Staying Postive and Productive: Ideas, Tips + Tricks

Hellooo,

Before I get into this blog post, I wanted to share something super exciting. Recently, I have become a writer for Flanelle Magazine and my first article was posted on the 18th talking all about the importance of keeping art alive during this crisis. It is meant to be uplifting, positive, and inspiring, so go check it out by clicking the link down below. It would mean a lot!

COVID-19: The importance of keeping art alive in quarantine

Now, back to business.

I thought it would be helpful to share a post on how to keep positive and productive during all that is happening right now. It is easy to get caught up in the negativity of it all (trust me, I know), but I want to help steer you back to the bright sides. Those are that now, a lot of us have time we didn’t have before. There is a downside to that of course because, for some, they have lost their jobs and in no way am I discounting that. However, how I see it, is that there is nothing any of us can do to change that at the moment. Anyways, with this time we are offered the opportunity to try new things, work on things we might have neglected, and overall, have more time to ourselves which is important and often overlooked.

Today, I will be sharing some ideas, tips, and tricks on how to stay positive and productive while also not ignoring what is going on around the world.

Idea #1: Start a Journal

I used to journal a lot, but ever since I started first-year, I haven’t kept up with it as much. However, lately, I have been making an effort to get back into journaling since it is all about letting go of the negative things you may be feeling and reflecting on your life. I haven’t been journaling every day, but I have been trying to a few times a week or whenever I am feeling especially discouraged. I highly recommend it during a time like this. It is so therapeutic and sometimes, I find myself writing for anywhere from 15-40 minutes.

Idea #2: Explore a New Creative Hobby

I emphasize on the word “creative” hobby because as I talk about in my article linked above, being creative and creating art has a huge effect on how you feel, think, and act during somber times. Whether you want to get better at baking, painting, writing, or photography, take advantage of the time you have right now to improve and explore that creative realm. For more on this, check out my article here.

Idea #3: Create a Schedule for Yourself

Whether you did this before self-isolation or not, I encourage you to make some sort of daily schedule for yourself even if it is a very loose one. Having this structure that we are used to because of school, work, etc and not losing it by creating one that fits our new, home lives is essential to keeping busy, productive, and happy.

For example, I am still working at my job (once a week though because I still have school work to do) on Sundays so my “weekends” have become Fridays and Saturdays. Anyways, on weekdays, I will wake up at 7:30am, read from 8am-9am, and then get started on any work I have to do. This includes schoolwork, my own writing, and writing for my jobs. I will do this until around 4pm or 5pm and any time after that will be spent watching movies, going for a walk, or whatever else keeping in touch with friends and family. I have also been trying to exercise a few times a week which is either me going on a run or working out at home. This has helped me stay sane during everything, and I really recommend incorporating something of a schedule into your life.

Tip #1: Surround Your Productive Plans with Fun Plans

I have found that while always working at home and not being able to go sit in the library or in a coffee shop to change up my environment can be discouraging and really deplete my energy, making plans to call someone or watch a movie with my family helps to ensure I push forward. I recommend making these “fun” plans something social, or at least, sometimes something social. However, if you limit how often you watch TV, movies, read, etc by yourself, those will also work! It helps keep you on track because you look at your schedule and are like “okay, I have plans to FaceTime, my friend, at 7pm so I have to get everything done by then otherwise I can’t call them.”. It is like the equivelent of making dinner plans or just going out and realizing that yes, you still have to get your work done.

Tip #2: Make Going Outside a Priority

It’s weird that something as small as going outside has become so prioritized in everyone’s lives now. It is so important to take a walk every day or sit in your backyard a few times a day during self-isolation. I would even say that going outside could be your “fun” plan for when you get your work done. Nonetheless, schedule it into your daily routine every single day because you will find that it is easier to stay motivated and positive while getting your daily dose of fresh air.

Trick #1: Plan Future Endeavours…Even When You Don’t Know When They are Going to Happen

One thing that is time-consuming and keeps my spirits up is planning for trips that could happen in the next couple of months. I don’t recommend putting money into booking a hotel or a plane ticket quite yet, but spending time researching places and fun excursions to do once self-isolation is over will really help you to look into the future rather being too stuck in the present. I also recommend finding people to do them with!

Those are all my ideas, tips, and tricks to keeping positive and productive in the next few weeks and I hope you found them helpful! Make sure to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below.

Thanks for reading and stay healthy!

Last Blog Post: WIPs, Camp NaNoWriMo + More

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Reading on a Budget

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Happy Friday!

Being a broke university student, I have been thinking about how I read and how much money I have saved this year regarding books.

Here are my tips for reading on a budget whether you are a student or just want to become more conscious of where your money is going. Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or ideas because I would love to know!

#1 – Library Books

This is the obvious one, which is why I am getting it out of the way right now. But yes, libraries are the best and cheapest way to read because they are free! A lot of people do not own a library card which is crazy because the library is such an amazing resource not only for reading but for connecting with other lovers of books. I am always taking out library books to keep up with new releases that I want to read. I request them from my library before they are even out and then I am usually the first or second person to get them! Most libraries also offer free audiobooks and ebooks through different apps. For example, my library uses CloudLibrary. It’s an obvious tip but here is your reminder to use your local library!

#2 – Borrowing from Friends

I know some people are hesitant about lending their precious books out but I have never been one of those people. I love to share my books with my friends and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy forcing them to read my favourite books. My boyfriend and I give each other book recommendations and lend books to one another all the time. Once I am done my current reads for school, I will be picking up Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson because he highly recommended it to me. I’ve also read 1984 by George Orwell at his request and in return I have shoved The Outsider by Albert Camus and Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid at him. The point is, sharing is caring.

#3 – Save Buying Books for Special Occasions!

Something I have been experimenting with is saving my book buying for a special occasion. If I get through a really hard week or if one of my most anticipated books is coming out, I will use that reason to treat myself. However, don’t do this too often during the month. I will only buy one book a month maximum not only to save money but to keep the book-buying a special thing. It’s also a helpful tactic to limit my book buying and rely more on libraries because my collection is reaching the 300s and there are still so many books I haven’t read yet that are still sitting on my shelf and gathering dust.

#3.5 – Read a Chapter and Decide

If you want to treat yourself to a book for the month but don’t know which one to choose, whether there are just so many you want or if you want to pick a book you know nothing about, I have a method that works pretty well for me. What I do is I choose three books from the shelves based on the cover or maybe because I heard of it before. I take those books and read the first chapter of each one. Whichever one hooked me the most is then the one I get. Although, if you go into a bookstore and nothing stands out to you then maybe think about saving your money. Treat yourself to something different or wait until there is a book you really want.

#4 – Online Resources

First things first, I do not mean illegally pirating books off the internet. What I mean by this is that lots of older novels, poems, short stories, etc can be found online for free. I discovered this since I am taking a class on Victorian literature and for it, we have a massive textbook that I often do not feel like lugging around. So, one day, I searched up the poems I had to read for class and what do you know! I found them on the poetryfoundation.org website. Later on, I realized the novellas we had/have to read are also on there. Those stories are A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens and Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. If you are into classics and whatnot, search the title of it and add “pdf” to the end of your search and it may just pop up.

Well, there you have it! Those are my four and a half tips on reading on a budget. I hope you found it helpful and insightful in your reading life. Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media which is all linked down below.

Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: March 2020 TBR

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All Things Camp NaNoWriMo: My Plans, Ideas + Tips

Hellooo

Can you believe it’s already almost March? Aka the month before Camp NaNoWriMo! Me either.

Since it is right around the corner, I decided to make a post discussing all my plans and ideas for Camp NaNo since I actually plan on participating. I finish classes by April 3rd and don’t have exams until the 18th and 24th so if all goes as planned, I will have a lot of time to write.

Anyways, time to discuss all things Camp NaNoWriMo!

So, what am I going to be working on this April?

If you have been following my blog for the past 2 years, you would know that during April 2018, I worked on a novel idea centered around Aztec mythology. Basically, I will be continuing on with that. I am starting fresh though. I’ve changed a lot of things about the story and my approach to it, so I am hoping to just get a solid rough draft that gives me a good idea of how I want to go about it. And hopefully, it sticks.

That is not to say I haven’t been working on it all these years though. I worked on it during Camp NaNo July 2018/summer 2018, and I’ve also worked on short story versions of it since. I love the concept, the world, and the mythology, there are just a lot of possibilities and I’ve had a hard time decided which route I want to take it. However, I am just going to keep working on it until it feels right.

What’s my word count goal?

Like I said, I finish classes in early April and only have two final exams later on in the month. That being said, my goal is going to be 15,000 words. I don’t think it is a good idea for me to write 50,000 words after only writing here and there for the past several months, so I decided to give myself a smaller yet still, significant word count to try and hit.

My tips for Camp NaNoWriMo: Time management, motivation, and ideas

While I haven’t successfully completed NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNo since last year, I’ve still participated in it my fair share of times (and have won a few!) so I thought it would be nice to share some of my tips and tricks for writing all the words.

#1: Set aside time to write

Wow, isn’t this the most basic tip of all?

But in all seriousness, this is a common yet extremely overlooked tip. A lot of the time we plan to write at some point during the day but we don’t slot a certain time to do it. I recommend keeping a certain time in mind when you want to sit down and write. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, for example, if you put aside an hour at night but get a lot of writing done during the day by chance, then congrats! If you want, you can still write in the evening but you got your writing done!

Just having some sort of time period you plan on dedicating to writing, even if it’s not precisely that time, is incredibly important and helpful to your success with writing.

#2: Create a productive atmosphere

If you’re office or room or kitchen or wherever you write, is a mess, tidy it up a little before you begin writing. I’m not saying you should get out your sponge and mop and deep clean the place, but at least clear the space around you. I am very guilty of not doing this and I’ve definitely noticed a difference in my productivity levels, whether I am writing or doing homework, when I take care of the space around me.

#3: Start of your writing session with a warm-up

I used to rave about writing prompts and I still stand by their value! Sometimes I do this when I don’t feel in the mood to write. I will find a prompt on Pinterest that interests me and write a little story for 5-10 minutes inspired by that prompt. It helps to get my creativity flowing and sometimes, aspects of that little story make it into my current project.

Another thing I’ve noticed from doing these warm-up exercises before my writing sessions is I can write for longer periods of time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this every single time I write, but I try to save it for when I feel the most uninspired.

 

Those are my plans, goals, and a few tips for Camp NaNoWriMo this April! I hope you enjoyed and found the tips useful. Let me know if you plan on participating in Camp NaNo and what you are working on because I would love to know!

Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Silver and Gold by Zoe Mathers

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Tips for a Successful Side Hustle

typewriter

Happy Thursday!

Sorry for no post on Monday, but since I am pre-writing a bunch of blog posts over the next two weeks before school starts (yes, I am actually being productive for once), hopefully, that won’t happen again for a while.

Anyways, today I will be sharing my tips and tricks that I learned throughout my two months of pursuing freelance writing as a side hustle! I love reading about this kind of stuff myself because I think it is a really good idea to have a side hustle. Something that you enjoy, and can profit off of even if you don’t make a whole lot.

Here are five tips from me to you!

1. Make Time for It

Because it is called a “side hustle”, sometimes it can get neglected more than it should. When you begin a side hustle, make sure you do have the time and energy to put into it! Figure out when and where in your schedule it fits in best, and carve that time out weekly for you to work and grow it. Just like a full-time job is usually from 9-5 and five days a week, maybe your side hustle can be from 7-9 and two or three times a week. Whatever works for you.

2. Make a Plan and Follow It

With any new career, especially if it’s freelance, it is essential to create a plan for it. You need to outline your first steps, your overall goals, and then everything in between. With this plan, it will be a lot easier to figure out what twists and turns you need to take in order to achieve success with your side hustle.

For example, my plan for my freelance writing business was to start small. I charged a very small fee for my first few blog posts in order to build up a little more clientele and background. As I keep going, I make my fee a more justifiable amount and continue to build up my portfolio!

Your plan doesn’t need to be incredibly detailed or long, but it should give you enough of a base to work off of.

3. Treat It As Important As Your Full-Time Job

Your side hustle should be important to you and therefore, worthy of your time just like your full-time job. If you look down upon it in comparison to your other job, then it will start to lack because of that. Remember that just because your side hustle is that, a side hustle, doesn’t mean it should get pushed too far away to the side. Make sure it is being seen, heard, and attended to!

4. Don’t Pour TOO Much Money Into Your Side Hustle

It is also important to remember that when it comes to the money aspect of starting your own side hustle business, the amount of money you pour into should definitely be limited. Because like I said above, a side hustle is that, a side hustle. Don’t pour all of your funds into it otherwise you may very well be left with nothing! And besides, a side hustle isn’t meant to take over your entire life and career. Usually, you begin a side hustle because you want to make a little extra money on the side doing something you enjoy!

5. Don’t Let It Distract You From Your Full-Time Job

For a THIRD time, a side hustle is a SIDE HUSTLE. While you need to give it a certain amount of time throughout your week in order for you to see actual development within it, you cannot let it take away all your time (especially at the beginning of its start-up) away from your actual job. You know, the one that is making you the real money to oh, I don’t know…pay for your food, your rent, your clothes, your life, etc, etc. Don’t neglect your full-time job because you have a shiny, new side hustle!

Here are some awesome books on pursuing a side hustle that you should definitely check out!

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days

100 Side Hustles : Unexpected Ideas for Making Extra Money Without Quitting Your Day Job

I hope you found these five tips on how to run a successful side hustle helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post, as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Attack of the Reading and Writing Slump

 

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Attack of the Reading and Writing Slump

Happy Saturday!

Currently, I am finishing up my vacation and the very thing I had been dreading has occurred…if I am being honest, it was brewing the week before I left too, but I refused to acknowledge or accept it but…

I am in a terrible reading and writing slump.

There, I said it. I knew they were both here by the copious amounts of Glee episodes I had binged and lack of words I had read or written in the past week and a half. While summer is the perfect time for me to get ahead with everything, it is hard to read and write a lot when that is all I have to do during the day.

Saying all of that, not only is my reading and writing in jeopardy because of the disastrous, horrifying beast known as the “slump”, but my productivity has been slowly slinking away from me this entire summer. Once again, I had, and for these last two and a half weeks as well, all this time to do whatever I wanted! At first, I took advantage of this. In July, I read around ten books and wrote almost 20,000 words. However, coming into August, I was nowhere near as productive and found myself losing the will to even try to do something worth doing other than binging Glee.

One huge part of this terrible slump though is the self-doubt that arrives hand in hand with it. There was and is, so much I want to get done this summer both reading and writing-wise, but I just haven’t! I wanted to read more classics and finish draft one million and something of this project I’ve been writing for over a year, and write pitches for my university’s local newspaper, and get into a good workout routine. Some of these I did manage to do for a little while, but I could never seem to stick through with them.

Self-doubt is something that hits me hard in the summer when I suddenly have mounds of time. It targets me right in the gut, knocking the wind out of me and then twisting my insides around and around and around. It will drive me to do something, like read 50 pages or write 1,000 words, but it won’t feel enough. Sometimes, it will drive me to do even more then, leading me to risk exhaustion or burnout, but I’ve reached the point where it makes me want to give up from the task altogether. At least, just for a little while.

It’s difficult to discuss this with most people because those people around me don’t read or write or have a creative outlet at all. Those people are used to not using their time reading or writing and because of that, they don’t understand why I stress out when I am not doing either of those things. They will wave their hands and tell me to “just let myself relax”, but if only it was that easy!

If I weren’t starting school in 18 days, I would spiral even further into my hole of laziness and self-doubt, but luckily a rope will be thrown out to me soon enough. This really does not sound like the healthiest way to get over a slump, and it’s not. However, I’ve decided to slowly immerse myself in reading and writing during these last two weeks and try (emphasis on try), to not push myself too hard and bully myself when I don’t crank out 10,000 words or read 3 books in a single day.

Currently, I am reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and am around halfway through. I have not read on this trip whatsoever, but I am going to try and spend around 30 minutes reading it before I go tomorrow. I really do enjoy the story and really want to finish the book, so hopefully, when I get home, I can do that.

As for writing, I mentioned my desire to write some pitch ideas for my university’s local newspaper, and that is what I’ve decided to work on next. They are always looking for humour pieces because nobody ever submits those, so that is what I am going to try and tackle! Humour isn’t my usual genre, but I guess I’ll give it a shot.

Anyways, that was my rant on my current struggles, and hopefully, it is something you all can relate to at times! When I get home, I am going to attempt the remedies of a reading slump that I list in my numerous blog posts about it, because as of right now, I cannot get my hands on my favourite book which always does the trick for my slumps.

I hope you enjoyed this post and don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are linked down below! Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: 3 Tips for Upping Your Social Media Game

 

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3 Tips for Upping Your Social Media Game

Happy Thursday!

Despite being completely free from the chains of high school and living days suddenly filled to the brim with free time (that I have not been using productively lately…), my social media game has still been wavering. Because of this, I thought it would be a good idea not only to share some tips on upping your social media game with you guys but with me as well since I clearly need some help too!

Anyways, I hope you find these helpful and that you enjoy 🙂

  1. Prep Content – Sometimes the day gets away from us and suddenly, any natural light is gone and your hope for taking a nice Instagram picture is gone…which is why you should prep pictures and content in advance! If I want to post to Instagram and I carve out around 20 minutes, I will take multiple pictures during that time instead. This saves you time and promotes consistency which leads to my next tip…
  2. Be Consistent! – Consistency in anything leads to success. If you have a blog, a YouTube channel, or any type of social media account, being consistent on these platforms is the easiest way to expand your following. Figure out what days you want to post on and make sure those posts are going up those days. While life is busy, I really recommend posting more than once a week. Personally, I want to try and post three to four times a week on my social media, and three times a week on my blog. This is what works best for me, and is the best way for me to make sure I stay consistent and active!
  3. Be Real – Nobody wants to follow someone who is fake. Be honest and real with the community on social media, and in time, you will grow and prosper! Sometimes, we don’t even realize we aren’t being fully ourselves because social media especially, forces people into a “perfect” mould that nobody is. Most people try to portray themselves as perfect, but that is not reality so make sure you are only portraying your authentic self!

Those are my three tips for upping your social media game, and I hope you enjoyed! Hopefully, in the next few weeks, my social media game will be back on track because I do love being able to connect with other writers and book lovers.

Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below or available on the sidebar. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How I Plan + Write My Blog Posts

 

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Readathon Reading Routine!

Happy Saturday!

In July, I participated in a total of two readathons and because of that, I developed a routine that led me to (almost) successfully attacking my TBR. We all know I didn’t read one book per day…but I did read around nine books in July so I call that a win.

Anyways, here is what my reading routine looks like during a readathon!

Starting Early ~ Reading in the Morning

One of the reason I got so much reading done was because I started early. Around 9am every day, I would head out onto my deck because in July, it had been super warm in the mornings. Out there, I would not only get a good tan, but also read for around an hour or more. Depending on the book, I would read 50-100 pages in that amount of time. Already, I started off strong and set myself up for a good day of reading!

Reading + Eating

Another time where I managed to squeeze a few pages in was while I ate. Mind you, I am AWFUL at reading and eating at the same time, but I still tried. It also helped that even after I finished eating, I would continue reading to at least finish the chapter I started or even an extra 20 pages.

Afternoon Breaks 

I am someone who cannot spend an entire day reading. My mind wanders too easily and I always have something I can be working on like my writing, my blog, etc, etc. So, because of that, I used my breaks from working to read. Anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour would be set aside to get a little more reading done. During a typical day, I would take anywhere from two to three breaks in the afternoon, so that is a decent amount of reading getting done!

I’M BORED – Reading Time

Without school or an actual job, I find myself muttering “I’m bored” a lot. Usually, this would result in me watching YouTube or just huffing about my boredom for a good 15-30 minutes. However, since it was a readathon, I was like “no, this is perfect reading time”. This should just be a tip for whenever, even if it isn’t a readathon because reading when you’re bored is more productive than moping about it or mindlessly scrolling through social media instead.

Funnily enough, I did not read at night really at all this past month. I used to be a huge “before bed” reader when I was younger but now I can barely keep my eyes open for longer than a page if I try to read at night. If I do read at night, it will be in the bath but even then, I struggle to stay awake. Because of that, most of my reading happened during the day and that was how I read during both the Biannual Bibliothon and the Reading Rush!

Anyways, that is all for my readathon reading routine and I hope you enjoyed! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below or on the side bar. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Books I Would NOT Like If I Read Them Now

 

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How to: Get Out of a Reading Slump 2.0

Happy Thursday!

There are a lot of readathons happening in July so I thought it would be a good idea to share my tips and tricks on how to successfully free yourself from a reading slump.

  1. Pick Up an Old Favourite – My go-to remedy for a reading slump is to pick up an old favourite of mine that yes, I’ve read about 100 times, but love even more every time. For me, this is any Cassandra Clare book, Eliza and Her Monsters or Fangirl. I can read these books countless times and by the time I flip to the last page, they always have me wanting to consume more books.
  2. Don’t Force Yourself to Read – A lot of the time we fall into a reading slump because we are forcing ourselves to read when we don’t want to, or when it is a story we don’t want to read. NEVER force yourself to read (unless it’s for school because then you should probably just try to do it) because that only leads to getting no reading done at all.
  3. Let Yourself Be a Mood Reader – While I make TBRs for most months, they are created from books I really feel like reading at that moment. Luckily for me, if I feel like reading a book at the beginning of the month, I usually still will by mid-month but of course, this is not always the case. So, if you are in a slump or are edging towards one, take a look at your shelf and choose what you feel like reading. Forget your current read and your TBR. Just pick a book you want and read it.
  4. Watch Reading Vlogs – Whether I need some motivation to read or write or be productive, I love turning to vlogs for this. The act of watching someone else do what I want and need to do just fuels me with this sudden motivation to tackle whatever it is. Sometimes I have to watch the entire vlog, and sometimes another (but don’t get sucked into the vicious cycle of only watching these vlogs…try to limit yourself to 3 videos). Other times, I only need to watch the first few minutes and then I am good to go. Here is one of my favourites!
  5. Take a Trip to the Library or Book Store – I go to the library a LOT because it is only a 5-minute walk from my house. Even if I don’t pick out a book, sometimes it is helpful to just be surrounded by books. About 90% of the time, this makes me desperately want to pick up a book and spend the day indoors, absorbed in a new (or old) story.

Those are my 5 tips on how to wriggle free of a reading slump and I hope they were helpful! This month, I am participating in 2 readathons and in the next few days, I will have my TBRs up for them. Also, I will now be posting on Saturdays as well so look out for those new blog posts! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Tips for Creating Your Writing Portfolio

Happy Monday!

Whenever the summer approaches, I get in the mood of wanting to finally start putting together my writing portfolio (which I never actually do, but this year I will!!) so I thought I would share with you guys what I’m doing to get mine prepped and ready, and some tips on how you can do that as well. I’ve done a post like this in the past, but since then, I’ve learned some more valuable tips and tricks when it comes to making it. Anyways, onto the post!

What Is a Writing Portfolio?

A writing portfolio is a collection of your best-written works that are on display for future employers to look at, offering them examples of your writing for them to debate whether they want to hire you or not. These are the pieces that you have put a lot of work and effort into and are the pieces you believe showcase you as a writer best.

Examples of Pieces:

  • Blog posts on topics related to what you are interested in and associated with
  • Short stories
  • Essays on topics you are interested in and associated with
  • Poems
  • Excerpts of FINISHED novels
  • News articles
  • Screenplays
  • Stage plays

TIPS:

  • Make Sure Nothing Is More Than 2 Years Old – You want to showcase your updated writing skills because every time we write, we get a little bit better. After 2 years, you definitely would have gotten a LOT better, and you want to exhibit that to potential employers!
  • Write Pieces Associated With Your “Brand” – By this, I mean don’t write things you think employers want to read. Write about what you usually write about because that is who you are as a writer. You want to come across as authentic as possible in your portfolio.
  • Incorporate As Many Writing Styles Possible – If you blog, write poems, and write short stories than that is great! Incorporate as many writing styles as you enjoy doing because that will make your portfolio much more diverse for potential employers. Personally, my portfolio will include blog posts, short stories, poems, essays, screenplays, and news articles (in the future) because those are the things I like to write.
  • Only Showcase Your BEST Writing – Don’t add something in that you just wrote and only gave a quick look over. Put in pieces that you’ve been working on for a while and have gotten your full attention.
  • Develop a Portfolio Over Time – The thing about creating your writing portfolio is that it takes time. You can put some pieces you’ve already polished up into it, but it is something that you should add to over time. For example, I’ve just written a few pieces that I am pretty proud of over the last 2 months, but this summer, I am going to be working on them a bit more just so they are the best they can be.
  • But Give Yourself a Timeline – I know I said let it develop over time, I do mean this, BUT you want to have something useable ASAP at the same time. What I’m doing is I am trying to get at least 4 of my already written and edited pieces (that I will work on over the summer) in my portfolio (which will be accessed through my blog) by the end of summer…so August 31. It is just a good idea so you are giving yourself lots of time, but not an infinite amount that means you will never get it finished.
  • Use As Many Pieces As Possible – Don’t use every piece you have ever written, but the more the better. I read an article that suggested you have anywhere from 10-35 pieces. Again, the 35 pieces end of it would be your portfolio after a few years of adding to it, but still, it is good to provide future and potential employers with lots of examples of your writing.

That is all for this blog post and I hope you enjoyed! My main tip though is to take your time. Put effort into your pieces and good things will result because of it. Anyways, don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts (because I am active on Instagram again!) linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: How To: Write + COMPLETELY Edit a Short Story In ONE Week

 

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How To: Write + COMPLETELY Edit a Short Story In ONE Week

Happy Friday! (Just kidding. I decided to post this a day early so happy THURSDAY!)

This past week, I have been writing like a madwoman because as always, I put things off to the last moment. This “thing” I put off was a writing scholarship portfolio that is due actually today when you are reading this, so fingers crossed, the submission process for future Zoe went well.

Anyways, I always do things last minute, especially writing things, so I thought I would give some of my tips for fast-drafting and polishing up a short story in a short time span. Also, apparently May is short story month so this is the perfect time to share this blog post with you all. Hopefully, you all find this helpful and if you have any tips of your own, make sure you leave them down below!

  1. Outline, Outline, Outline – Even if you aren’t a huge fan of outlining (like myself), I highly, HIGHLY recommend writing out an outline before fast-drafting. Even if it is only a sentence of what happens in the beginning, middle, and end, then that is better than nothing and will help you so much while drafting. This will save you from those moments where you pause your writing sprint because you have no idea where you are going with this story.
  2. Do More Than One Draft – When it comes to short stories, I will try to do a draft a day. Especially if I have at least one week before it needs to be finished and ready to go. If I am even shorter on time, I’ll write draft one in the morning, draft two in the evening and so on. Personally, I like to write at least three drafts. Sometimes more if I think the story desperately needs it, but usually at three I decide it is a good time to let it sit for a moment before diving into edits.
  3. Start With the BIG Edits – Honestly, I do not know the “right” or “proper” way to edit. I do what works best for me which is making the huge changes first. This means cutting chunks out, re-writing sections, and adjusting dialogue and character descriptions. Also, just overall trying to get to my word count goal. I personally don’t see the point in starting with the little edits because I end up slicing up my drafts and barely any of the words survive to see the next day!
  4. Now For the Little Edits – Now, after glossing up your story and finally, FINALLY getting it to your desired word count, it is time to focus on the smaller, yet very important things. This is things like grammar, italicizing words, fixing word order, etc, etc. The little things that make the sentences flow nicely and make them sound beautiful.
  5. Let It Sit – If you have the time to spare, let your story sit for at LEAST one day. If you can afford to give it more, than great. Usually, I only have one day. So, I will give my story that one day and then usually the day it’s due (yes, I know, I’m SO on top of things), I will give it a final tweaking. No big edits though because that could start a total disaster.

Those are my 5 tips for writing short stories while under tight deadlines and I hope they were helpful! Don’t forget to check out my last blog post as well as my social media accounts which are all linked down below. Thanks for reading 🙂

Last Blog Post: Writer Spotlight – Margaret Atwood

 

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