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Ways to Outline and Focus on Your Writing

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No matter how long you've been writing, getting started or finishing can be challenging. Professional writers still get writer's block or freeze up when looking at a blank page, despite their years of training. Even if you just want to write to express your feelings, it still takes discipline to put words on a page. If you want to become a more productive writer, here are some tips that help get the job done.

Writing Time

It is not really a surprise to find out that most writers write in the morning or at a time when their energy level is at their peak.  Writing time differs from writer to writer, but many of them dismissed the notion of setting aside a specific amount of time to write. Guardian columnist Oliver Burkeman for example said that he spends time writing a page and a half before launching into his work day. The words don't have to be about your project or book. It can be about anything. The idea here is to get your mental gears going. Think of it as a warm-up before a workout.

Detailed Outline

Creating a detailed outline sounds like something you did for your high school research paper, but it helps get ideas flowing. Journalist Shane Snow shares that he breaks down his writing into smaller pieces, whether it's a short article or a full novel. He says that writers get a psychological reward from tackling smaller pieces of a big project. Breaking down work also keeps you motivated to move forward.

Always Be Ready

Sometimes inspiration sparks out of the blue and words spurt out. When this happens, you have to be prepared. Sarah Wendell, author of a widely followed romance blog, says that "word labor", an experience she links to having children, can strike anywhere, and her mind suddenly bursts with words that need to be written. When this happens, she stops whatever it is she is doing and takes out her phone or a notepad and starts writing.

Social Media

The internet is widely used by authors and writers for research. It is a good tool to have around, but can be distracting, especially with social media. Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors author Sarah Stodola shuts down social media completely by using a tool called Freedom.

The Right Place

Finding the right place to write is essential if you want to get your writing done. Shane Snow says that for his book Smartcuts, he got the bulk of his writing done in a corner table at a Starbucks. Author Joanna Penn also shares that she finds it easier to write in coffee shops compared to her apartment. Environment is critical when you want to write. Find a place where it is easy for you to concentrate so that you can write more.Hopefully these writing "hacks" will get you in the mood to write. Getting started and finishing is an ongoing battle, but having plans to help you fight along the way can make the job a bit easier.

Business

Memobottle Raises Over $30,000 On Kickstarter In Under 10 Hours

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Memobottle
Jesse Leeworthy and Jonathan Byrt, the entrepreneurs behind Memobottle, designed a reusable plastic water bottle with a mission to decrease the use of disposable plastic water bottles and create a more sustainable society. Growing up in Melbourne, Australia they often saw heaps of disposable water bottles littering the beach. They decided to create a beautiful and reusable alternative to these disposable bottles. Their creations feature stylish design and durable construction to make them a solid accessory for everyday use.The Memobottle features a flat, flask-like design that fits in pockets, bags, and purses. The bottles are made of durable Tritan plastic, are BPA free, and dishwasher friendly. They are suitable for hot or cold liquids, and are freezer safe. Coming in three different sizes, Memobottle is a convenient and sustainable alternative to plastic water bottles. Their
Kickstarter campaign's success enabled them to sell the bottles in two new sizes. The slim Memobottle is a tall, elegant addition to a bag or purse. It holds 15 fluid ounces of water. The A7 Memobottle is the most compact. It holds 6 ounces of water and is perfect for kids and people on the go. Their existing A5 bottle holds 25 fl oz and retails for $36.Memobottle also has fun accessories like desk stands, lids, wrist straps and cases. Desk stands come in two dimensions and are copper plated. Lids come in matte black, copper, and stainless steel. Wrist straps and cases are made of leather.Their Kickstarter campaign is donating 1% of the money to a charity called water.org that seeks to increase access to clean drinking water in parts of the developing world. 1 in 9 people do not  have access to clean drinking water, and in developing countries without access to safe water and sanitation, women and girls spend an average of 6 hours a day collecting water. They are unable to attend school and stay trapped in a cycle of poverty. Water.org provides small loans to these families to enable them to access water easily and break the cycle of poverty.The mission, philosophy, and high quality products have made the Memobottle Kickstarter a resounding success with it raising over $45,000 of its initial $30,000 goal in just a few hours. 
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Business

7 Things Successful People Are Doing That You’re Not

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Success comes in many shapes, sizes, and form. When it comes to entrepreneurship or running a business, you'll often see the ultra successful soar past all of their peers with relative easy and in a relatively short amount of time. One can't help but wonder what exactly do these individuals possess that others don't that allowed them to be so successful. Although it's not fair to generalize their success into a few bullet points, these ultra successful entrepreneurs all inherently have 10 things in common that the rest of us don't.

Know What They Want

Woman Sitting Talking To Man

Successful people know exactly what they want. They can tell you in vivid details the life they imagine for themselves and how they will get there. They rarely question their own ability or their own path. If anything, they're more likely to tread the unknown in pursuit of what they want.

Inherent Self Confidence

Man Confidently Standing In Suite

You know confidence when you're around it. And you also can smell arrogance and insecurities from a mile away. Successful people don't need to be arrogant. They never flaunt or brag about things they have to make others believe they're more successful than they really are. Being around them, you get a sense of their stability and security that's inherent in every action and word that comes from them.

Decisiveness

Man and woman shaking hands in front of coworkers

They're decisive individuals. In addition to knowing what they want, they also know how to get what they want, and they're certain they will get there. They don't procrastinate making decisions. When enough facts and evidence presents itself, they'll make a decision to keep the ball moving instead of sitting around waiting for stars to align

High Level Of Certainty

Man drinking coffee in front of laptop confidently

They possess an intoxicating level of certainty. Whatever it is they're doing, they're certain it's the right one. Whatever they're ordering at a restaurant, they're CERTAIN it's the best damn thing on the menu. No matter what the decision is, they're always certain of it and confident that they will get what they want. You'll rarely hear these individuals utter "I think that's a good idea." Instead, they're likely to command, "That's a good idea. I like it!"

Planning Everything

Planning on white desk

Although they're quick to make decisions, they're not reckless. Highly successful individuals plan out everything meticulously in order to guarantee their results. But don't confuse them with someone who plans everything, overthinks every situation, and never takes action. They're meticulous in terms of how thorough their plans are, and how far down the thought-branch they go. But they certainly don't overthink or over-complicates their plan.

Completing Everything

Completionist

They're not perfectionist. They're completionist. Whatever they start, they plan to finish. And their ability to see things through create opportunities that otherwise wouldn't exist. Their ability to complete everything they start stems from their ability to control their enthusiasm. It's easy to start things when you're excited and can see the future clearly. It's much more difficult to maintain the same level of excitement once the endorphins are gone. For the ultra successful, they don't need the excitement to fuel their productivity.

Positive Mental Attitude

People positively celebrating

They're incredibly positive individuals who can always see an opportunity in any situation. They're not oblivious or blinded to obstacles or things that go wrong in their business. But more so, they have an ability to see past the negative and salvage something positive from it. This trait makes them difficult to discouraged and resilient to setbacks.

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Growth Hacking

Public Relations Lessons To Learn From

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When you’re new and inexperienced, the public relations world can be strange and exciting at the same time. Even if you went to school or took the appropriate courses, nothing can prepare you for the real-life experience because there are some things that cannot be taught in school. There are lessons in the PR world that is best learned from experience, trial and error and by learning from other people's mistakes. Here are examples of PR lessons that you can learn from.



Work With Influencers

There are many novices who do not consider working with influencers when they are working on or launching a PR campaign. They undervalue influencers because it is seldom taught in school. Partnering with an influencer is a great PR campaign because they already have networks in place that you can leverage to make your campaign succeed. Nowadays people are connected not only through work but through the internet and social media too. It is normal to "follow" or be "friends" with somebody on social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and influencers have their own circle of followers and friends in these platforms. Working with influencers is a great way to spread your message quickly and make your campaign succeed.

Cultivate Media Relationships

People in the media have access to a bigger audience. When you’re working in PR it is all about getting the word out and reaching the maximum number of audiences. Don’t be shy with reporters. Get to know them and build relationships so that you can call upon them when needed. Aside from reporters, you also need to cultivate a relationship with your online audience. To do this, you need to be accessible to them through social media and blogs. Respond to their queries and engage them in conversation.

Create Newsworthy Content

When you're in school, it is easy to imagine that your clients will have newsworthy content and you will have unlimited media coverage because of it. But when you're in the real world, this is not always the case. When you’re a PR executive, it is your job to come up with newsworthy content by capitalizing on relevant events and to find ways to position your clients so that they can engage the media. Whether it is a holiday trend or current events, it is always important to stay abreast of what's trending to get press for your clients.

Rejection Is Not Personal

Don’t take rejection personally. Just because you think that something is newsworthy or amazing does not automatically mean that other people deem it so. In school, most students do not need to access the media to garner attention for their assignments. This is why most of them do not have first experience when their stories get rejected. Don’t take it personally. Just because the reporter is not interested in your story does not mean to say that your story next week will also get rejected.

Timing Matters

When somebody tells a joke, the narrator has to time it perfectly for maximum effect. The same applies with public relations. It is easy to get impatient because you might think that it is best to strike immediately. However, it also pays to watch and be patient. Don’t send newsletters and pitches when no one is likely to read them. Learn the right time to update your clients or company's social media pages, the best time to send email newsletters or when your blog posts go live. Knowing the right timing to update can help maximize viewership and impact.

Re-Use Content

Many of us who frequent the internet know that fresh is always best. However, in the world of public relations, it is alright to re-use content and repeat your message. There is a difference between sounding like a broken record and repetition. You want to repeat your message because some consumers won’t remember your message the first time. Repeat the message and reuse content by referencing past blog posts, sharing old posts in your newsletter or sharing old content as #throwbackthursday.

There are many public relations lessons that you don’t learn in school. In PR you need to learn to exploit situations to your advantage. If you’re new to PR have to be brave and try things that are new to you or get ready to learn as you go along.

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