Posts Tagged ‘writing’
Whether it is the current assignment, your new post, the kids or something else calling, there comes a time when we need to pull ourselves out of the bed, wash up and get ready for a hopefully fun battle that is a writer’s day.
It’s much harder to just respond to logic (“I need so much to do, and I can’t just wait for everything to be perfect to start my day!”) after a bad night’s sleep, when you have a cold or the weather is as bleak as in a post-apocalyptic movie.
It’s even harder if your body loves and/or needs a lot of sleep. Here’s all the weaponry I arm myself with to drag myself to my writing desk and chair: (Because I can’t be happier once I start writing away.)
Make sure you’ve slept enough!
I envy the lucky souls who only need 5-6 of sleep to start the day with full energy and working brain cells. I however belong to the majority that needs 7-9 hours.
Hell, I need much closer to 9. Whatever your magic number is, make sure you get your fill. Because even though you exercise and eat healthily to make up for the lack of sleep, tiredness and lack of productivity will creep up on you no matter how many cups of coffee you drown, and we both know losing count of how much caffeine you take is only good for sitcom characters.
Choose a Kick-ass Alarm Song
Sometimes an early meeting, a late night out with friends or just some appreciated after-midnight inspiration doesn’t allow you to wake up all energized. You need some motivational intervention to kick your body and soul into motion
And even if you wake up all energized, extra vigor and flare never hurt anyone. Now, I hate the typical beeping sound. So I set my alarm clock (aka my cell phone) to play a rocking tune (currently it’s Where the River Flows by Collective Soul) to let me know morning has arrived.
Roxette- Dressed for Success - She’s Got the Look
Bon Jovi – Everyday
Soundgarden – Original Fire
Ideally for 30 minutes, to equally vitalizing music. I prefer dancing, aerobics or a combination of both. Don’t forget to stretch before and after.
Even when you don’t have time, pick some good basics and do them anyway. 5-10 minutes is better than nothing.
Save the foamy, relaxing bath for later. Now you just want to feel fresh and awake.
Have a Healthy Breakfast
That, under no circumstances and in no universe, means black coffee on empty stomach! A whole-grain toast with some healthy cheese beats a bowl of cornflakes. Add some healthy yoghurt, some freshly squeezed juice to the mix if you can and you are good to go.
Yes, your nutritionist will know better. You know your body better than me too. But we both now a candy bar is not what you need. (Yes, I love those too. Life is just not fair.)
Make Sure Your Desk Beckons You
It’s your working environment, so how much you organize (if at all) and how you decorate is up to you. Take 5-10 minutes to create your ideal space, but don’t use it as a reason to procrastinate.
Type the Words Away
You made it! Happy Writing.
This is my favorite ritual, and things go a lot for better for my spirits (and writing) if I stick to it. Of course this is for a typical morning. If the weather is too hot to bear, this is the post you should check out: Productivity for Writers: Tips to Increase Your Productivity During Hot Weather
Perception’s Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) is a brilliant neuropsychiatrist:
- He has published 7 books on neuroscience.
- He is teaching at a prestigious university while helping the FBI solve their most complicated cases.
- He has finished med school at the top of his class.
- He can see things and make connections others can’t.
- Only the most complicated and exciting puzzles can keep his interest.
- Oh, and, he is managing all this (depending on your perception), despite/with/because of his condition: schizophrenic paranoia.
He mostly manages his condition with carefully set routines, the help of his TA and living aid Max, and through the cases his FBI agent friend/ex-student Kate (Rachael Leigh Cook) brings.
Perception is a wonderfully inspiring show, especially if you are a writer and/or you’re suffering from a health condition, mental or otherwise.
It has great acting, intriguing storylines, a well-written main character and scientific accuracy, being assisted by the leading neuroscientist David Eagleman who’s also a writer (of fiction and non-fiction, his non-fiction having been published on Wired, The New Yorker and others.)
I like breaking the don’t-watch-tv productivity tip. I don’t watch everything, trust me. I try, evaluate and become a regular watcher of shows that are smart, highly entertaining, inspiring and intriguing. It helps if there are characters you can empathize with on one level or the other, or characters whose jobs you wouldn’t mind doing (e.g. Cal Lightman’s job, Lie to Me.)
Perception is such a show, and I recommend writers to at least check it out because:
1) Perception combines drama/mystery & comic relief really well. As writers, we want to be able to pull this off well, especially in fiction.
2) The leading character’s self-depreciating sense of humor as a defense mechanism works on a writing level, but it also gives us ideas on how to manage our own conditions and issues.
3) He writes to keep sane, and well, he is full of ideas all the time so he needs different media to convey them. He lectures, aids FBI and writes books.
4) He is a writing success despite his condition.
5) The show presents the very exciting field of neuroscience. I’ve been reading about it since I started watching the show.
6) There is a fictional role model, as well as a real one (the consulting neuroscientist/writer David Eagleman who was born in 1971!)
7) It gives you nice little flashback into university years. I only had a couple of inspiring lecturers, so I wouldn’t have minded one like Pierce: always engaging, always relevant.
If you are collecting reasons to go back to college, this might warm you up further to the idea. Just remember, not all campuses are that nice and a lot of the lecturers tend to be boring.
8) It’s possible to be a writing expert and expert writer at the same time. Writers might lack the professional knowledge and need to interview experts. Experts might lack the writing skills.
Pierce (and Eagleman) possess both. Oh, I should add that Eagleman brainstorms with Perception writers about the possible scenarios too.
9) It provides therapeutic entertainment. Just listen to the lectures where he covers lying, fears, reality…
10) And the series has an overall appreciation of individuality and life.
Have you watched it?
P.S. To read more about perception, you can check out its review here.
Writers are often advised to avoid cliches like the plague. Oops, I used a cliche even in my first sentence, didn’t I?
The “avoid cliches” advice is everywhere, and it in itself has become a cliche. And let’s face it, it is a part of the word’s definition- a cliche is commonplace- mostly because it makes a lot of sense. I mean you do have to avoid a plague after all.
Yet sometimes, it is just fun (and actually good) to use them, as long as you are aware why and how you are using them. I’ll continue to share my other favorite cliches in both mine and others’ storytelling in the upcoming posts and today I’m starting with a popular song from the 80s: Poison’s Every Rose Has Its Thorn.
Poison is one of my favorite rock bands. They have my 3 requirements to adore a band: great vocals, relatable/fun lyrics and catchy music.
Yes, there are a lot of cliches about a (hair) rock band. They are in their names, attitudes, videos, personal lives and themes. You can’t be a rock band without some songs about sex, partying, drugs, booze, love and relationships.
But sometimes, an apparent cliche in a romantic ballad is a hidden metaphor.
When I first heard this song, I liked it, thinking it was a sad song about a guy (Bret Michaels, the leading singer) trying to get over the demise of his relationship. He didn’t want it to end, but even good things end. And nothing is perfect, right? Hence, the girl/relationship being the rose and her/its flaws being the thorn.
The lyrics go like this:
We both lie silently still
In the dead of the night
Although we both lie close together
We feel miles apart inside
Was it something I said or something I did
Did the words not come out right
Though I tried not to hurt you
Though I tried
But I guess that’s why they say
Every rose has its thorn
Just like every night has its dawn
Just like every cowboy sings his sad, sad song
Every rose has its thorn
Yeah it does
I listen to our favorite song
playing on the radio
Hear the DJ say loves a game of easy come and easy go
But I wonder does he know
Has he ever felt like this
And I know that you’d be here somehow
If I could have let you know somehow
Though it’s been a while now
I can still feel so much pain
Like a knife that cuts you the wound heals
but the scar, that scar remains
I know I could have saved a love that night
If I’d known what to say
Instead of makin’ love
We both made our separate ways
But now I hear you found somebody new
and that I never meant that much to you
To hear that tears me up inside
And to see you cuts me like a knife
So far, so sweet and yet, so typical.
But then I read Bret Michaels’s commentary on the song where he explains that while the song is based on Bret’s relationship that ended, the rose doesn’t represent the girl.
The girl left her for another guy with more money, but Bret was sure he’d make it. And guess what? His career is the rose, and the girl is the thorn. I hadn’t seen that one coming, and it made me like the song even more.
Now every time I listen to the song, I listen with a grin on my face.
I’d say he used a cliche well. What do you think?
There should be W.A. meetings.
“Hi, my name is Pinar and I’m addicted to writing”.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to undermine any addictions here. But there are addictions that are not (all) bad. I’m quite fond of my addiction to rock music, movies and yes, writing- the oldest, strongest addiction of them all.
When I named my site, I wasn’t trying to be cute, but merely stating a fact.
I have always been addicted but I didn’t quite own up to it when I was writing the next Spider-Woman (yes, Spider-Woman) cartoon episode in my head.
I also didn’t suspect much when English became my favorite lesson at the age of 12, or that I found myself openly thrilled about “having to” do projects that included a lot of writing (much to the surprise or disdain of my fellow classmates.)
But then it became way too obvious for anyone to ignore. You want to know if you are addicted?
Take a look at the “signs” below and see if any of them rings true for you. And you should probably be trying your hand at a writing-related career if you have answered yes to at least some of these questions.
- You are willingly taking on school projects that involve writing. Plays, stories, essays…You name it. You also find yourself enjoying all exams that require essays.
- You get good at feigning interest in non-writing-related classes while you are just writing the next scene in your script. In your head. In your notebook. On the desk. Wherever.
- You love an audience and you feel over the moon when people genuinely like what you wrote. But you’d not stop writing even if no one read or liked it.
- You shock everyone when you willingly take an elective at university because it requires a thesis, not despite of it.
- When you are alone, you have several voices having conversations in your head. No, you don’t suspect any sort of mental disorder. For one thing, you know they are not real. For second, they are not talking to you. They are talking for you-so that you can finally get scenes written the way you want them to be, or you get to envision new scenes.
- You do find yourself occasionally tuning out of conversations when they get stale, or when your muse decides to show up. In your defense, a lot of people give breaks during conversations to check their messages or update their status or have an obsessive texting match with their boyfriends. You are just doing your bit for the creative world.
- You fall in love with the Bryan Adams song “She’s only happy when she’s dancing” and create a “She’s only happy when she is writing” version-though I should add that I’m addicted to dancing as well.
- You read a great post/article/novel or see an awesome movie and think “Man, I wish I had written that”.
- You are more impressed with actors if they have also churned out some really cool screenplays.
- You can take a post about writing and apply it to any other area, or you can apply any area to writing. Like Pippa’s “The CSI Guide to Finding Your Next Killer Idea – A Guide for Bloggers” post on Jon Morrow’s BoostBlogTraffic. Or my “Why Finding the Perfect Freelance Writing Gig is like Finding The One” on this blog.
- You favorite author tops the list of famous people you’d love to meet.
- You can’t sleep because of all the ideas spinning around in your head.
- So you get up, despite your closing eyelids, and start taking notes. I’m writing these words at 2.30 am. I went to bed at 2.
- You do get incredibly excited about your ideas and share them with people-your imagination and inspiration are just exciting to you as your accomplishments.
- You run 4 blogs, even though you can only keep up with 2,5 of them (see my dating blog’s posting frequency for the half part), while happily writing your assignments and working on your novel.
- You know that even after you turn off your computer after finishing a post late at night and going to bed, you probably won’t fall asleep for an hour or two because you’ll be thinking about other post ideas.
- You just love writing. Especially when you are inspired, and have the freedom to write what you want.
- The more you write about signs you are addicted to writing, more signs keep coming to your mind.
Are you addicted to writing? Are your symptoms similar to mine? What would you add to the list?
If you liked this post, you can follow this fellow addict @zoeyclark on Twitter.
Most Enthralling Story Conflicts & Dilemmas: The Ledge – Kill Yourself or Your Loved One Will Be Killed
As writers, “what if?” is our best friend when it comes to hunting down an exciting idea. We have to be excited first, and then we can begin writing a story that will excite others. The “what if” is born from, or is supported by, a mother conflict-a conflict that will grab you, and won’t let you go until you finish the story.
The bigger at stake, the bigger the excitement. And if the story is well-told, your level of empathy grabs you further into the depths of the story, and if you are honest, you know that the character isn’t facing an easy task.
This article series will cover my favorite story conflicts, from movies, series and books. Their conflicts are the reasons I decided to watch/read these stories.
Conflict : The Ledge
Door Number 1: You kill yourself.
Door Number 2: They kill the person you love.
Two of the most common gut reactions are:
1) Yeah, I’d sacrifice myself.
2) I’d find a way of saving myself and my loved one.
But it is not that easy. This is the conflict from the movie The Ledge starring Charlie Hunnam, Liv Tyler and Patrick Wilson.
Charlie Hunnam’s Gavin is standing on the ledge of a building, with every intention of jumping at noon. He doesn’t have a choice. It’s either him, or the girl dies.
Gavin is an atheist who has pretty much lost his faith in anything after his daughter died. Nothing pisses him off like the over-zealous religious mumblings of a fanatic (Patrick Wilson), who as luck would have had it, has just moved in next door with his wife Shana (Liv Tyler). What could be more fun than seducing this nut’s wife?
But of course she is not a fanatic, she has had her own valid reasons for marrying him, and she is doing her best to make a life for herself despite her past and his extreme beliefs. Gratitude keeps her married.
Gavin starts spending time with her-as her employer and friend-and let’s say he gets involved despite his most rational intentions.
She starts falling for him, and love overpowers gratitude. Husband finds out, captures her, and gives Gavin the two doors. But Gavin is facing this conflict twofold:
He was the driver at the accident that killed his daughter. He never really recovered from either the loss, or the guilt. Now, obviously he blames himself for the danger Shana is in- she wouldn’t have gotten involved with him if he hadn’t been so intent on getting her attention and attraction. He couldn’t save his daughter, but maybe he can save Shana. Of course there is the possibility the husband won’t keep his word and kill her anyway, but would he take the risk?
Of course there are other conflicts in the film too.
There are Shana’s: Gratitude vs. Love. Religion vs. Passion.
There’s the husband’s: Rage vs. Control + Forgiveness.
There’s the cop’s dealing with Gavin: His love for his wife and children vs. The Truth
Dealing with his own personal pain vs. Focusing fully on Gavin
It’s full of great conflicts and dilemmas, but needless to say, it is the main one that glues you to the trailer and the movie. It’s still possible to say you’d do things one way or the other, but if you do pay attention to the characters, backgrounds and states of mind carefully, you’d see that there is no easy way out.
Written (and also directed by): Matthew Chapman.
My advice is watch it like a writer. Look at the story, the conflicts, the characters. Try to imagine the “what if” moment for Matthew Chapman. Try to imagine what you would do if you were Gavin.
And please share some of your favorite story conflicts.
There are many ways of running a successful blog, and you’ll see that a lot of successful bloggers have followed (and/or broken) a different set of rules to get to where they are now. Sometimes breaking the rules will work in your favor. Sometimes they will stall your progress.
But as long as you don’t break the rules in the name of procrastination, being a sinner might just work in your favor.
So today I’m sharing my blogging sins, and my reasons for committing them:
1) I don’t post frequently as I should/want.
As a writer, I’ll be the first to admit that despite my best intentions, I don’t always write as often as I should, or as often as I’d like.
In addition to life getting in the way (and by life I mean getting sick, approaching deadlines and the ultimate enemies-procrastination and depression. Come on, who doesn’t get writer’s blues? And, no, you are not allowed to say Stephen King. )
Then there’s the other writing I like/have to do. Fiction and non-fiction. Posts for me and other publications.
And while writing is one of the things I should be doing, as researching/marketing/blogging/finding inspiration in different places are also vital parts of freelancing description, I don’t write as much as I should. And without writing, you don’t have something to pitch, market or edit.
Oh, and there isn’t only writing fiction or non-fiction, and with non-fiction, there are several blogs of mine as well as markets to pitch.
Now, while I love my blog and I’d publish once a day in every one of them in an ideal world (where the days last at least 48 hours), sometimes I get lost in a blogger’s other important tasks, or writing other things.
Do these sound like invalid excuses? Maybe you are right. But guess what I did right after the pain from my severe ear infection – I wrote 3,000 on the novel I’m working on, wrote and published Resources for Writers & Bloggers:Travel Blogger Academy Review, researched markets, organized bookmarks and my home office and…well, did this post of course. I might be a sinner, but I do work hard to compensate for the sins.
2) I don’t post on a constant schedule.
Sometimes I post twice a week, sometimes twice a month. Partly because of the sin covered above, but mostly because I like to write things that not everybody else is already writing. I don’t want to read another post about how to optimize your blog for the search engines. Yes, we need that post, but there are a million of them out there. You don’t need to read them here as well.
And yes, there have been other posts on the deadly sins of blogging- but these are my personal sins, and their reasons and why they don’t have to be deadly.
I also don’t want to write about killer headlines. Not because I am not fond of the topic, but so many people have done that, and they have done it well. You might want to check out Headline Hacks, where you only need to give your email address to download Jon Morrow’s free report (52 Headline Hacks) for instance.
3) I don’t treat a current topic as timely- because ultimately, even the current topics I’m interested in tend to be evergreen.
I saw Bryan Adams live in August this year, and I’m yet to post my review/experience post in the music category of my entertainment site. Partly because of sins number 1, partly because…well, a Bryan Adams concert isn’t something that’ll go out of fashion. I was a fan 12 years ago, and I still am. So the important thing is to find the current element in the post, highlight what matters and publish the post in its relativity.
After all, I have a couple of more slants I have up in my sleeve. For instance, why concerts are a great way of staying fit (for my unconventional beauty and fitness blog), why I tend to get over the worst colds at concerts (motivational post)- oh and then there’s the musical aspect – the testament to how Bryan’s rocking skills are “aging like wine.” So you see, maybe I missed out on my “Sarsborg” or Norway audience (not that I am saying I had audience there.)
So maybe it is not that sinful to commit this delaying sin, depending on which angles you are taking and why.
4) I don’t comment frequently enough on other blogs.
In the world of blogging, some marketing tactics don’t always remain valid. Some do remain valid, but lose its level of impact. And some are too valuable to be dismissed as a marketing tactic.
To me, blog commenting falls into that “too valuable” category. I genuinely like commenting on other blogs, and I enjoy it when people comment on mine. Of course when I say commenting, I mean actual commenting- comments that say something personal, meaningful and related to the post.
So I don’t think it is a great idea to try and comment on every related post, regardless of where they are posted. Because let’s face it: forcing yourself to leave 20 distinctive and worthy comments are going to come out as just that: forced.
I comment when I want to say something others haven’t mentioned, or I want to share my own personal experience. Or I just have to say that post made me laugh/cry/think/feel inspired and why.
Then there is also the commenter’s block. It just exists for me. I don’t feel like commenting, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the post. So I either save and come back, or have a reading marathon when I’m in the commenting/researching mindset. This saves time, and makes commenting a natural act, and not a promotional tactic.
Oh, and then there are these powerful blogs who have disabled comments for their own reasons. Now, they definitely want us to commit this sin.
I like reading comments where my readers have shared what’s on their minds while having fun doing it. That’s what I like to do when I’m commenting.
Chores are boring. Promotion might feel forced. Instinct and passion, on the other hand, make for better comments, don’t you think?
5) I write for my audience- even when the audience is me.
As wonderful as it is to be read, and as valuable as it is to write for your readers (and write what they want/need), I can’t write a post I have absolutely no interest in writing, even if my readers were dying to get it.
Some bloggers will definitely disapprove of me saying this, but for me, blogging is an amazing form of expression- and as a writer, the freedom to express comes first. I love being read, and it is an awesome feeling when somebody reads, and hopefully resonates with, your work. But in order to be read, you need to write. But I can’t write something I don’t want to read.
Yes, I love having readers. Yes, one day I’d love to have thousands, millions of daily readers. But I want those readers to come because they identify with what I write. I can’t do that if I am not happy with my topics.
Yes, I write for my audience. But guess what? Before anyone else sees your writing, you still get to read, proofread and edit your writing. You’re the first set of eyes to see the work, and if you are not happy, you won’t want to pass it along.
Audience comes first. But don’t ignore the needs of your first ever reader.
6) I write more than I market. Or pitch.
This is a sin I’m not proud of. But it is a sin I find very hard to stay away from, because as you can see from the name of the blog, I’m addicted to writing- first and foremost. This of course can harm future earnings, or delay how much you are going to make. It might also stall your career. But I try to use this to my advantage.
Because guess what? As much as I often drown in ideas and have a hard time keeping up with them despite my best efforts, sometimes even I get writer’s block. It doesn’t mean I don’t write anything for days or weeks. I wouldn’t have managed that even if I tried.
But I know it goes against my nature to stop a writing flow to market or do anything else. So I let myself write until I drop, or the ideas stop exciting and/or entertaining me. Then I move on to other tasks. Then I organize, plan, market and do all other things on my to-do list- until inspiration comes flooding again.
Is this the most effective way of marketing? Absolutely not. Can/Should it be improved? Hell, yes. But does it result in a happy writer who doesn’t get depressed over lack of inspiration, eager to learn more about self-promotion and improve her marketing skills? Certainly.
It is a big sin. But it is not a deadly one as long as you have a counter-attack plan.
7) I have many niches.
I can’t be a generalist, and I don’t want to be a generalist. Meaning I don’t want to write about anything. However I also can’t be a specialist in one area and keep writing in only one area. I’ve published 545 posts on my entertainment blog at time of writing this article, and over 400 of them are on movies. And despite my obvious passion for movies, I have also written novel/book reviews, album and concert reviews and so on. I am passionate about music and reading too.
And while I’d have probably have come a longer way in any one area, but it is impossible for me to work that way. I’m passionate about a lot of topics, and I love writing about a lot of different topics. I have either the experience, enthusiasm or both to justify this need and want of mine.
I also realized that writing in a lot of different areas is a great way to prevent writer’s block, or at least a chance to move to another topic when one road gets blocked.
So here’s the thing. If I wanted to write about one thing alone, I’d have gotten a desk job. It may not be so for everyone, but diversity is a part of my definition of freelancing.
Verdict: A Sinner With A Cause
So there you go. I’ve just shared my 7 sins. I’m proud of some of them, seldom ashamed of a few and determined to improve on the shortcomings. But I like knowing what I do and why I do them.
While I make some mistakes along the way, I tend to come up with more ways to compensate for them. Committing some sins are also a nice way to learn what works, what doesn’t and how to get where you want to get to faster, without compromising your personality and passions.
What about you, fellow bloggers? Should you been forgiven? Have you sinned? : )
I don’t remember how I first came across Travel Blogger Academy, but I’m really glad that I did. While I do write travel articles for websites and don’t run a travel blog (yet), I realized that this website is a great resource for all web writers and bloggers, whether they are interested in travel writing or not. Of course it is a lot more beneficial if they are.
The website tells you everything you need to know for starting, monetizing and successfully managing a travel blog. But the great thing is, despite most niche blogs, a lot of their advice can actually be applied to other blogs as well.
Editor-in-chief of Travel Blogger Academy, Adam Costa, does know and prove that content is the most important asset of any blog. He has utilized his writing and blogging optimally, and he is leading a lifestyle many writers would love to have: write what you care about for an audience that wants to hear what you are saying, make passive income all the while traveling to wherever you want.
Now, let’s do a content breakdown:
The homepage contains the blog posts, as well as the chance to subscribe to the 24-part free email course on travel blogging (though this course can be subscribed to from any page of the blog, which is a great tip for any blogger when it comes to what action you want your audience to take).
The other content pages- create content, grow traffic, get paid, use tools, include a collection of the best posts on the blog on these topics, which serve as what Chris Garrett would call flagship content. They tell you all the basics you need to know, as well as what you should do to take things to the next level(s).
From its logo to its design, from its content to clearly defined tone and purpose, Travel Blogger Academy has a lot to teach while being fun, practical and relatable.
Below are some of my favorite articles:
Travel Writers: 37 Publishers Who Pay – a nice collection of travel markets, both web and print.
In a nutshell, this blog can help you
- Write great headlines – regardless of the topic
- Be informative without a subject without sacrificing fun and personality
- Dig deeper into what plugins there are out there
- Connect with your audience
- Make money
- Grow traffic
- Get inspired
Have you checked out the site yet?
I know I have been away for a while, but I am back with more inspiration, stored energy and happiness as well as writing tips.
I was in Sweden for 5 days for the Herrang Dance Camp, where I danced, danced and danced, and then I was off to Norway for 10 days to see some old friends. While my on-and-off internet connection didn’t allow me to publish while I was there, my notebooks got full of ideas. One of those ideas was the benefits traveling provides to writers so here we go:
1) Inspiration - for both fiction and non-fiction. Traveling brings more muses than I can count. The scenery, the languages, culture, meeting new people, visiting the new and revisiting the old, seeing old friends…Not to mention experiencing my first (swing) dance festival. I’m bursting with ideas and like most writers, the more ideas I have, the happier I am.
2) Potential to sell (travel) articles and make money. Naturally, travelling brings many ideas for travel markets, whether be in print or on the web.
I took as many pictures as I could- it was easier, faster and more detailed than writing things down every time I wanted to take a note of something. So now I have many pictures to derive ideas and slants from. I’m also organizing a big list of paying travel markets which I’ll happily share once it is finished.
3) Motivation to write and sell more productively. It’s easier to get caught in the latest social media article, Facebook status update or what to write in the blog that is fun, but doesn’t really make you money.
But once you’ve spent 2 weeks in 2 expensive countries, you are back with a rested and fresh mind, as well as more motivation to work more efficiently and concentrate on gigs that will make you money. After all, not only did you spend a lot, but you were also reminded of how awesome traveling is.
So there is a chance you will be planning your next trip before you get back. I know I did. So more money means more traveling which brings more ideas and inspiration, making you a happier and fitter writer…Yes, traveling has its perks indeed.
4) Fitness. Oh, about the fitness. I’m a 27-year-old female who was going abroad for 2 weeks, to a much colder climate (the temperature was an average of 17 Celsius in July!) and trying to make sure I didn’t exceed the 20kg limit my ticket allowed me. I didn’t want to pay extra, plus carrying more than 20kgs is not exactly fun.
But trying to get everything you need (since it is a camp, I needed to bring my sheets and stuff), plus a few things you want (make-up essentials, party clothes)…let’s just say I lost some weight just packing and repacking and then trying to zip it all up.
I always get fitter in the process of packing. Not to mention all the power-walking I had to do at the airport to catch flights, buy gifts and window-shop…Then of course there is all the walking you have to do while sightseeing and voila!!!
Despite all the candy I sinfully consumed, I am back having lost 2kgs. Yes, I love traveling.
(To be fair though, I did dance like crazy for 5 days, and there were 2 concerts in the second week.)
5) Authenticity if you want to write a story with characters from those countries and/or stories taking place there. It’s amazing how much your vocabulary can improve when you pay attention. You can also notice the tones, attitudes, approaches and interactions.
6) Extra writing time. While I didn’t do that much writing, I still took advantage of the time between flights, waiting for the plane to take-off or the 15-20 minutes I needed to relax my body. It’s not much, but because you don’t have the time for distraction, it is efficient. Plus it feels a bit more fun, given the change in location. Somehow I got the best idea on how to start my novel while I was in Sweden, while I wasn’t thinking about the novel…which, by the way, takes place in New York. Inspiration is a funny thing.
Traveling is great for so many reasons, and even more so for writers. I don’t know where I’ll go next, but I can’t wait to do it again. How is your relationship with traveling?
There are many writing-related cartoons that make me laugh. And not because they are hilarious or tragicomic, but they also have a level of truth to them – OK, sometimes the truth level is scarily high:))
I hope you can all enjoy the cartoons below. I’m planning to make this list a series, collecting the funny stuff whenever I see it.
I usually start my day by playing games, checking e-mails and reading my Facebook messages. Don’t frown- it is only while I am eating my breakfast. It might not be the most productive thing to do, but it is a fun, easy way to start the day.
But today I started my day by reading Wayne E. Pollard’s (Bo’s Café Life)’s A Kilo of Chocolate Sprinkles and…well, I don’t remember starting a day with that many laughs. Hey, the e-book was over before my breakfast. Hell, my breakfast isn’t still over because I couldn’t wait to write the book’s review.
While Wayne is famous for his hilarious take on the writing life and his no-B.S. tips for writers, I found that the e-book can be enjoyed by writers as much as the non-writers. There are two-three chapters that will probably be enjoyed more by the writers, and a chapter that will probably make women laugh a lot harder.
But as a whole, if you have been alive for a couple of decades (yes, 20s count!-I’m 27) , I’m pretty sure you will have a good laugh. And even the bits that don’t make you laugh out loud will probably cause a huge grin.
Chapter by Chapter Breakdown
The book is only 23 pages so I won’t give away a lot, but you need to have a clue for what’s ahead so let’s roll:
(yes, this is the chapter women will like more.)
According to Wayne, inspired by a dog-training book he read, husbands can be (and should be) trained, house or otherwise. He gives wonderfully useful tips on what to teach them, as well as when and how. And you can’t blame him for being sexist or anything. He is A GUY (the name Wayne probably gave it away) and he is Married.
And even if you aren’t married, many of the tips do count for a boyfriend – live-in-or not. After all, the earlier you train them, the faster they will learn and make your relationship a lot less annoying.
The best part of this article is that it is multi-functional. You can use it for dogs without having to buy the actual dog training book. Or just read it to your mother and make her day. She regrets not having applied some of the tips 3 decades ago.
Ah… the good old days when my metabolism was so fast that it burned all the chips and chocolate I devoured without causing me any weight gain or cellulite. Unfortunately the last healthy, flat-stomached photo I have is from when I was 16.
Oh, of course my metabolism is a tad faster than his, and I am not overweight or anything. I also have the advantage of being tall and the opposite of being flat-chested, so I can hide the extra weight with some clever tactics. But of course they work in winter, not during the bikini season.
My point, going on to prove his, is that your metabolism slows down with age – considerably. Of course some of the husband training tips must be used on your metabolism. Train it earlier, so that you won’t find yourself trying to lose 9 pounds before meeting some old friends in a month
Of course Wayne gives some really good tips on what to avoid. Just take those in, and not just the funny truth.
OK. Moving on.
Now, this will appeal more to writers, as when you say café, ( freelance) writers
visualize coffee and their writing gear simultaneously. Cafés are the perfect offices for writers. I even sold an article on this very topic. Talk about writing what you know!
The point is, the non-writer group, if they are not freelancers, they don’t really get the café love. When I mention a friend that I work at a certain café, they immediately assume I’m a barista. Not that there is anything wrong with being a barista. But it just goes to show that to others, working at a café can only mean one thing.
I have a hard time explaining why I refuse to spend money on the cocktails I love but splurge on the coffee and food while I write at a café. For one thing, I have to show something for all the hours I spend there (though some café’s staff adopted me and wouldn’t mind whether I drink just one cup of coffee for the entire day. Some invented a discount just for me!). Not that I could survive on one cup anyway.
Another thing is that it is still cheaper than renting my own office and more varied and less isolated. And it is cosy and fun. Shock, shock – I also sold an article on how to choose the perfect coffee shop.
Needless to say, Wayne enjoyed and related to those, just like his piece something like I’d have written – only it is funnier.
A Telephone Conversation between Charles Dickens and His Publisher
Yep, this is the second article that will make writers laugh harder. But any avid reader with a clue about what the hell is going on with the social media, will enjoy it immensely too. Imagine Charles Dickens still living today (would be cool if he was actually immortal and not just his works.) and what his editor would be asking him to do.
Then read the article. Who needs a joke when you can have this dialogue?
Media Tour Tips
Third article that will go along way with writers on media tours. But then again, tips can be applied to any job because let’s face it, it is usually all about showing your USP (unique selling point) and going an extra mile. Although I2m betting that you will be surprised by “this” extra mile.
Oh and he has great tips on how to give interviews, radio or otherwise. Again, applicable to interviews with any professional.
A Kilo of Chocolate Sprinkles
And finally comes the chapter the book is named after… Here, Wayne admits to his ice-cream addiction in his own honest and entertaining way.
Of course not everybody has an ice-cream addiction, but a lot of us have addictions. Mine is chocolate (OK, the food one is chocolate. The others are movies and music, though they are usually more beneficial to my career and life in general.)
Just substitute the word ice-cream with your addiction, and it will hit right home. Of course since it is July, many of you will find the ice-cream addiction spot-on and relatable. I know I do.
And surely I can’t be the only one whose mouth watered by the title? It is not a coincidence that Chocolat is one of my favorite movies. And it having a Johnny Depp romance in it is just a perk. Although after the movie, we did debate among female friends: Chocolate or Johnny Depp? In the end we opted for the easy way out. Johnny Depp with chocolate. I have never been fond of compromising anyway.; )
So grab the book on Amazon for just 0.99, and make your day. And do share this gem with the non-writers. They need humor too, even though they do often think that we are from another planet…