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Blogging

The Cure to Writer’s Block

By | Blogging, Strategy

You’re feeling inspired, you’re ready to sit down and write that best seller, that blog post, or even just that email to tell your boss you didn’t finish that report that was due yesterday. You sit down with your cup of coffee, smooth jazz playing in the background and you’re ready to go when it hits you, that dreadful writer’s block. We all know that wall that gets in the way of you writing the best thing you’ve ever written in your life.

So, here are some tips to defeat that writer’s block so you can go on and write that best seller or even just that text to your friend you got into a fight with over that stupid thing.

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Don’t start with a blank page. Staring at that white page on Microsoft Word is almost as bad as staring at screen snow. Write a few notes, some quick ideas, the first thing that comes into your head, write anything on there, it’ll make you feel better about what you’re writing so you don’t press backspace after each sentence you write.

Use a different writing tool. If you always start typing your ideas directly on your computer, why not try somewhere else? Write something the old school way, pick up a pencil and paper, and get to writing. You’ll be surprised at how it changes the way your brain thinks. If that isn’t your thing, open the ‘Notes’ app on your phone and start writing on there, you’ll feel like it’s a text message and maybe you’ll get something going that way.

Change locations. Change up your scenery, if you’re locked up in your basement apartment where the lighting sucks and the only thing you have to sit on is your lumpy bed then take a walk to your local Starbucks or some other hipster coffee shop and set up shop there. A change of space will definitely get you motivated to get back to writing. Also, the worry that people are watching what you’re doing will make you want to write something just to get those cool points in.Back to full colour with a bang today. The sky was looking particularly pretty this evening so we drove out to a field which I spotted whilst driving the other day to do a quick shoot. Strobist: YN460II on full power into shoot-through umbrella, camera left. My Site | Twitter

Write at a different time. If you’re always used to writing in the middle of the night, or first thing in the morning – change it up. Do the opposite of what you normally do. Instead of writing first thing in the morning, sleep in a bit and write in the afternoon, or stay up late and write the best thing you’ve ever written in the wee hours of the morning.

Clean something. If you don’t want to leave the comfort of your own home and you’re adamant about writing first thing in the morning, clean up your house. Wash those dishes that have been sitting in your sink all weekend. Doing something that your subconscious is bugging you to do will allow your mind to focus on writing, rather than jumping from the chore you’ve been meaning to do, to the errand writer been meaning to run since last week.

Sources:

http://boostblogtraffic.com/writers-block/

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/20-ways-to-kill-your-writers-block-forever.html

The Rise of the Emoji

By | Blogging, culture, Marketing, Social Media

Do You Emoji?

Emojis- you either love them or you hate them. You either use the fiesta dancing girl every chance you get or you are still stuck in the early 2000’s and send  :-(. Whether you are pro evil monkey face or against it there is no denying that emojis have become an integral part of the internet culture and an important way for people and brands to express themselves.

The marketing industry is calling this “The Emojification of Brand Advertising” where pictures speak a thousand words and the best way to connect with the highly sought after millennial niche is through fun graphic emojis. Brands are using emojis to communicate with Millennials and more recently Generation Z, a market that has grown up in the social, mobile and digital world.

Brands on Emojis

I have noticed the biggest using of emojis in company e-mail marketing campaigns. With more email clients accessing their email from their phones, emojis in the subject line is an easy and smart way to attract a reader’s attention. According to data from Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, 2% of B2C emails now contain emojis in the subject line, and email delivery vendor MailChimp says that 214,000 campaigns have been sent with emojis.

I have also noticed an increase of large emoji cut outs showing up at concerts and Halloween parties but more recently they have appeared on the side of Pepsi cans. Pepsi has now added emojis to the side of its cans in order to celebrate 40 years of the Pepsi Challenge and are hoping to sell you on a feeling, such as “grinning face with smiley eyes” emoji instead of the sugary beverage inside the can.

Emojis have become so popular with brands that a sub industry has been created that includes a plethora of platforms that create personalized branded emojis, stickers and GIFs for brands. Brands like Ikea, Coca-Cola, Burger King and even Snapchat have created their own custom emojis in order to resonate better with their audiences.

A professor at NYU’s school of journalism put the using of the emoji the best when he said, “Emojis are doing what the tone of voice did on the telephone and what gestures, tones and facial expressions did in interpersonal communication”.

Emoji Global Communication

Emojis have the potential to cross borders and break through language barriers. Thanks to smartphones, the entire keyboard of emojis have become a universal form of communication and gained acceptance worldwide. Brands now have the capability to communication with the world with a simple smiley face, and it has become crucial for marketers in the digital space to learn how to speak emoji.

The Work Uniform

By | Blogging, culture, Job Advice | No Comments

Photo cred: Matilda Kahl

How the Work Uniform Can Work for You

Every company has their own dress code and some are easier to follow than others. Some offices are okay with a more casual look and others want you to dress more professionally. It really depends on the work culture and environment. Although, no matter the dress code, you can follow the rules while creating your own work ‘uniform.’

Similar to a typical high school uniform a work uniform can satisfy all of the requirements of the dress code, but is something simple that you never have to plan or search for when you wake-up in the morning.

Buy a few pairs of the same pants and a few white blouses and your work uniform is set for the week!

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Matilda Kahl’s Work Uniform

Art Director, Matilda Kahl, made the news with her work uniform and genious idea. Instead of focusing on organizing her clothes for the morning, her simple outfit is ready for her everyday. Focus and energy should be spent on your work, not figuring out to wear every morning.

Kahl says:

The main motivation was that I understood how much time and energy I’d save if I could just take out the clothing aspect of my working days. We have so many great creative challenges at Saatchi that I’d rather spend my time on that, not picking out a new outfit every morning.

So taking advice from Matilda Kahl, we can all learn a thing or two about “office attire.” A work uniform is a great way to save time, money and energy before you even wake-up in the morning. You can enjoy a few more sips of your coffee and sleep in a few minutes later — instead of worrying about the little things.

 

 

How To Boost Your Creativity At Work

By | Blogging, Learning, Other, Time Management | No Comments

Connecting with your inner creative self at work can be challenging sometimes, so here are some tips on how to boost your creativity in the workplace!

Stop Checking The Clock

 

You’ll be surprised how much your sense of time affects what you think you can accomplish in a workday. Constantly checking the clock is a key contributor to stress in the workplace, and effectively works to destroy an employee’s ability to think creatively. Try taking off your watch and letting your internal clock take over for a while, you’ll notice a difference in your overall productivity, efficiency and relaxation level.

 

Listen To Music

 

Listening to music at work can help you feel calm and relaxed, subsequently encouraging your brain to think more creatively and openly. Studies have established that listening to music creates emotions and a change in your overall mood through shifting brain waves. This shift works to anchor creativity by attaching certain feelings with certain songs. Essentially, these emotions evoked by listening to different types of music work to foster creative thinking and can even boost efficiency.

 

Take Breaks

 

 If you find yourself in a creative slump, try taking a constructive break. Spend some time doodling, reading, or doing a mental puzzle – anything to get your mind working more imaginatively. You’ll find that the distraction will help you approach your task with more clarity and inspiration. Planned breaks maximize efficiency, creativity and generally improve focus to complete the task at hand.

 

Collaborate

 

 Brainstorming is a tried and true method for producing creative ideas and stimulating creative thought. It is best for a brainstorming group to freely generate as many creative ideas as possible, without holding back. Once everyone has been given a chance to express his or her creative thoughts, the group should work together to evaluate each idea and come to a consensus on a final concept. Creativity is fostered when employees can effectively work together and feed off of each other’s ideas.

 

Be Positive

           

Being engaged and optimistic at your job will lead to more creativity and innovation while completing various projects. Being an engaged member of your organization contributes to increased motivation in the workplace, improves performance and the quality of your work. Basically, to be creative you need to care about your job and the work you are doing. If you participate in ‘self talk’ that asserts that “I’m not capable of creative thought,” then you are pigeonholing yourself and limiting your own ability. Everyone has the ability to be creative, partake in creative thought processes and be an innovator!

How to Make the Best of Your Morning Commute

By | Blogging, Life | No Comments

Photo cred: @cherngzhi

A morning and evening commute is everyone’s least favourite part of the day, but it’s really what you make of it. You can complain about how noisy, uncomfortable, slow and smelly the bus, subway or streetcars are, but do you feel any happier about it?

Here are a few tips that will make your morning commute more bearable:

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Photo cred: @huffpostbooks

1. Bring a book

Reading a book on your morning commute seems like a relatively simple thing to do, but getting lost in a story really helps distract you from what’s going on around you. You also don’t have to make awkward eye contact with anyone around you.

subway+sketch

Photo cred: @pandaporch

2. Bring a sketchbook

If you are the creative-type, bring a sketchbook and sketch the people around you (without being too obvious about it). It can start the creative juices inside of you and you might be inspired to create new ideas at work.

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Photo cred: @transcendent-one

3. Meditate

It may sound impossible to do, but if you close your eyes and focus on your breathing, meditating can be a great way to relax and de-stress on your commute. It takes practice, but you commute every day so there will be lots of time for that!

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Photo cred: @weheartit

4. Listen to music

Create a few awesome morning playlists to give you the energy to begin your workday and zone out and into your beats. Music can be a healing tool – especially when you’re trying to cancel out the screaming kid sitting beside you.

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Photo cred: @mblng

5. Play Angry Birds

Angry Birds, or any other mindless game on your phone, will really allow you to focus on the task at hand (throwing birds in this case). It’s also a fun way to spend your time instead of starring at the bald guy across from you.

So these are five tips to zone into art, games, meditation, music or a book for the time you have to spend on your morning commute. Complaining does nothing for you and we’re all in the same boat. So make the best of your travels and start and end your workday in a positive frame of mind!

5 Quick Ideas to Combat Blogging Block

By | Blogging, Learning | No Comments

You have a blog. You’ve made the decision to post new blog posts twice a week. Your deadline is looming ever closer and your mind starts to shut down into a blank nothingness… This has happened to me so many times. Creativity on demand can be very challenging and in moments where you find yourself stuck for ideas, you need fresh perspective to help combat the blogging block.

A Brainstorm Session with Friends

It’s a classic for a reason! Introducing new information, perspectives and collaborating with people is one of the easiest ways to get your creative juices flowing.

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Google, Google, Google

The internet is like a giant brain just waiting for you to pick out new ideas. Browse some articles on the topics you want to blog about. Go to blogs with the same subjects and see what others are doing.

Inspiration on Pinterest

There is a plethora of eye candy on Pinterest. Do a search for the subjects you blog about or follow interesting boards. Pinterest is also great in that they have a lot of how to’s and tutorials that can be really useful. Or just be inspired by what is being posted that day.

Use a Generator

Until I started blogging on a regular basis I didn’t realize that there are great tools that will help you create the title of a blog post just by adding a few keywords to a couple fields and clicking a button.

Get Outside

Creativity doesn’t always come from within – it can come from external sources too. Get some inspiration by checking out a show, finding meetup groups with others interested in your topic or just taking in some fresh air to help clear your mind.

Last of all

Remember why you started blogging in the first place. Why are you passionate about what you are writing about? What areas are you most interested in and what else can you cover? There is a whole world out there for you to get inspiration from. Go on – get inspired!