How do you get BETTER results?

Featured, Journalism

Yes, you’ve probably heard it all before. The famous question, “Do you need to write in a particular location to achieve the best results?”

Many young (and sometimes experienced too) writers come forth and are stumped on whether location leads to successful writing sessions. Some individuals may find themselves in a period of “writer’s block” and thus, ask the question believing that their period of being unable to write is solely due to the location in which they write.

Particular locations may lead to loss of focus when writing due to distractions. It’s true. However, it cannot all be blamed on the location.

This article is primarily focused on writers but it is universal in its reach. Any worker, be it an artist or mathematician, may find themselves looking for answers as to why they are unable to focus or they notice their quality is dropping and blame it on their surroundings.

 

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I find writing on my balcony to be beneficial to my focus. I get the benefit of nature as well as the comfort of my own home.

 

Writing needs discipline. Every single day a writer must work on their craft if they are to see results. If that is difficult to achieve, maybe creating a schedule could help. Start with a small amount of time dedicated each day to just write and let your ideas hit the paper. It is the only way to get better at the craft.

I try to dedicate about 30 minutes to 1 hour a day just to write. This normally nets me between 1000-2000 words completed. Sometimes it is less but I never stress as life can have an effect some days and that is perfect OKAY.

With any craft, you must dedicate time each day to work on it. This is no different.

I highly recommend, finding a location that works best for you. This means:

  1. It has minimal chance for distractions.
  2. It is ergonomic.
  3. You are able to achieve quality work in this location in comparison to others.

As shown above (in the above picture), I either complete my finest work in the library or in the comfort of my own home. Your locations may differ and that is completely okay!

GOALS: Setting goals are absolutely necessary. Make sure your goals are realistic, however. Small regular goals mean your bigger goals will be easier to reach. 

I try to set a goal a week for how much work I wish to be completed. Deadlines are a must. 

Find a deadline as well as small goals that are realistic. By doing so, you allow yourself room to grow as well as the ability to improve your skills will become easier (as well as more noticeable to yourself and others).

It must be understood though that your ability to grow and improve your skills is completely up to you. Using tips like the ones I have provided may make the path easier to tackle but your future is up to you.

Remember:

  • Find a location best for you (See points above on how to choose one that’s best).
  • Set deadlines.
  • Set small regular goals (as well as larger more spread out goals)
  • Create a timetable to work on your craft each day.

I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

 

 

Social Media: Does it AFFECT our mental health?

Journalism

Social media, is it really social?

According to “Social Media Statistics Australia” in August of 2017, 17 million users are active on Facebook in Australia, there are 5 million active Instagram users as well as 4 million active daily Snapchat users to name but just a few. Social media has taken over control of most individuals and I am no exception. Daily checks of our social media accounts have become religious actions, with the constant observation of our “like” and “follow” sections becoming our sole vision.

In this article, I am not shaming the use of social media but rather I am observing the effect of its influence over our lives; both positive and negative. I find the concept of social media to be great as it allows the communication of individuals from all over the globe. Through this, we can exchange ideas and further our knowledge and ideas, as well as be pushed out of our comfort zone through the knowledge of differing beliefs and concepts to our own.

The use of my blog, klhwriting, is a prime example of this point. I research articles and points to further my understanding of various topics and then write my own posts in regards to topics I feel strongly about, communicating those concepts with my readers. Individuals then comment and like the post, furthering the reach of the post and continuing this cycle; thus, expanding the audience that reads my posts.

This is true for other social media influencers who have much larger followings than myself, influencing other individuals with their work either directly or indirectly. Although sometimes not intentional, the impact of social media stars have over their fanbase can be astounding.

Bodily image perception is a point that comes to my mind immediately. Through observation of their favorite stars, individuals may feel that in order to fit the “conventional look of attractiveness” they must look like their stars. What they may not understand that these stars have undergone various photo shoots to capture the best photos, perhaps out of hundreds. The use of Adobe Photoshop and filters on the photos are also common use.

The Conversation states, “The greater the effort and concern around creating and posting the most attractive selfies, the greater the body image concerns.”

They continue further by saying, “People can become trapped in a vicious world. They anxiously await “likes” and feedback from others, then feel wounded and disappointed if the desired response is not forthcoming. They then feel even more distressed and anxious about their appearance.”

This is a major concern that is infiltrating the youth of today, but also the majority of society. The desire for acceptance and/or approval of one’s self-worth becomes evident.

The Sydney Morning Herald conducted a study in which 150 undergraduate students conducted surveys 5 times a day for 5 days. ” For each survey, they reported if they had compared their appearance with someone else’s, and whether they made that comparison after looking at social media, traditional media or in person. They also reported whether they thought the person looked better, the same or worse than them. They then rated their body image, mood and thoughts of dieting and exercising.”

The report also states that “Women reported being in the worst mood after social media comparisons relative to other comparisons. When women made social media comparisons, they also reported being unhappier with their appearance and more motivated to start unhealthy weight-loss activities, like going on a diet, than when they made comparisons in person.”

Similar results were also reported for men and individuals of other ages.

 

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Instagram, the social media giant that allows users to share pictures to all their followers.

 

The Guardian furthers this point with their own article which inspects the impact that social media has upon the viewers. It is brought forth that celebrities as well as friends, can have an impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals due to the “Airbrushed” effects on pictures of individuals.

“Around 70% of women aged 18 to 35 regularly edit their images before posting them – as do 50% of men in the same age group.” This data was collected by the Renfrew Center Foundation, an organisation that focuses on the impacts of eating disorders.

As shown by these statistics it becomes evident that social media can have a detrimental effect on the mental health of individuals and action must be done to combat the effects it has. However, I do endorse the positive effects of social media as well, due to being an avid user, especially of YouTube which allows me to view large selections of informing and entertaining videos.

In the meantime, I can just strongly recommend for users of social media to understand the impact that social media CAN have and find their own ways to combat this. This can be done through the removal of individuals who impact your mental wellbeing negatively as well as limit the amount of time you spend on social media each day.

How YOU can become a BLOGGER

Featured, Personal

A blog is a fantastic way for individuals to express themselves and communicate with others. There are infinite topics a blogger can write about which is why it is so popular. Blogging is popular due to it being easy to get into and also because it allows large amounts of individuals to communicate with one another and share their content and ideas.

However, to get your name out to the wider public and construct a blog that is both different and appealing as well as providing quality content, there are a few tips that you can follow. These tips are:

1)Choose your niche 

Writing about many topics on your blog may seem appealing but to draw an audience, the audience must know what they will see every time they go onto your blog. The only way to achieve this is to write about one topic (eg fashion, beauty). On my blog, I mainly write about the media and my various opinions towards topics affecting society.

The easiest way to create an audience for your blog is to choose a niche and stick to it. Writing about many topics just won’t do it, sadly. Your blog would become oversaturated and would fail to do one great job and rather be subject to many mediocre pieces. Try not to do this.

2) Select a blogging platform

Choose the platform in which you will write on. I personally use WordPress as I find it incredibly easy to use and has a large array of plugins and other features to choose from. If you choose WordPress you have to choose between WordPress.com (Easier to use but less control) and WordPress.org (Self-hosted). There are other blogging platforms to choose from such as Blogger and Tumblr as well, which all have their own positives and negatives.

Research the different platforms and select one that best resonates with you. I, however, would recommend WordPress.com for your first blog due to its simplicity and ease of use.

3) Blog Design

A blog requires a design and template that is appealing as well as functional. Look through all the available templates and compare each until you find one that is suitable to your content. Some templates are more suited to journalistic styled blogs while others are more suited to photography blogs. Choose carefully but do not worry, choosing a template at a later date is easy and can be done at any time.

Do not use too many widgets and plugins also as this will make your blog look amateurish and may also increase the loading time of your blog!

I am currently using the “Lovecraft” theme and I find it does a great job for my blog layout.

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Just a few of the templates that you can find on WordPress.com. My current template is shown above.

4) Write quality content

Each post you write, make sure it is of great quality. It is the first impression readers will get when they enter your blog and can either make or break whether you’re successful. Your content must be engaging and provide thoughtful and succinct information that resonates with your audience. As you have now chosen a niche, make sure each and every single one of your posts relate to your niche. By doing so your audience will anticipate each post you write.

Make sure that each post is also edited perfectly. This means making sure that there are no spelling errors or problems with the improper use of grammar. However I understand that we all are human and have strengths and weaknesses, and some of our weaknesses may be writing. To combat this I would use a real-time editing software such as Grammarly to help.

5) Share your content!

Whenever you have completed a post, be sure to share your content with your various social media platforms. This ensures that all your followers and friends are able to view your content as soon as it is published. Make sure to include a featured picture as well as a personalised message as it’ll give the potential reader an insight into what the post will be about.

There are various widgets and plugins that make it more than easy to share your content on your blog as well as display your various social media accounts on your blog too, allowing readers to view your other content as well.

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When you are finished writing a post, in the sharing menu to the right of the post there is a selection of social media services you can connect to.

6) Communicate with other bloggers!

This is incredibly important and is a definite way to help your blog grow an audience as well as make potential new friends in the blogging scene. If on WordPress enter the “Reader” to view other bloggers content. If you like other peoples content, leave a like and a thoughtful comment. By doing so it shows the blogger that you like their comment and who knows, it may even land you a new follower?

In my experience bloggers on the most part are incredibly nice and are almost always willing to communicate and share ideas. Guest posts are another way to share your content and make new friends as well. I have done guest posting and the individuals I have met are inspiring and good-hearted. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and share your thoughts.

 

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The WordPress reader that allows you to view other bloggers posts through the “search” option and “followed sites” option. A selection of the “best” content of the day is also available in the “Discovery” option.

 

By following these tips, you should be on the way to successfully starting a blog that is unique and provides great quality content. Remember, results will not come instantly but through using these tips and the continuation of writing, you shall be growing an audience in no time.

Good luck!