Monthly Archives: February 2019

How to Become Better at Writing

Whatever your age, writing can be an immensely rewarding hobby. However, while it is fun and creative, it can sometimes be a little daunting putting your ideas and thoughts into words. Here are a few quick tips to give you the confidence to become a better writer.

Tip #1: Write Regularly

Many writers suggest writing every day. While this is good advice if you have the time to do so, many people with busy schedules will find that they can only write at certain times; e.g. at the weekends. The essential point is to set time aside regularly. If weeks go by without writing a single word, you will quickly lose momentum. Remember procrastination is a writer’s enemy!

Tip #2: Start Small

A beginner who sits down to write a full-length novel will inevitably run out of steam after just a few chapters. Good writing requires practice. So if you are a fiction writer start with a couple of short stories. If non-fiction writing is your preference start with some short blog posts. This way you can try out different ideas and hone your thoughts. Start with small manageable projects, and in time you will be able to tackle the longer ones.

Tip #3: Be Clear and Concise

The famous author George Orwell said it best: “Never use a long word when a short one will do”. Readers like to read clear and concise prose; nobody will be impressed if you try and show off your vocabulary. Keep things simple and always proof-read, edit and spell-check your writing.

Remember no one is a natural-born writer – it takes a lot of work and patience. Happy writing!

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How having a hobby makes you happier and healthier

Having a hobby is a wonderful thing. Sadly, many people don’t have hobbies, either because of work or list ‘watching Netflix’ as a hobby. Whilst watching TV technically does count, it loses out on the benefits of more traditional hobbies. See below as to why having a hobby makes you both happier and healthier!

Social Connection:

Hobbies generally lead to interacting with other people. While there are hobbies like writing that are usually done alone, most solo hobbies have potentional for meet-ups through groups, classes, etc. Most people don’t connect outside of work and online, so making new friends is great for making you happier and keeping your mind healthier.

De-stress:

Day-to-day life is tough for everyone. Having a hobby can temporarily help you forget your worries, or even clear your mind so much that you have renewed energy to tackle your problems. In addition, if you participate in an active hobby like boxing, adrenaline releases endorphines which helps make you happier.

Exercise:

A hobby that gets your heart racing will definitely make you healthier and maintain weight, which is both good for your mind and happiness.

Giving back:

Hobbies tend to require a lot of volunteers. Whether you join a volunteering organisation, or your local hobby’s club, hobbies tend to require giving back to society. Volunteering makes people happier by helping someting bigger than themselves. This also makes you healthier as a happy mind lends to good, positive mental health.

Now that you know the wide range of benefits that hobbies provides, go out and find one! There’s many to choose from. And remember to have fun.

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Writing Fiction – how to get started

Writing fiction can be a wonderful thing – it can also be frustrating, time-consuming and expensive. People may not like your style, they may disparage your efforts (‘Anyone can write fiction,’ is heard all too often by budding writers, usually uttered in a scoffing tone of voice by someone who hasn’t written a word since their primary school homework. Here is how you can get started writing fiction

Where Do You Get Your Ideas

Keep a list of amusing anecdotes, story ideas, even one-liners that amused or moved you. You never know when a story or piece of writing will need a little something extra, and your ideas list might hold the answer for you. Start carrying a notebook and pen around with you (or use the memo app on your smartphone) and pay attention to everything that is going on around you – we pass by hundreds of stories every day, see how many you take note of.

Grammar Does Matter

It does not matter how wonderful your story-telling is, if you write it down badly, you will lose your reader. Some beginner writers think that ‘someone else’ will tidy up their bad grammar, poor spelling and awkward syntax. This is incorrect – it is the job of the writer to send out a piece of writing that is as close to perfect as they can get it.

Send, Send, Send

Submit your work anywhere and everywhere. Read the briefs on the submission pages of magazines and websites and make sure that your piece matches their needs, and submit away. Of course, you must be happy that your story is ready to be seen, and it must be polished: but the more you send out, the higher your chances of being published.

Finally – and obviously – keep on writing. Write a little bit every day, if you can, and do not let rejections or negative feedback put you off. If you want to write: then write.

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