Adventures & Journeys

Joy

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Joy happens whenever we are even remotely happy. The difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is the emotional elevation of delight over time, while joy is happiness you feel in the moment.

A little more on the word Joy:

WIKI

  • A feeling of extreme happiness or cheerfulness, especially related to the acquisition or expectation of something good.
  • Anything that causes such a feeling.
  • Luck or success; a positive outcome.
  • The sign or exhibition of joy; gaiety; merriment; festivity.

Dictionary. com

  • The emotion of great delight or happiness caused by something exceptionally good or satisfying; keen pleasure; elation
  • A source or cause of keen pleasure or delight; something or someone greatly valued or appreciated:
  • The expression or display of glad feeling; festive gaiety.
  • A state of happiness or felicity.

So, Now that we have the meaning of joy out of the way, let’s take  a look at some more aspects of the word and how you can find more of it!

Kinds of Joy:

So what kinds of joy is there? Well, I listed some I could think of here, enjoy!

Kinds of Joy

Image by xxolgaxx from Pixabay

Small~  Those joyful moments that are happening in the current moment.

Reminiscent ~ The delightful moments we remember with fondness and/or wish to pass down to our children and grandchildren. Examples: Rainbows, Fireworks, Ice cream with crunch/sprinkles.

Inner ~ Moments that come from within, those times when you make yourself happy, finding inspiration inside yourself.

Connective ~ The happy moments gained when in the presents or by interacting with others.

Outer ~ Moments of delight while out in the word, hiking in nature, deep in the city, experiencing what/where you love.

Large ~ Larger events/experiences that bring you pure delight.

Benefits of Joy:

There are always benefits to the emotions we feel and joy is no exception. So what are the benefits of joy? Let’s take a look:

Experience Joy
Image by Igor Link from Pixabay

Well, experiencing joy just plain feels good, which leads to other reactions such as laughing more often, experiencing even more joy, and really joy is just how we are most often. At least, I hope you are.

Having joy in your life, like so many other emotions creates a healthier you, you know all those endorphins and whatnot that are released? (I don’t get technical, so bare with me) Your body becomes healthier because you are in a good mood.

And speaking of being in a good mood, experiencing delight and happiness,  like smiling can attract you to more people which could benefit you if you were trying for a specific position or job. You never know what a little joy could show your potential employer or yourself for that matter.

There is nothing more important than the connections we make with others and your joy could inspire that, not to mention motivate others as well as yourself,  and form better connections with those around you. With just a little joy, others around you will see you as someone they can communicate with, someone they can trust, someone they look at and want to know what you’re taking to be so uplifting.

 

Finding Joy:

Now that we’ve talked about the benefits of joy, let’s move onto how you can find joy. In my opinion, you can find joy in any place and in any situation. (Well, maybe not every situation or place, but pretty close.)

Journeying
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Health

Even your health can bring you joy, let me tell you how:

  • Self- Care ~ As with any area of your life, self care is important. Keeping yourself healthy and moving is going to bring you more joy than you could possibly realize. When you’re not feeling tired, breathless, or worn, you’ll realize that taking care of yourself will bring you more joy than that bowl of ice cream. Trust me, I know! Chocolate is my weakness.
  • State of Mind ~ Keeping your mind in the right state is also important and can bring you joy. When you’re not concerned about every little thing, your mind is free to let all the joy of the world enter and fill you up.
  • Focus on You ~ Take some time for yourself. Do something for yourself, whether it’s taking a walk, a nap, a long soak. Free your mind and relax your body, release the tensions of the day. Have some fun. You choose!

Emotional

Well, joy is an emotion, so use it!

  • No Waiting, No Worrying ~ Don’t wait for joy to fall in your lap, it’s not going to.  Go out and get it! Look for it wherever you are. Seek it in the things you see, the things you read, the events you participate in, even the smells. It’s up to you to see joy in things that may not seem like there’s much around. Trust me there is!
  • What Makes You Happy ~ People are always telling you to ‘Do what makes you happy’, well, I’m going to tell you the same. What are you waiting for? It’s never going to be the right time, get going and be happy! Draw, learn a new skill, rock climb, whatever it is, do it!
  • Appreciate the Small Things ~ Look around you, no, really look! See all those small things, yep, you know which ones I’m talking about. ALL OF THEM, even that half used eraser still has some use out of it. Appreciating even the tiniest things can cause joy. You could not have that eraser when you’re searching everywhere for one! Yes, you appreciate that small broken eraser because it was there when you really needed it and it’s also a memory because your son decided to pick it up and talk to you through it!

Connections

We connect with everyone around us, whether we are walking past them on the street, they are part of our group (family, friend, co-worker, etc.), or we see them on a screen, watching our favorite characters. We all connect with someone in some way…

  • Laugh ~ Everyone has that one person who makes us laugh, whether we are hanging with a friend, watching a particular movie, show, video, listening to a podcast… You get my point. When we need happiness, we have places we look first to cheer us up. Where do you go first?
  • Love ~ Love comes in many forms. If you love music, play it, sing it at the top of your lungs and jam out. Love movies, watch your favorites. If you love being around people, see if you can get together. Do what you love and see those you love to experience more joy.
  • Relationships ~ As I mentioned above, like right above, the relationships you have with people can bring you happiness. Just think about it. I bet you can think about that one person and they put a smile on your face. Who is that person and can you go see them to experience that thing called happiness that makes joy last longer?
  • Positivity ~ Find those things that create positivity within your life and keep them around. Now, I’m not you, so I can’t tell you what those things are, but you do, so go get them and make certain you see them every morning and whenever you need some joy in your life. Surround yourself with positive people and things (pictures/memories/etc) that create positivity in your life.

 

Create Joy:

You can find joy in many places and in many ways, but what about creating joy, and not just for you, for others too!

Painting
Image by Prashant Sharma from Pixabay
  • Plan ~ When you need joy, well, you never know when you’re going to need it so, gather those things that give you cheer and keep them close for when you need them. Keep that positivity with you at all times. Use a small journal to keep a list of things that bring you joy, add images, photos, phrases, anything that brings you joy and look at it when you’re feeling down.
  • Find Purpose ~ What are you passionate about? Where do you find inspiration? Go after them! Find your purpose! Enough said.
  • Accomplishments ~ Create a running list of your accomplishments, no matter how small, put them on there and see how long your list gets. Enjoy the feeling, knowing your rocking it!
  • Create a Story ~ Not just any story… You only get one life, one story, make it one you WANT to tell people about. Create, dream, achieve!
  • Challenge Yourself ~ Do those things you’ve always been wanting to try, challenge yourself to do something new; find, create, achieve joy in your life.
  • Create Something ~ That thing you’ve been putting off creating, do it. Make the time to get it done. Sometimes you have to literally create your joy!
  • Take a Leap of Faith ~ Don’t try to keep making things work that aren’t; let them go, find a new angle and make room for the new.
  • Create Inspiration ~ However you feel to take this is up to you; find your inner child and let it free, take a walk in nature, pray, create, explore, inspire.
  • Take the Bad with the Good ~ Yep, there are going to be times when you just need to cry, so cry. It’s okay, but don’t forget what you’ve learned here. Grab and hold those things that bring you joy and revisit them often.

 

Final Thoughts

We, as humans find and create joy in so many ways from revisiting our childhood and eating ice cream cones with crunch/sprinkles to creating things that inspire others; from watching fireworks and finding rainbows to reminiscing and collecting what makes us happy. Whatever it is that brings you joy, keep it close. You never know when you’re going to need a pick me up.

 

 

Summer Plans (You and Characters)

Summer is here and who doesn’t love sunny days, shorts and ice cream, right? Okay, I know there are some of you ‘crazy’ people out there that do love the cold and snow. I am definitely not one of them. I love being warm, not wearing heavy coats and ice cream on a hot day. Let’s talk about summer plans!

But let’s move on. It’s summer and I bet you have plans, whether it’s a vacation, continuing to work, or spending time with your family.

Summer

Summer is a time of freedom, especially for the younger ones. They look forward to the time away from school, vacations, doing (almost) nothing around the house and just plain having fun.

Beach Time

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

I know my children were ecstatic when they worked hard to get their school done early this year. (The benefits of homeschooling!) Though they still have chores, they are glad to have time to be themselves and so am I.

One thing I love to do is watch them as they create, play, or dream of what activities they want to experience next. The imagination and creativity they express is astounding when you allow it to flow. I’ve seen what happens when that is blocked from children and it’s a very sad thing to see. But we’re not here to talk about that, we’re here for Summer!

Our Summer Plans

One of our ‘traditions‘ and I say traditions because it’s something we do every year in the spring. We create a list of all the things we would like to do or experience this summer as a family. Anything anyone thinks of goes on the list no matter how big or small.

Camping

Image by Brahmsee from Pixabay

We then spend the summer trying to mark off all the things on that list.

This years list:

  • Visit The Domes
  • Go to the beach
  • Go Camping
  • Visit the Renaissance Faire (We go every year!)
  • Go to a Museum
  • Go to the zoo
  • Go to the Aquarium
  • Go on a picnic
  • Go to an ice cream shop
  • Have root beer floats
  • Play ‘Rainy Day Games’ (We each choose a board game and we play them all)
  • Bird Watching
  • Miniature Golfing
  • Disc golf
  • Bike Ride

We always have a few things that are a bit more expensive and some that may or may not cost anything at all. I’ll create a checklist that is visible to us all and hang it near our calendar. When we complete one of the activities, we check it off and at the end of the summer we look back to see all the things we’ve done as a family.

Writing

I can’t talk about the summer (or anything really) without talking about writing, and although I haven’t been my usual enthusiastic self – writing until my fingers fall off – this summer, I have not given up hope that I will return to that state sometime in the near future.

But to keep with the topic, have you ever thought of what some characters would do if they had a summer vacation? I don’t mean characters who are already on the big screens or whether the story took place in the summer, but if the character actually had a summer vacation from whatever they were doing at that moment, whether it’s a mission, job, career, or whatever. What would they do?

Teamwork

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

What do you think some of your favorite characters would be doing to relax, have fun or just hang for longer than say a weeks time? Yes, anything can happen and we hope it does in the stories we read, but what about outside the story. If the characters were real, what do you honestly think they would be doing with the time off they were given?

Let me know the character(s), book and what you think they would be doing if they had an entire summer to do whatever they thought was fun!

Smile

The power of a smile can do wonders, but what can it really do?

Let’s look at it further…

WIKI

  • A facial expression comprised by flexing the muscles of both ends of one’s mouth, often showing the front teeth, without vocalisation, and in humans is a common involuntary or voluntary expression of happiness, pleasure, amusement or anxiety.
  • To have (a smile) on one’s face.
  • To express by smiling.
  •  To look cheerful and joyous; to have an appearance suited to excite joy.
  •  To be propitious or favourable; to countenance.

Dictionary.com

  •  To assume a facial expression indicating pleasure, favor, or amusement, but sometimes derision or scorn, characterized by an upturning of the corners of the mouth.
  • To regard with favor:
  • To assume or give (a smile, especially of a given kind
  • To express by a smile
  • The act or an instance of smiling; a smiling expression of the face.
  • Favor or kindly regard

 

So What are The Benefits of Smiling?

I bet you never thought that there were benefits to smiling, so it’s a good thing I’m here to inform you of just that very thing!

Smiling Makes You Look Younger

Well, aren’t we all striving to look younger? Here is an easy way (something else we are always looking for) to make you look younger. Just start smiling!

Laughter Benefits

Have you ever walked down the street and seen someone who just looked pissed at the world, you try to smile at them and hope that you’ve cheered them up just a little. I bet if you asked how old they were, you would think they were older than they really are. Those frowns cause your facial features to crease and turn down leaving those who see you to have the impression you are older than you actually are. So give a smile back and start looking younger!

Smiling Elevates Your Mood and Creates a Sense of Well-Being

So that’s the reason my husband is always making me smile. I have to agree with this. Smiling does, even just a little bit, lifts my mood when I’m down. Anyone else feel like that?

You’ve had a bad day, and you feel like nothing will make you happy, but your significant other, friend, sister, whoever tries their hardest to make you laugh? They get you to crack just a tiny smile and you end up giving them a jab for their efforts, but it did the job. You feel better and now you’re smiling. Mission accomplished.

Smiling Induces Pleasure in the Brain (More than Chocolate)

A study showed that one smile could generate the same level of stimulation in the brain as 2,000 chocolate bars. Now I’m not sure I believe that this to be true, I love my chocolate and it certainly will cheer me up better than a smile some days, but you never know.

beautiful-71493_640

Even a Forced Smile Can Lead to a Better Health

They  say that smiling can relieve stress, boost immune system, and lower blood pressure. I guess smiling could do those things if it’s capable of boosting your mood. It could calm you and allow your body to do as it was meant to accomplish if you’re no longer worrying over things happening at the moment.

So, take a break, smile and you may just improve your health. Hey, what easer way do you need to do that?

Smiling Makes You Seem Courteous, Likable, and Competent

This may seem like common sense, but smiling like so many other things in our lives is something I think most take for granted. You never really understand the action until you really think about it (or loose the ability to perform the action).

May Not Know

When you meet someone and you’re smiling you’re definitely more inviting than if you were frowning so it would only be reasonable that you would seem courteous and likable.

As for the competent part, I would think that would be related to posture and how you present yourself as to how competent you seem. People can see through a fake smile in a New York minute and if you really don’t want to be somewhere, others can always tell that by your manners. I’m just saying there are other factors at play for this one, but I’ll leave the final decision to you.

Why You Should Smile

Well, if they things I just mentioned don’t get you smiling, I don’t know what will. You are a hard shell to crack. Just kidding!

Along with the reasons above, smiling creates a more inviting atmosphere around you. As I mentioned, we as humans are social creatures and smiling tells others that you are approachable. No one wants to talk to someone who looks like they haven’t smiled or had a happy moment in 30 years. There are people like that, you know you’ve seen them.

Walking down the street, you almost void eye contact in the hopes you don’t catch their negative atmosphere or worse, makes them even more upset because you’re happy and they’re not.

Laughter

Other than the view others would have of you, smiling for yourself is just as powerful. You create happiness with everything you do, even when you’ve had a bad day, I bet you can think of something that would make you smile. Your kids playing, your furbabies, your significant other, the memories we have and the times we’ve spent with them cause you to crack a smile.

So remember, there is always something to smile about. We’ve recently loss one of our kitties. It was a strange day, I woke before either of my kids to find that he passed away during the night. He was sick, and we were sad, but a few days later we were talking and reminiscing of the times we had with that little firecracker of a cat. He was such a joy to have in our lives, (no matter how annoying his tendencies were). It shows that we are able to create happiness even through dark times.

What a Smile Can be Used For

We use smiles for many different reasons, but what are they?

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We use smiles in greetings, to show affection, to cheer the broken hearted, and to reminisce of times past. We use them to communicate our feelings and our confidence.

What can you think of that you use a smile for?

How a Smile can Inspire

Smiles are the universal communicator of happiness and joy. Why do you think the Mona Lisa has been so memorable? It wasn’t just the artist, who is renowned for his work, but her smile has gone down in history. It’s the first thing you think of when you think of the Mona Lisa.

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Smiles can inspire and encourage others from images to real life. People take pictures daily and in each one the subjects (or a majority of them, there is always that one person who refuses to cooperate) are smiling. As they look back on that photo, they don’t want to remember a time that wasn’t happy, joyous or entertaining.

A smile is a powerful tool, one you always have in your arsenal ready to be used whenever you need. It creates happiness just by the action of using it. What could be more powerful than that?

How do you use your smile to encourage others? How has a smile encouraged you?

This Month’s Writing Theme: Fun!

This month’s theme is about all about fun and who doesn’t like fun!

So what things do you have planned for the summer? What does your family like to do for fun?

 

Fun

Example: Our family takes time during the spring to create a checklist of all the things we would like to do durning the summer and my kids are great with coming up with things. Each year there are new items on the list and some classic things like going to the ice cream shop and having rootbeer floats. 

This year my son wants to visit the Domes. He loves plants and I mentioned I went as a kid, so he put it on our list. When we do the activities they get checked off and we see how many awesome things we did as a family at the end of the summer!

What types of things would be on your list if you made one?

Character/Story Communication

What is Story Communication or even Character communication, you may be asking yourself, well, I’m going to show you what I’ve found, so keep reading.

What is Story Communication?

Story communication is the connection you get from the story itself. The deep level, overall, feeling of completeness once you’ve finished a good story. It’s how the words resinates with you as the reader. Have you ever read a story and when you were finished, you were completely devastated that it was over? Or completely satisfied by the last words finishing the tale? That’s story communication; it’s how the story itself, as a whole resonates with you, the reader, when you throughly absorbed every last part of the story.

Story Communication

Image by Fathromi Ramdlon from Pixabay

… And Character Communication?

As with story communication, character communication is the connections you have with the characters. When you envision the story unfolding in your mind with the way the characters talk, act, and move throughout the story, it’s the way you feel about the characters within the story. The hatred, yet understanding of the villain; the way you root for the main character and love their love interest as much as they do. It’s the feeling of going on their journey along with them.

That connection is the author communicating with you on such a deep level that you are able to envision yourself within the world they created. You root for or against each character and even relate to those of the secondary ones who pop in every now and then to impart wisdom or provide comic relief.

Why is it Essential?

The most effective way to engage and resonate with your readers is through storytelling. What better way than to create a story so memorable, you create engagement within your readers? That is one of the goals of a writer, to have your readers so enthralled and invested into the characters and story that they want more. If you create a story so engaging, your readers will feel just a strongly as you do about the characters and the story itself.

Engage Your readers

Image by 【中文ID】愚木混株 【ins-ID】cdd20 from Pixabay

When one creates a story from the heart, whether that’s romance, horror, mystery or adventure, your readers have no choice but to love what your write.

Stories are Used To…

As I’ve written in  my post ‘What Is A Story?’ stories are produced by the imagination of the writer for entertainment, encouragement, a way to escape, but also as a way to pass down history, teach morals, create and continue traditions, and more.

Imagination

Image by Виктория Бородинова from Pixabay

It’s how we got to where we are today. Families tell them when they’re together to remember the good time, or the bad, to reminisce about the battles won and the ones lost. They create memories and that’s the most important part of stories.

Stories as a Tool to Influence

Stories are a great took to influence and encourage others. Writers use their talents to create words and phrases, even situations that encourage, inspire, motivate and help others in any aspect of their lives. It’s a way to let others know that they are not alone, that others have experienced exactly as they have/are experiencing.

Communication

Image by Yuri_B from Pixabay

There is no better feeling than knowing someone else has experienced the same problems you have and have survived/overcame those same obstacles. Each one of us is living our own story and as the main character in that story, we are going through our own ups and downs, trials and hurdles, obstacles and triumphs. There are just those times when you need to know there is someone else who’s experienced what you are going through and came out of it stronger from the experience.

When we open up by sharing, it creates a vulnerability that allows for a deeper connection with another and that’s what’s important.

We use stories to inspire, encourage, escape and pleasure. How do you use stories? 

Language

Language

Language is something we take for granted, learning it at a young age and continuing to learn and use as we grow through our lives. We use it daily with so many around us that we don’t really think of what it entails.

But what really is language and why do we need it? Keep reading to find out!

WIKI

  •  A body of words, and set of methods of combining them (called a grammar), understood by a community and used as a form of communication. quotations
  • The ability to communicate using words.
  •  A sublanguage: the slang of a particular community or jargon of a particular specialist field. quotations
  •  The expression of thought (the communication of meaning) in a specified way. quotations
  •  A body of sounds, signs and/or signals by which animals communicate, and by which plants are sometimes also thought to communicate.
  •  A computer language; a machine language.
  •  Manner of expression.
  •  The particular words used in a speech or a passage of text.
  •  Profanity.

 

Dictionary.com

  • A body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition
  • Communication by voice in the distinctively human manner, using arbitrary sounds in conventional ways with conventional meanings; speech.
  • The system of linguistic signs or symbols considered in the abstract (opposed to speech).
  • Any set or system of such symbols as used in a more or less uniform fashion by a number of people, who are thus enabled to communicate intelligibly with one another.
  • Any system of formalized symbols, signs, sounds, gestures, or the like used or conceived as a means of communicating thought, emotion, etc.
  • The means of communication used by animals

What Is It and Why We Need It?

Language is an essential system of sounds and characters whether used through gestures, symbols, written or typed words to associate forms and meanings, which are transmitted by the speaker and decoded by the receiver. Depending on which actual language or dialect you communicate in, you are still connecting with others on a deeper level as you grow. It’s our main source of relaying ideas, thoughts, feelings and more as we move throughout life on the journey we’ve chosen.

Language

Image by Taken from Pixabay

Have you ever noticed that language doesn’t discriminate? It may be used to discriminate, to put down, too insult or offend, but it itself does not. You are able to learn any language you wish, you just have to put in the effort to accomplish learning that new language. Language is also used to encourage, lift up, and inspire, which is why this post is being written.

We need language to connect with those near and far, but we also need it to express our thoughts, feelings, imagination and even our identity. Through words and sounds we convey our happiness, our hurt, our imaginations and creations. We impart information, influence others and so much more. It’s really amazing if you think about all that language does.

Types of Language in Writing

Since this is a writing blog, we are going to keep this within that realm. So let’s get to it.

As writers, we find ways to incorporate different types of languages within our writing, it’s how we connect with our readers on a deeper level, to create a specific reaction.

Expository

The use of explanation through writing, providing facts and figures within our writing to tell about a specific topic.

Descriptive

The use of great detail to offer better understanding and imagery of a topic such as characters or settings.

Emotional

The creation of an emotional connection within the reader caused by the events of the story. eg. happiness, anger, fear, excitement, etc.

Intellectual

When one discloses ideas or impressions onto the reader, giving them suggestions as to what’s happening, what’s going to happen or how they should be feeling during a certain section of writing.

Persuasive

Persuasive language is used to convince you, the reader of something. It contains the opinions and biases of the writer to provide justifications and reasons for those thoughts and opinions.

Imaginative

The impressions of visual and possibly auditory affects on the reader as they are reading the work.

Narrative

The telling of a story in words to provide the reader with entertainment.

Aesthetically

To involve the readers senses as to what is beautiful through writing.

Physical

The reactions readers get when they read something that causes a physical reaction, such as goosebumps or shivers. The use of particular words, phrases or impressed images that cause the reader to experience the physical repercussions of the intended sensation.

Transformational

To the reader, the words written affect them so much that it is life changing.

How We Use It

We, as writers, use language to communicate through words, emotions, and imagination. We take those words, twisting and forming them until they create characters, settings, plots, journeys, conflict, relationships and more.

Writing

Image by cocoparisienne from Pixabay

Writers use language to communicate with others, too relay our thoughts and feelings. Writers take that language and form new worlds, epic adventures, creepy horrors, romantic relations, action packed fight scenes, sorrowful heartbreak and more.  Language isn’t just words, it’s sounds, images, and the adventures of characters; the ability to create such an experience that the reader will enter our worlds, leaving their reality behind. They forget the issues of their own life and slip away to the created land on the page, losing themselves to the story.

Not only do we use language to communicate with others within the business, we use it to interact with readers; continuing our journey with those we’ve impacted through our words.

 

May’s Writing Theme: Communication

This month’s theme is about communication; business communication and story communication. There are many types of communication out there and some can cause more problems than others.

What types of communication are you using within your business and your stories? Print, Texts, Verbal, Face to face, etc. What troubles are you having with them and have you thought or have you fixed those problems so things run as smooth as possible.

communication

Example: I have been using Trello to keep myself organized even with my contacts, but I do tend to use messenger as it is one of the most perferred methods of communication by those I contact. 

What communication avenues are you using and are you having any issues with them? What are you doing to try to fix the problem?

Business Communication

Business (Writing) Communication

Communication in any situation is important, but since relationships were talked about in a previous post, I’m going to spend some time talking about Business Communication.

So, what is Business Communication?

Business communication is essentially any type of communication you have with anyone else regarding your business, whether it’s marketing, customer relations or interpersonal communication. Anything that provides a way for you to speak to others is included. There are so many ways to communicate with in a business that we’ll only be focusing on how it relates to the writing business. That’s what we’re here for, right, the business of writing?

Business Communication

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

You, as a business owner, have so many people you contact for different services and assistance, it’s no wonder being an author is a hard job. Unless you have some sort of system down for who you’re speaking to and what your talking about at any given moment, things can get hectic and overwhelming very quickly.

Problems with Communication

Even though we have plenty of ways to communicate nowadays, not all of them are as reliable as speaking face to face or over the phone, but we still try to use them. Email, text/messaging, print, and even television and radio have their downsides.

Problems

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Have you ever sent a text or message and the other person thought you were angry at them? Or had a customer look at your ad and wonder what it was that you’re trying to sell/say? There is no way to know the tone or meaning behind the words when you message others. If your not careful, your words can be completely misunderstood and they could interpret them one way when you meant for it to be taken a completely different way.

Once that occurs, you have to spend your time working to rectify the situation and get everything back on track, which could take more time than you have.

How to Fix or Avoid Communication Problems

FIx
Image by Allan Washbrook from Pixabay

In order to avoid issues with misconstrued communication efforts, the best thing to do is probably stick to speaking to everyone on the phone or in person. If you don’t live close, programs like Skype and FaceTime work well to speak with others face to face. That way any questions about the project can be answered right away.

If you prefer contacting through written words, find a program like Trello, Asana, Monday.com, etc that allows you to form teams, assign tasks and communicate with each other as you work through projects. That way you and your team can ask questions, attach samples, and clarify issues all in one place.

Author/Writing Communication

Author Communication

Image by engin akyurt from Pixabay

As an author and writer, you are communicating with others on a daily basis whether that’s posting to social media, writing stories for your readers, or sending your work to your editor. We as writers, are always communicating and connecting with others and that in itself can be a taunting task.

Readers

Through the writing process, the one person we are trying to reach are our readers. We write for them. (Well, we write for ourselves and for the joy of it, but the readers we gain are the goal) Of course, not everyone is going to love your work, but you will get those that will love your style and work to the point of ordering everything that you produce.

Our stories fill a missing piece within our readers that even they didn’t realize was missing; whether that is a sense of adventure, the need to know love, or even a bit of fright. Our readers hang onto every word as they read waiting to see what happens on the next page. Its the most gratifying and natural ways for writers to speak, through words on a page.

Teams

You as a writer may or may not have a team yet, but once you do things can get much smoother, but that doesn’t mean problems don’t arise. Tools like Trello or Asana are perfect for keeping things organized between the writer and their team members. You can assign them tasks and they can ask questions and check things off right on the apps.

You may also communicate with your team though texts, messages, or others, but keeping to one type (unless it’s an emergency) keeps things flowing nicely. Each person knows what they need to do and they can get it done before the deadline approaches. If you don’t have a system for your team, I suggest you try one of these out for yourself.

Betas/Alphas

Beta and Alpha readers are those that you depend on the most for their honest opinions, but there are those times when they can be too honest, harsh even. It’s a price we pay for writing and something that must be understood as both reader and writer. The writer is trying their best to bring out the best story to the public. In return for receiving an advanced copy of their work, the writer expects honest feedback from the beta.

That doesn’t mean that betas/alphas can totally rip apart the work that writer has spent who knows how much time on or even suggest they change the story completely to suit that particular reader. As betas/alphas, we as writers are only looking for suggestions on making our writing better and enjoyable for others before putting it out into the world. And writers, be clear what you are to expect of your betas/alphas as they read through your work. If you don’t specify what you’re looking for in feedback, you’re going to get everything and anything, which let me tell you can be overwhelming when you finally receive your manuscript back.

So, communication with your betas/alpha on what you are specifically looking for is necessary to keep things running as smooth as possible.

Editors

Here is another, where you need to specify what you’re looking for unless you are hiring them for one specific job, such as line editing. Editors are your last stop before publishing and once they’ve gone through your work, be prepared to revise if necessary. They will let you know what could be done better and inform you of any errors they may catch. So communication between you and your editor is a must.

Agents

Now, I know not everyone has an agent, but if you do, the communication you have between yourself and them is also important. If one of you doesn’t receive the right information, you could end up booking the wrong event or submitting to the wrong publishing house.

There are so many things that could go wrong when you don’t communicate well between you and others. Think about your everyday communications with family and friends. how often is something taken out of context or interpreted wrong? I can’t tell you how many times my sister and I ask if the other is angry because we just didn’t get back to them  soon enough. Things happen, but we don’t want any conflicts between anyone.

Final Thoughts

Though communication is important and can get skewed as we type the wrong words or we didn’t clarify something well enough, there are ways to avoid those problems by keeping communication open and discussing the issues when they arise. You can do your part by clarifying as much as possible before anything can get to that point and keeping everyone on the same page with sites like Trello. They will put that to rest as everyone has their tasks and no one is getting confused as to what they need to do.

That leaves you time to focus on what you need to focus on, communicating the best way you know how… through the words of your stories!

Quality Feature

Quality

What is Quality?

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Quality is…. Well, let’s take a look at what the dictionary says.

Dictionary.com

WIKI

  •  Level of excellence.
  •  A property or an attribute that differentiates a thing or person.
  • High social position.
  • The degree to which a man-made object or system is free from bugs and flaws, as opposed to scope of functions or quantity of items.
  • A two-phase liquid–vapor mixture, the ratio of the mass of vapor present to the total mass of the mixture.
  • The third step in OPQRST where the responder investigates what the NOI/MOI feels like.
  • To identify quality try asking, “what does it feel like?”.

Or it is the degree in which you view the item in question. It’s your belief and understanding of how acceptable the product, or item you’re creating, purchasing or looking at is.

Identify Quality

Depending on what you’re looking at, what you purchased, or item you’re examining, the aspects of quality could be different. So let’s look at a few things and see what I could find on quality for each of them.

Life

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Image by Myriams-Fotos from Pixabay

To identify the quality of life you must look at what’s happening in each area of your life. Determine what you want from that area and move forward to decide if the quality is where you would like it to be or if something needs to change to gain the quality you’re looking for.

Health/Well-being

Are you healthy and making good choices, or are you always eating out and sitting on the couch when you get home? Is what you are doing now how you pictured yourself being? What you really want to be doing? Let me tell you there are days I would love to just hang out on the couch, but right now I don’t like the way I look so I work out every day. It’s been 46 days straight, which may not seem like much, but it’s a milestone for me!

Making good decisions is part of daily life and we have to live with those choices we make, whether it’s the decision to exercise or skip that candy bar that’s calling our name at the store check out. Sneaky store marketing, putting candy right where you have to wait to purchase your items. It’s just screaming for your to purchase it!

Anyway, keeping healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. Do what you feel is right and what makes you happy, just don’t over due it. I have actually started putting my candies in their serving sizes and have gotten down to having a serving every few days when I would have eaten a 16oz bag of dark chocolate covered peanuts in one sitting. Now I can’t believe I ever did that.

Satisfaction

As with health and fitness, you need to decide if what you are doing right now with your life is satisfying. If it’s not, you may want to re-evaluate what you are doing and what you could be doing.

People always tell you to do what you love and sometimes what you love is just out of reach or put on the back burner. Fortunately, I am doing what I love, but if you are not, I urge you to got after it. Now, I am in no way telling you to quit your job or anything. I’m just saying it may be it’s time to take that first step toward that goal or thing you’ve always wanted to do. Go ahead, take that first step, you may find the next one isn’t that hard to reach. I did!

Safety & Security

One of the things we as humans want is to be safe and secure in our lives. To be able to do what we desire or what we need without hinderance of anything else getting in the way.

Though things happen that are out of our control, there are things we can do to create a safer and more secure environment. Your life is yours to protect, do what you can to keep it as safe as possible.

Education

Learning is said to happen daily and I completely agree with that. Though you may not realize that you learned anything, I bet if you really think about it, you probably learned something new even if it is small.

Education comes in many forms whether you are going to a school or learning on your own. It’s natural to want to know more about what interests you (or to fix that thing you don’t want to have someone else come to fix. Who doesn’t want to save a few bucks, right?)

Education is a deep part of life as we continue to learn and grow in what we love or what we need as we progress along the path we’ve chosen. Make sure you’ve chosen the right one.

Home

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Image by Pexels from Pixabay

The quality of your home involves on what goes on inside the walls and beyond the windows. It’s involves memories, joy, and times of happiness that create what the home really is.

Family

Family is where the home is, really, isn’t it? There really isn’t a home without the feeling of family, friends, and a place to come home to each night that gives you the feeling of peace and security.

The home is where the most important parts of your life happen. Memories are made with family and friends in a place that provides a safe haven for you and yours.

The quality of the home is what you believe the home is really about. Is it about walls and windows or is it about those who are there with you, living life and spending their time with you?

Safety & Security

How do you put quality on safety and security? Is it an alarm system that alerts those of intruders or is it having the basic things needed to live life?

Though each one of us have our own opinions on the subject, we all agree that a home provide a sense of safety and security in itself.

There are those that believe carrying firearms, having those alarms, and learning basic self defense are also part of safety and security, but if you really think on the subject, what is the most important when it comes to security and safety?

That is something you need to decide for yourself.

Work/Business

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Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

This could be a hard discussion because of how you perceive the value of your work or business. Is it something that you’re just doing to pay bills and get by or are you invested into what you do, enjoying every minute?

Employment

As I mentioned earlier, you should love what you do, but if you don’t how do you find quality in something you hate? Well, for me, it has to deal with everything that isn’t me. It’s something you need to evaluate and talk though as you work toward the goal that set you on that path in the first place.

Why are you doing something you don’t like? And if you do like it, how can you get more out of it? How can you make it even better? What is it about your work that you dislike? Is it something you can change? Sometimes you can change it, while other times you have to deal with what’s given, but you can always change how you think about it.

Is work something you bring home with you? What I mean is, if you’ve had a really awful day, does it leak into that place of family, safety and security you’ve created? How can you leave work at work? It’s hard to shut off your working mindset when you return from a rough day or even a fantastic day, but sometimes that is what you need to do in order to create the quality of work you need in your life. Do what you can, work to make things better and keep your work at work.

Business

Your business like anything else is your pride and joy. It’s something you strive to make better for you customers. So, what is it about your business that brings people in? Quality! The quality of products, the quality of services and what meets their needs that you can provide.

What to Think About

Your definition of quality and what it means for your business as a whole. What things do you want to be known for within your business that makes consumers want to purchase your product once they hear about it?

Your targets and achievements to accomplish as your business grows.

Things to Ask

How will you measure quality? Quality of the product, the service, performance, stability, efficiency, etc? There are many aspects of a business that involves quality and what you feel is necessary to measure within the aspects of a great product or service. This may be the time to really sit and think about how quality affects your business and what you can do to improve on it.

Time

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Image by annca from Pixabay

Time, that ever present entity that seems to slip away from us as the day wears on, but how do you measure the quality of time. Is it the amount of time you spend in each area of your life or the meaning of time as it’s related to each area of life?

Time is tricky and finding quality within it is even more so. We talk about time and quality as it relates to business and how we can be more productive with our time or with our family and how we can spend more ‘quality time’ with them, but what does ‘quality time’ really mean?

Time, like a clock, can be a spread of hours and minutes, but it’s what you do with and how you use those hours and minutes that count.

Productivity only gets better if you work hard to create a schedule that fits you and those around you. You want to spend more quality time in your business, then be sure you’re focusing on the things that will progress your business. Leave the things that won’t or have little affect on the back burner until you are truly ready to give them the attention that they need.

Family is another place where we are always trying to provide the quality of time. Are you spending time as a family or are you ‘spending time as a family’? If your together in the same room, but everyone is doing their own thing or on their phones, playing the latest app, does that really count as quality time? What are you children doing in school, what are their interests now (they do change), what about your spouse? Do you really spend ‘time’ with them? or are you telling yourself that you are?

Find the time to really sit down and put the ‘quality’ back into ‘quality time.’

 

Writing

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Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay

Now, onto the thing that we all love (and sometimes hate), writing. Since this blog deals with writing, couldn’t possibly leave this out, right?

So, how can we tell the quality of our writing? It’s difficult to read your own writing and really see it as a consumer, to see the quality of the words, characters, and journey through the eyes of the reader, which is why we have beta readers, alpha readers and so on.

But if you’re looking to find a quick list of things to aim for in terms of quality in your writing I’ve compiled a list for you below. Enjoy.

  • Spelling – Darn that autocorrect, how I have a love/hate relationship with that thing. You never know when it will change your words even when you don’t intend to.
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation – Do I use a comma, semi-colon, or colon here? Those have always given me a problem.
  • Consistency – Keep with the story, characters, settings as your novel progresses. Readers can pick out when something goes amiss.
  • Style
  • Readability/Flow – No one likes a choppy story
  • Tone – keep with the same tone throughout unless it’s absolutely necessary to change in the middle.
  • Enjoyable topics – Readers all have different opinions, but you should have an idea of what your readers like so you can appeal to their interest and imaginations as you write.

 

Final Thoughts

Quality can deal with many things, but it’s how you perceive the thing in question that really counts. Find the quality and you will find the better in you and your business.

 

Tools for Writers

Tools for Writers

In the field of writing, there are so many tools out there for you to choose from. One could get lost in the sea of information, systems, and apps that are available to help those aspiring to write, edit, research and more.

As you journey on this path to becoming a great author, you will try all the things to get down a system for yourself. Writing programs, apps, the dreaded editing (unless you like edits, then contact me because I hate them with a passion) revising, and more. What you find is that some things that work for others, will not work for you.

Each of us has our own mind, our own way of seeing things and processing them. What will help me may or may not help you, but in the chance that it might help you or you find something you might want to try, I’ll list what I use below.

This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you decide to purchase any of the products discussed in this post.

Writing

 

 

Writing

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Word processors used to write your drafts. Really they are the devices we use to create journeys, adventures, horrors, and more to intrigue, create emotional attachments, and provide an escape from the real world.

Scrivener

Like many others, I use Scrivener to write my novels. With a binder setup, it’s easy to keep things organized they way I like whether thats in chapters, scenes, parts or whatever.

I can also use their outline feature and notecards to keep everything organized and easy to find. If you’d like to check it out, you can go HERE to find out more.

4TheWords

This isn’t just another word processor, it’s a journey in itself. Trust me, if you want to go on your own journey as you write this is the site for you.

It has timed writing as you defeat monster, collect objects and join others in global quests where you write with others to defeat the same monsters. It’s great!!

Inspiration/ Creativity

Creativity

Image by Jonny Lindner from Pixabay

The places or things you do to create that spark of thought that will propel you into the next story, the next chapter, or next scene.

Pinterest

The number one place I go when I need inspiration on any aspect of my story, whether it’s characters, setting, or whatever. There is so much talent, images, and inspiration being posted to this site. It’s a wealth of creativity and great place to find inspiration.

Movies

Another place I go to find inspiration is movies. I love watching movies and will unconsciously choose some based on characters or abilities so my mind can see what others have thought of. You never know when that one thing you’ve been looking for will hit you like a ton of bricks, so keep a notebook handy. It’s a great way to get a visual aspect on story, characters, setting and more.

Games

Oh, this is one of my favorites. Our family loves co-op and strategy games so we have a lot of ‘European Games’. Our favorites are PowerGrid, Caylus, Cleopatra, and my personal favorite Shadows Over Camelot.

Games, like movies can provide inspiration for many aspects of your story if you tune into specific aspects. You can get ideas for character, setting, even story, but you can also get a feel for strategy, materials, and the path your pieces travel as well. It’s amazing how you can find creative inspiration from the games we play.

What are you favorite games and movies? What are the ones you come back to again and again?

Prompts

This may not give you as much for specific inspiration, but could give you the spark you’ve been looking for. There are many, many prompts out there for many different voices. You can check out my Pinterest Page for Prompts or just give it a search and see what comes up. These are fantastic for story, dialogue and more!

Brainstorming/Mind-mapping

Mind Mapping

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

We all need a way to get our thoughts out and on paper (or within an app). Those creative ideas aren’t going to stay in our heads forever, right?

Notes

There is nothing more simple than having a spiral or notebook with just that, notes. You pour all your thoughts and ideas into that stack of bound paper (or looseleaf if that’s what you have) and work from there, returning when you need that one piece of vital information. Searching and scavenging for what you need because you didn’t organize them enough to know where the darn thing is.

Unless you are extremely organized and put into sections with tab, then I commend you. It crosses my mind, but I haven’t done it yet.

MindMeister

This is a free app (for 3 maps) that allows you to create visual maps, organizing them in any way you wish to suit your needs. You can do one for characters, another for setting, another for plot and so on. The possibilities are endless with this!

Features:

  • Collaborate anywhere
  • Simple Project Management
  • Choose your Mind map style
  • Share your mind map with others
  • Mind Map Presentation
  • Templates
  • Add Images, Video and more
  • History Mode
  • Import and Export

Scapple

I personally haven’t had much experience with this, but from what I see, it’s similar to MindMeister. It give you what you need to get your ideas out and connect them in a way that suites your needs and the needs of your book. The best thing for those of you that use Scrivener – you can connect your notes to Scrivener! Awesome!

 

Features:

  • Write notes anywhere
  • Connect notes using drag and drop
  • Completely freeform
  • Stack notes in columns of related ideas
  • Create background shapes to group notes
  • Customize the appearance of notes
  • Move and arrange notes easily
  • Full Screen Mode
  • Export or Print your ideas
  • Drag Notes into Scrivener!

Productivity/Focus

Focus

Image by rawpixel from Pixabay

Writers and authors are always trying to find more focus while working to get their next story complete. It’s the way it’s been for years, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you can find that focus to get the most out of your productivity, then you would be set, right?

I have a whole post on focus, which you can find Here! How to minimize distractions and regain focus to get things done.

For me, I’ve tried to use productivity apps and other things to stay with my deadlines, but I haven’t found the one for me. What works for me, and I cannot stress this enough, (obviously) is the creativity of 4thewords.com. If you haven’t tried this site, I dare you to try it. I’ll even give you my code for a free month to try it out: OSUBW81786

Another app I’ve heard of are Write or Die, but I can’t see myself using this because I would be devastated if my words started disappearing if I couldn’t meet my goal. It’s terrifying really, but if it works for you, by all means, use it!

More apps are:

There are so many more apps if you put in a search for productivity apps, I can’t tell you what to choose. You’ll have to try them and decided what works best for you.

Organization

These are also Productivity apps, but I’ve placed them here because they are also great tools to keep everything organized and together. A place where everything is there, in that one place for you to find quickly and easily.

Trello

Yep, you knew I was going to say that. Trello is a great tool to keep all your things organized and in one place. With board, cards, and the ability to attach anything to those cards, it’s an easy way to keep things separated that need separated and those that need grouping in their prospective areas.

It’s great for keeping track of multiple aspects of your writing. You could have one board for world building, one for characters, one for settings, images or you could use one board and use separate lists and cards to keep things in one place.

You choose how you want to organize it. That and you can also use it for personal, business, or daily routines or tasks.

Scrivener

As far as organizing your book and only your book, Scrivener is the place I go too. I love that I can keep my scenes, chapters, research and can add any documents and even websites as references right within the program. It’s fantastic!

Storage (Electronic/Harddrive/USB)

Want a way to keep your thoughts and ideas organized in a way that you can take it with you or keep it on your desktop? Try Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Docx/Drive for electronic storage. If you are the kind that likes backups for backups, you could keep files directly on your computer or on a USB drive.

Putting my drafts on a USB is something I’ve thought to do, but haven’t done yet. I’ve lost copies and versions that I know I’ve changed, but can’t find the draft I changed. Any one else have a problem like that?

Reference

References

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Every author/writer has their list of references in their toolbox. There are a few that I turn to that I always head to when I need information.

Searches

When I need information on a specific topic there are two places I head too and I bet you can guess where those places are. Yep, you guessed them, Pinterest and Google. These two places are a wealth of information. Yeah, you chance that what you’re finding isn’t true, but it came from the internet so it must be, right?

Just kidding! Even with all the lies out there, it’s the job of the writer to research multiple avenues and discover the truth. We are like journalist in that fashion.

Dictionary

There is always that one word your brain just can’t seem to remember the definition for and it happens more frequently than you might think or notice. That’s why having a dictionary handy, so you can look up that infernal word and find out if you’re using the darn thing right.

Thesaurus

Like the dictionary writers run into what I like to call their ‘favorite’ word. It’s that one word they use over and over again within their manuscript. You know which word that is and a thesaurus is a great tool to diversify your vocabulary so you’re not repeating or becoming redundant.

Editing/Revising/Proofreading

Editing

Image by Anne Karakash from Pixabay

So, you’ve finished your manuscript and are now ready to move onto the next step, editing your work. I gotta tell ya, this is the part I absolutely hate, but it’s a necessary evil. Here are some tools you can use to make the process easier.

ProWritingAid

This program is great for finding errors in your writing. It will also help with style, errors, finding the right words, and punctuation. For a full list of features, click Here.  It’s been a great help to me (when I don’t lose my current copy of my project) and it could be what you’ve been looking for.

Beta Readers

These are people who will read your story for the soul purpose of giving you feedback on your writing. As much as you may hate to hear what others have to say about it, it’s necessary to take their suggestions into consideration. These are those who represent your readers, and you want your story to resonate with them. You definitely don’t have to take every suggestion, it is your story after all, but just consider it. Don’t ever take their words in a negative way. It’s hard to take criticism and trust me, that is something I need to work on myself.

Editor

Another ‘tool’ that will help is an editor and a good one. You want to do your research for this one. An editor is an invaluable part of your editing process. They catch what your beta readers didn’t and can give you advice on how to improve your manuscript.

Other Apps

Though I haven’t personally worked with any of these apps, they are worth mentioning because I’ve seen and heard others who recommend them highly to others. Take a look and see if any fit your and your writing style.

Publishing

Publishing

Image by MorningbirdPhoto from Pixabay

When you’ve gone through your manuscript, had other eyes on it, revised it and it’s the best it can be. Double check you have the right copy, trust me the last thing you want to do is publish the wrong draft of your story. Been there, done that, it’s not pretty. Here are some places to consider publishing or at least the two that I use.

Amazon (Kindle Direct Publishing)

Well, I bet you were going to guess this one, but they are the biggest retail site out there and one of the easiest to publish your book too. They provide everything you need to get your book out to the world including formatting to ebook and paperback and helping with cover design. You can check them out Here.

Draft 2 Digital

With Draft2Digital, you are able to enter all your information once and publish to multiple stores, which now includes Amazon. They’ve also created an easy way to list your books and share them with the world on social media. If you haven’t taken a look, you can Here. You won’t be sorry!

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many, many  tools for the writer/author to utilize and there are many more that I haven’t listed. Take what you like from here and use what fits you, leave what doesn’t.

From one aspiring author to you, I wish you the best of luck on your journey. Keep at it, don’t stop, forge ahead and succeed!