Unleash your creativity.

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

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Earn from your creativity.

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

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Grow your network, build your community.

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

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Gardens – Photo Theme and Tips

Flower gardens come in various sizes, from the smallest to the large outlay of beautiful blooms that are aesthetically pleasing.

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Your Garden

Knowing that the joys of a garden may well be short-lived, you could capture some of its’ beauty with the power of photography.

This would help you to keep those beautiful blooms and create new ways of seeing, and admiring, your garden over time.

A basic understanding of photography helps you to create fabulous photographs of your garden or the gardens that you come across.



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Things To Note

Alway bear in mind that when photographing gardens, it’s not all about the plants in the garden, but it’s about light.

Essentially, “photog­raphy” means creating with light, and finding the proper light that fits the image you want to create. The right lighting is the key to beautiful, lasting pictures.

Learn to look at your photos from your camera’s point of view. Don’t just focus on what you like, but what’s really being captured in your viewfinder before you click that button.

Are there things that you don’t want in the frame? If so, that’s the time to adjust your angle either by taking a few steps forward, backwards, left or right or by tilting your camera up or down et cetera.

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Lighting and Perspectives

Avoid bright, harsh lights. Most times, bright light is not the best lighting for your garden photos. Direct sunlight creates photos that have harsh contrasts while morning and evening light create softer and better images.

Try taking your photos from different perspectives, don’t centre the image and try to compose your photos with the rule of thirds in mind.

Garden, Photography, Photos, Beautiful Blooms, Lighting, PhotoTips

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

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Apply The Mini-Skirt Rule – Essential Writers Tips

Using The Mini-Skirt Rule in Writing

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One of the golden rules of writing is the ‘mini-skirt rule.’ Using the mini-skirt rule can certainly make your prose sexier and vibrant; if you get my drift.

The rule indicates that you should ‘keep your prose long enough to cover everything, but short enough to keep it interesting for your readers.’

Don’t have your writing dressed up like a Victorian lady trussed up in a ball gown with girdles and multi-layered petticoats, topped off with a jacket and a bountiful hat of peacock feathers and flowers. Phew! That is literally exhausting to think of.




It’s a fine art to write in a strategic manner and to create a balance between keeping the bare necessities with some flesh to the bones and over spilling the prose with excesses.

For writers of fiction, don’t waste your words and bore your readers to such tears that your story or your book ends up in the dust gathering pile of books that went unread.

When it comes to length, follow this rule in keeping your story short and engrossing and work at making your book ‘unputdownable.’

‘Cut. Cut. Cut.’

  • Cut words, like those unnecessary adverbs.
  • Cut sentences
  • Cut pages
  • Cut paragraphs
  • Keep it short and simple

Things to consider when editing.

  • Does your writing cover everything that your story needs?
  • Question the purpose of the words that you use.
  • Is it too long? Has it ceased being interesting? Are there bits that don’t add much value to the story?
  • Could your draft benefit by cutting off 10% from it?

If your writing is for an online audience, bear in mind that the readers’ attention span online is less than what is obtainable offline.

Keep your blog posts straight to the point. Have your readers engaged with your first fifty to sixty words.

Check here for more writing tips.

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20 Tips to Overcome Your Writer cum Bloggers’ Block.

Argh! The Writers’ Block

There are days that you would find yourself scribbling and tapping away with much zeal and then the following day you wake up to a blank mind that stretches from one day to the other, then weeks…months…and you are waiting for the inspiration to ignite. You’ve just been visited by the gremlin that blocks creativity aka writers’ block.

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Writers’ block can last for as long as it chooses if you let it. It’s a common malaise that every writer struggles with now and again, but the most important thing is what you do when faced with it.

Writing is an art that takes a lot of brain power, creative energy, focus and mental acuity each time. It’s not a science that has a ‘Eureka formula fix’ as such, we have to approach its solution with that in mind.

Igniting that inspiration is not going to happen unless you take it in hand and having been writing for a while, here are some of the prescribed methods I use to doctor my creative constipation to enable easier passage of inspiration.




Finding The Culprit

  • The Sly One called Distraction: We are all busy people and in the midst of creating space for our writing passion, life certainly gets in the way. It requires diligent scheduling and great discipline on our part to balance our various interests and be freer of distractions.
  • The Passion Thief: You started off with lots of zest hammering away at the words, then, gulp, your passionate inspiring sizzle dwindles down from that lustful chemical burst to a barely there romantic kindling. This could be due to boredom and not necessarily loss of zeal. You’ve probably obsessed and nitpicked the writing too many times that your mind and eyes are bored. Give it a break – a couple of days, while you immerse yourself in other stimulating things. Avoid editing your work till you get to the end of your first draft.
  • The Burnout Bummer: There’s so much going on in your present life that you are simply exhausted in the bid to balance everything else in your busy life. It’s not a block but a mental cry for a mini-rest. Take hours off in between hectic schedule and do other things that have absolutely nothing to do with your writing. Take a mini-vacation/staycation.
  • Mr Analysis Paralysis: You are constantly analysing your content, thinking that it’s lacking in some aspect to the point of OCD. This is counterproductive. In as much as it’s recommended to do your best work, taking hours on end just to critique every minutiae detail before doing the real writing is time spent in reverse.
  • The Empty Motivation Tanks: Yes indeed, there are those days that we are simply not motivated to do anything even the writing that we love so much ‘cue in Bruno Mars song today I don’t feel doing anything.’ Well, this is the time to dig into your motivation list. What gets your adrenaline revving to go? Indulge and wake up the juice.
  • Chief Indiscipline: The timing never seems right hence you procrastinate for as long as ever. Discipline is a key to getting any writing done.
  • Runaway Characters: You’ve created these interesting characters, and now after having written dozens of pages your characters have literally veered off in unexpected directions that you are struggling to get a grip of what direction to take the story. Take a day a two and give your brain a challenge to think of bigger plots and picture.
  • The Doubting Thomas: Many writers struggle with self-doubt. They don’t trust their ideas or putting it out there for others to see. Self-doubt and fear are major reasons some would-be excellent writers never get to become that writer that they dream of.

Simple Solutions to Takedown The Enemy

  1. Freewrite – write anything you can. What ‘s on your mind? Write it.
  2. Read some affirmative and inspiring quotes to motivate you.
  3. Take a walk – nature not only rejuvenates but brings forth inspiration.
  4. Eliminate distractions and focus on writing. Use your distraction free writing mode for your blog: Shift + Alt + W or Omniwriter. Turn off other distracting gadgets like your phone.
  5. Change your font family, size and colour. Sometimes little tweaks do the trick.
  6. Sweat it out. Do something to get your blood pumping faster, like exercising.
  7. Block out your writing time and make it a routine to write daily.
  8. Change your scenery. On days that I’m stuck, I go to the café, library, park or somewhere that catches my fancy.
  9. Find an exciting read, kick back and just soak in the penmanship of other authors.
  10. Listening to music works for me. I enjoy a medley of tunes and depending on the writing genre I go from classical to jazz to afro, pop, dance hall…
  11. Set it aside for a couple of days and meditate.
  12. Source for interesting writing prompts.
  13. Pretend that you are talking to someone and just let it flow.
  14. Spend time with someone who makes you feel good.
  15. Have a random chat with a stranger.
  16. Do more research, brainstorm your ideas.
  17. Indulge in other creative outlets.
  18. If the start of the passage is proving tough, start from the middle, the beginning will fall into place.
  19. Avoid editing while you write.
  20. By all means, leave perfectionism out of it.

Writers’ block is not insurmountable. Your possibilities are endless, but your action is critical for any solution to work. Once you kick-start a solution heading towards resolution keep a steady momentum and take off from there.

Even if your writing is about your shopping list or your writers’ block, just write. You’ve got this.

Do you have solutions that could be added to this list? What works best for you?  Check this link for essential Writer’s tips.


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To Catch A Cat – Photo Theme Challenge

To Catch a Cat

I don’t own a feline so it was a bit of challenge to find a cooperative cat. Taking photos of a flower is easy while catching a snobbish cat is another kettle of fish. 

I found myself running after the city strays cats for days on end and in the process, I’ve learned that not only are cats snobbish they also have cattitude.

I managed to find this fat black one in a corner. It stared back at me and sat still for a wee moment before sauntering off to go and do something important, I guess.

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After the black cat, I ran into an indolent one that had taken ownership of the park seat, basking in the warm early morning sun. I didn’t want it to run away so I was wary of getting too close.

 

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Flower Power

Flowers, however, make beautiful models. They just sit still and look pretty without an attitude.

 

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

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Write on The Toilet – Essential Writers Tips

Write on the toilet.

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Story Planner will help you plan your novel

Writing till you get that book done may involve some quirky habits like writing on the toilet. As unconventional and as shitty as this approach might sound, have you ever observed that loads of inspiration flood into your mind when you are on the potty or taking a shower?

Surprisingly, the onslaught of inspiration has a way of dwindling down or completely evaporating like a mist when you now settle down to get the writing done.

Here’s a tip. Have a handy notepad tucked away in the corner, preferably on the rack with your bathroom paraphernalia where you can quickly grab it to scribble those nutty ideas that pop into your head.

Of course, you are free to cut the unnecessary crap out.

Have fun and try it 😉

Check here for more writing tips.




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Building Better Connections – Blog Bytes

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Building Better Connections

To build better connections for your blog, it’s far more expedient to spend a little time a day to read and comment on several blogs that you follow, than going through hundreds of them leaving your likes and Gravatar on a consistent basis like a sticker.

Your comments leave a more valid impression behind. It’s a painstaking and time-consuming affair, but worthwhile in the long-term.

Remember that people follow people – they essentially follow the perceived personality behind the blog, even when the blogger is anonymous – and not necessarily the website. It’s the connections that form the backbone of your blog and those few minutes spent commenting builds a bridge to networking.



Networking

Networking means doing a whole gamut of things that I have written about here before such as:

  • Leaving comments on other blogs.
  • Responding to comments that others leave on yours.
  • Make helpful suggestions.
  • Emailing people to introduce yourself especially in a niche that interest you.

Give yourself a challenge today, comment on at least 5 – 10 blogs that you read.

Check these links for more blogging and writers tips.

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Compose in The Thirds – Essential Photo Tips

What is The Rule of Thirds?

The rule of thirds is possibly the most common essential photographic technique that is applied to your images to improve its composition and to create the right balance.

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 How to Use The Rule of Thirds.

The basic principle of the rule of thirds is to mentally imagine breaking your subject down into thirds in your viewfinder, horizontally and vertically, so that you have nine equal parts.

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With this breakdown in mind, think about the elements of your photo that’s most important, and try to place them at or near the lines and intersections of the grid. They mustn’t be compulsorily lined up as long as they’re close.

Rule of thirds could be used for any image because it’s versatile. The general idea is that an off-centre composition is more aesthetically balanced and pleasing to the eyes’ than one when the subject is positioned right in the middle of the frame.

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Playing or not Playing by the rules

Like most rules, the rule of thirds is not cast in stone and should never be applied blindly, particularly when it comes to creativity. In essence, this rule can equally be broken effectively and you would still end up with great images with its’ focal point in the centre of the square.

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Simply think of the rule of thirds as one of those rules of thumb and excellent starting point for creating balance in any composition. It would come naturally with practice.

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

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10 Quick Tips for Budding Photographers

Quick Tips For Budding Photographers

So you’ve caught the passion for photography? As a beginner consider these tips on camera, learning, experiment, and practice below as you begin the journey of finding your foot in the huge world of image making.

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1. Resist the urge to splurge.

Yes indeed, this is a common weakness of picking up a passion especially one like photography. The urge to buy an expensive camera and many gadgets that you believe would make your images great. simply kicks in. It’s quite possible to get great shots with an inexpensive point and shoot cameras. The important thing is understanding the gadget that you are presently using and practice, practice, practice. By the time you are ready for an upgrade, you have a better idea of what you want. Going overboard to acquire gadgets sometimes leads to spending on things that we may end up not using.

2. Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Your cheap point and shoot camera might just surprise you with its output when you invest time to go through its manual and understand it. Play around and shoot with different settings and focal points as much as you can to see what you like and what works best.

3. Get a tripod or lightweight Gorillapod.

This gives your photos stability especially if your hands are not steady. Your images would turn out way better and there are lots of inexpensive tripods that you can invest in.

4. Keep your camera close to you.

Opportunities to capture unique photos present themselves unexpectedly and when you’ve got your gadget, you take advantage of such opportunities. So like the girl’s guide mantra says, ‘be prepared’

5. Don’t overlook the mundane.

Everyday ordinary things make great subjects to photograph. It all depends on your perspective as a photographer and the story you choose to tell through the image. Try looking at familiar grounds with a fresh eye and find inspiration all around you.

6. Keep a list.

Keep a list of ideas and things that you want to photograph especially when trying to recreate an image that you like. Taking special note of important details like the time of the day, lighting etc will come in handy. Create and compare.

7. Be hungry for knowledge and take advantage of free resources.

Study what professional photographers are doing. Do your research, check out websites that offer online learning resources. Some are even offered free now and again on Coursera and many websites.

8. Work outside your comfort zone.

Don’t always stick to the familiar. Be open to the things happening around you.

9. Learn the basics and practice them often to help assimilation.

Information overload could be overwhelming so stick to a bit at a time. Trying to rush the learning could lead to the opposite direction. Consistency and balance are the keys to sustaining passion.




10. Be patient and enjoy the process.

The most important aspect of learning and perfecting a craft is enjoying the learning process and patiently putting lessons learned to test.

What tips would you offer a beginner photographer?  To join the photography theme challenge for practice, check this link and you can find other photo tips here.

Ready. Steady. Say Cheese.

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Blog Bytes – Invest Time

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Plan to Invest Time

Blogging is not a get rich, quick fix venture. Blogging is a lifestyle art that requires grit and not a fad that will make your pocket swell overnight.

You would need to invest some length of time in your craft before you will enjoy the dividends of your hard work.Tweet: The plain truth is that the blogosphere (web) is a ginormous, noisy place, with millions of minions churning out information at the speed of light.

The plain truth is that the blogosphere (web) is a ginormous, noisy place, with millions of minions churning out information at the speed of light.




It takes some time to build a good blog, to network, to cultivate and keep up your readership.

Except you are willing to persevere and to diligently invest a greater time than most, you are likely going to get frustrated and success would be almost impossible.

My candid advice is that if you are seeking a short path to success, to fame, to quick returns on investment, blogging is not the right path for you.

However, if you dig in your heels, keep building on it, keep learning and improving, the results will be worth all the effort in the long run.

Check these links for more blogging and writers tips.

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Overcome Your Writing Fears – Essential Writers Tips

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Writing Fears

What are your greatest writing fears?

Writing is not for the faint of heart and to build a successful career as a writer is not without its’ fair share of anxieties.

At various points in their pursuit, most writers have experienced writing fears, so this is not a challenge peculiar to you.

I remember when decided I to follow my passion and started writing actively, I had bubbles of anxiety in my stomach for days, I lost several nights of sleep wondering what made me think that I was good enough for anyone to want to spend their time reading my words.

Coupled with that, I enrolled for a creative writing course and as much as I tried not to take the instructors critic to heart, I never looked forward to hearing from her and was literally developing an ulcer from anguish. After much angst, I decided to put my anxiety to an end, to believe in myself and chose to face my fears.

Your fear might be one or even all the following:

  • Fear of failure.

This is one of the most common writing fears that writers nurture in the dark recesses of the mind, creating various excuses to stop from writing that story, book or series that you have, excuses like ‘the bookstores are already so full of books, who would want to read mine?’ Don’t let these doubts and lack of confidence stand in your way.

  • Fear of rejection.

In my honest opinion, I believe that all writers face this fear at some point or the other. Fear of submitting that work and facing the rejection. In this case, my friend, you’ve got to develop a thick hide like the Rhinoceros. Brace your mind that it’s bound to happen but it won’t stop you from pursuing your dream.

  • Fear of poor writing.

You can only get better through practice, making mistakes and learning from them. Refreshing your knowledge of basic writing skills and grammar would help. Also, consider using writing tools that point out those little errors.

  • Fear of criticism.

Writers are sensitive people especially when it comes to their work. Allowing others to critique your work is a nail-biting time. One way to get past this is to choose those who check your work carefully, based on their experience – not for the feel good cause – but knowing that they will offer a constructive feedback. Condition your mind not to take it personally and check the outlined issues. Most times it’s worth it.

  • Fear of obscurity.

Not going after your dreams will not make you visible. What have you got to lose? Since you are down, there’s only one way to go and that is up.

  • Financial concerns

A valid concern for most writers. It’s certainly not easy to leave the thoughts of the bills to pay to chase a bowl of gold coins at the end of the rainbow. So, caught in this many writers struggle to find the time to get their writing done. This is a situation where a thorough work-life balance approach comes in. You’ve got to create the space to chase your dreams. Scheduling will help.

Some are afraid of letting it all out. Worried that emptying their thoughts will only bring castigation. Thus, their writing becomes lackluster because out of fear of getting personal and losing their perceived sense of privacy, they fail to draw on personal experience that can only enhance their writing.

  • Fear of not finding the right words to bring out that great story in you.

There will be days like this whether you are a new writer or an experienced one. Be ready to deal with the writers’ block. 

  • Fear that no one would want to read your publications.

You’ll be surprised. Stop selling that excuse to yourself.

  • Fear that your story is not as original as you thought.

I believe that everything has been written in one form or the other, however, you haven’t written from your own refreshing perspective. Go ahead and own your story.

  • Fear that you are not as talented as you thought.

It’s most likely that you simply have a distorted view of your own writing and potentials. Others think you’ve got it, but in your own mind, you feel you fall short. Learning to believe in yourself is important here.

  • Fear of never becoming published. 

The beautiful thing about self-publishing is that it frees your mind from this inhibition. No hindrances to exploring getting your work out there by self-publishing.

The list of writing fears is endless and the interesting thing is that the thing that is your strength as a writer ‘your imagination’ goes into overdrive in face of these fears and you’ll eagerly fill in the blank spaces of ‘what ifs’ by giving the fear a larger than life attribute.

This ultimately leads to not realizing your aspirations and full potentials as a writer because these fears become a problem when we fail to deal with them.

For example, the fear of rejection prevents many writers from submitting their work and what makes it worse is that the more a writer allows a fear to grow the more you reinforce its place as the captain of your creativity.

Facing Your Fears

Only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Your writing life presents you with the endless opportunities to meet your fears and conquer them.

Facing that blank page, sending out that manuscript only to receive a rejection letter, having the courage to bare your soul and being told that it lacks character… are surely part of what a writer’s nightmare is made of, however, when we consciously work with fear, we can actually harness this energy source in ways that will support our writing goals and enhance our writing experience.

Steps to dealing with your writing fears

  • Identify which fears concern you most. Which ones are valid, which fears could become valid and which ones are simply excuses?
  • Acknowledge the fear without putting it in charge.
  • Seek ways to rise above it: Join other writing groups, give yourself the permission to fail. Redefine your own scale of success. Apply daily, positive affirmations to boost your thought.
  • Brainstorm on how to handle your fears in positive ways. For example, instead of telling yourself that it’s okay to get rejected, tell yourself that you’ll research reasons why submissions get rejected and seek solutions to revise your work properly.
  • Focus on process instead of results. Have a written action plan that you can refer to when you start feeling discouraged.
  • Forget perfectionism and be open with your shortcomings.
  • Retrain your poor habits diligently. There are those habits we’ve imbibed over time that simply yield nothing and only serve as blocks in our path.
  • Don’t make things harder than they are. Cease from approaching your writing from a place of fear, it only makes it harder and tiring. When you find yourself all tensed up, seek ways to relax before getting back to your writing.
  • Keep doing it afraid. Repeating your process creates comfort and confidence.
  • Be realistic in your approach. Don’t set impossible goals for yourself. Factor your lifestyle in and use a pragmatic approach.
  • Talk about it. It helps to share your thoughts and fears with those you trust.
  • Quit comparing. Your writing is unique like you are. Consistent comparison with other writers you esteem and trying to copy them hurts you more than it helps you. You can learn from the masters but carve your own path.
  • Research ways to do it better.

Your writing passion and your pursuit for success as a writer are valid and precious. Don’t let any form of insecurity keep you from doing that thing you’ve been called to do. Deal with those fears today and broaden the horizon of your potentials.

Let’s talk in the comments. What are your greatest writing hang-ups?

Check this link for essential Writer’s tips.

Keep your writing error-free; Use Grammarly.

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