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2 productivity Life Hacks you need to organise your life

2 productivity life hacks
2 productivity life hacks

I recently discovered 2 productivity life hacks which help me to keep on track recently. They aren’t amazingly clever or flashy hacks. In fact they’re simply two good old fashioned habits that I’ve been more intentional about. Especially at a time where I felt I was losing control in terms of personal productivity with both my writing and day to day tasks.

These are:



Planning Improves Task Performance

2 productivity Life Hacks
2 productivity Life Hacks of person making a list

In 2011 a pair of psychologists named Baumister and Masicampo discovered that performance improves when people make prior plans to achieve something. Additionally, they found that when people separate a task into smaller ones in the form of a list, it makes it more achievable. From my own experience I can absolutely attest to this with my 2 productivity life hacks.

The first thing I did was to purchase a notepad so that I could make lists which respond to my 2 productivity life hacks. The purpose of these lists though self explanatory, work psychologically to help me become more productive. They allow me to gather and visually see what needs doing and then respond to them through action. This really allows me to crack down on my tendency to procrastinate. It’s much easier to remember to call the bank when it’s written down on a bulleted list!

Here are the types of lists I create:

  • Everyday Errand lists
  • Meal ideas
  • Ingredient lists
  • Goal lists
  • Writing ideas

My 2 productivity Life Hacks- how these lists help me

2 productivity Life Hacks
2 productivity life hacks: the skill of organisation.

Hands down the everyday errand list is the one that lets me tackle my daily tasks quickly. When they are collated together it motivates me to check them off my list. Particularly when they require no more than a phone call or online form to complete.

Ever find yourself rotating the same five meals or less (and repeating them) throughout the week? I’m guilty of this! In fact, I am somebody who easily finds themselves eating the same things for supper over and over. When this happens, I take a step back and think about what I’ve been neglecting in my diet or perhaps what I’ve been having too much of and make shopping lists centred around new meals and snacks that I will incorporate into my diet to redress the balance. Here planning new meals through simple ingredient or meal lists are an invaluable hack which launches me into a state of productivity and action as well as helps me make healthier meal choices- 2 productivity life hacks in one!

So I’ve covered my planning hack through list making, now I bring you to my 2nd productivity life hack and that is preparation.

Be your own fairy godmother

2 productivity Life Hacks
2 productivity Life Hacks: prepping tasks for the following day makes life easier.

The skill of organisation is not a natural instinct of mine. In fact, when it comes to being super organised I have to be very intentional because the default I operate on is something I call organised chaos! That means, for example, that the form I am looking for is likely to be amongst a pile of similar items or loosely filed away amongst numerous other papers but not placed meticulously and seamlessly. The end result being- I  often vaguely know where things are but it will take ten minutes to find them instead of me knowing where I keep them. Admittedly, this area of my planning needs more work.

However one area of prepping I have focused on is cleaning and food preparation. Last year I was BEYOND overworked and busy and would find myself unable to function properly in the evenings. It meant that I could barely put a serving of frozen chips in the oven much less cook from scratch. Now I’m not going to say that I’m a super meal prepper or anything like that but I have taken to precooking meals and dishing them up into four or five servings to be consumed for the rest of the week or frozen for future weeks. Doing so is incredibly valuable in saving me time and exertion when I am feeling low on energy.

Gadgets can help

A rice cooker is great for the productivity hack of prepping.

My rice cooker makes this possible. This handy gadget means that unless you love standing over a pot cooking rice, it’s unlikely that you will do so again! It works wonders for my meal prep. I take the same approach to cleaning the dishes. The end result is that, by acting like a fairy godmother the day/days before, I’m helping myself out days ahead in the future. Is this new? No. Is this revolutionary? Nope! But have these 2 productivity life hacks of planning through lists and casual meal prepping helped me work through my tendencies towards procrastination and an occasional lack of productivity? Most definitely!

What are your life hacks to help you be more productive in areas of your life? Let me know in the comments below.

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13 Pieces of Advice I Would Give my Younger Self

advice to my younger self
advice to my younger self

Here are thirteen pieces of Advice that I would give myself when I had less life experience as a younger person. Our adolescent and teen years are often filled with so much angst and worry. Quite often these concerns range from superficial worries like the type of music we’re into and want to be seen to be consuming to elevate people’s impressions of us, to real serious concerns such as body image issues and our relationships with food. As a fully fledged adult who can now healthily reflect on my past experiences as a teen, the following thirteen pieces of advice are for my younger self.

1. Advice: Some friends are only here for a season and that’s okay.

friendships are sometimes seasonal.
friendships are sometimes seasonal.

2. Though you dislike their decidedly poppy sound now, do you know that one day you’re going to miss The Fergie era Black Eyed Peas and their relatively clean brand of pop and upbeat tunes?

3. Watch people’s actions towards you and not their words.

Caring for others, watch others actions and not their words.
Caring for others through actions not words.

4. You really need to slow down on the fizzy drinks.

reduce carbonated drinks
reduce carbonated drinks

5. There’s no need to try and model yourself off of other people. Be authentically you at all times.

always be yourself
always be yourself

6. What they are doing is called fat shaming.

7. That weird goosepimply sensation you get when someone is trying to distort the very real truth during a discussion or argument has a name. Gaslighting. And it is a real thing.

8. Music really is the best thing ever and that will never change for you.

I love music
I love music

9. There are tricky times ahead but you will get through it.

10. Some people are only family by blood.

11. Stop buying clothes a size smaller for ‘when you lose fourteen pounds.’

stop buying clothes a size smaller
pieces of advice: stop buying clothes a size smaller

12. Learn to let go of people who consistently don’t make time for you.

13. You will be so glad that you Kept your CD collection!

I still have my CD collection.
I still have my CD collection.

What advice would you give your younger self? Let me know in the comments below!

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Rebecca Hall Passing Film Review

 Rebecca Hall Passing: African Americans in Harlem
African Americans in Harlem

Passing is a 2021 film directed by Rebecca Hall based on the novel of the same name by Nella Larsen. Set in the roaring twenties and firmly within the clutches of the vibrant Harlem Renaissance, two old friends cross paths during a chance meeting. What makes their meeting remarkable, is the fact that both, light skinned African American women, are masquerading or passing as white women.

The movie starts on a hot summer’s day where we meet Irene Redfield known as Renee, played by Tessa Thompson, waiting in line in an all-white toy store, her facial features deliberately obscured by the lace brim of her hat. She appears to hide beneath it. As spectators, we have the privilege of knowing why, whilst the white patrons around her seemingly have no clue. That she is pretending to be white to gain access to a particular space during a time of segregation and high racial tensions. Overcome by the sweltering heat, Irene catches a taxi, with ease, to the exclusive Drayton Hotel.

Whilst sipping on her beverage at the hotel, a blonde stares openly, confrontationally even, at Irene who becomes noticeably more uncomfortable. Looking around her in bewilderment, perhaps for an opportunity to escape.

This is a very poignant moment for the audience who see the women juxtaposed. We know that both are passing, however one is confident in her surroundings so much so that she fools the other into believing that she is actually white. The ‘white woman’ who is glaring at her begins to feel like a tangible threat in blowing her cover. She eventually approaches Irene and there is some confusion when the blonde woman, played by Ruth Negga, professes to know a bewildered Irene. She introduces herself as Clare Bellew, an old college friend, now a striking character. Their reunion is warm and Clare invites Irene to her suite where the two discuss their lives.

Clare cuts a glamourous and haughty figure, impressive even, but as she talks it becomes apparent that whilst both are light skinned black women who share a past, they have chosen opposite life paths. Irene, the wife of a black doctor in a black neighbourhood appears perplexed when Clare discusses her fear during her pregnancy that her child would ‘turn out dark.’ Irene quickly cuts in saying, ‘mine are dark’ so that there is no confusion as to what her identity is, despite admitting that she passes occasionally for convenience, hence why she is at the hotel in the first place. Irene’s discomfort is visible and she makes an attempt at leaving but Clare insists that she stay. Shortly after, Clare’s husband arrives at the suite and she introduces Irene to him. He greets her with ease, none the wiser about her ethnic origin. In fact, he is so comfortable in her company that he reveals that his nickname for his wife is ‘Nig,’ clearly a nod to the olive tone of her skin and the offensive racial slur. Clare reacts by laughing like a giddy schoolgirl at her husband’s ignorant bigotry and continues to do so when he professes to hate black people, ironically not knowing that he is in fact in the company of two black women, one being his very own wife. Rebecca Hall captures the palpable anxiety of being found out in Passing so easily.

It becomes obvious then, to the audience that what unfolds, is her former friend’s warped and desperate attempt to be accepted into white society. Much unlike her own occasional indulgences in passing in order to benefit from fleeting privileges. She makes haste to leave and relives the experience in disbelief and anger to her husband once she returns home. The absurdity of the event means that she completely ignores Clare’s invitation via letter to meet once again.

Unfortunately for Irene, Clare has more forthright plans and once she realises that Irene has ignored her letter, takes the liberty of showing up on her doorstep and inviting herself in. It could be argued that the moment Clare crosses the threshold of their black household, marks a metaphorical shift, whereby she removes her white mask and becomes black once more.

Here we see the ease with which she lets her guard down. There is a palpable relief that the viewer feels seeing her re-adjust to her ‘negro’ identity. This can be seen with the ease in which she speaks to Irene’s black maid, both of them dipping their feet in a basin in the backyard. This scene also marks an irony whereby despite living as a black woman in Harlem Irene refuses to converse with her maid in the same conversational manner that Clare does and arguably denies her the small dignity of at least that type of perceived equality. As a result, it could be suggested that whilst she lives as a negro woman, she utilises her privileges as a lighter skinned woman when she sees fit. Here we see that Rebecca Hall also holds Irene accountable for her own hypocrisy, however miniscule it may seem compared to Clare’s passing.

As stated previously, Clare is a charismatic and glamorously attractive figure and it’s not long before her charm sees her infiltrate Irene and her doctor husband’s own social circle. These scenes depicting her being accepted into their circle, even as a passing ‘negro’ woman, encapsulate the warmth and easy acceptance sometimes extended by the black community to others. Rebecca Hall explores how the concept of pretty privilege rears its head in Passing. The allure of Clare owing to her pretty privilege is just as central a concept as her passing as white.

Inevitably a sort of one-sided tension builds up between the two women as Clare appears to charm all the men she meets in their friendship circle, including her own black husband who had once scoffed at the very idea of Clare and thought her a very odd character owing to Irene’s story about her laughing at her racist husband’s jokes. This tension mounts to a crescendo that pushes on to the end of the film. What makes it all the more gripping is Clare’s seeming obliviousness through it all- is she or isn’t she aware? The audience are left pondering. Whether she does or doesn’t, the predicament they will all find themselves in, is set to be one of epic proportions.

Have you watched Rebecca Hall’s adaptation of Nella Larson’s book Passing? Let me know in the comments below!

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Cheers to New Year Goals- not Resolutions

new years goals
new years goals

My new year goals for 2022 have taken me a bit longer than planned but better late than never I say.

I have seen a distinct lack of ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ on social media at the start of this year- I think that’s brilliant and here’s why.

From my own experience New Year’s Resolutions are easily broken which results in an instant feeling of failure and potential self-sabotage. For example, as a preteen I remember being in a restaurant stating that I wanted to have more prominent cheekbones. No sooner than I had announced this, somebody reminded me that we were in a restaurant and that I was literally sat eating chocolate marble cake with lashings of heavy cream. It would have been funny if I’d been old enough to spot the irony. Instead, it created a f*ck it moment which just made me want to eat more of the same. My instant failure made me want to punish myself and I believe that the concept of New Years’ Resolutions do the same. The rules are so stringent that it sets us up to fail. Take me for instance on this New Year’s Eve. I had planned to stop ordering take-aways- when my chicken kebab arrived at 11.55pm on the dot, five minutes before midnight. Had it been a resolution, I would have already failed, however since it was a rolling goal that I gave myself to work towards, I felt no disappointment with myself or any negative emotion associated with failure.

Happily, I have seen people list their goals without so much as the dreaded ‘R’ word around. It seems that people have grasped the concept that we need to go easy on ourselves by setting longer term attainable goals that we can work on continuously.

So onto some of my new year goals for this year:

Write more short stories

This is probably one of my favourite prose forms to write in. It doesn’t require the same planning, tenacity and time investment as a novel but the indulgence of just pouring over the pages is just as rewarding. I definitely plan to write more of these this year.

Get back into sending submissions

Any writer should know by now that rejection is about as normal the sun rising in the morning. It will happen and it will happen again and again. It is part and parcel of the process. It’s really important to understand this and can actually keep you motivated to keep going.

Re-edit my novel (protagonist name change)

I completed my first novel a long time ago. Then I dropped it for some creative writing side projects- bad idea in stalling on this. Some time has gone by now and the name of my protagonist just won’t have the effect that it would have had I acted sooner. Lesson learned.

Set up an activity diary

I would like to be more strategic with how I list and plan activities.

Less time on social media

What can I say? Like many people, I really need to cut down on time spent scrolling aimlessly through random feeds. This one is so hard though!

Stay on a low sugar diet

I recently wrote about how I cut most artificial sugar out of my diet.

What are some of your main new year goals for the year? Let me know in the comments below.  

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How to reduce sugar intake right now

how to reduce sugar intake
how to reduce sugar intake

Knowing how to reduce sugar intake is a handy skill to have when  battling an addiction to sweet treats, and aren’t we all? On September 12th 2021 I decided to drastically reduce my sugar intake in my diet and here’s how it went.

There are very few benefits if any, to consuming large amounts of Sugar. It is a known fact that it leads to weight gain and can contribute to tooth decay on the lower end of the scale and heart disease and diabetes on the higher end. Nonetheless, consuming a surplus of sugary treats is socially acceptable and even expected. At seminars, training days and  work meetings we find platters laced with sweet treats in the form of cakes, chocolates and biscuits, ready to give us our next sugar rush. In addition to this, if we aren’t offered sugary food on a platter in real life, people’s social media feeds are embellished with food porn of the sweet variety.

I realised that I was consuming too much sugar when I found myself having a monthly Haribo binge at a specific time of the month. I would buy a large pack of the Supermix variety and found myself eating more incrementally each time. I went from two large handfuls to half the pack in one go- to eventually devouring the whole pack. As it goes, these monthly sugary cravings weren’t even the tip of the iceberg. I was habitually eating handfuls of sweet biscuits and dipping them into my tea in the evenings, as well the odd mini cake or chocolate bar. I was also addicted to fizzy drinks. It was apparent that like so many of us, I was addicted to sugar. The body has an amazing way of communicating with us and we often know when we are abusing it. That feeling of guilt after eating too many sweets or fatty foods? Yes, that’s our intuition along with our bodies telling us that perhaps we ought to be a bit more mindful in our self-care. For me it came in the form of tiredness after consuming sugary snacks or carbonated drinks- the obvious symptom of an energy crash after having spiked my insulin levels so rapidly.

I took to the internet trying to learn how I could even begin to curb my sugar addiction- yes, addiction. Previously I wouldn’t have accepted this to be a thing, however I was finally able to admit it to myself and wanted to do something about it. Below I will  outline how to reduce sugar intake in  simple steps.

The first thing I did was to educate myself. Yes most of us have a basic idea of what is good for our bodies and what isn’t. In fact, when we make poor choices we often know this and that we are over indulging. I knew perfectly well that drinking excessive amounts of sugary carbonated drinks, sweets and biscuits were not conducive to a healthy diet, however I really had to sit down and inform myself on what could be at risk if I were to continue with my habits. Upon learning what the specific disease risks were, I set about finding more practical information on how I could make informed choices on what I chose to snack on, sugar wise. The British Heart Foundation Website really outlined the importance of understanding that sugar had MANY different names. I began to learn the lesser known ones and made a note to also avoid them within reason.

 Aside from educating myself on how to reduce sugar intake, I learned that my huge sugar consumption also came down to a range of different factors which were:

Mainly allowing for huge gaps between meals without snacks, not even slow release ones. As a result, by the time I returned home in the evenings I would be ravenous and reach for something gratuitously sweet and readily available.

A lack of meal preparation then fed into this, also increasing the chances of reaching for a sugary snack.

Forming poor habits in the form of allowing myself to consume harmful amounts of sugary substances without allowing myself to dwell on the consequences they might have.

I started to religiously read the backs of food packets in the supermarket. I would spend ages, pouring over the nutritional information. To my dismay, I found that so many so called ‘savoury’ foods had sugar contained in them. Things as simple as a jar of pasta sauce or a tin of baked beans or soup, even savoury cheesy biscuits! You name it, sugar was everywhere. I did it though. I made a point to find no added sugar alternatives and went with them. I felt a growing sense of achievement that I had successfully removed sugar from my life. Admittedly I became one of those annoyingly smug people who  gleefully told people that I didn’t eat sugar when they offered me treats. Of course, they were impressed every time because sugar addiction is absolutely no joke and most of us, who can consume sugar (non-diabetic) absolutely will.

At this stage, the hardest thing was letting go of chocolate as I knew it- large creamy bars of regular milk or dark chocolate. I found something called ‘black chocolate’ in a brand called Montezuma. It was 100% cocoa solids and contained no sugar. I was slightly nervous when I took it home and anticipated the taste. After all, this was going to be all I would be able to have from now on, I thought glumly. When I tasted it, it had a strong bitter kick but tasted rich and surprisingly moreish. I allowed myself to eat three squares at a time, adjusting myself to it and happy in the knowledge that it was at least, as an antioxidant,  good for me. I was in fact being very good, but if I were to instruct someone on how to reduce sugar intake, I would not advise this stringent, punishing method of going cold turkey on sweetness. Still, I continued with it.

At this first stage of my sugar free/ low sugar journey, I refrained from eating absolutely anything with sugar in it.

I cut out:

  • All sweets, cakes, biscuits and chocolate apart from ‘black chocolate.’
  • Processed breads containing sugar
  • Processed tinned foods such as beans and soups containing sugar
  • All sweet drinks including fresh fruit juices

I managed this for two straight months. However after this something began to happen. I started to  physically struggle with the absence of sweetness. You would think it would have gotten better, however I was run down and exhausted battling winter illnesses on top of being a human being who simply wanted something sweet sometimes. Still I refused to fold. I actually produced alternatives for these times which I will speak about in another post- they really helped to keep me on track.

With Christmas on the horizon I began to think about what I would have for dessert on Christmas day/Boxing day. I decided that I would bake a cake and in this instance, break my rule of not consuming fresh fruit juice. Yes! I would make a cake and sweeten it with pineapple juice, I thought to myself. Ingenious, I thought, mentally patting myself on the back. In the end, I was too busy with Christmas preparations to make this cake and ended up having a sugar free whipped dessert from the supermarket. It wasn’t the greatest to be honest but I survived it!

Remarkably I somehow managed to avoid every sweet treat that was in my cupboards this Christmas season and there were and still are too many: multiples boxes of chocolates, a pack of chocolate rolls, two packs of chocolate brownie treats, a tin of Roses, a special pack of shortbreads presented in a mini- lighted house, the list goes on and yet I somehow managed to let not one pass my lips. I am genuinely not being boastful here and I do believe that a part of this mental resolve comes down to the fact that I felt a great sense of achievement from knowing how to reduce my sugar intake and somehow, eating a sweet treat, would ruin all the progress I’ve made so far and possibly have a negative effect on me. Besides this, high sugar foods do make me crash badly and I have genuinely benefitted from ridding myself of that unpleasant feeling.

The main two pieces of advice I would give someone on how to reduce sugar intake would be:

  • Educate yourself on what sugar in excessive amounts does to the body so that you know why you are making this choice and to help keep you motivated (this was major for me).
  • Only cut down your sugar intake to an extent that you are comfortable with. In hindsight I believe that I was excessively harsh on myself at the beginning of this lifestyle change and have since reintroduced moderate amounts of (mostly diluted) fruit juice into my diet for nutritional purposes. I am considering taking Manuka honey for its benefits if I get a cold or flu as I currently don’t eat honey as it is still technically sugar but a naturally occurring one.

I hope this has been of some help to someone. Have you ever reduced your sugar intake? How did it go and what did you cut down on or substitute the sugar with?

Let me know in the comments below!

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How to Improve Essay Writing Instantly

how to improve essay writing
How to improve essay writing instantly.

Knowing how to improve essay writing isn’t easy but it’s one task that most of us will face at some point in our lives. How to write a college essay is a widely asked question and here, we will attempt to tackle that answer in simple, easy-to-follow steps.

What is an essay?

Nearly all of us will have been required to write an essay at some time in our lives, so what exactly is an essay?

An essay is a relatively short piece of writing on a specific subject with an aim of expressing an opinion or to propose or explore an argument. The writer usually presents their ideas using different techniques, for example in critique or commentary form. An essay may contain authoritative, researched pieces of information alongside the writer’s own opinions. Furthermore, quite often, an essay is less formal than a dissertation.

How to improve essay writing?

So where do you start? The two major components of essay writing are planning and structure. To know how to improve essay writing is to know that you must think ahead. So always start with your planning first. For some basic writing organisation tips, click here.

The most basic form of planning is creating a brainstorm. A brainstorm is a visual collection of ideas stemming from a labelled topic in the centre of your page like this.

This is where you can loosen your inhibitions and let your ideas run wild. You might use phrases, singular words, concepts, names, perspectives and other ideas to get the ball rolling on potential subject matter and perspectives to use later on. Another idea here would be to find synonyms of some of the words you have come up with as they could generate further ideas for you. Of course, knowing how to write a college essay isn’t dependent on you creating a brainstorm to plan, you can also plan using bullet points, paragraphs and venn diagrams.

After you have completed your initial plan, you will want to start working on trimming off the fat- meaning deciding which points you widely want to cover in your essay and others that might make minor points or that you might miss out on altogether. Once this is done and you are sure that you have included all of the points and perspectives that you want to cover, you will be ready to form the main body of your essay. If you want to know how to improve essay writing, in terms of structure read on:

Your essay structure should contain an:

1. Opening statement

write an opening statement
Write an opening statement.

This usually acts as the introduction of your essay where you will make a summative statement addressing the topic you are going to speak about. Here you will provide a brief piece of context. This informs your audience whilst anchoring your point.

For example: ‘Of Mice and Men is a fictional story which covers a number of characters who co-exist on a ranch during the Great Depression in America.’

2. Thesis statement for essay writing

Your thesis statement is your assertion, which is what you believe and the primary overarching point that you are trying to make in your essay throughout.

For example- ‘In this essay I will be discussing how the writer Steinbeck presents Crooks as a social outcast who has a secret desire to make friends with others on the ranch.’

Everything that comes after this statement will be you using a variety of points, persuasive techniques and evidence to try and argue this point to the reader.

We don’t actually know for sure that the writer wants to present the character as having this ‘secret desire’ as I have worded, however the technique I have used here is, opinion as fact and the rest of my essay will be using evidence from the text in the form of quotes, character analyses and the social backdrop of the text to persuade the reader of my argument.

Write an opening statement.

This usually acts as the introduction of your essay where you will make a summative statement addressing the topic you are going to speak about. Here you will provide a brief piece of context. This informs your audience whilst anchoring your point.

For example: ‘Of Mice and Men is a fictional story which covers a number of characters who co-exist on a ranch during the Great Depression in America.’

2. Thesis statement for essay writing

Your thesis statement is your assertion, which is what you believe and the primary overarching point that you are trying to make in your essay throughout. For the purpose of this article, I will use Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck as a model text.

For example- ‘In this essay I will be discussing how the writer Steinbeck presents Crooks as a social outcast who has a secret desire to make friends with others on the ranch.’

Everything that comes after this statement will be you using a variety of points, persuasive techniques and evidence to try and argue this point to the reader.

We don’t actually know for sure that the writer wants to present the character as having this ‘secret desire’ as I have worded, however the technique I have used here is, opinion as fact and the rest of my essay will be using evidence from the text in the form of quotes, character analyses and the social backdrop of the text to persuade the reader of my argument.

In essence, this is what an essay is: a persuasive piece backed by evidence from a number of sources. Of course how to write a college essay based on a piece of fictional literature often includes taking most, if not all evidence from the book itself rather than other sources that you might use when discussion non-fictional topics.

3. Body/Main part of essay writing

main body of essay
The main body of an essay consists of a series of paragraphs.

This is self-explanatory and where the fun begins. This part forms the meat of your discussion and where you really get to drive your points to the audience, whilst using evidence from the text. This section of your essay will consist of a series of paragraphs. Part of knowing how to perfect essay writing is understanding how the structure should work.

You will have a series of paragraphs:


Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3

Each paragraph should include:

Point: The statement you want to make.

Evidence: in the form of a quote or piece of solid evidence from the text e.g. the plot, a characters’ actions or a symbol which illustrates or highlights your point.

Analysis: This is where you explain and justify how the evidence validates your point.

Link: Here you link back to the original point to sum up the paragraph.

Below I have demonstrated how to write a college essay by structuring your paragraphs accordingly.


Paragraph 1

Point: Crooks’ longing for companionship can be seen when he points out where the other men play cards. A place that he is forbidden from entering because of the colour of his skin.

Evidence: He states, ‘They play cards in there, but I can’t play because I’m black.’

Analysis: This quote shows that Crooks’ is aware that the colour of his skin is used as a barrier to social interaction with the other men on the ranch. However the fact that he points out the location of their social activity, a place from which he is excluded, shows his longing desire for companionship.

Link: Here it can be seen that the location where the other men play cards serves as a reminder and symbol of Crook’s marginalisation. He is physically on the outside looking in and the very fact that he is aware of their social activity and his exclusion from it on the basis of his skin colour adds to his sense of isolation and a secret desire for friendship with others.


Paragraph 2

Point: Crooks has a number of books which are described as ‘a tattered dictionary and a mauled copy of the California civil code for 1905,’  as well as ‘battered magazines and a few dirty books on a special shelf over his bunk.’

Evidence: The fact that Crooks is in possession of multiple books would suggest that he has some time on his hands on account of being isolated for most of the time. Furthermore, the fact that the condition of those books are described as being ‘mauled,’ ‘battered’ and ‘tattered’ suggests that he spends much of his time alone with his books.

Analysis: The fact that Crooks has read his books over and over to the extent that they are in a deteriorated condition shows us that he has no outlet for social interaction with others. In this way, his fixation with his books serves to ease his natural longing for companionship.

Link: Crooks’ possessions are a source of pride to him as well as entertainment which makes up for his lack of friendship. Escaping between the pages of books allows him to pass the time that he would have spent playing card games with the other men thus highlighting an unspoken want to be socially included.

You will continue to illustrate your points using this method for each paragraph perhaps going into even more intricate depth and the use of more quotes for your analysis segments.

4. Conclusion

Here you gather the points you made in the body of your essay and state how you believe you have successfully proven your original thesis statement at the beginning of the essay to be true through your chosen evidence.


In conclusion, throughout this essay I have illustrated how glimpses of Crooks’ desire for friendship has presented itself in numerous ways in the text, Of Mice and Men. This being through the way in which he pointed out a location where the others played games signalling a painful awareness of his exclusion as well as the ‘battered’ books which kept him company in his little shed.

I have only provided a sample of a conclusion above however yours should briefly touch on each main point you made in the essay to prove your argument.

So now you know how to write a college essay and how to improve essay writing in general. Will you be using these techniques in the future? Or do you already employ some of these techniques? Let me know in the comments below!

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How to Get Motivated in 5 Steps Now

how to get motivated
how to get motivated.

If you’re wondering how to get motivated, why not start here and read through these five tips to help you get back on track.

We all have goals, tasks and necessary errands that need to get done. It doesn’t matter what they are, we all need help from time to time, conjuring up the motivation needed to achieve them. Your goal could be as simple as getting round to making that application or as large as writing a book. If you do happen to be writing a book, check out my previous article on this.

Think of motivation as something that you need to ignite within yourself at set times instead of something you should always have. There is a time for everything, including having relaxation time, so If you hold the belief that being motivated is a state that you should always be in, then not being motivated can be, well, demotivating and it becomes and endless cycle. I hope that wasn’t too much word salad for you!

Instead, it’s important to know that we all go through different stages which require different levels of motivation. For those times when you find it difficult to pick yourself up to complete the important tasks, try these six tips.

Tip One: Who will you be if you keep this up?

How to get motivated, visualisation method.

How to stay motivated you ask? Use this visualisation method. Look at yourself as you are now. This could be in a literal sense by looking in a mirror if your goal is a physical one such as personal grooming or fitness related or in a more figurative sense by taking time to think about where you are in life right now and the distance between yourself and your goal or task. If you don’t take action where will you be a year from now? I know when I do this, it kickstarts me towards taking the steps needed to get started. The last place you want to be this time next year is even further away from your goal. Use your currently untapped potential to warn yourself of the not so pleasant results to come (an unrealised you) in the future if you don’t act soon.

Tip Two: Write it down

The simplest way to get motivated is to get organised with a good old pen and piece of paper. I have previously mentioned in this article how beneficial it can be to make lists. However, how many of us are actually listing our goals and then listing the actions needed in order to make them happen? This simple, no thrills method, makes all the difference- let me be a testament to that fact!  In fact any written form, outlining your goals and plans are a valuable way mapping out a clear way to achieve them. Check out my previous article, detailing how to use different methods to do this, here.

Tip Three: Start a small exercise routine

Want to know how to get motivated within a matter of days? Start up a small achievable exercise routine. Don’t overwhelm yourself as it’s always good to start small for two simple reasons. The first being that a small simple routine will help you stick to it. The second being that if you can stick to it, you have then kickstarted motivational energy, that energy can then be used to fuel other goals. Work on one goal at a time until that goal no longer feels like a goal and instead becomes a habit, then work on the next one and so forth. This is a process that can take months but if you remain consistent, you will see your motivation levels increase.

Remember: Motivation can be contagious so when you have achieved it, you can then turn to other goals and start transferring that energy and discipline towards them.

Some ideas for simple work outs are:

A light dumbbell routine

A low impact YouTube video

A ten-minute stretch routine

Breathing and posture exercises

Tip Four: Create a Vision Board

Vison board enthusiasts know just how to get you motivated. Yes, ten people have probably suggested this before me but vision boards really do work. According to Psychology Today, pursuing goals that keep you motivated will increase the likelihood of you achieving them, hence the major tip I’ve outlined  above about the benefits of starting out small.

Tip Five: Visualise your end product

This visualisation technique is similar to Tip One, except it is in the reverse. This time imagine your end product. How will you feel once you have achieved your goal? Imagine how you will look physically after achieving it. What positive lasting impact will it have on you and your perception of what you can achieve?

Remember, it takes one small, sustained action to motivate yourself towards one particular goal. Take the faith of a mustard seed approach and pick a time to start that small habit. Then take small actions to water it like a plant each day. Go easy on yourself and slowly but surely you will start to see growing results!

Do you have any tips that keep you motivated to share goals? Let me know in the comments below!

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Beat writer’s Blues in 3 steps

Beat writer’s blues in 3 simple steps.

Writer’s blues is inevitable. We’ve all been there, dissatisfied over the snail-like progress of a project, the persistence of writer’s block or doubts about our competence. However with just three steps designed to change the way in which you look at yourself as a writer and your work, you can begin to say farewell to writer’s blues.

Create a mission statement

Just as a company or a school has a mission statement, write one for who you are as a writer. A mission statement is a set of values and objects which tie into one another in order to achieve a particular goal. Your mission statement might look something like this:

I am a Science Fiction writer working on a standalone novel. My aim is to create an in-depth novel with compelling characters and I will achieve this by attending a writer’s workshop and enlisting beta readers during the process. In order to maintain my artistic licence, I will not pressurise myself with deadlines and will work towards an overall attitude to enjoy the organic writing process, however long it may take.

A blogger’s statement may sound a little different:

I am a food blogger who contributes to a lifestyle blog. My aim is to create twice monthly articles on my experiences with food and I will achieve this by frequenting at least two food festivals or markets monthly and taking snapshots alongside notes, adding them to a log. In order to achieve this goal, I will select my content from these logs and upload my articles on the first and third weeks of each month respectively.

See? Each person’s mission statement will look different and writers need to know this. If every writer was privy to this and created their own mission statement, we might be able to write off Writer’s Blues altogether. Instead of putting pressure on ourselves to perform to invisible standards that nobody has of us, we could actually create our own reasonable standards.

Now what might those standards look like I hear you say? My answer is that they need to be both realistic and conducive to your wellbeing. Don’t burn the candle at both ends trying to create a mini-series or thrice weekly blog articles because not only will they burn you out, but consequently your content might also suffer. Instead, evaluate what works best for you, put it in writing and then act on it.

Trust the process (Fiction Writers)

Cast your mind back to a time when CD’s were the most popular format and think about how often some of the most successful music artists used to put out albums. It was about every 2-3 years. Some highly acclaimed artists would have gaps between albums far longer than that but nobody would complain. Want to know why? Because the value placed on their work superseded the need for a quick cheap thrill of a mediocre album from them.

Depending on your genre, the same goes for fiction writers. Lavish over your project, give it that extra time it needs and don’t yield to the pressure of getting it out there for the sake of it.

There’s something romantic and quaint about stepping into that role of writer. Of needing an endless supply of tea or coffee to keep you going, of staring into space in the middle of the day, concocting a scene or that next storyline, pyjama days the list goes on… bask in it all! It’s a beautiful process.

Allow yourself to get lost in other content, guilt free

I am definitely guilty of this. I am a writer and a bookworm but there’s always a battle because whenever I get tucked into a book, at the back of my mind every now and then, a little voice will say, shouldn’t you be writing? Ignore it! Your interests fuel your passion so perusing other content might give you that inspiration or boost that you need once you’re back in the writing seat but don’t feel like you have to choose one or the other. There’s a time for both and both are definitely beneficial.  

Say no to writer’s block

Seriously, I mean it. In my article 5 Actions for Writer’s Block I urge readers to reject it completely. By this I mean, if the ideas aren’t coming, put that pen or laptop away and take it out another day. Give your mind the opportunity to generate ideas organically by stepping away for a day, a week, a month. Moreover, don’t be pressurised into performing. It’s this feeling that is at the crux of writer’s blues. Reject it and come back when writing actually feels good again.

I hope these suggestions have been helpful in helping you beat writer’s blues when it rears it’s ugly head. Let me know in the comments whether which of the above steps you would consider using and whether you think a mission statement would help you out!

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What Inspires Me to Write?

The beautiful glowing tones of the leaves, showy and shimmery before they make way for the icy winter are what I look forward to.

It is well and truly into autumn now and I must say that as a writer I find the season especially inspiring. The beautiful glowing tones of the leaves, showy and shimmery before they make way for the icy winter are what I look forward to. I wanted to share a list of several things that inspire me to write.

People and places

I admit to being a keen observer because I enjoy watching life around me. Strangely enough, because I enjoy bearing witness to mundanity, this helps me as an author of Literary Fiction. My genre isn’t about racy plotlines and exaggerated drama. In fact in this article I wrote, I discuss the fly on the wall perspective of the genre. Something as simple as watching someone call after someone who has dropped their wallet, or watching a person purchase something for themselves, no matter how simple can make you think in a writerly way.


I used to be a major foodie. I’m not sure what’s going on at the moment but I can never quite seem to get around to eating dessert these days. Nonetheless, the experience of food to me is quite significant and I enjoy inserting this into my narratives. I write more about this here. You can get lost in the texture of your food, it can spur on memories and give you something to look forward to. If it doesn’t inspire an idea, at best it can inspire some useful writing exercises!


Music is my first love. Writing was always there but came much later as something that I felt capable of doing. I don’t actually incorporate music into my writing sessions which probably sounds strange given my love of music. But that’s the thing, I love it so much that music wins every time! With that said, I find it much easier to use music as a resource for prompting and writing exercises.

As you can probably see, it doesn’t take much to inspire me to write. In fact, the more boring the detail and subtle the nuance, the more likely I am to actually pick up on it it’s a good thing I don’t try to write action packed stories!

Writers, bloggers, creatives what inspires you to write?

Let me know in the comment section!

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Editing Tips to Keep You Motivated

As most writers will know, it’s inevitable that at times, our motivation levels come to a standstill.

Motivation is a key issue that affects writers. Many of us get ideas and set about crafting them into a work in progress.

 I’ll sheepishly put my hand up and admit that whilst I brainstorm and loosely knit my ideas together before a project, I am not a diligent planner. Instead of creating pages and pages of neat plans and diagrams and character profiles, I definitely get straight to mucking in. I like to think of my process as a plate of spaghetti and meatballs- it’s somewhat messy- but I like it that way because I have a lot of strands and meat to draw from at all different angles when I’m writing instead of sticking to a storyline plan.

It’s all great when momentum builds but as most writers will know, it’s inevitable that at times, our motivation levels come to a standstill. I wanted to share with you about how I recently remedied this with one of my works of fiction.

My protagonist was invited to an event at a bar (for the umpteenth time in the story) and I was wondering how I could muster up the enthusiasm to create yet another bar scene. Especially when my protagonist was hesitant about going in the first place. I didn’t blame her, I, the writer was sick of her going to the bar and the prospect actually made me lose my motivation to write for several days, so I put my project down.

Then a solution popped up in my head, a very simple no-brainer that I would encourage all writers to employ. I ditched the bar scene entirely! Consequently, I felt an instant weight off my shoulders. Sometimes certain scenes are very necessary, however when we plan to execute them in unoriginal or unimaginative ways it can make us feel demotivated to write them. If this is the case, DITCH the scene- but allude to it instead like I did- you can do this in a number of ways. I call this pre-emptive editing and it helps you to get over the demotivation hurdle.

3 Editing Tips to Motivate you

Tip One

Create an inner monologue with the character reflecting on or thinking back to the scene. Here you can add as much or little detail as you like depending on what works to drive the storyline forward.  

Tip Two

Enrol characters in conversation about said scene and have fun with what details they offer up about it. You can insert humour, tension, excitement- whatever emotions are relevant.

Tip Three

If you are writing in the third person, employ an omniscient voice to fill in the gaps about what happened. This could take up just one paragraph instead of a whole scene (you know, the one you were dreading writing in the first place?)

This works best using the past perfect form of the verb, for example:

Evan had spent the best part of an hour strolling around the palladium before he spotted Lina canoodling with another man. She had been leaning against him, one open palm resting on his shoulder as they watched the sunset.

So in effect, you cut out the scene that you were dreading writing in real time and find a way to allude to it authentically, instead.

For those of you who are stuck in a rut with a particular scene, I hope that this inspires you to adjust it in a way that motivates you to write.

Non-fiction writers- have you ever taken a U-turn when writing a piece? How did you go about doing this and were you happy with the end results?

Let me know in the comments below!

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How Toni Morrison’s works Inspired me to Write

Her rich narratives inspired me to write with depth and without constraint.

When I recently saw Toni Morrison trending on google my stomach flipped. How likely was it that she was trending because she had broken the internet with a controversial picture or been involved in some tasteless topical scandal or a public spat with a peer? Highly unlikely. Toni Morrison was a Nobel prize winning writer who stood on the platform of her integrity to inspire others and scatter her gems of wisdom among us literary types. So when I saw her trending, I thought the worse and sadly I was right. Her recent passing has really saddened me, not only because she was arguably one of the greatest writers whoever lived, but because stumbling on her work as a child is what inspired me to write. It might sound odd but for the longest time I always considered it a privilege that my favourite author was still living and breathing while I was.

An Early Introduction

My introduction to her work came through a copy of the novel Paradise which I found laying around one of the spare rooms in my grandmother’s house. At my young age, a lot of the sentence structures and dense metaphors were beyond me. I was unfamiliar with words which read like art. My first encounter with how she wove her words together so abstractly intrigued me and I hoped to one day access her stories.

I was second time lucky when the motion picture of Beloved was released. A part slave narrative about a woman named Sethe who (now freed) is haunted by the child she sacrificed in her infancy. Sethe lives with her surviving daughter Denver When a mystery woman named Beloved appears out of nowhere and wreaks havoc on their household. Oprah Winfrey bought the rights to the novel and  starred alongside Danny Glover and Thandie Newton in the 1998 motion picture. I was captivated by it and it soon became one of my favourite films. Of course, the novel was even better.

A Life’s Worth of Writing

Toni Morrison did with words, what I hadn’t thought possible. She wove intricate portraits that humanised the suffering of a historically oppressed people. She brought the narratives alive that compelled people of all backgrounds to sit, up, take notice and empathise. Moreover, she inspired me to gather my experiences and spill them onto blank pages through one of her most memorable quotes:

“If there is a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

I absolutely adore this quote. It’s nurturing and yet earnest about the need for us writers (arguably the biggest procrastinators) to be proactive in creating the art that we want to consume instead of waiting for what may never appear. She did exactly this with her own work and thank God she did! I can’t imagine a world without her stories in it. Morrison juxtaposed the traumas of slavery with the infinite possibilities of newfound freedom in Beloved, she liberated her characters without minimising their suffering.

In The Bluest Eye, which I discussed in this previous post, she holds up many mirrors which enable us to see how little black girls view themselves both internally and externally, how their beauty and worth is viewed both within and beyond their own communities and the external factors which help to either shape their strong sense of self-worth (Claudia McTeer) or lack thereof (Pecola Breedlove).

Her works serve as historical artefacts; fictional ethnographies that speak to the very real socio-historical experiences of black women and yet can engage everyone. Her stories are many things at once: harrowing, brutal, awakening, educational, honest, beautiful. I’m just grateful that she inspired me to pick up something that I love- painting pictures with words. And for that I am truly grateful.

Have you ever read anything by Toni Morrison? If not, which writer’s work has inspired you the most? Let me know in the comments below!

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Being a Writer in a Heatwave is Hard

Extreme weather is bound to have an effect on your writing sessions…

Being an author is hard work. You only have to eavesdrop on the conversations of writers to get my gist. You will hear soundbites such as writer’s block, lack of motivation, I’ve just discovered I hate my protagonist etc. It can really be a labour of love but I believe that getting through all of those emotions and the practical debris of the craft is what really makes a writer. You get to show what you’re made of. There is a huge factor that makes writing hard and that we sometimes can’t control and that thing my friends, is life.

In my last article I spoke about creating the perfect writing environment. Sometimes however, the elements have ideas of their own. The UK has recently been in the midst of a heatwave (as has the rest of Europe)- at its’ peak hitting temperatures as high as 38 degrees. You can imagine that at that sweltering point, opening windows and operating fans have had zero impact on me creating my perfect writing environment. You know things are bad when you’re sitting still and the weather decides on your behalf that no matter what, you will wilt like an ice cream. In short, my writing has suffered somewhat but I have to be okay with that because I am human.

Good intentions, not so great outcomes

Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your writing plans conspire to go south.  I started my week as I meant to go on despite the furnace-like temperatures and aimed to transfer that same motivation to my work. However, this heat has made me feel physically faint and exhausted during the nights when I would usually be writing and so I have had no choice but to listen to my body and give it a bit of a break.

I am somewhat of an organic writer and that works for me, however if this UK heatwave returns, I will need a bit of reinforcement in order to push ahead. I will propose two tactics to my usually organic writing process:

Word count

I will enforce a minimum wordcount on myself. You don’t do this? I hear you say- The answer is not really. I write when I am inspired and enthused and when I am not, I stop. That way you stop Writer’s block dead in its tracks as I discussed in this previous article. I definitely do check how many words I have written after a session though as I find it useful to know.

Write notes ahead

Sometimes feeling unmotivated to write doesn’t mean that you should stop writing altogether. Why not write up some notes that will keep you ahead of the game in the next session? My manuscripts are full of incoherent paragraphs containing disjointed sentences and singular words. They act as a guide to my next scenes and thought they would look illegible to anyone else, they act as a beacon for my storylines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up really pleased with myself because I have more insight into where my project is going. Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is a huge incentive for us writers.

So, when the going gets tough, what tactics would you propose to keep yourself going?

Let me know in the comments below!

How To Calm Your Anxiety down

how to calm anxiety down
How to calm anxiety down

The question of how to calm anxiety down became one of the biggest of 2020. In fact the overarching events of the difficult year cast an umbrella of uncertainty over people from all walks of life. Nobody went untouched in some way, shape or form and anxiety became a collective experience shared by many.

Anxiety is a feeling of uneasiness usually marked by an emotion of worry or fear. According to the UK Household Longitudinal Study (UKHLS) average mental distress levels were 8.1% higher in April 2020 ‘than it was between 2017 and 2019.’

I am no stranger to anxiety myself, however, this didn’t stop global events from heightening my experience of the dreaded emotion. Here’s how I manage anxiety when it rears its ugly head.

Slow Down to Calm Down

Take the time to be still and take stock of how you are feeling. Try to pinpoint which exact thoughts are making you feel this way. You won’t be able to find a solution if you can’t pinpoint the problem in the first place.

Put Pen to Paper to Calm Anxiety

Write to help calm your anxiety.

Next write your worries down. Writing bullet points or even creating a spider diagram can act as a tool used to assist you in how to calm anxiety down. Making the issues tangible can allow you to address them and make plans to tackle them in a more practical manner in due course. Writing can be a very therapeutic exercise. Check out my previous article on Writing Project Ideas for Adults.

Do Some Exercise

Take up exercise to increase endorphins and calm your anxiety down.

Doing exercise increases your endorphins which are the hormones responsible for our happiness. For a more in-depth explanation on how endorphins actually work, check out this article.

This is where getting your body moving comes in. Why not calm your anxiety with a quick burst of physical activity? You can go for a brisk walk locally, schedule in a gym session, go for a run or do a YouTube Workout video such as this one, completely free of charge.

Listen to Some Music

Create a special playlist to help calm down your anxiety.

Wondering how to calm anxiety down instantly? Use music as therapy and pop on your favourite tune. Music is powerful and it can connect us to both positive and negative emotions. Identify the music that uplifts you. Why not create a Spotify playlist to help calm your anxiety.

You might want to find music which:

Energises you

Makes you feel optimistic

Makes you feel nostalgic

Makes you feel completely relaxed

Overall, you want to craft music lists that take your mind off of your anxiety and lift your mood to a different state, even if temporarily.

You might want to craft several lists that have you feeling different positive emotions.

Just Do It!

Sometimes, we feel anxious because something is looming over us. We know we have a chore or task to do that might fill us with dread. There’s a document to sign or a phone call to make. When we leave these tasks undone, it leaves more room for our minds to wonder and for us to maximise the actual significance of them over our lives. I am very guilty of doing this. I can procrastinate over things until I start to worry about them. When this happens, I will usually make a quick list, either mentally or on paper and commit to ticking off those boxes at some point, even if it takes me weeks or months.

None of the suggestions I have given provide permanent solutions on how to calm your anxiety down, however, through personal experience, I can attest that they can definitely help. What methods do you use to calm your anxiety?

Let me know in the comments below!

Best Tips for Writing a Book Now

tips for writing a book
Tips for writing a book.

So you’ve decided to take the plunge and you need tips for writing a book. One thing is for sure, this process will not be a walk in a park, but it can be a very insightful and enjoyable journey if you take the right steps to make it happen.

Years ago, I wrote a short story as part of a Creative Writing module on my degree course. About three years later, I decided that I wanted to turn my short story into a novel. It was a long process of trial and error but below here are my tips for writing a book.

Are you ready for the journey of writing a book?

Tips for writing a book: are you ready to write a book?

The first thing you need to realise is that this is a large commitment. Ask yourself are you passionate enough about your book to truly commit to the time needed to complete it? The first of my tips for writing a book would be to establish your commitment to writing your book. You need to immerse yourself into your storyline or subject matter depending on whether it is fiction or non-fiction. I write both and I personally find it easier to create a world with fiction and get lost in it while I write. Of course, running into issues such as writers block and writers burnout is inevitable but I have some highly effective tips for dealing with this.

Create a schedule for writing a book and stick it

Writing a book: create a schedule.

This is probably the queen of all tips for writing a book. You must write regularly and to some type of pattern or schedule or you will lose momentum completely. Writing a book is like starting a car, you need to get the ignition started and keep the engine moving with fuel. How you fuel yourself in the writing process is dependent on the positive habits you take up surrounding your writing. Sticking to a regular schedule will help you get into a motivational rhythm which will make it more likely to achieve writing a book. You can be as strict or liberal with your schedule as you like depending on what is realistic for you; it could be three evenings a week OR 6pm to 8pm from Monday to Thursday each week. It is entirely up to you, though I would encourage that you create a writing schedule which will form a habit which will enable you to eventually achieve your goal of writing a book.

The great Maya Angelou had a little known routine that she stuck by for most of her writing life. Here’s what she said of her writing routine, which is illustrated in this Business Insider article:

‘I rent a hotel room for a few months, leave my home at six, and try to be at work by six-thirty. To write, I lie across the bed, so that this elbow is absolutely encrusted at the end, just so rough with callouses.’

Now it’s time to figure out what routine might be conducive to help you achieve your dream of writing a book.

Makes notes like crazy

make notes
Writing a book: make notes.

Another of my tips to writing a book is to make notes. Lots of them! Knee deep writers will understand this all too well- one of the most effective tips for writing a book is making notes. Notes bridge gaps between scenes and chapters. Chapters bridge gaps between a work in progress and a whole book. Books don’t write themselves, you need constant material to write to and the most progressive way to do this is to make notes. I have previously discussed the importance of making notes in this article. In a Guardian article, writer PD James speaks of his tips for writing a book:

‘By the time I begin writing, the plot is there and there’s a chart which shows in which order the things come so that the structure is right. But that will change, as new ideas occur during the writing, which makes the writing very exciting.’

In writing fiction notes can be used to:

Create descriptions of characters

Write scene ideas

Convey the emotions of characters

Plot the next few events in a novel

Describe the scenery of a setting

Write about spontaneous plot twists

In non-fiction writing notes can be used to:

Create chapter content ideas

Write anecdotal pieces

Write case study ideas

Sketch graphical ways to present information through mind maps, charts etc.

Organise ideas with bullet points

Believe in Your Story

Do you believe in your story enough to see it through to the finish line? If your answer is yes, then you already possess a vital component to your potential success in writing a book. If you have the conviction and belief in your own work then you have already overcome a large part of the hurdle to writing a book. I achieve this by only embarking on writing projects that I am genuinely interested in and passionate about. This is what creates the buzz and fun which spurs me to keep writing until I have finished a project.

Take Your Time

An important thing to remember when writing a book is to pace yourself. Depending on what you are writing and word count, how you schedule your writing and other external factors a book can be completed in as little as a few months to years to complete. It took me many years to write my first book because not only did I keep putting it down for a few years at a time but also I was slowly learning the process of how to become a prolific writer and actually create the volume and quality of work that was needed to complete my story.

If you want tips for writing books used by some of the world’s most acclaimed authors, check out this Goodreads list.

Have you ever considered writing a book and which tips would you use to help you? Let me know in the comments below!

good writing habits

6 Good Writing habits to Develop Now

Good writing habits during uncertain times

I made a good writing habits article during the Covid-19 Pandemic a few months back. However as the UK enters another Lockdown period and ongoing restrictions in many countries across the world remain, the subject unfortunately remains a relevant one. I would be lying if I said this hasn’t affected me. My writing style is largely based on immersing myself deep into my writing craft, however who can ignore a worldwide pandemic? As a result I have continued to formulate tips which enable me to write strategically and incrementally, giving myself time to be human and to not pressure myself. I have formulated good writing habits during the Covid-19 pandemic in order maintain my craft. The first UK Lockdown that began in March 2020 was unlike anything we have ever seen or experienced in our lifetime. Restricted to our homes and only permitted to leave for one hour of exercise per day, it was one of my biggest challenges. I have an immense gratitude for having gotten through it but it has been very trying. There have been times where I have had to stop watching the news in order to steady my anxiety about the uncertainties of what they are now calling the new normal. I have to be really honest and state that as a writer it takes a lot of resilience to keep going during these times when there is the ever-looming possibility that this really is the new normal. Read on for my six tips.

Keep Getting your Exercise

good writing habit
A good writing habit can be getting out for exercise and fresh air.

Take the time out to get fresh air and exercise. It doesn’t have to be major cardiovascular exercise. A simple walk will do. You just need to get your endorphins going to stimulate your productivity. Believe it or not while this isn’t directly related to your writing it will put you in a good headspace to start facilitating good writing habits.

Write lighter

A looming project can feel pretty heavy when we have other worries on our minds. Take up a writing project like one of those I’ve suggested here in this earlier post. A light-hearted writing project that you can use as a hobby can be relaxing and ease some of the anxieties that come from pressurising ourselves to perform in our main writing projects.

Don’t focus on what others are doing

When England went into its first lockdown period in March 2020, I was completely inspired to see people on Social Media pushing themselves to be the best version of themselves. I saw people consistently releasing top quality content, achieving health and fitness goals, finding endless ways to entertain themselves and others in the process during a very restrictive time. While I exercised regularly, I did not achieve any major feats and that was okay. My focus was on trying to mentally navigate what was happening and the shift of society as a response to Covid-19 in what is now known as ‘the new normal.’ We are all trying to cope with things the best way we can and when we compare our goals and achievements with others it can blur what is actually important, which is the fact that you are trying your very best (even if it doesn’t feel like it) given the circumstances.

Time your writing

If you think it feels too overwhelming to develop good writing habits, start off with short stints of writing. Anything from ten minutes of straight writing to see what you come up with is a great start that could lead to more. It’s about finding something that you are passionate enough about to want to continue.

Make a checklist to motivate yourself

In a former blogpost I listed some of the benefits associated with making lists, including a sense of achievement. Sometimes, even making a simple list and completing a number of tasks within your project can make you feel better about yourself.

Take it one day at a time

Writer’s guilt is a real thing but now is the time to be kind to yourself. Employ tips to help yourself to create but stop putting pressure on yourself to write if you feel uninspired. You can always pick up a fun writing project or even put your bookworm hat on for the evening. Remember writers need to read!

Have you developed any habits during the lockdown period to help you with your creativity? Let me know in the comments below!