Methods of Effective Brainstorming
Methods of Effective Brainstorming
Writing is an effective way to express your thoughts, opinions and feelings to other people. Writing can be fun as well as entertaining, and there are different ways to use writing in your daily life. However, you’ll need to convey your information in an interesting and concise manner. If you need to improve how to write, there are several ways in which you can learn to become a better writer. You can hone your craft and improve how to write by paying attention to your audience, examining grammar and punctuation, and getting peer evaluation. (more…)
Most people overlook the therapeutic value of writing. It is a great resource and can be used by almost anyone. The act of writing down your thoughts can bring comfort and satisfaction unlike any other activity. And you don’t have to come up with profound, organized and amazing literary pieces, it can just about anything that you think of. Some people write about the things that bug them and the stuff that makes them happy. It can be about small discoveries made in the course of a day or simply an account of your experience. The beauty of writing is that it’s an open activity – there are no set boundaries and no subject that cannot be covered.
The process gives people an outlet and allows them to vent out their feelings. The act of writing helps release you from the pressures and stresses of the day and can be helpful in resolving conflicts and problems. It is also a whole lot cheaper than consulting with a professional.
Most of us are more prepared than we think. Who could forget the loads of essays that you have to write up for English subjects or the tedious process of writing a term paper as a completion requirement for a college degree? These exercises deals with a set structure for writing and makes us familiar with one of the more complicated forms of writing.
The other side to this is doing it for creative purposes. Doing it in this manner will give you a unique sense of satisfaction. You can do it the old fashioned way using pen and paper or take advantage of what technology offers. The Internet plays host to thousands of blogs that covers practically all topics that people can think of. Some consider their blogs as private journals – a place where they can write random thoughts or express their frustrations and disappointments. Reviewing their entries another day helps them come to terms with their situation and possibly, come up with a solution to their problems.
The power and beauty of writing is that it encourages self expression. It allows you to look at yourself more deeply and with better understanding. This process has the potential of developing an extraordinary talent that can help you handle life better.
There is nothing quite as important to me as being in the great outdoors. The quiet and solitude of the woods allows my mind to focus like nothing else I’ve experienced. The lack of connection to the devices we’re all used to having around us all the time clears the head and inspires creativity.
One of my favorite routines is to go for long walks by myself in the morning. For me it is the perfect way to start my day. I can let go of all the to do list items and stress and simply focus on the beauty that surrounds me. Things that might ordinarily seem commonplace take on their own unique aura. Something as simple as sunlight streaming through the pine trees in my backyard somehow has the ability to erase the cares and lighten the load off my shoulders.
Some of my favorite works have been inspired by just such walks. In fact I often use these walks as a way to find inspiration when I’m stuck. I’ll simply throw on my shoes and head out the door. Even just the cold air can be exhilarating enough to stir my creative juices. Once in the woods I’ll just watch nature happening all around me.
It’s easy to get caught up in the minor details of our lives. Nature has a way of humbling us, showing us that there is so much more out there than what is right in front of us. The activities of the forest will continue unabated regardless of whether we miss or meet a deadline. There is something oddly calming about this.
Once in the woods I’ll usually find a place to sit for a while. Then I focus on hearing as many sounds as I possibly can. If this is something you’ve never tried, I would highly recommend it. It’s amazing how much we miss because we are too busy to stop to take notice. Just hearing the wind moving through the trees has the ability to quiet your mind and open it to the creative possibilities that lie within.
The best part about this routine is that it really doesn’t take that much time. In as little as 10 minutes I can renew my energy and rejuvenate my thoughts and focus. For the rest of the day I can simply close my eyes and picture the scene from the morning. And no matter how stressful the day I find myself instantly back in that same relaxed mode.
I’ve even found a way to take the woods with me when I travel. A videographer friend of mine recently acquired a new device for filming from the air. It essentially looks like a drone with a camera. And while I don’t generally like technology such as his flying toy, he was able to film the exact steps I take out into the woods each morning. So now no matter where I go I can simply switch on my iPad and see my morning walk as though I was there. It is truly an amazing thing to be able to feel as though you are home even when you are far away.
It’s easy to get caught up in day to day life and forget our end goals, and the reason why we initially started doing something. Being a family man means working hard but also enjoying time off with my wife and kids. I sometimes forget that I work so hard to provide for my family but if I am not there for them enough because I am always working than that really isn’t enough. Financial support isn’t the only thing I am here to provide. I’ve been looking forward to getting away and enjoying some time out in the wilderness with just the kids, camping and cooking on bonfires for some time. It’s been on our summertime bucket list for quite a while to going camping in the National Park that is 2 hours from where we live. I think that’s something the kids really enjoy as well. I know they really enjoy spending time with me, when they have my full attention and I am not thinking about work. This year I also plan on doing something a bit different, but I’ll do it by myself. That’s to go into the woods for 5 days, by myself, and eat and drink only vegetable juice. No food, no friends, no stimulation, just healthy, fresh juices and some time to reflect and re-prioritize.
My aim for these 5 days is to break free from external stimulation and learn to live in the moment. But there’s also more to it than that. The 5 day detox will help flush toxins from my body faster than simply adding regular vegetables juices to my diet, although I’ve been doing that aswell. During the period that you don’t eat your body switches to its ‘rest and digest‘ nervous system allowing to flush out toxins much more effectively. As an example of how powerful this can be, usually I always get ill at least a couple of times over the winter, with a cold or a cough. Since I did a 4 day detox last year I haven’t been ill at all. This is amazing for me and is really encouraging to try and go a little bit longer this time. It also saves time and increases my productivity because getting ill really saps your energy.
One of my favourite things to do is grilling food over a small bonfire, it always tastes better than cooking it in an oven, so hopefully we can do lots of that with the kids this year. Photography is another passion of mine and recently I’ve been trying hard to become a better photographer, switch up my lenses and vary my exposure times. I hope we get a few clear nights down in the National Park so that I can photograph the night sky using my tripod on long exposure. I also love taking pictures of the kids having fun, and doing outdoor activities, although I much prefer candid photos than anything that is too posed or fake. That’s when people have their genuine smiles and they are really glowing. It’s hard to fake genuine joy and excitement and asking someone to smile really takes that away. Some people can do it , I guess, but I just love to get candid portrait shots. Sometimes I just have to tell people ‘you don’t have to pose for this one,’ because most people are so used to posing. Especially with the rise of ‘selfies.’ I’m looking forward to our trip with the kids, taking photos, cooking and spending some quality time together.
Avoiding Exposition – When writers are trying to get readers to imagine a scent, they can’t just name the scent. If they simply name the scent in question, it probably won’t be much more than an expository detail. Readers don’t usually get much out of declarative language like that. What writers need to do is capture the emotions and the memories that a certain scent can evoke if they want their readers to experience it in any meaningful way.
Emotional Reactions – Sometimes, writers can help readers recognize the scent that they are trying to capture by describing the way the characters in the story are reacting to it emotionally. People’s noses crinkle when they smell something bad, and their faces seem to light up when they smell something good. Writers can get a lot across by communicating feelings and facial expressions like these. If the writers aren’t writing a story and they don’t have any characters to use as proxies for the reader, they can still describe how the reader would react to a given scent.
Indirect Analogy – Sometimes, writers can communicate effectively about a scent by comparing it to something else. Using a comparison that creates a mental image works well. For instance, when describing a floral scent, writers could talk about how something smells like a bright, crisp spring day. People associate flowers with the springtime. Flowers are brightly colored, so the adjective ‘bright’ works well. The springtime image is cheerful, which will bring back positive memories for readers.
Word Choice – Sometimes, the word choices that a writer makes can make all the difference in terms of whether or not the readers will experience what the writer wants them to experience. Some adjectives are more emotionally loaded than others. Adjectives like ‘sweet’ get used so often that they can fall flat on the page. When describing a bad smell, using an adjective like ‘foul’ can work better than using an adjective like ‘stinky.’ Words like ‘rotten’ are good at making the reader picture rotten food, and the readers can imagine the smell for themselves.
Broad Scents – Some things can take on a variety of different scents. Cologne for men, for instance, can smell like many things. There is no generic scent for cologne or for perfume. Writers may have to use multiple tricks in order to communicate the way a perfume smells. Words like ‘fresh’ make people think of cologne that was recently applied. Writers can also allude to the reasons why a person put on cologne or perfume in the first place, so readers will make a connection between those motives and the scent itself.
If someone is wearing a citrus perfume, writers can describe the scent as if they were talking about the fruit, which will cause the readers to picture the fruit. Integrating other senses into descriptions of scents can make the descriptions of scents more powerful. Striking the right tone and creating the right mood is essential when writers are trying to describe or create sensory detail.
One of the main reasons for the family going to the beach is getting that perfect tan. Before relaxing on the beach in the sun, it is important for the family to know how the sun UV rays affect the skin. Sometimes members of a family cannot agree on anything. However, when it comes to taking a vacation, the consensus for everyone normally leads to the beach. Since there are so many fun activities for the family to do, everyone can participate in the ones that they like best. From adults to the children, the beach is a place that everyone can have fun and relax. Relaxing on the beach also serves multiple purposes including getting the perfect tan. However, before the family gets to the beach, there are some key things that should be aware of about tanning and how it can affect the skin. Listed below are some tips and recommendations that the family should read prior to leaving their homes so that they can make the best preparation.
Adults and Children Should Be Careful During Sun Exposure:
The beach is normally the place where everyone seems to be laying out in the sun for hours at a time. The cool beach and the warm sun on a beautiful sunny day can be exactly what the head of the family needs to release the stress and tension of the past few days, weeks or even months. While laying out in the sun, it’s normally easy to follow asleep. Unfortunately, this is also one of the best ways that an individual can sustain sunburn over most of their bodies.
How to prevent painful sun burns:
To prevent this from occurring, there are some rules that should be followed and they involve making sure the individual is covered properly. This is why many health and nutrition specialists recommend wearing the proper clothing, setting up large umbrellas and using sun tan lotions to protect the skin. By following these rules and guidelines, the individual can fall asleep naturally without experiencing lots of pain when they wake up.
Outside tanning and inside tanning are Not the Same:
While the ultraviolet radiation is basically the same for both inside and outdoor environments, there are some major differences. Many of the differences are related to several common factors. For instance, when an individual is on the outside trying to get that perfect tan, it’s not a controlled environment. Instead there are many different factors involved that can make each tanning experience different and they normally consist of the time of day, the attitude, pollution, season, wind, proximity of the equator, the depreciation of the ozone and other factors that’s beyond the family member’s control. Consequently, people may be trying to get the same type of tan under varying conditions. So, it essential for family member to consider how all of these factors usually play into getting their next tan. Which means, the family should make sure that they are aware of these changes by staying hydrated, wearing sun tan lotion and understand when they should take the activities on the inside of the beach home. These rules apply to both children and adults.
Our family lives in an area with frequent power outages so we installed a natural gas standby electric generator because it is the best for the environment. In this post I’d like to explain to you my reasoning for going natural gas for the home. And also why I think your family can do its part to decreasing your household’s carbon footprint by going natural gas.
Do you want your children to be able to enjoy the same natural environment, parks, marine parks and camping spots as you? Well, if things stay the same in terms of carbon pollution there will be an increase in forest fires and therefore a decrease in natural environment. Just look at this climate change page the Environmental Protection Agency put together. It shows that by then end of the century – at current rates – temperatures will have risen by 10 degrees F across the USA. Mass flooding, mass forest fires and less rain will cause us to have less food, less forest and less land.
Benefits of Natural Gas for the Environment
To use my home as an example: by powering the house with a natural gas generator we decrease our carbon footprint by 43%. Natural gas is more efficient than coal and oil power plants (which make your electricity) and having your own little power plant outside your house cuts on transmission losses. Already natural gas provides 24% of the USAs electricity but let’s double that in the next 10 years.
How to Go Natural Gas
A natural gas generator is no bigger than your fridge lying on its side and sits on a concrete pad out the side of your house. It gets plumbed into an underground city line of natural gas and hooks directly into your homes electrical with a transfer switch. The natural gas to provide your house with the electricity you need will only cost a few dollars per day. The gen-set itself will be a one time investment of less than $5000 depending on the size of unit you get and who installs it for you.
Once it is installed you and your family will barely notice it. They run their own maintenance and are only as loud as your car engine. In fact, our unit sits outside the window of the room I do my writing in and I can not hear it even with the window open.
Will Your Family Know the Difference?
Like I mentioned in the paragraph above you will not hear it or see it because it is quiet and small and hidden away in your side yard. And because of the transfer switch you just continue using the electrical outlets in your house for power. You don’t need to plug in to some weird extension cord. My family and yours too will love playing a role saving the environment by lowering your home’s carbon footprint.
How Much a Difference Can I Actually Make?
The short answer is lots. Individuals are where the change needs to happen. People are already starting to realize this. Solar power on residential homes is in record growth. Electric cars being powered by this new solar electric grid are being bought by individuals. Every difference counts. (We live in an area with not much sun so solar wasn’t an option.) I recommend for you to think about your family the environment and the outdoors you love and research the options of decreasing your carbon footprint before it’s too late.
I find that one of the best ways to fuel creative writing is getting outdoors. Whenever I am feeling uninspired or unmotivated, I pack up a bag and my writing notes and head outside. It doesn’t really matter where – just getting outside can re-energize you, give you a fresh perspective and help your imagination.
Last week I went through a very uninspired time. I was struggling to write a scene with new characters and was feeling frustrated at myself for not progressing with the chapter. After several hours of making tea, updating Twitter and staring at the laptop I decided it was time to leave the desk. So I packed my writing tools into a backpack and headed out on my bike. The fresh air really helped me to de-clutter and as I made my way through the winding forest roads I suddenly found myself plotting the end of the chapter. Suddenly the characters that I had struggled with all day wouldn’t leave me alone! They were invading my head, so much so that I had to stop. I found a writing spot underneath a tree and I stayed there all afternoon, writing frantically. By the time the sun began to set and I started cycling home I had written almost two chapters.
It’s not hard to see why being outdoors can spark your imagination. There are a variety of colours to look at; a variety of terrains to explore and being near to nature can be pretty inspiring in itself. But I also think that it’s simply changing your every day scenery that can boost your imagination. I find sitting at a desk day in day out can stifle your imagination. Even heading outside for a break, opening a window or walking to a shop can spark your imagination and help you to finish a story or sculpt a character profile.
If you haven’t tried writing outdoors then I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t matter where you end up, just as long as it gets you out of your comfort zone and allows you to be in a new environment for a few hours. Of course, don’t go anywhere too secluded and it’s a good idea to let a friend know where you are planning on working for the day. If you don’t like writing alone you could even invite a creative friend to join you for a writing session. I have done this a few times with a friend of mine and as long as you are disciplined you will find yourself being productive as well as catching up with a friend.
You don’t need much to get outdoors and write either – and I have always found that to be the beauty of writing. You don’t need much, just your imagination. When I started writing I bought myself an Apple Mac laptop (I found it on a site selling wholesale laptops wholesale laptops and other items) and a hard drive to store all of my ideas. But I only really use this if I am stuck indoors or writing in a coffee shop. On the occasions that I do get outside I usually just take a notepad and pen and transfer my notes later. It’s much easier to carry and you don’t have to worry about your laptop getting ruined on the journey. So if you don’t have writing equipment like a laptop or tablet computer, it doesn’t matter for outdoors writing. Just head out and buy yourself a notepad and pen and travel to a local spot and get inspired.
Spending time with your loved ones is without a doubt the most important thing in life. However it can be challenging to find activities that all members of the family will enjoy – particularly if you have a mixture of boys and girls or big age gaps between your children.
Over the weekend we decided to do something as a family after my partner asked if we all would like to go out relic hunting with him. Recently he has been finding a number of interesting historical relics when he has been going out with his metal detector, and so we all decided that a day out together would do us good. My husband claims that ever since he got his new Garrett Ace 350 metal detector that he has been finding more and more things than ever before.
Being a big environmentalist I never really liked or wanted to encourage his metal detecting (or treasure hunting as he calls it) as I feel that it can negatively impact on the surrounding plant and animal life, however after going out with him for the day and seeing how he goes about finding and recovering items, I feel a lot better about it all. He really takes care to excavate only the target area, and he is always careful to fill in any holes that he digs.
As this was a family trip my son also wanted to get in on the action. So of course that meant he needed his own detector. As we aren’t made of cash, we went looking for beginner metal detectors and found him a nice cheap detector which did the job and held his interest. He had a great time with his father, whilst I participated my sifting through excavated dirt looking for any signs of metal or interesting historical finds.
In what I assume was a stoke of luck, we happened onto quite a few objects. The first was an old spoon that was bent terribly out of shape and was rusting away. The second find took quite a while to find, but it was worth it. We found either an arrow head or a spear head. We are planning on taking a trip to see an expert at the local museum in the coming days to see if someone can help to identify it. I think it is great that we actually found something that quite possibly has some very old history to it and isn’t just junk that didn’t make it to landfill (like one of the finds that we made).
All in all we had a really good day out, and towards the end of it all I even got a chance to sit back in my husbands fishing chair and let my creative writing juices flow. I was surprised at just how peaceful everything was when I was just sitting there taking it all in under the shade of a large tree. In the distance to my right I could hear water rushing by, on my left there were birds chirping in the afternoon breeze and straight out in front I had my husband and son enjoying some quality family time together. It really was quite a day and one that I hope to repeat in the not too distant future.
My phone plays “Bubbly” by Colbie Cailat, and I swing my legs out of bed. The sky is that steely early morning color. It’s four o’clock, and time for a large pot of coffee. As the coffee machine burbles, I fire up my computer and get ready to write.
During the day, I’m a nurse at Buffalo General Hospital. I usually work the nine to nine shift, and by the end of the day it’s all I can do to throw a tray in the microwave for dinner, and move my fork from the food to my mouth. My days our exhausting: physical, mentally, and emotionally. I need to turn obese patients over in their beds, help people to the bathroom, and run up and down and up and down the halls to make sure I check on everyone equally. I need to remember dosages, names, allergies, medical histories. I need to smile, be kind, listen, and understand. My patients are in pain, and can do little for themselves, so I am their arms and legs. They do not want to be within the hospital walls – they want to be with their families, on their couches, in their offices, in their own beds. This often makes them lash out to the only person who they can take their frustration out on – me. I remind myself of this, keep a smile on my face, and bring them what they need. I feel called to do this work, no matter how much it takes from me.
And yet, I also feel called to write. Someday, I hope that this will be my only career, that I’ll be able to support myself with my words. For the moment, though, I balance my two vocations. First, I tried writing after my shifts were over, because I thought I might be inspired by my experiences during the day. However, I soon realized that writing requires far more energy than I ever have after coming home from the hospital. I decided to carve out the morning for myself as my time to imagine and create. I am fresh, I am excited, I am ready. I used to need to drag myself out of the bed each morning, knowing the way a day of caretaking drains me. But having this time to write, this time that has become sacred to me, propels me into the day with joy.
True, I don’t always produce good work during these times – almost never, in fact. But I show up, and I work at it, and I pour everything I have into my craft. Every good writer has said that a routine is the best way to encourage the good writing to come, and I believe this whole-heartedly. Since I’ve begun my morning writes, I’ve been published three times in a number of different literary journals. I’ve found that my experiences as a nurse inform my explorations of the human spirit in my fiction, and give me insight into my characters, who are often suffering either physically or emotionally. I have seen all kinds of pain, all levels and registers of it, and just as many ways of handling it. Writing allows me to work through the stress of my job as a nurse, and translate it into something productive and – hopefully – artful. It is therapy, it is recreation, it is work, and it is a part of me.
One of the biggest advantages of working from home and doing most of your work over the internet is that you don’t need to live in a specific location near your client base. Therefore, this gives you the option to look at where you want to live based on other factors.
If you are a fan of the countryside over the urban areas, as I am, then there are definitely advantages to it.
Of course, there are disadvantages, and we will look at those too for a balanced viewpoint. But if you are considering relocation, and you are in a position not to have to worry about a work location, these points may be to consider.
One of the first things people realise when they visit the countryside is the fact that there are so many less people around and the sense of peace this can give. There are also far fewer vehicles on the roads, fewer cars but also fewer public transport, although this can be an issue if you rely on it.
There is a definite appeal of being woken by the sound of birds singing instead of car horns and many people find that the closeness of nature has a soothing effect on them. It is also easier to see wildlife in a rural setting and enjoy the closeness that can be achieved in their natural environment.
Obviously there is a lot more open space in the countryside than in built-up areas, and this means the kids can get outside more. There are more areas to play and explore in safety in the rural areas and the reduced amount of pollution in the air is also great for anyone with respiratory problems.
One sound suggestion if you are switching from urban to rural is to consider renting a property for a little while. If you haven’t lived in the countryside before, the differences can be a shock to the system and jumping in to buying that big old farm house may not be ideal.
Another option is to look at investing in below market value properties, of which there are some in the country because people do hit hard times and lose their jobs. This way, if you do decide the life isn’t for you, you can
easily sell the house without making a financial loss.
The main downside with the country life is that the facilities which are every day to urban dwellers may not be present. Don’t expect a coffee shop on every corner or a range of specialist gyms to pick from. But the postal service works just as well in the sticks as it does in the city, so internet shopping is every bit as easy.
It never hurts to get to know the locals and find out what may be on your doorstep without realising it.
The general view is that country folk are more friendly than those in the city, have a more laid back approach to life, take it easy mentality. But this of course works both ways. You need to engage with them to build up a relationship just like anywhere else but if you do, it can be amazing what hidden gems they can point you in the direction of.
These days, members of a family are a lot busier than they used to be. Now, every family member has their own schedule, and with things like work, school, sports, drama club, and other after school activities, it may be a rarity for families to actually find the time to do anything, much less sit down to have a meal together.
However, even with everyone having a busy schedule, it is still vitally important for meals to be taken as a family because it may be the one and only time that families can spend time together and communicate with one another.
Dinnertime gives families a chance to actually stop and smell the roses. With such hectic schedules, who knows if anyone has had the chance to even eat a decent meal, and dinnertime may offer that one nutritious meal that family members get to have every day. People are more at ease at mealtime, and when people are relaxed, they tend to open up more, which may include talking about their day.
Mealtime is generally a time when everyone is home, which will give them the opportunity to do something together. On the surface, taking the time to cook a meal together might not appeal to all members of a family. In fact, families who eat out for almost every meal due to the on-the-go lifestyle of today might not even have the cookware suitable for cooking a full family meal.
However, by investing in some of the best cookware for your family’s needs, you too can have everyone in the family gathering around and cooking together. With each member of the family assigned to a task, making dinner can turn into a whole lot of fun, and the end result is a delicious meal that you can take pride in because you completed it as a family.
Other than just being able to try out new pots and pans, meals are also the chance for family members to ask one another questions related to important decisions or get advice that may help them solve a problem. With everyone having their own schedules, and being on the go all day long, when a problem does occur, it may be a lot for someone to deal with on their own.
Discussing it with the family over a meal might be the one time and opportunity for everyone to be in the same room, relaxed after a busy day, and available for advice and input on a problem. Problems can plague anyone, but being able to talk to their family about it, and come up with a solution together, can make someone feel a lot better and glad that they had the chance to have a discussion about it. Families can fix anything as long as they have the time to sort things out and they work together.
Meals can be so much more than just eating food, and for some families, it is the one time of day when they can all be together. Everyone has to eat, and with busy schedules, people can be on the go all day, but when the sun goes down, and the pots and pans come out, family members can cook a meal together, then sit down and eat it, but also use this time as the perfect communication venue.