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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Blog Bytes – Invest Time

Blog Tips, Invest Time, Success, Blogging, ROI, Dividends

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

Essential Writer's Tips, Writing, Overcome Writing Fears, Writer

 

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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Egg, You’re On! Make everyday objects interesting.




Egg You’re On

Photo theme for letter E offered Egg and Environment. The environment would have probably been an easier subject to shoot. It’s a big, wide world out there, but I chose to go a different route and explore the Egg.

I like the idea of finding everyday objects, something simple and ordinary and playing around with it to turn it into an interesting subject.

I grabbed an egg out of the crate, placed it on the floor near the window where light streamed in.

Photo Theme, Shooting an Egg

Make everyday objects interesting.

It was a bit challenging to balance on the smooth floor due to lack of friction, then I balanced it in between the floor tiles that offered a gap to hold the egg, and there you go.

Several shots from various angles later, I settled for this one which I took in a close-up and monochrome.

Well, after all the shooting of the eggy images a natural wish for some omelets gave way and the natural progression of followed.

Photo Theme, Make Everyday Objects interesting, Egg, Digital Photography.

It’s Easter in a couple of weeks. Do create fun ways of playing with the eggs.

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

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What’s Your Blogging Purpose?

Blog Purpose , blog, blogging, writing topics, finding purpose

What’s your blog’s purpose?

Can you explain the purpose of your blog in two split secondsYou must wonder why I ask this question?

Except you are blogging incognito, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if people ask you what your blog is all about when you introduce it to them.

The last thing you want is to do is to mumble garbled thoughts that leave them wondering if your orange juice is spiked.

Your intention is to sound brilliant, concise, engaging and with a twinkle in your eyes when you speak about your blogging passion. Your little snippet should make them want to visit and capture some of your magical dust 😉

People have various reasons for blogging; from blogging for personal pleasure to blogging for business reasons.

With my tongue in my cheek, I dare to point out that if you are blogging just for your personal pleasure and entertainment then you should probably skip this post.

However, if per chance you are trying to engage others with your content, then it’s time to take a deep breath and ponder on your purpose for a few minutes.

  • Ask yourself if the purpose of your blog is easy to define?
  • What do you aim to do with it?
  • How are you testing whether you’re reaching your desired effect?

Answering these questions will help you know if you are on the mark or shooting off the range.

A Multi-Purpose blog.

My first blog ‘a cooking pot and twisted tales’ is a blog of many faces and it started out as an effort to dedicate time to my writing (stories, poetry).

It was initially for my pleasure. A personal creative outlet, but the more enthused I become with her, the more I want to share her with everyone else, so it’s no longer just about me.

At the beginning, I struggled with the attempt to define it because I was still trying to understand this new entity that I was creating.

Now as the months go by, I see it evolving. I see a growing community around my blog and more consistency in the things that I share.

I recognize my underlying goal to share useful information, to share thoughts that provoke reflection and to improve other people’s experience as I journey to my self-improvement.

On the other hand, the purpose of this platform ‘The Art of Beautiful Expressions,’ is simply that of a tool to educate and to share information with others who seek for ways to enhance their creativity and to make their passion a profitable portfolio.

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No matter which way that you choose to look at your blog:

  • as an online diary of your life,
  • as a showcase for your talents
  • to share a particular ability that you have,
  • as a way to promote your products that you believe others would find beneficial,
  • as a way of creating meaningful engagements,
  • as a means of providing knowledge, learning and connecting with like-minded people,

remember that it’s a media property which allows you to be any/all the above and many other things.

What happens when you don’t find ‘the why’ for your blog?

There are several disadvantages that result from not having a defined blog.

  • The lack of purpose is like a ship moving without a compass. In relation to your blog, not knowing the proper direction to go, will simply result in wandering aimlessly all over the humongous world of internet and getting lost in there.
  • Without your purpose, you have no goals to meet and a blog without defined goals stays unfocused.
  • Without specified goals, your seriousness about your blog is not a priority and your content suffers. Remember that content is King and it’s your content that engages the readers.
  • Building loyal readers from a blog that lacks purpose is an uphill task. They simply have no idea what they are looking for and why they should keep coming back.
  • When you fail to find any purpose for your blog, you will soon find yourself consistently copying other successful blogs. This way you will lose your own identity, your own voice, and originality.

Some Upsides of Having Purpose

  • Blogging with purpose creates impact and leaves a longer lasting impression on your readers. They find something that resonates with them.
  • Purposeful blogging connects people and builds a community who keep coming back in light of the interest it creates for them. They seek whatever it is you are offering along the way and they want your material to enlighten, to entertain, tell, inspire them or any other satisfaction that you are providing.
  • Instills confidence in the blogger and the readers. When you write with passion and purpose it tells. You are in a better place to convince readers who believe in your recommendations or products.
  • Self-discipline becomes easier and working on your blog provides immense satisfaction and not stress. When your passion aligns with your goals everything down the line becomes relatively easier.

Defining Your Purpose

Having come this far into the article lets take a quick look at ways that would help you to define your blog’s purpose.

  1. Create a list of your interests by looking at:
    • the things you are passionate about
    • the things that interest you
    • your hobbies
    • your experience or ability
  2. For starters, focus on those points that you can find ample material to write your blog posts.
    • such as, having a family and raising children provides you with lots of material
    • you might want to explore your interest in photography or cooking
    • sewing or other crafts/DIY
  3. Organize your choices in categories and sub-categories
    • Now that you’ve identified your categories, try to organize them into similar subjects.
    • for instance, in my first blog, I have a category called creative writing and the subs, poetry, flash fiction, short stories…
  4. Start from your strongest point.
    • Especially for newbie bloggers, it’s always better to take off from the category that offers you more topics to write on. This would help to build your confidence and make it less stressful trying to find topics to write about.
  5. Create a Tagline.
    • Now that you’ve created categories for your blog, make a brief summary of them in a sentence or two.
    • This will be your blog’s tagline and serve as a quick description for your readers.

For example, my tagline for this blog is ‘a resource center for your creativity – blog, write, speak, vlog, photography…’ 

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Conclusion

To define the purpose of your blog is like setting a goal. Your platform will be more focused and will create a stronger impact on your readers.

However, with all said and done no one should tell you what to blog about or if you must blog with a purpose.

This is all a matter of choice, but the most important choice is to enjoy what you are doing. Like life, blogging and passion evolve over time so make the best of the journey.

My question above remains, what’s your blogging purpose? Let’s hear it in the comments.

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5 Empowering Ways To Use Your Voice Today

5 Empowering Ways Use Voice, Spoken Word, Power, Inspire, Make Difference, Social Media, Tips

The Power in Your Voice

Do you believe that your voice has power and that it could make a difference?

Your voice is the most important tool that you have. A lot of power lies in your words and communication and the failure to use your voice, to Your Life Speak especially in today’s world is a waste. It’s essential to find ways of expressing ourselves as unique people with our own personal styles and experiences.

There are many ways that you could amplify your voice to enhance your creativity and explore the possibilities that lie before you in the Spoken word.

We may not all be gifted with the decibel to sing but we can talk and literally inspire and influence others with our words. The power to shape your own image lies with you and you have to find and embrace the voice that is completely yours.

Here are 5 easy ideas on how you can use the spoken word today:

  1. Use your voice on social media. Share a video clip or podcast of you with an empowering message for others.
  2.  Read your poetry or a short story for others to listen to.
  3. Write about something that you couldn’t talk about easily before and read it out. It’s a therapy that frees you.
  4. Speak about those things you love or the people who inspire you.
  5. Share a tip that you would like others to know.

I hope you pick one idea today and use your voice to enrich your life as well as those around you.

Remember that it takes one step at a time to get to the level of those brilliant orators who inspire you endlessly. They also had to bravely come out of their shell by starting small. Maybe, this will help you come out of your shell if you are in one.

Speak out and break down those barriers. Tweet this

How are you using your voice? You can share your links or experience in the comments below.




Essential Writers Tips – Go Easy on The Punctuations

Exclamation Points, Punctuation Rules, Punctuation Usage, essential writers tips, emotion

Curb the exclamations!

Guilty as charged. I am one of those writers who loves to emphasize words with punctuations and I believe there are a lot of us. It’s a no-no.

As much as you would love to make that emphasis, avoid using a lot of exclamation marks or using them with a question mark to tell a reader how important something is.

Minimal use of exclaiming punctuations serves as an opportunity to explore your descriptive capabilities as a writer.

Exclamation Point

  • The Exclamation point (!):  Added to show yelling (in a dialogue ) or extreme emotion (in a narrative).

Don’t use more than one (!!), and avoid using it with a question mark (!?).

Most editors discourage its usage, the rule of thumb is not more than two or three exclamation points in an entire manuscript.

This is because overuse of the exclamation point creates room for weaker writing when the writer uses it consistently to show emotion. Instead, a writer should use a stronger dialog or narrative that will better convey that emotion.

Question Mark

  • The Question mark (?): Is used to punctuate a question. Need not be more than one (??) and not used with an exclamation point (?!).

Check this link for essential writers tips.

Keep your writing error-free use Grammarly.

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Publish posts on Niume. Start earning immediately.




Income through creativity. Publish, Earn, blog, promote, revenue streams, Niume

Publish and Start Earning Immediately

Earning from their creativity is the biggest challenge that most bloggers/creators face.

One of the goals of this platform blog is to seek tested ways that bloggers/writers, creative people can maximize and get the best out of their creativity and a huge part of that is earning some revenue.

It is my belief that asides from personal gratification, an artist/creator should earn from their endeavours and I can’t say this enough. We also have bills to pay like every other person.

In my quest to keep sourcing for ways of building income streams from my passion, I came across Niume.com.

I started using it to test and see. Based on my experience so far, I can say that Niume is a site that shares its’ revenue with its’ users.

Therefore, I would like to share with my readers’. You can promote your blog, publish your articles as well as earn from Niume.

The beauty of getting on Niume is that you don’t have to start creating new articles to publish if you already have articles that originally belong to you on your blog. You could re-purpose them and publish them right away.

It offers an opportunity for more exposure and as well as an opportunity to earn.

Here’s how it works:

Revenue streams

  • From Posts

On Niume you generate revenue based on the number of views on your posts.

Niume now pays a $1 RPM (revenues per mille) for the views on your posts.

Once the amount that you have generated plus the amount you earned through referrals reaches at least $10 dollars you will unlock your revenues and paid directly to your Paypal account.

  • From Referrals

They urge you to spread the love and gain some reward.

When a new creator that registered to the site through your personal referral link creates his/her first post you will both receive $1.

In order to count for referral, the post created must meet Niume’s content guidelines and not be removed by moderators.

Here are the categories that you can publish in and I bet you’ll be able to find stuff that fit in.Income through creativity. Publish, Earn, blog, promote, revenue streams, Niume

Photography

Art

Lifestyle

Travel

Literature

Interesting

Culture

Music

Technology

Business

Sport

Movies

It’s really that simple. Log in through my referral link, thank you very much, register your blog, publish and you simply watch your dashboard tell you how much you’ve earned each time.

I would love to hear from you when you try it out. Share your experience with us and do remember that nothing ventured, nothing gained.

 

It’s only fair to share.

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Photo Theme – Tips for Shooting the dogs.

Photo Theme, Tips shooting dogs, photo tips, camera settings, flash use, natural lighting

Dogs

No, I didn’t shoot a dog! I meant capturing their photos 😉

Photographs for letter D was not an easy choice to make, so I went with both suggestions ‘dogs and decorations.’

I love both prompts because dogs are just beautiful, intelligent pets that bring comfort and delight to their owners.

The photo theme challenge is not only for practice but to help you build a library of your own images that could be used for your blog posts, for submission to photo sites, for sale et cetera.

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Tips for taking pet photos

Taking photos of pets can sometimes be difficult because they tend not to stay still for several minutes, but with your camera settings in mind and a couple of tricks, you could capture wonderful snapshots worth thumping your chest over.

  1. Make them the center of attraction. You could make a strange sound to draw their attention to you and be ready to take the photo once you’ve got that attention.
  2. Photograph them doing their thing naturally. When you don’t have time to stage a scene, keep your camera handy and wait for your pet to express its quirky sides. You’ll find lots of moments to capture.
  3. Avoid pointing your flash directly at your subject. It gives them the creepy red-eye. If you must use a flash, use a flash diffuser that would make sure you have more natural lighting in your photos.
  4. Explore different perspectives: from the human height, getting down to their level or on the floor, or standing up high and shooting from straight down.
  5. Use your fast shutter speed settings. Knowing that your pet would move before you can whistle Jimmy – their priority is not to sit still for a photo shoot – set your camera to shutter priority and the dial in the fastest speed possible. You could also try your action mode. Increasing your ISO would guarantee a better image no matter what your Fido decides to do at that time.

Decoration

Photo Theme, Tips shooting dogs, photo tips, camera settings, flash use, natural lighting

I snuck in a celebration photo. There’s something about party decorations that just make you feel happy.

It’s the insinuation of good times and memories. So, I guess both go well together.

As against pets, balloons stay in a place, except when they are waving in the wind.

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

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Things That Make Blogging Dreary: Yeah! I Said That.

Blogs Dreary Parts, Blogging, Building Successful Blog, Blog Plan, Essential Blog Tips

To Blog or To Wash

There are day’s that I equate blogging with the boring class of washing dishes or clothes. These two are not my favourite house chores and I am yet to meet anyone who’s ecstatic about them.

Why no good fellow has thought it wise to create an elegant and smart gadget that removes the clothes after a wash, irons, folds them and puts them away nicely is a question that I ask from time to time. Now that’s a good manufacturing idea for someone to tinker around with.

You might wonder why I put blogging in the same group with housework. Okay, it’s not every day that blogging falls into that status, there are days that I do find it exciting, especially when I feel my brain cells swell with knowledge, however, here are my reasons.

Blogging’s Dreary Parts

Blogging requires dedication.

Blogging requires plugging away at it week after week just like those house chores that always materialize from thin air. You simply can’t run away from doing it to keep it going consistently.

Blogging takes time and flattens your gluteus maximus.

I keep imagining that all the hours spent sitting on my glutes instead of primping and plumping them up must have its’ side effects. Some days I feel as though my bum is getting a square shape from all the hours of sitting.

Housework takes time and sets my teeth on edge.

Starting up a blog and keeping it going takes up time. You start writing a quick post and several hours later, you are still nowhere near the end of what you want to write.

The trick here is to having as many drafts as possible in your folder to help you on the days that you don’t have all the time to spare. You could also consider renting a freelance writer if it’s essential.

To succeed in blogging, you need a plan.

No, you can’t fly by the seat of your pants and expect to make it work. Not having a plan is a good recipe for not succeeding as you would like.

I find this rather annoying. Why can’t we just write and the World queues up to read the golden drops of brilliance from our revered stations as writers?

On the other hand, developing a work plan to grow your blog is not difficult, but the crucial aspect is to stick to it.

That’s the magic wand. Create a workable plan. Stick to the plan.

You need oodles and oodles for patience.  

You took all that precious time, wrote that fabulous post of yours with your life’s blood used as ink. You edited, polished and edited it again, then you hit the publish button. Hours, Days, Weeks, squeak…no one is reading it. You could have probably used that time to bake several loaves of bread, you mutter.

Why is no one reading it? You could have sworn that your article is a piece vying for a Pulitzer, but the truth is that starting out your blogging journey is lonely and readers take their time to latch on.

Your mother and possibly your sister who you coerced with pancakes from IHOP’s are the only ones’ reading it and there are days that they may forget to cheer for you.

Don’t Quit

Whatever the case is, don’t stop blogging. Don’t quit on your blog.

People have many reasons for not blogging. Some worry about exposing their vulnerability as one of their reasons.

For me, no matter how square my bum gets or as dreary as plugging away on the blog might become, I would choose to do it over and over. It’s a faithfully satisfying love affair.

So tell me, what’s your dreary reason?

ESSENTIAL WRITERS TIPS – Cut Adverbs

Cut adverbs, Writing. ESSENTIAL WRITERS TIPS - Cut Adverbs, Tips, Writing tips, Eliminate adverbs

Adverbs

To use or not to use adverbs is one big controversy in the writing world.  The rule is to use them sparingly if at all.

I loved using adverbs because they were convenient, but as I started understudy on how to write professionally it was challenging to learn how not to make the mistake of the constant use of adverbs.

I still get tempted to – by the force of habit – but with consistent practice, it gets better.

Why Cut Adverbs?

  • Adverbs are weak. Remember the show don’t tell rule.
  • They make writing sound lazy and amateurish.
  • Cutting adverbs makes you more imaginative as a writer. You expand your search for other descriptions for what you want to say.
  • Adverbs create redundant words.
  • They clutter your writing and makes it vague.
  • Adverbs interrupt the flow of action.

A good old plain ‘she said or he said’ is better than too many superfluous and dramatic adverbs.

For example,

‘Why the hell did you do say that!’ he said angrily

‘Get away from me right now!’ she yelled loudly

Would read better as:

‘Why the hell did you say that!’ he said.

‘Get way from me right now!’ she yelled.

Those adverbs are not necessary because their emotions are already expressed in their words. We already know that they are angry.

Sometimes less is more. Too many adverbs weaken a prose and subverting them creates more vivid writing.

There are instances where using adverb is necessary, such as writing suspense when the character’s action is paramount to the story.

For example: 

He lightly tiptoed to the door. What if the use of ‘light tiptoe’ is used to anticipate fear or the expectation of an action? This adverb is there to create apprehension in the reader – it serves a purpose being there and not a redundant word.

Cutting adverbs will help you find the balance between overwriting and a good show and tell writing.

Do you use adverbs? Please share in the comments. For Essential Writers’ Tips check this link.

Keep your writing in check use Grammarly


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