Unleash your creativity.

There are simple, practical ways that will inspire and stimulate your creative potentials.

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Tips to help you make money from your creative process: blogging, writing, photography, vlogging...

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Strategies on how to network effectively and to grow your blog community.

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Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 4

Sticking To One Genre Of Writing

Be open to writing other things besides novels. It’s interesting to read and listen to some writers whose basis for measuring other writers’ writing career depends on published novels while leaving novellas, short stories and poetry behind for those whom they term ‘amateur writers.’




Writing, Writing Career, Short Stories, Stories, Novels, Poetry

A ‘writing career’ is first all about writing and earning a living through your writing. Then the second aspect of your writing career is choosing to specialize. Focusing on one area narrows your reach. Some writers struggle to acknowledge themselves as one because they have don’t have published novels in their catalogue thereby underrating their creative channels.

A good number of magazines publish fiction and you could boost your income by getting short stories and poems published.

There are possibilities that if you have more publishing credits under your belt you will find a publisher for your books faster.

While waiting for the jackpot of writing that earth-shattering novel that would sell for a movie – which would probably take years, if ever, you could tap into the goldmine of short stories, novellas, poetry etc.

Get pragmatic! Check here for more writing tips.

So, tell me, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer sticking to a certain genre of writing?




Let There Be Light – Photo Theme

Without light, we would be engulfed in darkness, so it’s not a surprise that we are drawn to it, both the natural and artificial light. Light is one of the most important factors to consider when taking photos. A great shot could be marred if the lighting is not good.

Photography, artificial light, tips, image, under expose, have fun

 

Tip: When exposing for beams of light, it is best to under expose the entire scene. This adds some drama to the image and keeps some detail in the light beams themselves.

 

Photography, artificial light, tips, image, under expose, have fun

 

Tip: Backlighting adds details of the subject. When backlighting, it’s best to under expose the image to allow the highlights to glow.

 




 

Photography, artificial light, tips, image, under expose, have fun

Photography, artificial light, tips, image, under expose, have fun

 

Tip: Night time offers endless possibilities. Have fun with artificial light. Be on the look out for different sources of light and use them for your creative compositions.

 

Photography, artificial light, tips, image, under expose, have fun

 

Tip: Light can bring emphasis to the story you want to show the viewer and when used well it leads the eyes to the important parts of an image.

Go ahead and have fun with all that light. Take the photography theme challenge for practice and check this link for more photo tips here.

 




 

 

 

31 Blog Post Ideas and Bite-Sized Tips

Ideas on what to write surround us, yet there are times that we find ourselves floundering over what direction to follow with these ideas. While choosing topics to brainstorm and cast your masterful thoughts on, bear a couple of things in mind:

Make A Post, Post Ideas, Share A Travel, Ideas



 

Bite-Sized Tips

  • Do these ideas and projects fit in with the building blocks of your blog?
  • What is your authentic approach? Could it have a mark of individuality?
  • Consider what works best for you and your audience.
  • Now set some goals for the month.
  • Not in your mind, Put it down on paper.
  • Ready. Set. Get going.

31 Blog Post Ideas You Could Tussle With

    1. Review books, product, movies…
    2. Interview someone – make it interesting and dig beyond the surface
    3. Write 5 to 10 things about you that make you who you are
    4. Share some cool info-graphics or cartoons
    5. Critic some news. There’s always something happening
    6. Share a travel or work experience post
    7. Write a motivational/inspiring post
    8. Take part in a challenge
    9. Write a story post
    10. Photo of the week
    11. Pick of the week posts with links to the relevant post
    12. Are you up to running a contest?
    13. Make a post full of GIFs – humour and entertainment
    14. Quote of the week
    15. Share your goals publicly
    16. Create a link Carnival and ask others to join in the link-a-thon
    17. Build your to-do list
    18. Tell a joke – humour works
    19. Write a post on things you did or didn’t do that you regretted
    20. Dig up some little-known facts
    21. Share A Travel Wish – where you would like to visit and why
    22. Share one important lesson you learnt this year
    23. Make a post about your most popular posts
    24. Bite the bullet, ask for general feedback on your blog
    25. Thank you audience for following you
    26. Make a handwritten post, take a photo of it and publish it
    27. Write a poem
    28. Share your top 10 favourite list of something, movies, food, books etc
    29. Favourite childhood memories
    30. Share your pet peeves
    31. Write a letter to your younger self




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8 Simple and Effective Ways To Make Blogging Easier

Content, Emails, Scheduling, Blogging, Blog Tips




Let’s keep to the truth and call a spade what it is and it’s not a big spoon. To blog consistently and to publish engaging top quality posts is hard work, don’t let anyone fool you.

It consumes time and energy to keep churning out those posts, but there are simple, effective ways to manage the process and to create that much-needed space so that you don’t feel overwhelmed.

Make a posting schedule and stick to it

You will often have spontaneous posts but to create achievable blogging goals, a publishing calendar gives you control of your processes. Without a schedule, you will find it difficult to keep track of what you are supposed to be doing and when. Scheduling makes a lot of difference.

Plan your time

Pick the time when you are most productive and use it to your advantage. I find that working early in the morning when others are still asleep works better for me.

It’s amazing how much work I get done in the space of an hour or two. Responding to emails and comments csould be scheduled to give you some breathing space. Trying to respond to emails and comments as soon as they come in is one sure way to make you feel harassed and run off your feet.

Create a long list of your post ideas

As the ideas come to you, note them down. You could start writing the posts and flesh them out gradually if they are lengthy posts.

At present, I have close to a hundred unfinished posts in my draft and this approach helps me tremendously on days that my inspiration tank is running low or on days that I’m short on time.

Create Your Work In Batches

Creating posts that fall under similar category saves lots of time. For instance, instead of switching from one post to a different post that addresses unrelated topics, I choose a slot in my schedule to focus on creating several posts that share the same framework. This way, I’m in the zone – thinking of the same subject. Knowing where I’m headed makes the work faster.

Mix your content

Since you can’t afford to create bumper in-depth posts each time, mix your publications with short posts, videos, photographs, infographics, podcasts etc.

Repurpose old content

Find those gems in your old content and slap on some good polish. Curate, snip, snap and put it into a new shape to be republished.

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Automate your actionable’s

You can automate your posts to publish at a certain period. WordPress provides calendar settings where you can schedule your publishing time.

You can also explore prewriting emails for repeated response – though I’ve never tried this before it’s something I am looking at to help with the deluge of daily emails.

Batch your work. You can create weekly content on similar tasks on the same day and have them ready to publish

Outsource your work

There are virtual assistants as well as freelance agents who offer quality content at reasonable rates when it’s necessary to use them.

Blogging on regular basis need not be stressful. The rules are more fluid than we make them out to be, so it’s time to quit stressing over the attempt to measure up to impossible standards. I hope these tips are useful. What are your coping mechanisms?




Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 3

Read The Bestsellers With A Critical Eye

sabotaging writing career - reading best-sellers, cultivate reading habits,

Cultivate Excellent Reading Skills

To become an excellent writer, it doesn’t go without saying that you also have to cultivate excellent reading habits.

No, it’s not enough to read only blog posts and the current rags, but make time for more than the cursory reading of best sellers.

Reading is like an apprenticeship and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with learning from the high achievers of the literary world.

Many people want to become the next big or upcoming author, yet it will amaze you how many of these people don’t bother to read the authors that are successful. I’ve had a number of closet writers tell me that they don’t read best sellers because most of them are rip offs and crap.

Some time ago, I mentioned in a blog post that I was reading A Prisoner of Birth: by Jeffrey Archer, and another blogger went full frontal attack on J. Archer and how he hires a team of writers to do his writing. How he has probably never written a full novel blah, blah.

To say the least, that was a put-off that left a negative impression.




The Quirky Excuses For Not Reading Bestsellers

  • The notion that best sellers are rip-off’s and crap

If the idea of hiring a team of writers to hash out an idea into a book is a crime, then I’ll probably become guilty of such crime myself – hopefully, sometime in the future.

We all know that writing series of best-selling novels is not an easy feat. I’ve not written one yet, but from my writing experience, I can imagine how mentally draining and flat ass working hours are spent constructing such engaging novels.

If a writers life could be made easier by engaging others to help out with a project, then I say ‘good for them,’ besides, they are providing some income to these ghost writers as well as providing grounds for the background writer to hone his/her skills.

When someone takes the pain to describe a best seller as crap, they usually offer lame statements like:

“Oh, I read classics.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with reading Dickens, Charlotte Bronte, Virginia Woolf, Fitzgerald and the host of dead writers out there, but the problem with this argument is that you can’t enter the huge ever-changing marketplace of books if you don’t know what the trend is and what buyers are looking out for.

Reading classics is brilliant, but a good number of them are not that hot now and you are certainly not going to attract a lot of millennial plus other living readers by writing Shakespearian prose. Your first lesson is to learn how to write for the people buying books now.

If you’re a romance writer, explore best-selling romance novels from writers like Jude Deveraux, Nora Roberts, Johanna Lindsay, Lisa Kleypas, if you’re a horror writer, delve into some Stephen King, Anne Rice, Dean Koontz and co.

Don’t reinvent the wheel. Learn by reading the best works in the genre of your interest and this includes reading their début novels that helped them to break into the business.

The critical study of these will be time well spent that would help you break in, too and in the long run.

  •  The ‘I have to be original and uninfluenced by them,’ retort.

There’s a popular saying that everything has been written about everything. Well, as long as I haven’t written mine, that’s not true.

I’ve heard severally the argument of having your own voice and not losing it and the notion that reading these best sellers might make you start writing like them. Oh, how I wish! I would count myself lucky if I should write like the greats.

This shouldn’t be a problem. Your diverse reading, experience and individuality counteract this notion and except you are stealing someone’s work, learning how to chart your story from those who have excelled in it is certainly not a bad thing.

Check here for more writing tips.




Kids At Play – 10 Tips For Taking Great Photos of Children

If you want to relive your childhood for a little time, watch kids play. Their carefree attitude, laughter, joy and utter delight from the simple things of life reminds of so much that’s good.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

Children are beautiful subjects to photograph and if you are not attempting a studio photo shoot, take several photos at play time. However, anyone who has tried to photograph their kids will know how challenging and frustrating it can be. They never want to stand still and even when you get them to pose they’re constantly making faces!



Tips For Taking Great Photos of Children

 

1. Have Patience and be ready

Be ready for anything with kids! Expect the unexpected and be ready to shoot it. Sometimes they will be shy to start with, but don’t rush or force it. Just interact with them for a while and they’ll be comfortable enough to grant you those gorgeous smiles with missing teeth.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

2. Get Down To The Child’s Level

When taking photos always try to get down to the same level as your subject especially small children.

If you take the photo from your normal standing height, you’ll be looking down at the child this would give a distorted view of them from above.

Taking the photo at their level creates an opportunity to capture a more interesting background as well.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

3. Use Burst Mode To Capture Action Shots

Due to children’s nature of constant motion, it’s almost always a challenge to stay still and get them to do what you want them to do.

This is where the burst mode feature of your camera is useful.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

4. Seek Candid Moments

Some excellent photo moments present themselves at inopportune times which is why it’s necessary to keep your phone close by.  This means you can whip it out and capture those candid natural shots of your children just being themselves.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

5. Focus On The Eyes In Portrait Photos

When taking portraits try to focus on the eyes. Getting it right creates a warmer photo and engages the viewer.

6. Use Props and Costumes

You can create something different by using costumes and props.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

7. Try shooting in different locations for unique shots

Take your children to scenic locations where you can definitely capture some memorable shots.

 8. Keep it Simple

Props, costumes, and scenic locations are great but sometimes it’s best to just keep things simple.

9. Take Different Angles

Always look at alternative angles when taking the same subjects. Sometimes the traditional point of view won’t do justice to the image.

Children, Great Photo Tips, Photography, Focus on eyes, Scenic locations, burst mode

 10. Have Fun! That’s the most important part.

Finally, remember to have fun! Whilst capturing the fun that your children are having, don’t forget to be part of it. It’s okay to be a goofball.

Take the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.



7 Areas Where Bloggers Dreams Die

Bloggers, Blogging, Promoting, Success,

Results Take Too Long

Naturally, when we start any venture we want to see results and many bloggers jump into the process of blogging anticipating quick results. When the stark reality of the grind sets in and when their expected results take longer to meet, most become discouraged, quit blogging and go searching for the next trendy thing.

Without mincing words, blogging success takes time. A lot of time! Just keep plugging away.

You are not promoting yourself

A lot of bloggers/writers are not comfortable promoting their work sometimes due to lack of confidence in their work or the assumption that promoting their work is being arrogant and full of pride.

I’ve once had a newbie ask me ‘how would anyone read their blog with all the fascinating millions of blogs floating out there,’ my first thought was, ‘with this thought pattern, maybe you shouldn’t bother,’ but I ruminated over it and advised her to continue with her writing, make more effort to connect with others and let the readers decide if her work is good enough.

The reality is that if you don’t promote yourself, no one else will. There are ways to put yourself out there and to promote your work without coming across as obtuse.




Can’t Deal with Criticism

A lot of people may not like your style or agree with you and now and again, you come across some downright sour people on social media. They will leave their rude comments, opinions and sometimes even personal attacks.

You can moderate your comments to distance yourself from trolls, but you still need to acquire the diplomatic skill of handling constructive criticism. Learn not to take such confrontations personal, most times this is bullying tactics not worth spending time on.

Too Concerned about Stats

Getting caught in the ‘stats trap’ is easy and addictive that you could find yourself checking your blog stats multiple times a day and fretting over your page vies. Focus on the goals for your blog, and concentrate on building a tribe and how to improve your communities experience.

Over time an awesome tribe outweighs all the page views in the world especially if the views are not connecting with you. A supportive community will lead to better stats.

Obsessing Over Competition

Too often, we spend far too much time stretching our necks to see what others are doing because like almost everything else in life that’s a competition, we look at other bloggers as our competitors.

To an extent, this is true. When readers are visiting another blog, they are not on yours at the same moment – and we all want as many readers as we can get.

However, viewing fellow bloggers as competition and feeling somewhat jealous of their success and concentrating on how to beat them will cause you more problems.

You are better off building collaborative relationships with other bloggers. Therein you’ll find support because there are many bloggers who are happy to help each other – work on creating such a network.

Neglecting Other Aspects of Your Life

When we discover our blogging feet, we tend to jump in with our two feet and all our zeal that at times it seems to consume your life.

As much as you enjoy blogging don’t allow it to completely consume your fire. Create a balance and stay connected with the real world. Your blogging escapade only gets better when you are well-rounded and bring depth to it from your experiences.



Neglecting other aspects of your life could lead to problems, tedium and eventually the failure with your blog.

Running Out of Ideas

Just like writer’s block, running out of blogging ideas and inspiration is real and when it drags for a long time, some bloggers simply close shop and walk away.

Combat this through simple steps such as:

Set a blogging calendar with topics you would cover in a month

Walk away from the computer for some rejuvenation –  did I say walk away? Yes, I said that. Staring at the blank screen won’t make it type itself.

Look around you and free write.

These are the 7 reasons why most bloggers lock up shop. Do you know more reasons that you could share with us? For more blogging tips, check this link.

image credit – pexel

Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 2

That Single Title Won’t Make You Rich

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. In the writing life, a year is nothing. Writing, writing career, published, books, titles

image credit – pexels

You did it. Finally, you’ve published that book. Your sweat, blood and gore went into it. Now it’s time to sit before the fireplace with a glass of wine and rub your palm in anticipation of counting all the dough that will roll in.

This is somewhat embarrassing, but most times our first book and I daresay several titles after hardly causes the Richters scale to shift in our bank balance.

I have to admit that after I published my first poetry book I had high expectations in my bubbly dream world, but soon enough, reality slapped me awake. Quitting one’s hustle and day job was not going to happen quickly.

Anticipating that you’ll be paying bills with your book advance and ROI from your book may not happen by the end of the year or even many years to come.




You might even strike gold and have an agent sign you on, but the challenge of successfully shopping it around and selling it is still a huge probability.

In some cases, when the agent is unsuccessful, they drop you, which is devastating to any writer. As a matter of fact after such unpalatable news, some writers hibernate from writing another word for several years.

Slogging away on a book and revising it for months on end is hard work and the rejections simply make the process discouraging and leaves you with the feeling that you are just wasting your time.

Keep The Slogging Going

Here’s the thing, very few authors make money on their first book. When you read success stories of authors breaking the bank on a first book, keep in mind that there’s a back story. They probably have many years of slogging it out, rejections and many drafts stashed away in their files. If you research the big-earner indies like H.M. Ward, Meredith Wild, C. J. Lyons and co., they have dozens of published books out there.




In the writing life, a year is nothing. Think of several years and write because you absolutely love writing. Write because without writing your life would be incomplete. Don’t write with the thoughts of becoming an overnight success. Even The Stephen Kings and J.K. Rowling of our world had their disappointments before the breakthroughs.

On a serious note, you may need to do something different to earn some income and fill in the gaps while pursuing your writing career.

Whether you are self or traditionally published, till you have several published titles in your kitty, you’re not likely to make enough money to live your dream life.

 

 

Jewelry Focus – Photo Theme

J FOR JEWELRY

For letter J of the photo theme challenge, I chose jewels for obvious reasons – I love jewelry.

Adorning ourselves with jewelry and gemstones have been a part of humanity since before history was written.

The ancient people wore jewelry made of feathers, bones, shells, clay, stones, plants and other materials available to them, unlike what we have in stores today.

photo theme, photography, jewelry, focus

 

We wear them as objects of fashion statement, identity, functionality,  caring for our bodies, religious reasons, status symbol, showing commitment etc.

In some places such as India, they’ve managed to develop such a connection to jewelry that it is a part of their daily life and religion.

photo theme, photography, jewelry, focus

 

We all love the Bling and I believe the beauty in wearing jewelry is in the simplicity of its usage. Maintaining that balance of wearing just enough and not so much at the same time.

 

photo theme, photography, jewelry, focus

 

Jewelry needs not be expensive to catch ones’ eye. They could be cheap and cheerful and pleasing all the same.

 

photo theme, photography, jewelry, focus

 

After over a hundred thousand years of using jewels and decorative items and more than six thousand years of metallurgy and gem processing, we can say with certainty that jewels – in whatever form they come in – will always be a part of people and civilization.

To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

 





The Daily Post – Focus

Don’t Sabotage Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off – Part 1

Sabotaging Your Writing Career Before It Takes Off

Writing, Learn Rules, Writing Career, Mistakes, Memoir

image credit – pexels

Yes, we all learn from our mistakes, however, we don’t have to make all the mistakes before we learn. We can equally learn from the mistakes of others.

In the pursuit of our writing careers, there are mistakes that have the potential to truncate it even before it begins. I am not excited to say that I have made a good number of them and still working to dig myself out of my errors.

I am equally ashamed to say that I fall into the category of writers with piles of half-finished stories and essays yet to be polished and sent to potential publishers.

The great thing is that though these mistakes might derail your quest for a while, with the right approach, you can get back on track.

Writing ‘A Pipe Dream.’

I’ve met a lot of would-be writers who are either ‘working on a book,’ or planning ‘to start working’ on one – when they can find the time – and most of them have worked on that elusive book of theirs for years and years that they’ve even forgotten what the story was about in the first place.

Interestingly, they don’t share their attempts with anyone. They also hardly bother to read guides, blogs or articles that could help to improve their writing career. If you are such a closet writer who fails to show your work to anybody and unable to compare it to what’s obtainable out there, you are living in that highly deceptive fantasy land that your work is fabulous.

For some reason, lots of nonfiction writers think that writing a how-to book, a memoir or an autobiography is easier to write than fiction and this is far from the truth.




Writing nonfiction requires careful structuring — especially a memoir. To slap up a haphazard chronology of one’s life never makes for a compelling reading. I started writing a memoir and in the process of writing my memoir, I asked myself severally  ‘why would anyone want to read my memoir, what value does it have to offer?’ Needless to say, I am still writing this memoir, but rethinking my approach because the first attempt was as boring as ever.

You may need to burst your own bubble that you’re a self-taught writing genius oozing with all the talent in the world and that you don’t need to learn a thing or two about writing as a profession.

As long as nobody reads your work – no, not your long-suffering spouse, mother, agreeable siblings and friends – I am sorry to let you know that those everlasting works in progress of yours may never see the light of the day to make it to the top of the bottom of the bestseller lists on Amazon, New York, and wherever  you fancy, once you wake up and decide to share it.

Your attitude of ignorance might be a good one when you’re taking those first steps of venturing into the writing field when the tendency to self-doubt is at its peak. You create your first draft and learn the rules later because there are times when learning the rules first could be inundating and simply creates more doubt. However, learn the rules and the rope, you must.

If your hope is to publish eventually, spending years in the closet will simply not work in your favour. That sets you up for disappointments and possible scamming – yes, it happens.

There are scammers ready to thrive on your delusions.  Do your research before jumping into the marketplace to avoid the harsh realities of the University of writing hard knocks.

 Quick Tips

Google your interest area to find out how many similar books are out there. Read as many as you possibly can and approach yours from a fresh perspective.

If you do hope to publish your work at some point, you have to pay attention to this field of interest that you’re trying to enter. How do they perform in the market? Who are the target readers in this spectrum?

On a final note, don’t be afraid to get your work out there into the public eye. Criticism can only make it better and you could be delightfully surprised.

Let us know if you have published. What’s your experience been like? Do you plan to publish?  You can share insights in the comments and add titles/links of your published work if you have.

I hope you find this article useful. Check here for more writing tips.