Category Archives: Top Tips

The procrastinator’s dream ticket

A belated Happy New Year to all.

It’s 2016 – and once again it’s time for new beginnings. Perhaps you’re finally going to throw those cigarettes in the bin, take up that death defying overseas challenge, or even finish your novel (you know, the one you’ve been working on for the past five years). Continue reading

freelancing D I Hughes

The potholes of freelancing

The alarm goes off and you put it on snooze 10 times before watching a little breakfast TV and answering a few emails from the comfort of your bed. This spills into lunchtime and after you’ve watched your second instalment of Jeremy Kyle (a great self-esteem booster) you think you’re ready to log on and churn out some serious work. Continue reading

compelling characters

5 quick fire ways to create a compelling character

It’s a Monday morning (or afternoon) and your mind is muddled from the weekend’s events.

You’re on your third coffee and you’ve been staring at that same page of text for the past two hours wondering how to bring the characters in your story to life.

Never fear, here are five quick fire ways to create a compelling character for your reading pleasure… Continue reading

Brain foods

4 brain foods to help boost your creativity

Although the stereotype of the starving artist is something we’ve all heard of, in order to produce work of any significant value (of course, there are exceptions), our brain needs fuel for the engine. In fact, brain cells rely on more food energy than any other cells in the body in order to function at its fullest.

If you’re in a creative slump and in need of a boost, here are four brain foods that will  lend a helping hand… Continue reading

looking for work

4 things you must do when looking for a job

Whether you’re in employment or not, the act of job seeking can be very tedious, repetitive and demoralising.

A long period of rejections, general knock backs and worst of all, the deafening sound of silence is enough to put anyone in a serious slump and it’s hardly surprising – I don’t think anyone likes to be told that they’re either over qualified, under qualified or simply ‘not good enough’ for work on an almost daily basis!

If you are currently out of work and looking for a new job, there are different ways you can motivate yourself despite all the repetition and set-backs and get yourself into the right mind-set for success. Here are some tips that might just do the trick…

Continue reading

Writer's Block

5 quick fire ways to cure writer’s block

For those who make their living out of words, writer’s block can be a real plague.

Your fingers hit the keys, your eyes go out of focus and your start to sweat – as you’ve just realised that you can’t string one engaging or even legible sentence together. Frankly, it’s a nightmare.

If you’re currently browsing the web because you’re suffering from a bout of writer’s block, here are 5 quick fire tips that will help clear your head, and get back on that all-important  wordy horse…

Before we go any further, the first thing to remember is – don’t get discouraged. This writer’s block business is only a fleeting thing and you can overcome it.

Step away from your writing and do something else that’s creative: make a collage, take some photos, paint a picture. Whatever you do, it is sure to free you from the shackles of your slump and leave the mind feeling fresh.

Try Freewriting: get into the habit of doing this for around 10 minutes every day. What do you do? You just write. Get up a fresh word doc or blank piece of paper and put down whatever comes into your head, ignoring standard structure or punctuation. This will allow your thoughts and ideas to spill onto the page organically and help you get back on track.

Cast away distractions: Your phone, television, personal emails, social media, magazines, radio; basically anything that will take you away from stringing a solid thought together. Yes, audio and visual things can help give us inspiration sometimes, but when you have a serious case of the block, it’s essential to be able to focus when you are at the screen. In this case, a neutral, silent, internet free room without gadgets is just what the doctor ordered!

Write at the pinnacle time of day: Research suggests that many of us are at our most productive, alert and creative, either very early in the morning, or very late at night. Depending on your personality and situation, pick what’s best for you, then stick to it for a while. Take a decent writing break in the middle of your day, and tune into your words at your pinnacle time – from personal experience, this really helps your writing to flourish.

Get moving: with creative disciplines, positive stress if often the key to creativity. So if you’re in a little bit of a rut, head outside and do something active. Go for a cycle, jog or a long walk – this has been scientifically proven to help relax the mind and re-set the cogs so that you’re essentially working with a blank canvas. As you are in motion, you are bound to connect those missing dots and when you return to the computer, you’ll be a lean, mean word churning machine. If walking etc. doesn’t work for you, meditation also has very positive creative effects.

If you’ve been sat staring aimlessly at your screen for a long time and don’t know what to do with yourself, read over these tips, step away from the computer, free your mind and before long, you’ll be back to your old creative self.

Please let us know how you get on by leaving a comment below: have these methods helped your writing, or have you found others that have proved effective?

Image: Drew Coffman via Flickr

working from home

How to get inspired when working at home

In today’s virtual world, working from home is becoming an increasingly popular option for many, as it provides the freedom, autonomy and flexibility that a traditional PAYE job often can’t.

Although working from home sounds great, it is very easy to get distracted by familiar comforts such as the TV and occasionally, without a regimented office schedule or the chance to talk to colleagues, a severe lack of motivation or inspiration can occur – this is never good, particularly if your livelihood depends on your own creativity.

So, apart from setting yourself up a suitable work station, what can you do to get inspired when working from home? Here are a few tips… Continue reading