron out your mistakes.

  • Parasailing

Many tropical destinations will allow travelers to strap on a parachute and take to the skies. That’s because parasailing is a fun way to make the most of the water, sun and outdoors, whilst enjoying some fantastic views. The panoramic vistas will make your jaw-drop so much that you will never want to come back down to earth, whilst the cool breeze will provide some light relief from the intensity of the summer sun. What’s more, this watersport is suitable for all ages and abilities, so it is ideal for you, your children and/or parents.

  • Sailing

Sailing might not be suitable for adrenaline junkies, but it is ideal for those who want to experience an idyllic journey across the water. While it does take a little technical skill, it’s a great way to make the most of the water and to absorb the surrounding landscape. Look for a good sailing spot at your destination, which may also offer beginners’ sailing boats to help you master the relaxing watersport.

Do you have a favorite watersport at the beach? Have you tried any of the activities listed above? Please share your opinions, tips and stories by writing a comment below.

Business

A job application letter – know how to write it

December 20, 2017

At some point or other, you need to apply for jobs, be it as a fresher entering the workforce or an experienced professional seeking a change. And when you do, how to ensure getting an interview when you will be applying along with the multitudes who do the same for the position?

You can achieve this by writing a cover letter that sets you apart. This is because it is the job application letter that will introduce you to the employers and it would be an advantage to create a good impression.

The job application letter

A job application, also known as the cover letter, is usually sent along with the resume when applying for a job. Unlike the resume that talks about your previous work experience history and offers an outline of accomplishments and skills, a job application letter is more about explaining to the employers why you are the best fit for the said job.

Know the proper format, font, and length

Using fonts like Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri will make the letter look professional. The ideal font size is between 10 and 12 points. While it’s vital that you keep the letter brief, not more than one page, use of 1’ margins, single-spaced writing with a space between different paragraphs and left text alignment is also necessary to make the application letter look neat.

Things that should be there in it

Begin the letter with both you and employer’s contact details, date of application, followed by a polite greeting or salutation with the person’s last name. Next, proceed to the body of the letter, and in the first paragraph mention the job and where you saw its ad. The second section, the most crucial one, should include how and why you think you can be the right candidate for the job. And the last paragraph will be all about thanking the employer followed by a complimentary closing or signature with date.

Proofread the letter and edit where necessary

Once you’re done writing, it’s time for proofreading the job application letter thoroughly and minutely. An application letter full of grammatical or format error is the last thing you can want as it is sure to give a poor impression about you to the employers. Remember, the job letter should be brief and written in a way that can sell you as a potential candidate for the job position. Therefore, read the letter carefully, and edit the portions that seem necessary as a part of job application review process.

The first impression is not the last impression but is a lasting impression indeed. And since the job application letter is a primary piece of document that conveys your personality to show off your potential as a suitable employee, creating a proper version of it is crucial.  An error-free strategically written job application letter can do a lot in creating a positive impression on the employers which can prove to be helpful during the interview.

Lifestyle

Is Using Comics and Memes On Your Blog a Good Idea?

November 16, 2017

Running a blog can be fun and rewarding. However, sometimes it can also be hard to always have fresh ideas for content. You may feel uninspired, not have time to write a full article, or want to make a new post without there really being any new news in your niche to cover. Equally, you may find that people aren’t sharing your content as much as you’d like because some people don’t really like sharing long articles.

One way some people get around this is by varying the type of content they post. While you may not have the time to write an article or an idea robust enough to make for a good long thought piece, you may be able to come up with a funny or thought-provoking meme or comic you can post far more quickly.

Why Are Comics and Memes So Shareable?

Memes and comics tend to perform well when it comes to virality and sharing too. While some people tend not to share links to articles on their social media accounts unless they are extremely important to them, believing that many of their friends won’t want to read a 1,000-word diatribe on a random subject that caught their interest, most will share a meme or comic that will appear in full on their friends’ newsfeeds if they think it is good.

Groups and Meme Sites

Another reason memes can spread far faster than articles is that there are so many groups on Facebook, Twitter accounts, and websites devoted to them. Whatever your niche, there are probably meme sharing groups related to it, and if your humor is broader (for instance, it is related to mainstream topics like TV shows, games, news or tech), you can also get some support on sites like 9Gag that are effectively meme repositories.

Creating Memes

Another good thing about memes and simple comics like ‘rage comics‘ is that you don’t really need especially good skills with graphic design, Photoshop, or art to make them. There are some great online meme generation tools like Rage Maker that let you create unique new memes without having any mastery of computer drawing packages.

Using tools like this, you can make new content that is fun, easy to digest and very shareable, without having to go to the time and effort of writing long-form articles.

Memes Over Stock Photos

Another way that using these kinds of user-generated images can be used is to break up longer articles. Rather than using meaningless stock images to make the page look more attractive, why not use memes that relate to the content and which you have made yourself?

This can make your site far more appealing to a wider audience, as having a mixture of short, simple content such as comics and memes as well as longer pieces can mean you can attract people who like both styles of stuff but are interested in your niche. So, why not give it a try?

Business

4 Essential Tips for Tendering Success

July 27, 2017

The UK government plans to spend close to £15 billion on small and medium enterprises. Part of this sum will be in form of government work. Bidding government tenders is a great opportunity for small business owners to improve their visibility and grow their businesses. Unfortunately, many of them make mistakes in the tendering process and get negative results every time. What does it take to win tenders? Here are some tips you should consider when bidding for the next tender.

1. Be Realistic when Choosing Tenders

Most business owners consider the value of the tender when choosing tenders. In fact, tenders with high amounts attract a larger number of applicants. If you are applying for your first tender or running a small business, you may not qualify for such big tenders. You may lack the portfolio required to qualify for such tenders. In addition, you may not have the resources and experience necessary to deliver it. Always go for tenders that suit the resources, skills, and knowledge in your business.

2. Prepare Adequately

Start preparing your bid as early as possible. You will forget some important details or you’re your application with mistakes if you do everything at the last minute. It is obvious that you cannot do everything on your own. Assign tasks to your staff early and give them strict deadlines. Collect all the documents you may need like business certificates, financial statements, CVs of staff members, and evidence of past work. Check the progress of each assigned task to ensure that all tasks are completed on time. If you’re still struggling, try this article for some basic tips.

3. Consider the Buyer’s Need

Winning bids are focused on meeting the buyer’s needs. Before you start filling out your application, identify the needs of the buyer. Your application should show how your business will meet those needs when awarded the tender. Do not rely on the information given in the tender documentation. Conduct a research on the company’s goals and values from other sources. The additional information will help you answer the questions and prepare an application that paints a clear picture of how your business can solve the buyer’s problems.

4. Ask Others to Proof your Application

Check your application several times to ensure that all fields are completed with the right information. If you have not written an application before, it is advisable to work with a bid writing company like Executive Compass and learn how to do it right. You will pay a small fee but it will increase your chances of winning the tender. Ask other staff members to proofread your tender bid before submitting. Check if all requirements are met such, as the specific number of copies of certain documents and signatures. If you submit your application electronically, follow up to ensure that the relevant office or authority received it.

Conclusion

If you have applied for several government tenders unsuccessfully, you need to recheck your approach. Before you give up or blame the size of your business for your failures, identify your mistakes and learn from them. Ask questions and request help from experts in tendering to increase your chances of winning your bids. Work with an elaborate plan for each tender and be realistic about the resources and capabilities in your business. You will start receiving positive feedback on your bids as you continually refine your application process.